|Any way you look at it, parenting is rife with challenges and joys. Fatherhood ~ Poems of Parenthood, the latest book by author/musician C.S. Fuqua, published by UK-based Stairwell Books, explores the facets of parenting from a father’s perspective in 90 poems written over a 30-year period.
In 1991, Fuqua became an “at-home dad” charged with the day-to-day care of a newborn daughter. He and his spouse Bonnie were what the media then called a new breed of parents, those who chose not to settle into traditional roles of woman-as-homemaker, man-as-breadwinner. While his wife pursued a career in public service, Fuqua established himself as a freelance writer.
In the lean, early years of marriage, the couple had dismissed the idea of becoming parents, Fuqua said, “because we weren’t ready for parenthood—not monetarily, not intellectually, not emotionally.” By age thirty-five and their thirteenth wedding anniversary, “We’d become financially stable and decided it was time.”
Beginning with two miscarriages, the couple found themselves on an emotional rollercoaster like they’d never experienced before, one that only intensified with the birth of their daughter. “But something magical happened,” Fuqua said. “With most of my time now devoted to her, our daughter became my primary creative muse, and I began to devote much of my writing to the exploration of parenthood—the daily experiences, insecurities, failures, successes.”
Fuqua spent most days caring for the couple’s daughter, playing with her, taking her on exploratory walks, conversing with and reading to her as though she understood every word, involving her in social development situations, and sharing all duties with his spouse in the evenings, on weekends, and her days off—all about which he wrote in poetry, in fiction, and in journal-style letters to their daughter that he continues to write today.
In 2007, Uncial Press published a collection of 38 of Fuqua’s parenting-related poems entitled The Swing ~ Poems of Parenthood, which won the Best Poetry Collection EPIC Award for 2008 and remained in print for the next fourteen years. In 2021, Fuqua decided to expand the collection with poems he’d written since its publication, more than doubling the number of The Swing’s original poems, all of which are included in Fatherhood.
Fatherhood chronicles 30 years of parenting experiences, from pregnancy to the child’s adulthood—the joy, sorrow, insecurity, confidence, anxiety, calm, irrationality, fear, pride, confusion, clarity, mourning, celebration, hope, and so much more—“all due,” Fuqua said, “to one extraordinary young woman who’s astounded her mom and me from day one with her intellect, humanity, and grace.”
Fatherhood ~ Poems on Parenthood is available through most bookstores and directly from Stairwell Books at https://www.stairwellbooks.co.uk/product/fatherhood/.
Fuqua has been writing professionally since 1979. His published books include White Trash & Southern ~ Collected Poems, Walking after Midnight ~ Collected Stories, Big Daddy’s Fast-Past Gadget (SF novel), Hush, Puppy! A Southern Fried Tale (children’s book), and Native American Flute ~ A Comprehensive Guide, among others. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in hundreds of national and international publications as diverse as Rattle, The Pearl, Cemetery Dance, The Christian Science Monitor, Main Street Rag, and Year’s Best Horror Stories. Learn more about his writing and music at http://csfuqua.com.
A powerful but tender chronicling of his daughter’s birth and growth by the master of the American Horror genre and exponent of the Native American flute. A reminder that, while we hew our children from granite, we are ourselves shaped and crafted by their love.Stairwell Books
Fatherhood by CS Fuqua is a lyrical journal of childrearing, from tragedy of miscarriage to a difficult birth through childhood. Fuqua shares the growth and molding of this parent/child relationship, focusing on the joy of watching his daughter become her own person, tinged with the sad knowledge that she will eventually leave home. “When the Bird Has Flown” sums it up nicely: “Rushing through the moments, / the forgettable and the milestones, / sprinting headlong from one / to the next, / and the next, / unaware of loss, / no pause to consider or savor, / centered instead / on what mysteries lie ahead, / always ahead…” Recommended.M. Scott Douglass, Publisher/Managing Editor The Main Street Rag, author of Just Passing Through (Paycock Press, 2017)
C.S. Fuqua’s latest poetry collection, Fatherhood: Poems on Parenthood, is a delightful and emotionally insightful work about the challenges and day-by-day revelations of a father who makes it his vocation to raise a daughter with grace, integrity, and much love. The poems in this volume are tightly crafted, lyrical gems, filled with learned wisdom, wry humor, and humanistic dignity, as this poet/father documents his daughter’s life from infancy to young womanhood, and shares with the reader the glorious journey of his own life lessons, attempting to be a good and nurturing parent.Davidson Garrett, author of Arias of a Rhapsodic Spirit
C.S Fuqua’s transcendent verses encapsulate the many moods and dispositions of fatherhood. His reflections are compelling, affecting, witty and tender. A recommended read for the expectant father.”Ali Kinteh, author of The Nepenthe Park Chronicles
There’s a beautifully composed realness that shapes C.S. Fuqua’s poetry. I reveled in his language and storytelling. I want to gift this book to all my friends and family who are new parents, older parents and all future parents, because this is about life and love. It is a layered journey and Fuqua brings us into his unique, somewhat familiar “home” through poetry that we can dwell in.Laura Kerr, Canadian Artist & Poet
The power of C.S. Fuqua’s poetry lies in the relentless chronicling of real people with real sorrow, triumph, regret, and above all, the sad beauty of the human experience. Superb poetry from American poet and musician, C.S. Fuqua.Tony Nesca, Author of About A Girl (Screaming Skull Press)
Few have the deft touch for poetry as does C.S. Fuqua. He is not shackled by the bonds of rhyme, but is instead freed by language, each word, each phrase, each sentence weaving a complete story in just a few lines. This is what poetry is supposed to be. Take for example the phrase in the poem “Cabinet”: “…doing her damnedest to reach the bug spray.” In this last phrase of one of his introductory poems we see the oncoming future of Fuqua and his daughter as he devotes his life to keeping her safe. In the poem, “The Chant,” we have the phrase, “She sees skin as a rainbow.” The personality of his daughter is there in that one short phrase. The rest of the words beautifully support, but this one short phrase tells us everything we need to know about his beloved daughter. Sometimes Fuqua reaches for a beautiful image in a full line, like in the poem, “Tokyo Fabric”: “He nods at my daughter, reflecting her grin, the cat purring like soft forest rain, the universe melting under those fingers, that fur, that sound.” Fuqua says he loves poetry because it’s a challenge to write a complete story in a poem. You will read many short stories in Fatherhood.Dick Claassen, Author of Sacred Native American Flute