Bobby Long Releases His First Book Of Poetry

Singer-songwriter Bobby Long has released his first collection of poetry entitled Losing My Brotherhood.

Long began compiling the volume last year while touring in support of his debut album, A Winter Tale. "I was on the road for four months straight, basically in the back of a van, and I got sick of playing with my phone and playing with my laptop, and I decided to go for it fully," he says. "I would write every morning, and then go for coffee for a break, and I took a really disciplined stance to it. When I got home, sometimes I wouldn't leave my apartment all day and just write. The discipline aspect allowed me to separate the poems from my music."

The provocative collection delves into various universal themes, among them love, desire and disappointment with a healthy dose of memory and reflection. The title stems from Long's realization of what he left behind when he abruptly moved from London to New York to pursue his music career in 2010. "I left my family and my friends, and I just went and didn't really say good-bye to anyone," he recalls. "'Losing My Brotherhood' refers to a specific group of three close friends who I lived with in London for four years and shared everything with, and who I don't get a chance to see anymore. We were like brothers, but I know that time is now over. It's a tribute, really."

One of those three friends is artist and musician Ben Edge, who contributed the 15 bold pen and ink drawings that illustrate the book. "We always wanted to work on something together," says Long, "and this was the perfect opportunity. I sent him the poems, and he drew the illustrations free hand."

Born near Manchester in Wigan (of George Orwell fame), Bobby Long grew up in a small town in Wiltshire, a setting for another of Britain's revered writers, Thomas Hardy. Although he has been writing poetry and prose since the age of 12, becoming a writer was not pre-ordained. A poor student who struggled at school, he felt like an outsider until an astute teacher recognized his learning deficits and helped him to discover the joy of reading. "I never kept a journal or a diary, just lines on little slips of paper, words on a page," he explains. "I never told anyone at school that I wrote, or I would have been beaten up. At the start, it was more of an expressive thing. I was a dreamer, and I would get lost in my own imagination. Now, I try to write something every day."

A number of the poems in LOSING MY BROTHERHOOD Bobby book back cover deal with memories of childhood and growing up in rural England. "I wrote most of those poems while I was on tour in Australia at Byron Bay," Long recalls. "I was there on a beautiful day and didn't want to go swimming alone-I actually didn't like being on my own there at all. Sometimes it's hard to get away from your surroundings, but I wrote five different poems that day. I went far deeper in the poems than I do in my songs. I often write from the passenger seat as an observer. The poems are far more personal, with no guitar to hide behind."

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