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Professor Erica Bernheim releases a new poetry collection

Florida Southern College English professor Erica Bernheim read poems from her newest collection to students, faculty and friends in the Christoverson Humanities building last Thursday evening.

Bernheim had been working on her newest poems during a small hiatus from teaching. She dedicates many of her new work to Polk County and her experiences here in Florida.

She started by quoting Ron Burgundy, the main character in the movie, “Anchorman” and follows with a pre-warning to the crowd.

“My mother and uncle were recently just talking about my poetry,” said Bernheim. “My uncle said, ‘Erica is so sweet, but why is all her poetry so sad?'”

Bernheim is known for her quirky personality and her strange poems by some FSC faculty and students. Her topics are typically unique while her writing simply flows off the page.

“I liked her poetry actually,” FSC student Shea Ireland said. “I’m not big on poetry, but hers left me wanting to hear more.”

Her newest poetry book, “Climbing Hybrid Perpetual”,  is a collection of those Florida poems she has recently written. Bernheim said her new book is not to mock Florida or its residents. Instead, she draws inspiration from the state and its people.

“In general, I’m inspired by a lot of things,” Bernheim said. “I love billboards and their line breaks, and I love eavesdropping and hearing details from decontextualized conversations.”

Not only does Bernheim gather inspiration from her surroundings, but she is also inspired by other writers such as Robert Creeley, Noelle Kocot, Elizabeth Bishop and William Stafford.

“The natural world inspires me tremendously,” Bernheim said. “That’s particularly wonderful in Florida.”

Bernheim said the most difficult aspects of publishing her work is having to wait for months,  just to hear that her work has been rejected. Another difficult process would be the administrative process. Bernheim said that although it could be very overwhelming, but at the same time very fun.

“My files go back to 2003,” said Bernheim. “It’s important though, to do, and it keeps the whole business in perspective.

One of  Bernheim’s favorite poems that she has written is “Virgil Moon.” It is the closest thing she has to a short story, which makes her glad. Bernheim doesn’t believe in “writer’s block” but she too has a poem that she has tried to finish writing.

“I’ve been stuck on it for longer than I care to admit,” Bernheim said. “But I have a fondness for its ongoing failures.”

Bernheim hopes that her new book screams “read me!” to anyone who picks it up. Her first book “The Mimic Sea” is available through her publisher and on Amazon. “Climbing Hybrid Perpetual” is still in the process of being published and released for everyone to read and enjoy.

If you like this article, you’ll also like:

How Erica Bernheim Became a Writer

Assembling and Submitting a Poetry Collection

Erica Bernheim: “Rear-ended”

Top tips for creative writing

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