“Baby Steps in Doomsday Prepping,” Prose Poem Collection by FSU’s Gerry LaFemina, Released Just as Pandemic Arrived

Oct 28, 2020 4:00 PM

Frostburg State University English professor Gerard LaFemina released his book of prose poems, “Baby Steps in Doomsday Prepping,” in February, just as COVID-19 was arriving in the United States. Now in the midst of the pandemic, he said his choice of title was “prescient.”

The title came about during a conversation with a fellow poet, to whom the title poem is dedicated.

“I think we all are taking baby steps to our eventual doomsdays, but we don’t panic. We take our times to get there,” LaFemina said. “I think the book – I think all art – asks us to slow down and not rush. Read the poems. Take your time. Take baby steps to the end of the book.”

He continued, “Of course, then a global pandemic hit. But even this is not the end of the world.”

LaFemina said writing prose poems, prose writing that uses poetic techniques, opens doors that he would not normally open in his poetry or fiction.

“They allow me to write somewhat surreal miniatures, and the book itself, which the publisher designed to highlight their shape in big square pages, gives the effect of them being hung on a gallery wall,” he said. “Perhaps I feel that way, too, because throughout the book there are poems that engage works of art, but that’s what I love. The way image conjures thought, the way surprising images conjure surprising thoughts.”

Janet Lowery, editor of “By the Light of a Neon Moon” writes in her review, “The poems in Gerry Lafemina’s new book enchant the senses and succeed in stopping time – or at least pausing time – so that we might examine the things of this world with love and intelligence, so that we might hear them speak to us again.”

LaFemina’s previous works include “Points South” (2019), “The Story of Ash” (2018) and “Little Heretic” (2014). He also published a textbook, “Composing Poetry: A Guide to Writing Poems and Thinking Lyrically.” To learn more about LaFemina, visit gerrylafemina.com.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.