David Leff was the first author I ever met. I’d just been signed by Homebound Publications for my first book, when I ran into him while at The Hickory Stick Bookshop for an open mic event. Because many of David’s books were also published by them and I recognized him from his bio on Homebound’s website, I rather timidly introduced myself before the proceedings began. It struck me as a good omen to find him there. It was my first open mic, and I was more than a little anxious about reading my work in front of an audience consisting almost entirely of poets and writers. He could not have been more kind, welcoming, and gracious as he congratulated me on being published.
He was there to read from his soon-to-be-published book, The Breach. It is a book that stands among my favorites of his, and there have been many, for to describe him as prolific is an understatement. His reading that night was typical of David...energetic, engaging, and perfect. He showed me how it was done; how to stand in front of people and read what I’ve written. It’s not an easy thing to do. David made it look easy. I paid attention.
But his book...
Written in that Voice of his, The Breach is an intriguing novel set in an old New England factory town curiously reminiscent of his beloved Collinsville, CT; a novel written, true to his poetic sensibilities, in verse, and where the voices speaking these verses belong to inanimate objects scattered about the town. The walls have ears...and can speak. So does the barber’s chair, an umbrella, a typewriter, and over 130 other items. I was then, and remain, blown away by his mind, his insatiable curiosity, his muse.
I became friendly with him, though to be closer than that would have been a far better thing. We met at more open mics, as well as his monthly Sunday night poetry readings in Collinsville. I’d read. He’d read...always better. Twice I asked him to “blurb” my work, and twice he did so, promptly, graciously, and generously. Again, he showed me how it’s done. How to go about being a writer in every sense of that high station. I watched him from afar, but deeply. He mentored me without even knowing it.
David died early Sunday morning (5/29/2022). There are some who leave a great space behind, whose remaining, enduring presence extends through many circles, many circles that really are only one. I am quietly devasted by his leaving...this humble, voraciously curious, dear sweet man who showed me the way. Rest well, brother. And thanks for some really great sentences. Deep bow.
You can peruse David's website here...worth the look.