Friday, March 24, 2017

Great images set an awesome stage for envisioning history

I am thrilled to find a five-star review for my art book, Inspired by Art: The Edge of Revolt. The review is written by top Amazon reviewer and author Sheila Deeth. In addition to her novel, Divide by Zero, she has written The Five Minute Bible Story Series, and other books. With a Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England, she is a a top reviewer for Amazon, Goodreads, Gather and other reading sites. This is what she says:

From the rich bright colors of classical painting, through the pallor of engravings, the silk and foil-wrapped threads of old techniques, and even the mystical brush-strokes of modern art, Uvi Poznansky’s trail through art’s inspiration tells the story of King David’s erring sons Amnon and Absolom with startling immediacy. It’s a tale that starts with temptation and violation and ends with war’s hard-wrought peace—the dark side of Biblical history perhaps.

For me, the most lasting images are Guercino’s study for the Feast of Absalom—a picture that with its very lack of color offers a scarily graphic image of hatred, anger and despair—and Schwebel’s modern-day Jaffa Road and Zion Square. A father mourns in the vivid reds of Chagall, a general warns, and an aging kings looks back on his past—an image that surely sets the stage for the author’s beautiful novels of King David’s life and times.

There’s another Inspired by Art book coming soon, and I can hardly wait to enjoy it. Author Uvi Poznansky makes history come to life in her novels, and brings art to life in these beautiful art books too.

Disclosure: I found it on a deal and I love it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Meet my new narrator: voice talent Bob Sterry

I am so excited to present a new talent, with whom I will be collaborating in the next few months to produce the long-awaited audiobook edition of my historical fiction novel, The Edge of Revolt. I went through the audition process, listening to many actors, in an effort to find just the right voice for this fascinating, complex character of David, a king in the winter of his life. And I knew from the moment I heard Bob Sterry that he would be perfect for the role.

So, let me tell you about him. Bob is a voice over actor, writer, singer, occasional stage actor and humorist. Originally trained in the UK as research analytical chemist, he immigrated into the United States in the seventies, working as a wine waiter in New Jersey, a fork lift truck driver in Connecticut, and spent his professional career in the marketing of scientific instruments and services in New Jersey, Hong Kong and around the world.

It was not until he started writing short articles and poetry in the nineties that his creative talents found an outlet, and he began to sing seriously in choirs and extemporaneous groups. In 1999 he and his wife Anne-Louise Sterry, a well-known speaker, singer and storyteller, founded a short lived but much loved faux cowboy wannabe band, ‘Anne-Louise and the Cascade Urban Cowboys’. Discovering his on stage talent he took the step to starting his own show of songs and spoken word. His singing is Cabaret satire with Broadway and the English Musical Hall grinning in the wings with a nod to the classical style. Recent shows were ‘The Bob Sterry Atomic Summer Show’ and ‘The Book of Bob’, and ‘A Sterry Sterry Night’ with Anne-Louise Sterry.

Adding Voice Over work to this was an obvious step. Bob's clear ennunciation coupled with strong language skills and familiarity with technical terms result in excellent communication. His sense of humor and acting skill is perfect for tongue in cheek promotions. Thanks to voice coach Lesley Bailey and recording genius Marc Rose at FuseAudio Design Bob offers his voice to anyone who needs it.

Bob is passionate about cycling, cooking, language and literature. Here is a beautiful poem he wrote, which resonates with me not only because it is so personal but also because it bears a relationship to the story in my book: the story of a father who loves his son dearly and struggles to hold on to the closeness between them. 

I saw a little guy being born
I cut the cord that tied him
I held him in my arms
With his dark damp hair
Wetting my hospital gown

And his dark eyes looking up
Looked right through me
And saw something I could not
And perhaps it’s best that way

Even then he was serene
And had the knack of sleep
A skill he has preserved
Lying so neatly in his bed
A lovable length of boy

I saw a little guy grow
Into a lovely boy
Who spoke quietly
And was always gentle.

I saw a lovely boy grow
Into a slender young man
And felt all his wounds
Like my own, once again
Deep and full of rage

I can sense his young anger
And his musical desire
Waiting for an unknown muse
To strike him and lead him
Somewhere….

I see a slender young man
I cut the cord that ties him
And watch his dark hair
Disappear from my view
From my damp eyes.

Of all the pains in the world we have to endure those inflicted unconsciously by our children are some of the hardest to bear.

More about our work in the coming weeks... Stay tuned! Meanwhile, check out Bob's links:

In the midst of spring blossom

A poem by my father, Zeev Kachel

We pass by each other without speaking, dumbly
We look at each other—blindly
Loneliness crying out of our eyes
But we keep on, silently.
Each one of us carrying a load 
Each one suffering, utterly slowed
Each one going on, down this road

See there, a couple just passed in embrace.
We used to walk this way, do you still remember?
You looked forward to my coming.
In the midst of spring blossom, here's the sorrow of fall.
And the recognition that it's all over.
Today, between us came a wall.
Now, never to return, life has all
But passed. That is fall.
No one to shake a hand, no one to give a nod.
You and me, through this isolation we plod.
It's fall: all flawed.


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"This radiant book is an exploration of the bond between a daughter and father and the book overflows with some of the most eloquent poetic moments in print. HOME is an invitation, a very personal one, and should not be passed over."
-Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Reviewer

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Opening their petals as if to let out a blood-red flame

War ended that fateful day, a dozen years ago, when the king of the Ammonites was dragged before me on his knees. Once I set his magnificent crown upon my head, news spread to the neighboring nations, and they were struck with awe. All of a sudden they managed to recover something that had gone missing before: an urge to suspend all hostilities. 
In the spirit of peace, their leaders came around to congratulate me on my victorious exploits. To this day they keep sending me humble greetings, written with profuse flattery, on scrolls attached to expensive gifts. Why? Perhaps to sate my appetite, so I would not find it in my heart to conquer their territories and empty their cities to fill my coffers with loot.
I often reflect on how the destruction of one place feeds the renewal of another and dread to think that a day will come—perhaps beyond my lifetime—when the City of David will stand in ruins, mourning the lives of its defenders and the exile of its few remaining men, women, and children. 
I wish I could stop projecting my mind into the future or dwelling on the past. Before the change of seasons overtakes us, let me enjoy every minute of the present.
With the constant flow of goods into the land, a new era has begun. In every square, you see markets bustling with shoppers who fill their bags with imported merchandise. On every street corner, you spot buildings being erected, roofs being pitched to the happy sound of saws and hammers. 
My empire stretches out all the way west to the sea, and all the way east to the wreckage, where the city of Rabbah used to stand before my conquest. That place, where the earth was drenched with blood, is now marked with an unusually vibrant burst of blossoms. 
It is spring. 
Seeds and potted plants arrive on special convoys to my royal gardens, and soil too, because without it they cannot take root here. With tender care, they will bloom every year from now on, opening their petals as if to let out a blood-red flame.

David in The Edge of Revolt


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"The miracle of Uvi Poznansky's writing is her uncanny ability to return to old stories 
and make them brilliantly fresh"
-Grady Harp, Hall of Fame reviewer

Friday, March 17, 2017

More Thought-Provoking...Leads Reader to Move to Next Book!

In her blog, Book Reader's Heaven, Glenda A. Bixler blogs about Books, Reviews, Authors, Publicity, Tips, short stories, essays...a little poetry, a cat story or two, thoughts on music, movies and products selections. I am thrilled to find her review of my art book, Inspired by Art: Fall of a Giant:

on March 16, 2017
Uvi Poznansky is continuing the David and Goliath Saga. Fighting Goliath was the first I reviewed, so you might want to jump back to pick up the beginning, prior to continuing today...

We begin today with the death of the Giant Goliath. This book gave me more to ponder than the last one...that killing Goliath prevented a war is a great reason... But I'm one of the "why" type of people that asked "Why then cut off his head?" With the ISIS beheading activities paramount in our minds, I went out to look for a brief answer to include here in case others are interested: By decapitating Goliath, David wanted to "show the whole world that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by the sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands".

There were other references of cultural issues that might also apply but, the above reference seemed to fit what I was thinking as I followed each artist's portrayal of how he was to portray the aftermath of Goliath's death; i.e., that his head was cut off and carried away... I found myself analyzing each artist choosing one particular one as how I felt David would have responded to what he'd just done--he had killed a man! To me, I believed that David would have immediately turned toward God and talked, prayed to Him. It was God who had surely chosen a young shepherd, using a slingshot, to destroy any chances of war. David would have thanked him, as was shown in Guercino's portrayal of David. Having cut off the head, David immediately turned towards heaven to speak to God, to thank Him in being with him in the battle.

Other presentations by various artists are gruesome, as he walked back to Jerusalem carrying the head; but as I thought about each, they also exhibited the natural thrill of victory, of knowing he had acted as commanded by God...and had succeeded!

As we saw in the previous book, there continues to be a wide range of choices made in portraying David. As can be seen in the Giovanni Lanfranco's painting, the actual size of Goliath was never really accepted. Lanfranco chose to make Goliath's head large enough that David had to drag it, while others show that David easily carried the head... Perhaps that is really unimportant except in attempting to reason out why each of the artists might have chosen how his painting showed the scene.

In this array of paintings, I noticed quite a few had David dressed in grandeur, in clothes which would never have been worn by a poor shepherd... As we close out the book with paintings of celebration, of Saul's response to what was happening, it leaves readers with a desire to move forward to see how this story of the Goliath's death results in changes in David's life...

This concentration, this study of paintings based upon a specific theme, to me, surpasses walking through an art gallery or books covering a particular artist or style of painting. For me, this is another new experience where each painting, created by various artists and presented in comparison, forces the reader, the observer of the paintings, to consider the story behind the painting and question whether the artist sees the story as you would or as something completely different. It is unique in presentation, is an excellent teaching instrument and is also quite a beautiful, wonderful addition to your personal library.

Do check out this and other books in this series. It is highly recommended to scholars, students, and all those who love paintings as an expression of our wonderful world...

GABixlerReviews

Monday, March 13, 2017

I used to come here with him

The reason I know this place, the reason it ignites such emotion, such passion in me, is not the sight of these homes—but the majestic trees, whispering in the night air. Planted at regular intervals along the median, as long as the eye can see, they are named Naked Coral Trees. Naked because—according to my father—they shed their leaves annually. 
I know this because at the age of fifteen I used to come here with him, every Saturday for an entire spring. During that period he worked for the Landmark Division of the City of Santa Monica, reviewing applications for the Landmark Designation of trees. To this day I have no idea what that means.
Dad talked little about his job, and cared for it even less. He was a writer at heart, and during spells of unemployment he would do two things: at night, scribble furiously in his notebook, and during the day, acquire new skills—which he did with great ease—and change his line of work, trying to make do until someday, some fine day when he would strike gold with his yet unfinished book. 
During our walks that spring, dad would point out the tree: Its fiery red flowers, that looked like fat pinecones at the tips of irregular, twisting branches, and the seeds, which in certain species were used for medicinal purposes by indigenous peoples. The seeds were toxic, he warned, and could cause fatal poisoning. I learned that mature Coral trees should be watered frequently—but not during the summer months. In fact, he said, the less water in summer, the more flowers you can expect the following spring.
I cross two lanes of traffic, come closer to one of those Naked Coral Trees, and  with great awe, brush my fingers across the trunk. It is a contorted, elephantine thing, with a roughly textured bark, and thick roots clinging fiercely to the earth. This being early October there are no flowers, no leaves, even. The tree seems to take on a humanoid appearance, as if it were the body of a character, or even several characters, mangled beyond recognition. 
It is a stunning sight, which has fascinated me since childhood. Above me, the bare limbs—some of which have been pruned recently—are branching apart, and looking at them you can imagine a knee here, an elbow there, someone wrestling, someone in embrace. 
As you walk past them, the trees seem to tell you a story line by line, scene by scene. In one tree I could see a man and a woman, kissing; in another, a father and son.



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Volume II: The White Piano
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Few authors would be able to pull off the manner in which the apparent polar opposites of Ben and Anita begin to bond... but Poznansky has the visual and verbal and architectural skills to create this maze and guide us through it. ~Grady Harp, HALL OF FAME reviewer

Sunday, March 12, 2017

There is much more to these works than meets the eye

I love this review of Inspired by Art: Fighting Goliath:

on March 11, 2017
Being a novelist, I'm much more used to reading stories woven around characterization, plot, drama, crisis and all the other standard dramatic elements. So, it was an interestng surprise to open Uvi's book, Fighting Goliath. In a nutshell, it's a collection of photographs taken of works of art, paintings done by the masters -- from Michelangelo and Titian to Degas and even Dali, and more -- all depicting the biblical battle between a young shephed boy and the "invincible" giant Goliath. What was particularly striking to me were the differences each artist had in their interpretations of young David. Each painting was expertly photographed and accompanied by a brief description of the work, which included a quote from the artist on how they saw the subject. The result was a fascinating look, not just at a collection of masterpieces, but a glimpse into the minds of the geniuses who created them. I thoroughly enjoyed leafing through Fighting Goliath, and came away feeling that I learned far more about these works of art than I would have from the fifteen pound art history textbook I had to lug around in college. Wholeheartedly recommended.