As many struggled to occupy themselves during the COVID-19 quarantine earlier this year, attempting to bake banana bread while binge-watching Netflix’s Tiger King, Bensalem’s Emiliano Martin rarely had a dull moment to spare.
Not only did the author of Vulnerable Excellence (a chronology of artist Salvador Dali) and Spain’s Footprints in Philadelphia pen a brand new 70-page collection of 60 poems, he brainstormed ideas for two upcoming projects as well.
“I’m always in writing mode, looking for anything that sparks my imagination,” said Martin. “Especially since I’m retired.”
The poetry book, entitled Around the Fire, encompasses pieces that are very personal to the former engineering professional.
“The book could have also been titled Crazy Thoughts From an Ordinary Fellow,” he said with a laugh. “It’s a remembrance of events in my life, feelings about writing poetry, feelings about poetry itself. Sometimes I think I am a philosopher, although I am not. But there’s a philosophical feeling about life. I’m pretty happy with it.”
A prime example is the poem “Train Ride,” which reads, “In the train ride of life, it is not the speed we travel nor the number of stations we pass by. It’s the people that we meet at the station to get on. It’s the company we keep while we share conversation inspiring us to move on.”
“It’s the people we socialize with, the people we talk to, the people we go through life is what makes our ride. It’s not the destination,” explained Martin. “The destination doesn’t matter. When the train stops, it is over. We’re done. It’s a very happy, very truthful piece of writing because it is all about life and the people with which we share our ride.”
In Martin’s opinion, his work is easily digestible by the masses.
“My poetry is not the type where it’s, ‘What the hell is he talking about?’ My book is very concrete,” he said. “Either you like it or you don’t like it, but you understand what I write about.”
While Martin is certainly no stranger to poetry – he’s written 4,000 poems and counting over the years – he is new to typing his work on a computer. As an old-schooler who still prefers a trusty pen, Martin admitted the ability to make corrections at the click of a button is a “lifesaver.”
“I’m beginning to realize that. I can go much faster. But the thinking process is still on paper with the pen,” he stressed. “I love to write with a foundation pen. Oh, I love it, the feeling of holding the pen in your fingers. I have a whole poem about that.”
As Martin enjoys the release of Around the Fire, which is currently available at lulu.com/en/us/shop/emiliano-martin/around-the-fire/paperback/product-qj2557.html and will soon be available online through Barnes & Noble, he’s also finishing up a book on the Iberian Peninsula’s history and another collection of poetry.
Martin estimated that, if he gathered all of his unreleased work, he could easily release more than three dozen books of poems.
“I do it for fun,” he said. “I love writing.”
Also, later this month, Martin will be appointed president of the Pennsylvania Poetry Society for another two years. This will be his final term leading the organization.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org