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The 76 vivid poems in A NEW LIFE by Ralph Dranow offer us a unique and compassionate view of what it is to be human.

"The word glimpses In this book, like snapshots of everyday experiences, are like sweet-sour candy melting on the tongue."  Shonen Bressler

 

In this collection of poems by Ralph Dranow, the old life becomes the new life through the poet's discovery of the mystery and wonder that lie just beneath the surface of our everyday lives.

 People on the fringe of society reveal their humanity and touch the poet's heart, as do ordinary people doing seemingly ordinary things, whose goodness could easily be overlooked except for the poet's discerning glance.

A father spending hours looking for his young daughter's toy in “Professor of Patience” achieves a modest nobility, as does the family sloppily but joyfully playing Frisbee in the park in “Happiness.”

RALPH DRANOW is a widely published poet with a lifelong fascination about people's life stories.

Here is a taste of what's in store inside this wonderful book.

 

Ralph Dranow reading from his book, A NEW LIFE — "A New Life," "Over-Readers Anonymous," and "Feeding the Homeless" 


ralph dranow: behind the scenes

"I love stories. They give our lives feeling, shape, and texture. People have been telling each other stories for thousands of years. Stories can celebrate the human spirit, giving us hope, especially in difficult times. They can express awe and wonder at being alive in a vast, mysterious universe. 

"Stories can also allow us to express the pain in our lives, enabling us to feel heard with compassion by ourselves and others. And they can help us puzzle out the meaning of our lives. Almost all of my widely published writing, poetry and prose, has consisted of stories, other people’s and my own."


"Writing Poems Saved My Life"

An Interview with Ralph Dranow by Barry Barkan

For most of his life, Ralph was a writer who aspired to be a poet but who continually fell short of his aspirations.

"I always wanted to write poetry. I would try. But it just wouldn't happen," he says.

Then, at age 50, at a time when he was feeling depressed and in a lot of pain and he was barely hanging on after a painful divorce, it happened.

"The pain and suffering opened me up emotionally and the poetry started happening to me. It was like a blessing from God. It made life worth living again."

He says that at first his poems weren't very good: "I just started by getting down feeling. I didn't have the craft or the skills yet. Gradually, as I started getting more and more poems published, the development of the skills and the craft turned out to be my personal mastery path. At first I just wrote poems and then I realized that a craft requires revision and patience."

Dranow didn't realize it at the moment, but it was the beginning of a journey towards the realization of a freer and more open life that has reaped many more benefits:

"I started to open up to new things. I joined a men's' group, practiced Tai Chi and meditation and began to tap into my ability to connect with people on a basic heart level."

He met and married Naomi Rose and assumed an active role in the life of her son, Gabriel.

"It wasn't easy and it wasn't instant magic, although both relationships are quite wonderful now.  The journey has been slow because I am very humble about my shortcomings."

Ralph’s story is revealed (both directly and obliquely) in A New Life, a book of poems published by Rose Press. 

______________

Barry Barkan is the co-founder, with his wife Debby, of The Elders Guild in Berkeley, California.  

 Ralph Dranow reading from  A NEW LIFE  at the Berkeley Elders Guild

Ralph Dranow reading from A NEW LIFE at the Berkeley Elders Guild

 
 

Happiness

They're playing Frisbee in the park,

Husband and wife,

Three skinny young girls.

The woman is pillowy,

Plump like a dumpling.

"Mama!" one of the girls,

About six, calls,

Tossing the Frisbee to her.

Mama lunges at it,

Misses badly,

A lead-footed dancer.

Gleeful laughter bubbles

From the older girls

And Mama joins in.

 

The father,

A compact man,

Tosses the Frisbee

With elegant nonchalance.

The others, though,

Never catch or throw it right

But it doesn't matter.

Each errant toss,

Flubbed catch

Is a new adventure,

Cause for fresh merriment.

 

The smallest girl,

About three,

Struggles with the Frisbee.

Her father stands behind her,

Tenderly guides her arm

And the Frisbee

Until she can throw it

A few feet

To giggles and applause.

 

Afterwards, the family

Lies down together,

A tight circle,

Well-spent bodies

Draped against one another,

Sipping sodas,

Munching snacks.

The father leans lazily

Against his younger daughter.

 

Watching all this,

A window into

Something simpler, gentler,

I feel a flutter

Caressing my chest.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Listening to Ralph read and discuss his poems from  A NEW LIFE  at the Berkeley Elders Guild

Listening to Ralph read and discuss his poems from A NEW LIFE at the Berkeley Elders Guild

 
 

ENJOY THE COMPLETE BOOK  

A NEW LIFE: Poems by Ralph Dranow. Introduction by Naomi Rose. Published by Rose Press. Trade paperback, $14.95  

 

the invisible orchestra

The invisible orchestra

Plays in hushed tones

For an infinite audience.

It's easy to dismiss

As background noise

Or ignore altogether,

Until you realize

That its muffled music

Welcomed us

Into this world,

And one day

Will usher us out.

 
“I've been slowly savoring and loving your book. What a great gift to the world!

 Charles Burack, author, Songs to My Beloved and Leaves of Light

 

A NEW LIFE: Poems, by Ralph Dranow. Introduction by Naomi Rose. Published by Rose Press. Trade paperback, $14.95  

Author Ralph Dranow is a poet, writer, ghostwriter, writing mentor, and editor residing in Oakland, California, USA. His mission is to help people express the poetry and beauty of everyday life through writing.  His website is: www.ralphdranow.net

 Ralph Dranow

Ralph Dranow


“Although I've a very prosaic nature, not given to poetic rapture, I've been touched and inspired by Rumi and by Ralph. Both paint for me such clear and intense images that open my heart and bring a magic to the scenes of life they portray. 
 
“Ralph's poetry is tender and honest and bittersweet. He shares the raw truth of human experience with us from childhood to seniority, and the word glimpses, like snapshots, of everyday experiences, are like sweet-sour candy melting on the tongue.
 
"For me, Ralph's poems open the heart to embrace our shared mundane world with surprise and delight. Even when he is describing a painful moment or memory, his view is compassionate. He is a keen observer of human activity, feelings, and relationship, and his poems nestle into the heart in a genuinely comforting way."

 Shonen Bressler


“I've been slowly savoring and loving your book. What a great gift to the world!
 
"I admire your courage to keep opening and exploring the depths of your own soul, and to share the vulnerabilities and strengths, uncertainties and wisdom you find."

— Charles Burack, author, Songs to My Beloved and Leaves of Light