The Blog

Malta book launch of A Land in the Storytelling Sea

 

 

 

Together with the Maltese Poets Society, FARAXA Publishing was pleased to present on May 30, 2014, the Maltese launch of its first poetry publication A Land in the Storytelling Sea: A North American in Malta by Sheryl Loeffler (right). Described as “a treasured addition to the library of every poetry lover” and “sensual, painterly, even prayerful,” the launch of this book of 50 poems and 50 pictures was held at the Main Hall of the Ministry of Education, Floriana, Malta. A sizeable literary audience attended and the book proved a great hit with the people. Comments received were praiseworthy.

A Land in the Storytelling Sea: A North American in Malta can presently be obtained in full color paperback edition from all major booksellers including Amazon and directly from our eStore. The ebook editions are forthcoming soon.

 

 

 

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Bormla: A Struggling Community on iNewsMalta

 

 

 

The landmark research study Bormla: A Struggling Community by JosAnn Cutajar, Ph.D. (FARAXA Publishing, 2014) was recently featured on iNewsMalta.com. As “great work done with professionalism and yet very understandable to both students and academics,” the book was described as an attempt to foreground the voice of the people of Bormla in relation to their current situation.

Bormla: A Struggling Community can be obtained in hardback, paperback and ebook editions from all major booksellers including Amazon. It can also be purchased directly from our eStore.

 

 

 

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NEW RELEASE – Jisimni Mariah

 

 

 

FARAXA Publishing has the pleasure of announcing the release of the Maltese language edition of its latest children’s book Jisimni Mariah by Doris Schembri. This interactive photo book in which Mariah interacts with her readers is intended for children aged three to seven years old. The activities presented in it can be used both for cross-curricular activities and to help children learn more about themselves. The book has been available in the English language under the title I am Mariah. It is also forthcoming soon in the Spanish and Arabic languages.

 

Mariah speaks

 

I am Mariah. Would you like to know more about me? If you do, please have a look at my photo story. Now, it’s your turn. Tell me something about yourself…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gozo book launch of A Land in the Storytelling Sea

 

 

 

On May 21, 2014, FARAXA Publishing in conjunction with Gozo Live was pleased to present the launch of its first publication of poetry titled A Land in the Storytelling Sea: A North American in Malta by Sheryl Loeffler (furthest right). Described by Gozo Live as “a treasured addition to the library of every poetry lover,” the launch of the book was held at Saint Ursula Hall, The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo. A sizeable general and literary audience attended the launch and the comments received both about Sheryl’s book and the presentation were highly praiseworthy.

 

 

 

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Sheryl Loeffler on Campus FM

 

 

 

You can hear our author Sheryl Loeffler speak once again about her new book A Land in the Storytelling Sea: A North American in Malta (FARAXA Publishing, May 2014) on Campus FM (103.7 Malta) today at 10.00 am (local time) and Saturday, 24th May, also at 10.00 am.

 

 

 

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About Sheryl Loeffler

Below is an interview with Sheryl Loeffler, author of the newly released A Land in the Storytelling Sea: A North American in Malta.

When did you first start writing?

When I was 12 years old, I gave my father an illustrated book of original poetry for Father’s Day. I wrote the first poem I can still remember, however, when I was 11.

I began writing poetry in earnest when I was in university and continued writing in the years immediately afterwards. I took those poems to a writers conference, for workshopping with the late American poet John Ciardi. He had a profound influence on both my beliefs about poetry and on my writing. Then, despite his praise and encouragement, or perhaps because of it (there is terror in praise from the great), I stopped. I didn’t write creatively for decades. In 1998, I took up writing poetry again. Why? Long story short department — it was a time of great optimism and happiness for me, and I returned to writing with energy and increasing confidence.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

My husband and I lived in Malta from 16 April, 2005, to 4 May, 2006. It was a year of discovery for us. We immersed ourselves in Maltese culture, geography, history and story, and both embraced and were embraced by its people. That year, Malta became our theme. This book is the distillation of thousands of words and images from that year and from subsequent visits to Malta. I originally intended to write a travel piece — a My Year in Malta sort of piece— on the order of Tim Parks’ Italian Neighbours. Instead, I found myself writing poems.

What motivated you to become an author?

Curiosity — I wonder if someone will respond to my work. And incredulity — if that work can be published, surely my work can be published, too. The path to publication — if you have never ventured down it — can be hard on the ego. It looks something like this: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, maybe, no, no, no, no, no, yes. But the yes at the end of the road is worth every bumpy no.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

Word play. Polishing. Once I have a viable working draft of a poem, I begin to play with its words, rhythms, and rhymes (in the broadest sense — alliteration, assonance, and consonance).

What are you working on next?

For the past three years, I have been working on (and not working on) a series of narrative poems based loosely upon the life of a woman who starved to death in an abandoned farmhouse after her release from a mental health facility. She lived for three months on her wits and apples from the farm, until the apples were gone and she was too weak to seek help.

What is your writing process?

I am a morning person. I do my most productive writing in the early hours of morning when the world around me is sleeping. The process itself, however, is simple. Sketch and polish. Sketch and polish. Word by word, by word.

Where did you grow up and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in Canton, Ohio. I had / have a loving family and a happy childhood. I have written many poems about life from the perspective of that childhood. I have a second manuscript (in limbo for the past six months — neither rejected nor accepted — in a publishing house in the United States [US]) that is more or less autobiographical (all poems are autobiographical, to some extent, because they come from within; all poems are fictional, to some extent, because the creative process transforms experience). The poems reveal a life very much like mine from childhood to not-quite-old age.

The first geography that found its way into my imagination, however, was not that of my hometown, but that of my mother’s hometown, Ironton, Ohio, 250 miles south of where I grew up. Ironton is a sleepy town on the great Ohio River, where Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky converge, as do Northern and Southern sensibilities and identities. The glacier that bulldozed the plains of the central US stopped in Ohio and Ironton’s craggy foothills grow into the Appalachian Mountains to the east. This geography enabled a second geography to find its way into my imagination — that of Malta.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

The imagination-filled, solitary hours just before dawn when summer birds sing matins (in desert Canadian winter, it takes imagination just to remember these things). And, of course, the promise of coffee.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I work. I serve as Director of Philanthropy at a social service agency in Kitchener, Ontario, and as Director of Music (organist and choral conductor) at a church in Waterloo, Ontario.

I play. My husband and I walk the forested trails of our region. We go to theatre (one of North America’s best repertory theatre companies is a 50-minute drive from our home). We watch films. Because we’re both classical musicians, we listen to classical music. But we rarely go to concerts. Busman’s holiday. And I work as a whatever-you-want-me-to-do for a small theatre company.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

I remember one of the first poems I wrote. I was 11 and the poem was a limerick:

A lady, most thoroughly stout,

was as tall as she was round about.

She sat on a pin

and became very thin,

because all the air was let out.

What do you read for pleasure?

I read fiction, memoirs (I prefer autobiography to biography), and travel writing for pleasure. I read poetry — at least one poem — every day. One of my wicked (but not guilty) pleasures is black humour — like Marina Lewycka’s Two Caravans or DCB Pierre’s Vernon God Little. I bought Jonas Jonasson’s The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared at the Toronto airport, to read on my way to Malta. But didn’t. No reading lights for the whole of the 8.5-hour transantlantic flight. So I’m reading it now.

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Sheryl Loeffler speaks about A Land in the Storytelling Sea

In the forthcoming days, our newest author Sheryl Loeffler will be speaking about and signing her new book A Land in the Storytelling Sea: A North American in Malta. Here is the schedule of her appearances and interviews for this month.

1) May 12, 2014. Radio interview on CampusFM at 10.00 am;

2) May 21, 2014, at Saint Ursula Hall, The Citadella, Victoria, Gozo at 7.30 pm;

3) May 30, 2014, at the Main Hall of the Ministry for Education, Floriana, Malta at 7.00 pm.

We look forward to seeing you at one or more of these events.

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Early reviews for A Land in the Storytelling Sea

 

 

 

 

1) Sensual, painterly, even prayerful, these poems by Sheryl Loeffler deepen into a land of legend and myth, an island populated, past and present, by saints, beggars and pirates, all of whom are blessed by “vivid geometries” of light. Sheryl Loeffler portrays Malta as a country awash in splendor and contradiction, “this land where Christians call God Alla.” A Land in the Storytelling Sea is quietly pleasurable in its narrative journey and in its subtle and seductive craft - Michael Waters, Ph.D. (American poet and editor, four-time Pushcart Prize winner, three-time Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award winner).

2) Sheryl Loeffler’s first book is a stunning achievement by any standard. Waking up in Malta after 24 hours of sleepless travel to the blossom of a Mediterranean sun, the self-exiled poet lives her days listening to the heartbeat of its people, its sounds and silences, taking in the incense and faith of its magnificent churches, seeing its oracle monuments. She sings in poetry of “a great mystery, a sacrament, really.” Poems such as Luzzu Yellow and The Legend of Good Hope, with synchronous messaging in the photos Weeping Osiris and Boathouse Madonna, to mention just two, speak eloquently of a poetry, precise, disciplined, fabulous in its imagery.

As to Sheryl Loeffler’s confession that “I, who live the lines and spaces / of a simple music / could see and do such things / and almost understand them,” Sheryl Loeffler the searcher, the dreamer, the musician, the poet, unravels the “great mystery” and becomes the lover who embraces her new-found rock paradise and sings in shining lines of her new love, her precious new discoveries - Rienzi Crusz (Canadian poet, winner of 1993 Waterloo Region Arts Award for Literature).

3) Sheryl Loeffler’s poetry has magically been ignited by her deepening immersion in repeated experiences of Malta’s landscapes, ancient and modern, and of those residents or visitors who inhabit them. Her style is a mixture of the elegantly colloquial and the tingling poetic, encapsulating moments where a sight has captured her senses and her imagination, enabling her to summon up shapes and figures – drowned sailors visiting a submerged chapel or old, “three-legged” tourists exploring Malta, as summer slowly changes to autumn and the last swimmer bids farewell to the sea. She can be a supreme narrator, as in a poem based on an old Maltese legend. The narrator is a spider, famous in Malta’s folklore, whose swiftly woven web over a cave entrance saves a young woman from detection by the pirates pursuing her - Paul Xuereb, L.L.D. (Maltese writer, theatre historian, critic for The Sunday Times).

4) If you haven’t made the trip to Malta and back, these poems will make you want to. If you’ve already made that trip, you’ll want to do it again. As Yeats once said, the universal is in the particular and in Sheryl Loeffler’s carefully crafted poems, you’ll feel how the particular places, sights, tales, legends and moments from arrival to departure evoke the universals of the heart. The strange becomes the familiar; the known, the unknown; the elusive, richly mysterious, but inescapably personal and intense. Sheryl Loeffler transforms place into feeling, sight into emotion and travel into self-discovery. Her poems capture the intensity of her response to Malta, and her photographs, which accompany the poems, illustrate what many of us merely look at, but fail to see. Sheryl Loeffler’s camera eye, like her inner poetic eye, isolates and transforms and shapes the historical and the local into a kind of paradoxical lyrical hardness, a disciplined delicacy, a visual sharpness in words and images that are poetic in thought and response and insight. Skill and intuition meet in A Land in the Storytelling Sea. Take the trip with her; share the arc of transformation she undergoes - Ed Jewinski, Ph.D. (Canadian poet, Professor of English and Creative Writing at Wilfrid Laurier University).

 

 

 

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NEW RELEASE – A Land in the Storytelling Sea

 

 

 

FARAXA Publishing has the pleasure of announcing the release of its first poetry book A Land in the Storytelling Sea: A North American in Malta by Sheryl Loeffler. Sensual, painterly, even prayerful, these 50 poems and 50 full color original pictures by Sheryl Loeffler deepen into a land of legend and myth, an island populated, past and present, by saints, beggars and pirates, all of whom are blessed by “vivid geometries” of light. Sheryl Loeffler portrays Malta as a country awash in splendor and contradiction, “this land where Christians call God Alla.” A Land in the Storytelling Sea is quietly pleasurable in its narrative journey and in its subtle and seductive craft.

About Sheryl Loeffler

 

Sheryl Loeffler is a writer and musician who has lived and worked in Canada all her adult life. She holds degrees from Wittenberg University and the University of Waterloo. She has also pursued doctoral studies in Renaissance Drama at the University of Toronto. During the 1990s, Sheryl Loeffler served as senior writer at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Telecollege Productions Inc. Her 12 half-hour scripts on Canadian Political Science were produced and aired for several years on TVOntario. In April 2005, Sheryl Loeffler jumped off the edge of her known universe to live and write in Malta, at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, returning to Canada in May 2006. Her poetry has been published in literary magazines in Austria, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

 

A Land in the Storytelling Sea: A North American in Malta is available in paperback edition from Amazon, other major booksellers and directly from our eStore. It is also forthcoming in ebook edition.

 

 

 

 

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Faraxa’s authors at the 1st Book Festival on Campus

Last week, some of our authors spoke to the public about their works at the 1st Book Festival on Campus, University of Malta. Here are some pictures of the events.

 

To the right is JosAnn Cutajar, Ph.D., who spoke about her landmark research published recently in Bormla: A Struggling Community.


To the left is Meinrad Calleja at our stand during the festival and who spoke about the work presented in his books The Philosophy of Desert Metaphors in Ibrahim al-Koni: The Bleeding of the Stone and The Battle Roar of Silence: Foucault and the Carceral System.


To the right is 14-year-old, Maltese-New Yorker Corrine Annette Zahra who spoke about her debut, supernatural thriller for young adults The Legend of Amanda Robins.


To the left is Sheryl Loeffler who spoke about the poems and pictures in her new book A Land in the Storytelling Sea: A North American in Malta, which is set to be released by Faraxa Publishing next week.

 

To the right is Toni Aquilina, D. es L., who spoke twice about his ‘privileged’ work as a translator, particularly from the French language to the Maltese language. Faraxa has published a number of Toni’s translations from the original French works among which are Is-Sur Ibrahim u l-Fjuri fil-Koran by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Is-Sajf by Albert Camus, L-Alla tal-Herba by Yazmina Reza and Sbuhija Mohlija u Stejjer Ohra by Guy de Maupassant.

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