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Books: "Eating the Bread of this World"

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North Country visual artist and sculptor Becky Harblin included her poetry in a recent exhibit at the St. Lawrence County Arts Council in Potsdam. At the opening, poet and publisher Albert Glover asked if he could publish the poems. The result of their collaboration is a slim book of poetry titled, Eating the Bread of this World. Our book reviewer, Betsy Kepes, talks with Becky Harblin about her new book.

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Betsy Kepes
Book Reviewer

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The title of the book comes from the Ninth Century Sufi saint, Arabia. Asked what she was doing in this world. Arabia replied, “I’m eating the bread of this world, while doing the work of that world.”

Harblin grew up in Peru, New York, and previously worked at The New Yorker. After the magazine was sold to new management, and many of the "old hands" were leaving, Harblin believed it didn't suit her style anymore, and she began to look elsewhere. The turns in your life can “feed you,” Harblin said. And this book is an example of what that can mean.

According to Kepes, Harblin’s book is rich in beauty, but also includes powerful poems of joy and sorrow. Harblin said, “Life isn’t all about a beautiful sunrise or a beautiful sunset--but all the itchy things in between add up to your appreciation of those sunrises and sunsets.”

Harblin’s love for gardening and plants comes through in many of her poems. "My love for the plants, my love for the smell of herbs, for the tastes and the medicinal qualities, all of that is something that I would like to evidence in the words that I write. Of course there's always that great frustration that things are so powerful you can't get it across no matter how much it means. But we all try, right? It’s just what we do."

Harblin’s book is available at the St. Lawrence University bookstore in Canton, and the St. Lawrence County Arts Council in Potsdam.

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