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It seemed strange to travel 4,483 miles to learn something particularly significant about my own hometown. But that's exactly what happened when I was stationed as a U.S. Air Force journalist at Eielson AFB in Alaska years ago. It was there that I discovered in an old copy of National Geographic that Savannah, Georgia, was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Having grown up there in a project called Hitch Village and in other parts of the city, I could not understand why.
Then I returned years later amidst all the fanfare surrounding Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (the movie as well as the book), the phenomenal growth of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and the election of the city's first African-American mayor. I learned a lot about the Historic District's celebrated architecture and how fortunate Savannah had been that General Sherman had refrained from burning the city down during the Civil War. Once out of the Air Force, it was my intention to visit family and friends only for a few weeks. Fate, however, had different plans for my life and a few weeks turned into a full year with one piling up after another. As I gained some notice as a writer, friends and readers sometimes asked when I planned to write my "Savannah book" since everyone else, including many who were not native to the city, seemed to have done so. Without realizing that I in fact had already started writing "my Savannah book" I usually answered that I didn't believe I ever would. Why? Because I tended to think and write more in world literary terms than regional. But then guess what? Remaining for a while in Savannah led me to do two things: 1) I spent a decade as my mother's caregiver prior to her passing and therefore came to interact with my family on levels I never had before. 2) I met some of my hometown's most extraordinary citizens and enjoyed the great honor of writing about them. Some, like celebrated photographer Jack Leigh, have since passed. Others, like Dr. Abigail Jordan, founder of Savannah's African-American Monument and the national Consortium of Doctors, are still blessedly with us. Suddenly, with a unique combination of stories examining my personal journey as a caregiver and writer, set in contrast to profiles of remarkable individuals and families, The American Poet Who Went Home Again seemed to breathe itself to life. Adding even more depth and substance to that life were several writers with whom I'd connected on AuthorsDen and who allowed me to include writings by them that further defined my ongoing journey. All lent their voices to the creation of my "Savannah book" and astonished this author by making its pages sing with a literary harmony uniquely its own. --Aberjhani
From the Back Cover
Just like modern literary life, THE AMERICAN POET WHO WENT HOME AGAIN expands beyond the safety of pages bound by predictability to explore and often confirm exciting creative possibilities. A shimmering collage of memoir, creative nonfiction, literary journalism, and dizzying flights into poetic observation, this is the amazing story of one writer's rediscovery of his family, his hometown of Savannah, Georgia, and himself.
From the celebrated "Return to Savannah" and the uncut extended version of "This Mother's Son," to "Journey through 'Universes Beyond the Invisible" and "The History that Peace Made," the author takes his readers on epic jaunt across landscapes of "the soul at work." Whether dealing with the challenges of care giving and racism or coping with the subtleties of art and spirituality, this is one author-poet and one book that sings with the beauty of hope and the persistence of life itself.
I love this marvelous book and recommend it, with pleasure, to one and all. Mr Aberjhani's voice should be heard around the world. He is an extraordinarily gifted writer whose words are more than inspirational, intriguing, and eloquent ... they are poetry in motion. Reggie Johnson, Success-Tapes.Com
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The American Poet Who Went Home Again will make me do something I never do--I will re-read this soul-exploring book again and maybe again. Going home is never easy, but Aberjahni examines the journey from all angles and decides the difficulty is what he treasures. The painful memories of his loss of young children, divorce and the pull of his family obligations are sung in such elequent words that the music hummed in my head. The author's memories of growing up in a segregated Savannah and the mystery of his heritage make me see how he passed through the hellfire and came out who he is. I love this writer!
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