I've got a new project--I'm putting together a compilation of my past-life poetry, written as Mathew Franklin Whittier. I think I may try shopping this one around. There may be some interest, inasmuch as his older brother was one of the famous Fireside poets of New England; and nobody has seen Mathew's poetry, before. It took me eight years of intensive research to ferret them out, because the historical record where Mathew is concerned is so garbled. They were all published under various pseudonyms, except for one or two under portions of his initials (first or middle initial); and many of them were claimed by, or later attributed to, other authors. I'm not going to give my rationale for claiming them as Mathew's work, in this book--that is done in "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words."
I'm presenting the poems--Mathew's best--in chronological order, and then, after each one, I'll add the citation plus a little commentary to provide the context. This one is relatively easy to put together, and it will be short enough that I can afford to send physical copies to prospective publishing houses (something I couldn't do with the larger book, which automatically excluded several publishers from consideration).
The poems are better than I thought, when you group them together like this--and they also fit together very well, as plausibly being works of the same author, when you can readily compare them. They also demonstrate very clearly, I think, the plausibility of my theory that Mathew was the original author of "The Raven," which was evidentally plagiarized from him by Edgar Allan Poe (along, perhaps, with "Annabel Lee"). But although I briefly mention this theory in the introduction, this wasn't my primary purpose. I just felt that it needed to be done.
I already know that this book will suffer from the same marketing flaw that my larger book suffers from--it fits in no known category, or rather, it straddles too many categories. It might belong, for example, in Academia--except that no academician will accept my attributions, where they conflict with the historical record. It might belong in the esoteric/occult genre, except that I don't even bring up the reincarnation question, here. Mathew was, himself, a Spiritualist and a mystic, which understanding is clearly conveyed in several of these poems; but that may not be enough for an esoteric publisher to consider it. Thirdly, poetry--especially poetry from an unknown (both myself, as the compiler, and Mathew as the author)--doesn't sell. Mathew's family connection to a famous 19th-century poet might push it over the edge in this regard--but given that even John Greenleaf Whittier is an obscure historical figure, now, it may not.
So I am guessing no-one will want to publish it, and I will have spent yet more of my scant financial reserves for Xeroxing and postage, with nothing to show for it. There is then the matter of self-publishing, which I certainly cannot afford to do; and distribution, which I also cannot afford to put any of my own funds behind.
For posterity, it may be an entirely different matter. People of the future, who believe in reincarnation and are eager to learn more about it, will have three works about Mathew--the work I have nearly completed, now, about his life and my research into the past-life match; this poetry book; and a novel about Mathew's relationship with his soul-mate, Abby, which was completed until my most-recent round of research. That research turned up a great deal of Mathew's earliest work, covering the period of their courtship, and so a great many facts and scenes now need to be inserted into the novel.
I do think that people will find the novel fairly well-written, demonstrating that I have not lost too much of Mathew's own skill in this respect. I have always felt I could write fiction--but I have always had a tremendous writer's block about it. This isn't surprising, since I think Mathew, himself, felt the same way. He could generate excellent humorous sketches at an amazing rate--enough to feed the ravenous demands of a weekly paper to the tune of four pieces per edition--and he could write a lengthy adventure story, in the classic style of the time, as well as anyone (including his friends, Charles Ilsley and John Townsend Trowbridge, who were masters of the genre). But a novel requires a somewhat different skill-set. I'm not sure he ever wrote one, though he could certainly critique the work of others. Now, as myself, he has his chance to write about the subject dearest to his own heart--his relationship with Abby.
If I have any luck shopping around the compilation of poems, I'll certainly report it, here. I have no immediate plans to self-publish it as an e-book. Perhaps when all other avenues are exhausted, I will do so, for posterity (since I don't seem to sell much of anything from this website).
Meanwhile, those who spurn this book will have no idea what they have in their hands. This is the real author of "The Raven," and the real co-author of "A Christmas Carol." For the matter of that, I plan to present a few of Abby's best poems (she was the second co-author) at the back of it--and her poetry was, perhaps, better than Mathew's, even at age 14.
Well, who's listening? The world is mad these days. The things that people are paying attention to would be laughable, if they weren't so sad. Attention is everything. Attention is energy; it creates lasting impressions which in turn create perceptual blinders and compulsions. Where you put your energy/attention matters. My work, today, is ignored because Society has its attention elsewhere, on things it deems of importance.
So be it.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "Starlight" by The Free Design,
from the album, "Stars/Time/Bubbles/Love"