Guest Post & Giveaway: Sarah Pekkanen Shares Poetry from John Pekkanen

Sarah Pekkanen is a best-selling author, whose work is very popular in the book blogging community and she’ll be attending the Gaithersburg Book Festival (I hope I get to see her there).

Her latest novel, These Girls, is about three women — Cate, Renee, and Abby — who come to New York City for very different reasons and end up as roommates struggling with their careers and life.  Check out some early reviews from S. Krishna’s Books, Devourer of Books, Life in the Thumb, and Raging Bibliomania.

Today, as part of her online tour and for the 2012 National Poetry Month Blog Tour, Sarah Pekkanen will share one of her favorite poets, her father John Pekkanen.

Without further ado, please give Sarah and her dad a warm welcome.

The poet who wrote this isn’t rich or famous. You never studied his work in a class textbook, or saw it inscribed on a greeting card. In fact, he just began writing poetry a couple of years ago. The reason this particular poem speaks to me? It’s one my Dad wrote for my mother. He gave me permission to reprint it here, so it’s the first time it’s being published.

When you ask my father how long he has been married to my Mother, he’ll say, “For forty-five wonderful years. And three so-so years. And two really horrible years!” So if you’ve done the math, you know my parents recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They dealt with a lot during their marriage: parents who didn’t support them, my father’s risky open-heart surgery, my mother’s complicated siblings. And sometimes I wonder if their golden years are sweeter now because of all they’ve been through. Sure, they fight – in fact, their fights remind me of the squabbles teenagers have. And their life isn’t perfect, by any means. But they say they’ve never been happier, and when I see them together, I know it’s true.

Early Awakenings by John Pekkanen

Red numbers blink to 3:25.
The hard bite of winter drifts
through an open bedroom window.
I sleep best in cold rooms, blankets
tucked tight under my chin.

Early morning awakenings lay open
what lies darkest in me, reopening
old wounds to replay a familiar narrative
of my fears and failures,
thoughts of my lost brother.  

In grainy half-light I watch her move,
listen to her cat-like murmurs.
I turn on my side to touch this woman
I’ve loved and desired
more than forty years, who centers me,
gave us children, makes me laugh.

I stroke the smooth arc of her back,
place my hand on her thigh’s warm skin,
her soft, sensual terrain more familiar than my own.
I fold my knees into her’s and our bodies
intertwine as if by muscle memory,
and I feel whole again.

Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your dad’s work with us.

If you’d like to win a copy of Pekkanen’s latest book, These Girls, please leave a comment here about what favorite non-famous poet you know.

Deadline for U.S. residents only is April 22, 2012.

About the Author:

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally-bestselling author of the novels The Opposite of Me and Skipping a Beat and the upcoming These Girls, as well as the linked short stories available for e-readers titled “All Is Bright” and “Love, Accidentally.”

She has worked in journalism for Bethesda Magazine, Baltimore Sun, and Gannett New Service/USAToday.

Please follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and check out her Website.






Today’s National Poetry Month Blog Tour Stop is at Book Chatter; check it out!


  1. Non-famous? Does Emily Dickenson count since she was largely undiscovered until after her death…it astonishes me how much talent she had despite her limited education and recognition.

    Many thanks for the giveaway!
    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

  2. Cyndee Thomas says

    A non famous poet is a woman, Martha George, who I know from my Church. She writes poems for our celebrations, upon births and deaths of our Members.Sarah’s poem she shared from her Father is so moving.

  3. I love one of my daughters friends poems. Om gosh ,she is only 15 but is amazing

    [email protected]

  4. What a beautiful poem! It brought tears to my eyes.

    On another note, Sarah’s book These Girls is amazing!

  5. Sadly, I don’t know of any poets.
    But I do love Sarah’s books

  6. I had no idea where Sarah got her writing skills. Such an interesting post!

  7. i remember doing a paper on e.e.cummings when i was in college….thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel 😉

  8. Wow, powerful ending! There’s something incredibly enchanting/haunting that happens whenever a writer can tap into something so universal and make it all crystallize in their final line.

  9. What a lovely poem! Thanks for sharing!

    I have a couple favorite non-famous poets: my daughter, and you of course LOL.

    Added the giveaway to my sidebar.

  10. amandasue says

    I don’t know any poets :-0

  11. I love my 22 year-old daughter’s poetry!

  12. Can I just say that I LOVED this and it made me weepy…I could feel his love for her!

  13. What a beautiful poem about lasting love. So nice to see Sarah’s parents are still so much in love.

  14. What a lovely little poem. My mother loved to write poetry, and my daughter put together a little booklet of her poems entitled Bits of Verse for the members of our family. It’s such a joy to glance through it.
    Thanks for the giveaway. And thanks to the author’s father for permission to share his poem.

  15. Wow, that’s a wonderful poem. It just goes to show there’s nothing better than old, familiar love.