Tuesday, February 6, 2018

HARD TO SWALLOW by Pat & Bill Hurley

NightBallet Press is enormously pleased, honored, and humbled, to publish
a remarkable new collection of poems:
Hard to Swallow, co-authored by Pat Hurley and her late husband Bill Hurley.

This book, as Pat describes it, "documents their individual perspectives on his esophageal cancer journey, through poetry." With Pat's poems on pages opposite Bill's poems, we get a unique mirror perspective of their lives during this most difficult time. We find ourselves exploring their labyrinths of love, humor, wonder, fear, dread, and anger through poems filled with reflections, revelations, tenderness, and truth.

Hard to Swallow contains 28 poems on 40 pages. Its front cover features a photograph taken by Bill Hurley on 02/02/2012, captioned "Some say this glass is half empty. They are pessimists. Some say the glass is half full. They are optimists. I say that it is a 12 ounce glass with 6 ounces of water. I am a realist. What are you?" The cover is a textured card stock, with a faded denim card stock insert. The text is printed on crisp white paper, with Bill's poems appearing in italics.

Pat's iron dedication and loving concern walk hand-in-hand with Bill's sardonic humor and quiet reflection. In one poem, Bill Hurley muses about what would happen if his ashes were stored in a Metamucil bottle and consumed by an unwitting sufferer. In another, Pat recalls their fortunes:


At the Chinese lunch
Following the oncology appointment
We crack our fortunes open.

You: "A long and happy life"
Me: "Little time, much opportunity"
"Ironic," you say.

The collection opens with this introduction by Bill Hurley:

Do what you can for as long as you can
And then when you can't, stop.
Surrender to the labyrinth.
Though your steps grow silent,
The journey continues,
And you'll always be a part of it.

                                                             photo by Kar Shepherd
Pat Hurley writes a regular humor column, "Balancing Act," for ThisWeek Community News newspapers in Columbus, OH, and has authored a book, The Dog Ate My Planner: Tales and Tips from an Overbooked Life. At the urging of her late husband Bill, she ventured into poetry. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including Still Crazy, Common Threads, and A Rustling and Waking Within, the Ohio Poetry Association's exphrastic poetry anthology.

                                                    photo by Pat Hurley

Bill Hurley, a retired video producer and amateur astronomer, first appeared on the Columbus, OH, poetry scene in 2012 and quickly became a popular reader at regional open mics. Before his death from cancer in 2016, he published his first poetry collection, No Weeds in Wahkeena (Bent River Press, 2015).  His work has appeared in Common Threads, a publication of the Ohio Poetry Association, and TheNewVerse News, an online journal.

NightBallet Press is grateful to Pat for giving us her poems, Bill's poems, and the opportunity to offer this book as a memorial to a remarkable man. Be a part of the journey. Get your copy of Hard to Swallow for $12 plus $3.00 shipping.