Princeton-educated author Donald R. Fletcher announces his latest release, Turnings, published by Outskirts Press. This unique autobiography—part memoir and part anthology—describes in vivid scenes the road Fletcher has taken through a long life and the epiphanies that have come to him along the turnings of that road. And at the age of 90, this author has a wealth of experience from which to draw.Turnings chronicles the surprises, disappointments, and the ordinary stuff of life made extraordinary by the beautiful and emotional poems studded throughout the book, including poems dedicated to his lifelong love and partner, Martha. These lyrics bring to life the struggles and achievements of a sensitive spirit, and they resonate with the common humanity of us all.
The story begins in early 20th-century Korea and features vignettes seen through the eyes of the author as a youngster, a sensitive and observant child of missionary parents in a far-off time and place. There is a radical turn of events when Fletcher comes to the United States and is introduced to the intoxicating environment of Princeton University. There he majors in English and begins to experiment with writing poetry. In postgraduate study he turns to theology, then back to English. He meets his future wife, Martha, and together the idealistic young couple volunteer for mission service. They find themselves posted in a desert seaport of northern Chile, where they start a family. From there, turnings in the road lead to Mexico City and flights around the Caribbean, then to teaching at the University of Texas, and at a predominantly black college in Alabama during the civil rights struggle. Another turning and the family, all eight of them now, are back in the East, with Fletcher traveling and working out of Philadelphia, then in New Jersey. All along the way, his faith—and the poetic expression of it—has been evolving as he serves the church, full- and part-time, in many capacities.Retiring at the age of 67, Fletcher devotes his time and energy to writing, but after a few years there is another turning, and he finds himself pastor of a community church of an “active adult” community, leading a congregation made up solely of seniors. After six years, Fletcher retires yet again, this time to overcome a bout of cancer. Today, at 90, he’s hale and hearty, although he admits “the poems come less often.”Turnings is Donald Fletcher’s third book, with a fourth nearly complete, and in subject and style all four are widely different. One thing they have in common, however, is the lyrical expression and perspective of a long and thoughtful life.
About the Author: Donald R. Fletcher grew up in pre-World War II Korea. He earned degrees in English and theology at Princeton, and has lived and worked in Chile, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the southwest, south, and east of the United States. He taught at high school, college, and university levels and served extensively in Presbyterian and ecumenical churches. A creative thinker and writer, Fletcher is the author of I, Lukas, Wrote the Book; Doors of Bronze; and View From the Playroom Floor, as well as numerous poems, plays, and prose pieces.
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