Joseph G. Peterson "Inside The Whale"


Joseph G. Peterson's second book, the follow-up to 2009's Beautiful Piece, is due next month through Wicker Park Press and is called Inside The Whale: A Novel in Verse. The book is focused around the life of Irishman Jim O'Connor a man who has lived a hard life, but has always had the gift of poetry. The novel is filled with drunken nights, lost love, and the beauty and brutality of Chicago. Here is a short except from the novel.

he was jim
an irishman a rogue
he wasn't from ireland
was first generation american
though once or twice he faked it with a brogue

catholic second of five children
rebel child he twice nearly died
once in a fire of his own making:

at twelve he fell asleep drunk on beer in bed
when the cigarette he had been smoking (lucky strike)
lit the pillow near his head

he awoke in a blaze of fire
doesn't know what happened next
but was told by his older brother chris

who saved him from the crisis
that he was pinned beneath his bike
and gasping for breath and the fire was all about him

chris found him there dying
wrapped him in wet towels and pulled him from the fire

a scar on his chest
in the shape of a turtle
is what remains of the accident
and a story in the fashion of a poem
which he published
to some small acclaim a decade later

Peterson's third novel, Wanted: Elevator Man, will be released this Fall by Switchgrass Books.

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