ABOUT THE BOOK
THE McSORLEY POEMS is not just a collection of poems about the
oldest bar in New York City. As the books subtitle suggests (Voices
From New York Citys Oldest Pub), the book is a triptych of poems,
divided into three sections. The voices of artifacts are heard in the
first section, IF WALLS COULD SPEAK. Americans and immigrants are heard
from in the books second section, aptly titled UNSORTED REGULARS,
MISFITS, LIARS, HEROES & PSYCHOS. And in the final section, McSORLEY
PHANTASMA, the voices of McSorley family members, long deceased, are given
ghostly presence in their individual tales.
The second section, UNSORTED REGULARS,
MISFITS, LIARS, HEROES & PSYCHOS, is a platform for voices
long gone, yet curiously alive, for such characters can be heard in every
ginmill across America. McSorleys is unique because it has survived
amidst the ebb and flow of constant change in New York City. I have tried
to give creative voice to the kinds of denizens that have inhabited pubs
throughout our history. While not always in the mainstream, they certainly
are recognizable, whether they be WWII and Vietnam veterans, alcoholics,
cops, artists, laborers, lunatics, cabdrivers, even famous psychologists.
The final section is called McSORLEY
PHANTASMA, and the McSorley family ghosts speak for themselves,
telling their family history as imagined by the poet. As in most families,
love and courage, hope and illusion, tragedy and despair, all are part
of the tangled mix that makes family life so real and fascinating.
THE McSORLEY POEMS is a celebration of the bar itself: its physical
presence which envelops the new patron immediately; the varied, motley
clientele, which makes you realize youre in one of the most public
and democratic places in America; and finally, that ethereal sense of
Time, past and present, that only a very old place can offer.
THE McSORLEY POEMS captures the voices and realities that make McSorleys not just a local, but a national experience.