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The Songs of Angels

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Image The Songs of Angels

A Novella

"Imagine that you are an archangel when suddenly God tells you He is going to create a universe composed of matter - something you have never experienced. And imagine that you have been commissioned to be present to the creation of each thing and to write music that will welcome it into existence. Now imagine that all the archangels are excited and happy with their commission except one. In this spiritual fantasy you are present to creation and to the fall of one of heaven's most beautiful archangels. This is a story that will make you laugh, wonder, and sometimes cry."

 

 


 

 




The Button Box

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Image The Button Box

A Memoir

After some 50 years of asking his paternal grandmother questions regarding their family history and recording her responses in notes, the early wire recorders, a Sony reel-to-reel recorder, and later cassettes, Fredrick Zydek has finally selected some of those conversations in this memoir of those sessions.
The reader will quickly appreciate that his grandmother, Bertha Zydek, could be poignant, evasive, opinionated, funny and sometimes disapproving of the family history she related him. To her credit, his grandmother refused to answer some of his questions because she felt the answers were none of his business but neither was she intimidated by some of the scandal that rippled through the family over the years.
Through the years she would even talk about some of the disappointments she experienced because of her children and an in-law or two she didn't really care for.
But overall, The Button Box is a celebration of an American family so typical it will often remind you of your own clan.




Journey to the River

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Image Journey to the RiverThe forty meditation poems of Fredrick Zydek's Journey to the River, inspired by David Wagoner's Straw For the Fire, a collection of poems, half poems and fragments David gathered from Theodore Roethke's notes and notebooks in the
Roethke archives at the University of Washington, first came into being in the 1960s when Wagoner, Zydek's teacher, recommended Zydek spend some time in the Roethke archives. Soon after, Zydek wrote "18th Meditation: Journey to the River," followed by additional meditations. The poems collected here represent decades' worth of rumination on the human condition by one of America's finest and most prolific poets.

 


 

 




At the Edge of the Ancient Inland Sea

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Fredrick Zydek's "ancient inland sea" is both a prehistoric feature of the Great Plains and the collective unconscious itself.  Like Cather, Zydek presents the violently beautiful natural phenomena of Nebraska s possessing the power and inscrutable will of pagan gods.  He is equally at home describing the domestic pleasures of farm life or the headier experiences of Nebraska in its fiercest moods, moving easily from the cabin of a combine to the thigh bones of woolly mammoths to the green terror of summer storms. Zydek has become a bolder, more audacious poet in his seventies than ever.  this is his most varied and compelling book.

-Lance wilcox, editor, River Oak Review

Take a sensitive man or woman standing long and alone before the immensity of existence and the particulars of nature, and the eventual lightning-strike of insight is a given.  but it takes a poet like Fredrick Zydek to make that insight worth remembering.  these lyrics celebrate both the austerity and abundance of life on the Great Plains, but they are also meditations guiding us closer to our true place in the universe.  a book that journeys from strength to strength, this is Zydek at his finest.

-Jason Ranek, The Crossing

Zydek, an ornate, even elegiac, style which counterpoints his subject . . . formal language and rhythm sustain its aloof seriousness and acceptance . . . eloquent . . .

-James finn Cotter in the Hudson Review

Fredrick Zydek . . . has a delicacy with words. He has lived and worked to master them, has uncovered their unavailable intricacies . . . he pleases by distinctive phrasing and by control of the language.

-Richard Eberhart in Annex 22

Fredrick Zydek . . . innovative and sometimes startling, revealing fundamental struggles to master the invisible and match the incredible in rich landscapes.

-Laura M. Grover, from the introduction to Storm Warning




T'Kopachuck - The Buckley Poems

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Front cover image of "T'Kopachuck - The Buckley Poems"A poetic journey from small town America in the 1940s to the evolving life and death of its inhabitants into the 21st Century. These are poems of place that have a universal appeal.




Charles Taze Russell: His Life and Times

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Front cover image of "Charles Taze Russell: His Life and Times"Second Edition. The biography of an American original. Charles Taze Russell was founder of the Watchtower Bible and Track Society. Many religious groups, including the Jehovah's Witnesses, the International Bible Students Association, the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement, Dawn and other Bible student groups have formed around his teachings.




Learning the Ways of Coyote

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Front cover image of "Learning the Ways of Coyote"Learning the Ways of Coyote is a fictionalized story of the last Quinault woman to live in the old ways and what it took to move her from her traditional home along Lake Quinault to government housing in the upper village. It is a story of tenacity that is rich with Northwest Indian lore and tradition, a story that endears us to Grandmother Redwing and her grandsons who are being mainstreamed into American culture. It is a novel of pathos and humor, a story of cultural conflicts and spiritual maturity.




Old Pinhead

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Front cover image of "Old Pinhead"If you were born with retardation or a deformity in the 19th century and early part of the 20th century, you ended up either as the sideshow in a circus or in a state institution which functioned as either a prison, work camp or warehouse, depending upon the degree of your developmental disability. Old Pinhead is the story of a young man born with moderate microcephalia whose mother would not commit him to an institution at the cost of her marriage. After her death he was committed to a place called The Cascade Custodial School For the Retarded. This is the chronicle of his five year plan and efforts to escape from the institution and live life as a free man.




The Conception Abbey Poems

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Front cover image of "The Conception Abbey Poems"I have been making retreats and visiting Conception Abbey, a Benedictine monastery and seminary in Northwest Missouri, since 1956. It continues to be one of those places on the planet that energizes my spirit and clears my vision. I must extend thanks and gratitude to the good monks of the Abbey whose hospitality has always participated in my urges to return to the place. These poems are spun from those experiences. I am grateful to Winthrop Press for permitting me to revisit and expand this group of poems with others spun from the Abbey's influence since the publication of the second edition.




Storm Warning (Camel Horn Chapbook Series No. 4 - Paperback)

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Front cover image of "Storm Warning"30 poems by Fredrick Zydek.




Dreaming On The Other Side Of Time

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Ending the Fast

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ENDING THE FAST was printed in July and August of 1984  on a Washington hand press by Neil Shaver of the Yellow Barn Press in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  The book was set in Monotype Perpetua by the Out of Sorts Letter Foundery of Mamaroneck, New York.  The Black Oak Bindery of Iowa City did the binding.  Paul Otero created pen and ink drawings for the front cover and title page and they were printed from  line engravings at the press.  One Hundred copies were printed for this edition.

 New, the book sold for $35.00 a copy.   I have seen in come up for sale at Bookfinder.com and Powellbook.com for $375 and $425.  It is considered a collector’s item by fine art book enthusiasts as well as collector’s of Zydek’s book.




Lights Along the Missouri

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From the Introduction of Lights Along the Missouri

            Fred Zydek is a religious man who almost keeps a sense of religion out of his poetry, but it keeps coming through.  His secular nature presents screens of effort coping with the natural world and practical truth.  The light of religion sifts in from time to time despite his cryptic realism, the apt actualities of his verse.

            He has a delicacy with words.  He has lived and worked to master them, has uncovered their unavailable intricacies, has found out their possibilities as related to him.  His work is strong, present, real and good.  He is a pro-testant who long since got over protesting and as a philosopher can exhibit man sided truth.  It is indicative of his humanity that many of his poems are dedicated to friends.  The fact that he is generous in this way impresses the reader with the social nature of poetry.  Zydek is not a pious man in a cloister, nor is he a shouter in the street, but he is  thinking man of deep reactions to feelings, who has lived widely and fully.

            From “The Death of Plecostomus” with its humor, from his adroit villanelle “Coast Song” and “Last Words for Ralph: The Oldest Goldfish I know” to “The Death of a Jesuit” Mr. Zydek’s poems are informed by wit and re pleasurable by wit and charm.  In the days of Fem Lib it is eye-catching to read his “24th Meditation: Man to Man:, not vindictive or superior, but a poem of novel force and invention.  He pleases by distinctive phrasing and by control of the language, by dramatic timing and endings, and by the richness of what he has to say, which gives a sense of purity and mature style to his directness and to his subtleties.

- Richard Eberhart

LIGHTS ALONG THE MISSOURI was published in 1979 by the University of Nebraska Press as part of it’s ANNEX 21 Poetry Series.  It has been out of print for some time.   I recommend going to Bookfinder.com or Powellbook.com where out of print and rare books can sometimes be found.




Stumbling Through The Stars

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This Is Not A Prayer

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