My name is John Etheridge, and I am a Bahá’í and a poet. The theme of all my poetry is seeking the personal and the spiritual, in all its aspects: yearning, trying, failing, and, sometimes—rarely—succeeding.
There is, in the Middle East, the word attar, as in “attar or rose oil”, i.e. the pure essence of something. What I have come to strive for in my poetry is this attar of emotions and ideas welded together in verse that flows easily to the lips and to the heart. I discuss this more in my too long and very boring article, On Writing Poetry.
As to the name of this blog, I suggest you read Hold back, a poem where I discuss where the Book of Pain title comes from.
Thank you to those people who have nominated me for awards. While I truly appreciate the gesture and recognize that they are offered out of kindness and appreciation, awards are, I feel, a sort of ponzi scheme where the normal process is 1 to nominate 10, the 10 to nominate 10 more each, and so on and so on. There is no real, substantive assessment or merit. So, as much as I appreciate it, I am going to decline all such offers. But again, thank you for your kind gestures.
Thank you very much for investigating the Book of Pain. I look forward to your comments.