Tag: Newman

Lesléa Newman Writes of Her Aging Father in Her Latest Book of Poems

Lesléa Newman Writes of Her Aging Father in Her Latest

Lesléa Newman may be best known to readers here as the author of Heather Has Two Mommies and other children’s books. She is also, however, an award-winning poet, and her latest volume of poetry for adults is a wise and loving look at her father in the last years of his life.

I Wish My Father - Lesléa Newman

I Wish My Father (Headmistress Press; Amazon/Bookshop) is a companion book to her 2015 I Carry My Mother (Amazon/Bookshop), about her mother’s battle with and death from cancer, though each can be read alone. (My review of the earlier volume is here.) I Wish My Father picks up after her mother’s death as Newman and her father face that loss as well as his own aging. It ends with his own death from a stroke. In its narrative poems, we see Newman’s own struggles as his caregiver, always loving but occasionally exasperated. Through vignettes and deft dialogue about supermarket trips, doctor’s appointments, looking through old photo albums, and more, she gives us an image of the man, stubborn and proud, as they navigate the last years of his life together. The particulars of their lives, however, also speak to the universals of change and loss and time, and everyday moments carry double meaning. One poem, “My father is slipping,” begins:

My father is slipping
his glasses up his nose
eager to see the stars
on TV

It goes on to show how other parts of him, too, are slipping away, making the title/first line re-resonate. Another poem shows him reflecting that he and his wife had always planned that he would die first. He then sits in the doctor’s office “to wait and wonder/when on earth he’ll be called,” and we understand that it is not just a medical appointment that he is wondering about.

Newman understands that aging is not a simple or linear process. Her father remains able to do complex arithmetic in his head even as he starts to see visions of people from his earlier life and ones who have never existed. Newman finally convinces him to move into a nursing home, and writes:

My father is moving out
of the house he shared with my mother
for more than 50 years and every damn
day I find a brand new way to break
his broken heart.

These are not easy or comfortable poems, especially for those of us who are caring for or have lost our own parents, but they are powerful in capturing what so many of us go through. They may offer the solace of showing us that we are not alone in our feelings of loss, frustration, grief, reminiscence, and love. Newman dedicates the volume to her father, adding the traditional Jewish wisdom about one who has died, “May his memory be for a blessing.” In sharing her memories of him, Newman is also sharing some of that blessing.


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Daniel Newman slammed for imploring diversity before mingling with nearly all white group

Daniel Newman slammed for imploring diversity before mingling with nearly

Daniel Newman. (Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)

Daniel Newman was slammed Friday evening (September 4) after tweeting that he was at a “private island” with tens of other muscular, maskless men.

The since-deleted social media post came only hours after the bisexual Walking Dead star said that if “you have depth, your ‘clique’ or ‘tribe’ will almost never look like you”, prompting scores of Twitter users to accuse the 39-year-old of, they said, “hypocrisy”.

Newman uploaded onto his social media channels that he was visiting a “private island” in which all island-goers have “tested negative multiple times”. He ended his tweet imploring his 911,000 followers to: “Wear a mask.”

The American actor has emerged in recent months as an outspoken critic of US President Donald Trump, blasting the Trump administration’s bungled handling of the unfolding pandemic after he himself struggled to be tested for the novel virus despite exhibiting a rash of symptoms.

Daniel Newman defends photo by saying: ‘My ex’s are Black, Latin and Asian’.

In the accompanying photograph, which was one of several pictures and videos he uploaded before deleting, it showed Newman nestled with more than 25 other people – none wearing masks or socially distancing, and the majority being toned white men.

The “private island”, according to video footage uploaded by those also in the group, is Tulum, a municipality in Mexico, with the group shot taken at the Papaya Playa Project, a boutique hotel complex.

Newman joked that the group is “white as f*ck”, and added: “You all know my ex’s are Black, Latin and Asian, I love ALL flavours and sizes!

“And my family is half Black. We got a diverse group but, unfortunately, the brothas invited and other girlfriends invited had to work and didn’t come this time.

“Missin’ ’em!” he said.

Just hours before, Newman sent out a tweet in which he decried friendship groups in which people look vastly identical to one another. “Don’t sweat it when your peers reject you,” he said, screenshots showed.

“Close your eyes and look for people with the same goals and interests, not the same body type (skin, colour, body type, ethnicity, gender, sexuality) #diversity.”

The string of tweets needled many LGBT+ people, who upbraided Newman for his “white as f*ck” gathering coming mere moments after rallying for people to diversify their social circles.