AUGUST 16, 2018 – Having taught public relations and writing at Emerson College and Boston University and an ethics course at Suffolk University, Zvi A. Sesling knows a thing or two about getting the word out.
Apparently, his efforts have paid off as he was recently named the Poet Laureate of Brookline. He will give readings at the New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton on Aug. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. and at Brookline Booksmith on Oct. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Before being named poet laureate, Sesling had published his poetry in numerous publications and journals in the United States and the United Kingdom, and as far away as India as well as Israel (where he won first prize in the international Reuben Rose Poetry Competition in 2007).
“My father arrived in Israel in 1912, helped found a kibbutz in 1921, and spent his life working for Israel,” Sesling recalled, noting that his mother immigrated to the Jewish state from Germany in 1933 and met his father there.
Sesling has visited Israel numerous times and lived there for a short time as well.
“I have been a lifelong supporter of Israel,” he said.
Sesling was a feature reader at the first Jewish Poetry Festival in 2009, an event held every year at Temple Sinai in Brookline.
“I have always been connected to the Jewish community by working in it,” Sesling said, noting that Israel is among his most frequent topics when it comes to writing. He also writes about baseball and war. In his forthcoming readings, Sesling will draw most from “War Zones,” his just-published collection.
“‘War Zones” is based mostly on the Vietnam War and its aftermath,” Sesling said, “as well some of the wars after that.”
This would appear to be quite a different set of poems than those in his previous book, “The Lynching of Leo Frank.”
“That book is based on 30 years of writing Jewish poetry, and included the title poem as well as ‘Mumbai’ about the attack on the Jews of that city by Muslim terrorists,” Sesling said of the 2017 collection that was nominated for the National Jewish Poetry Book Award.
No matter the venue or the topic, however, Sesling said he always tries to make his audiences think and laugh, even when discussing what are in many ways difficult and challenging ideas.
“I read the poems and often explain some of the background or reasons I wrote them.”