Painting Over Sketches of Anatolia is Leonard Neufeldt's seventh book of poetry. In it, we find wars, revolutions, the holocaust, obsolete belief systems, Alzheimer's and ever-present potentialities of the autistic as well as the illusory in the spoken or written word. A dying Plato tries to fight off intrusions of reality. Neufeldt questions whether one can find rootedness in an ethos quite unlike one's own. The realities of discovering and settling in Turkey are uppermost, with Gulls of the Bosporus/ screaming behind you, / a city's minarets floating free. But the poems offer deepening lenses as the narrator enters a place of beauty, mystery, legend, painful history, irksome tourists, welcome and joy -- the joy of olive picking, for example, with Mamut's stunning wife: The rake/ [she] gives me with a Yes/No shake/ of her head is smooth in my hands/ like skin tingling with details as I climb/ the ladder's rungs. As for the snake in the stone wall that does harm, May it live for a thousand years.
Author, editor or co-editor of seventeen books, Leonard Neufeldt was born and raised in the immigrant Dutch-Russian Mennonite hamlet of Yarrow, BC. His grandfather and father, placed under arrest by Bolshevik agents for transport to the Gulag, escaped to Canada via Spain, Cuba and Mexico. Neufeldt graduated summa cum laude from Waterloo Lutheran University (Wilfred Laurier) and received his MA and PhD in the USA. He and his wife have spent most of their professional years in America and abroad, notably in Europe and Turkey. Lecture tours have taken him to India, Germany, Korea and China. Over the years he has been the recipient of numerous awards for his scholarship as well as poetry.