When I first began writing and thinking about my forthcoming book “Empire of Surrender” (Wandering Aengus Press, 2022) more seriously, I came up with an elevator speech for it. I describe this as a poetry book about war and war crimes juxtaposed against the literal & metaphorical idea of softness. Violence and cruelty was often the catalyst for these poems, yes, but also moments of transformative gentleness, genuine displays of kindness. However I go about promoting the book when it is released, I plan on emphasizing those softer moments by inviting some people to read with me, these people who helped make difficult times a bit easier. Sometimes they reached out, sometimes they were simply living the kind of life we should emulate. Either way, I hope they join me in celebration.