About this book
“Bits and pieces / scraps / what’s left on the barber shop floor / after a haircut / before the barber sweeps up”
In this unsentimental poetic memoir, award-winning screenwriter Edward Pomerantz captures significant moments of his life exactly between “before” and “after.” With the precise eye of a filmmaker, the soul of a playwright, he knows exactly how many frames to cut in order to evoke poignant images that are sharp and tender.
The movies and stage shows, the childhood pleasures and pains of family life, and of course, inevitably, death, Bits and Pieces is Edward Pomerantz’s memoir of his early years. Funny, beautifully insightful and often sad, these reminiscences evoke a New York City and Rockaway that are long gone and yet come alive again in the author’s various memories of a Jewish life that is familiar and yet unique. In its variety, it brilliantly echoes all of our lives, be we Jew or Gentile. Read it. Live in it. It will tell you about yourself.
—Toby Olson, PEN/Faulkner Award winner, Author of Journeys On A Dime
With this touching love song, Pomerantz roams through his youth and the vibrant extended family and neighborhood that shaped him. In bits and pieces, stories and sketches, a vivid portrait emerges of New York’s Washington Heights in the 1940s and 50s. This Jewish working-class world is now long gone, but these universal stories still resonate today. The language is spare, poetic and musical, hitting the right note with every word.
—Zachary Sklar, Oscar-nominated co-screenwriter (with Oliver Stone) of the film JFK
Edward Pomerantz—he’s always Eddie to those who know him—is a natural dramatist who looks back on his life growing up in Washington Heights in a series of vivid vignettes inspired by his early moviegoing: when not yet in his teens he took the A Train to Radio City Music Hall to see the stage show and movie for only 55 cents (before 1 o’clock): This is where you want to live for the rest of your life. Scenes of a vast extended family in a vibrant Jewish community play themselves out on his mind’s screen and lodge themselves in the pages of this book in memorable imagery: his father invents a country where… words make music and sing like trumpets. Here we see where Eddie gets his own word magic in his award-winning plays, screenplays, and novels.
—Robert Vas Dias, Author of Poetics Of Still Life: A Collage
Edward Pomerantz weaves what he modestly calls “bits and pieces” into a stunning tapestry of family life in the 40s and 50s. Like all great poetry, Pomerantz’s work expands after reading. I can see and hear the Biology teacher singing “Tit Willow,” Uncle Jimmy drinking Scotch for breakfast, summers in Rockaway. I feel the death of a cousin and am soothed by “the lullaby my mother sang” that “explains everything.” Each poem is exquisitely structured, often with a stunning ending, into a masterful whole.
—Alan Ziegler, Editor of SHORT: An International Anthology, Professor of Writing, Columbia University