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Chicago's Experimental Poetry Community

Auto Mechanic's Daughter Book Review

Yes, I'm an auto mechanic, and never went to college. I regret not having the opportunity to attend a four-year college and experience that lifestyle, but my high school grades were poor (except for English) and anyway I was always good with my hands. So the smartest thing I ever did was take automobile shop while in high school. I took to it naturally. When I graduated 15 years ago, I knew what my career would be. The first thing I had to do was find someone to sponsor me in auto-mechanic trade school.

I found a great guy who sells Rockland County used cars. He agreed to finance my training if I would consent to help check out and maintain his fleet. The school I attended was very thorough, and I eventually became a certified technician. I then went to work as the head technician at a company. This job has paid very well over the years, which has meant that I could send our daughter, Gella, to private schools. She's 13 now, and we think she is a genius. No really, it's not just proud parents talking. She tested and her English skills are those of a grown adult. So last year we put her in a special school for the gifted, and waited to see what subjects would interest her. Well, it turned out that she was drawn immediately to poetry.

Now, this is not a subject that I am familiar with, to say the least. But I admire artistic types, writers, poets, etc. For one thing, manual labor is no picnic, especially for a woman, so I wanted to make sure Gella could use her brain to make a living. However, poetry didn't spring to mind, because as I understand it, a lot of poets starve. But I had a lot of faith in Gella, and knew she'd make a go of it. Imagine my surprise and pride when her instructor called me for permission to have Gella's poems published! Apparently her work blew away the faculty, and they contacted some sort of literary review magazine in Paris. They agreed to publish three of her long poems. I've read them, and they are way above me. Gella was accepted for early enrollment at U.C. Berkeley, which I'm told has a good department. She would be one of the youngest students ever enrolled there. Apparently, they will publish next year a book containing all of her poems. I don't know what the future will bring, but I hope my daughter uses her gift wisely and that it brings her much happiness.