Twenty-seventeen was a challenging year in many ways. I found myself doing a great deal of soul-searching about my adopted country and how I might (let alone should) respond to the election to the presidency of a man whom I thought was manifestly unfit for the office—and who has proven himself to be so in every way. One way I coped was writing The Trumpiad—a mock-heroic satire in ottava rima, the verse pattern (abababcc) employed by Lord Byron in Don Juan, his picaresque satire of politics and manners, composed 200 years ago.
Each month, I composed a canto with as many verses as days in that month, and posted them on this website. I then spent January and February editing all 365 verses (and one villanelle) to get the rhyme pattern and meter right. I have now published The Trumpiad (with various glossaries) as an e-book on Smashwords and as a three-dimensional book using Amazon’s Create Space self-publishing program. Publishing in this way has provided me with valuable first-hand insights into a couple of the “alternatives” to publishing that I often talk about with would-be authors. I’m also pleased to offer the proceeds of the sales (beyond the cost of printing) to two charities (Vine and New Alternatives NYC), which you can read about on The Trumpiad‘s page. The epic continues into the president’s second year, and you can read the latest effusions on this page.
After several years of false starts, Japanese composer Mihoko Suzuki and I completed our five-part song-cycle on the life and experiences of the Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel Peace laureate, Wangari Maathai. Entitled And the Hummingbird Says . . . , the five-part, 50-minute piece is now available on CD or for download, and you can read all about it and link to the page to purchase it here. The CD contains the libretto, but you can also read them in their entirety on the cycle’s individual song pages (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).