On the evening of March 4, local artists and art lovers alike filed into the dark downstairs of the Blue Nile, murals and other works flanking them on either side and the familiar red-and-black striped wall behind the stage up front.
The evening began with a recording of Michael Trocchia’s voice over the strumming of an acoustic guitar softly playing.
Then, several of Trocchia’s friends, themselves poets, read short stories and prose poetry from the James Madison University philosophy professor’s new chapbook, “The Fatherlands” — his first publication. Trocchia himself read from the 52-page novelette, and the event rounded off with a skit inspired by one of the publication’s 33 works.
Trocchia is 33, so the chapbook — or short collection of writings — that was published by Monkey Puzzle Press and released Feb. 18 came at an appropriate time.
The Blue Nile release event held in his honor was a collaboration of local arts, with its inclusion of several poets, music created by area DJs to Trocchia’s writings and an illustration of one of his poems by Harrisonburg artist Lynda Bostrom.
“There’s all kinds of great things happening around this work,” Trocchia said just a couple of hours before the event started.
Each of the pieces contained in “The Fatherlands” features a father, a boy and a woman.
“They kind of manifest themselves in various forms in each piece,” Trocchia explained, adding that the chapbook is interested in “the nature of fate and one’s origin and how those two things might be linked.”
“One of the things I hope the book does it is … give folks a glimpse of life reading this and kind of its contingencies and … its paradoxes,” he said.
The professor will be reading his work at the Black Swan Books and Music in Staunton at 2 p.m. March 16. He’s also been invited to speak in April at a poetry circle held at Greenberry’s every third Wednesday.
Trocchia is staying busy, with another full-length manuscript of poems already sent out to publishers. He’s hoping for a release date on that book within the next year, and he’s working on a novel in the meantime.
Trocchia, originally from Long Island, N.Y., came to Harrisonburg to attend JMU as an undergrad and has been working at the university since 2007.
For more information about “The Fatherlands” or to purchase a copy, visit monkeypuzzlepress.com/books/the-fatherlands.
Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or email@example.com.