Gnashing Teeth Publishing

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Sleep Cinematic

Sleep Cinematic Cover

A tale of a Golem in pursuit of community and a greater purpose for a man of clay who has trouble dating and simply relaxing. “Sleep Cinematic” is a quartet of books which follows the Golem, Pearl, seeking to be a part of a congregation, unsatisfied by his role of protector. Sent to protect his community he feels alienated by not having a choice., He begins to step away from his alienation when he is help up by a Quebecoise Rabbit (Jarry), who has considered a life of crime following a ghastly lawnmower accident that destroyed his family. Lost in anger, he tries to start a life of crime starting by mugging Pearl. Proved to be a failure as a thief, Pearl welcomes Jarry into his world. An opera-loving mouse (Fred) found in an alley during a rainstorm completes the story’s main trio. Fred discovered in a trap lives to meet the love of his life – an opera singer he calls Soprano Jo. When Pearl suggests the Evil Eye has thus far plagued and limited them, the trio steals a model fo the Santa Maria in search of a special fish needed to thwart such a curse. Finding guidance from various spirits, Pearl, Jarry, and Fred step away from being wanderers to finding purpose. The Evil Eye proved to be whatever held them from taking the right risks. Perhaps this might be considered a modern beast fable. It is certainly a story of lost souls during rather troubling times.

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Les Epstein invites us into a humble but daunting storybook world (Columbus, Ohio) to share the adventures, remembrances, sorrows, and triumphs of a motley ensemble of tiny friends. Exuding the pervasive magic of a Yiddish folk tale, the poem’s simple surface and gently earthy humor cast shadows of mysterious depth. It is a story about telling stories, in which Pearl the golem and his peculiarly literate animal pals regale each other with their own memories, traumas, and hopes, delightedly dropping theatrical, operatic, and literary shout-outs along the way. The stanzas’ long eccentric lines keep us on our toes: syntax takes unexpected shortcuts, words clump and cavort in surprising combos, forming supple, knobby rhythms that we hop irregularly across, as when reading Hopkins, in a metrical equivalent of the slabs of clay slapped together to make the golem’s body. Pearl is made from the earth and must return to it, but in between he finds, and shows us, a world of humor, camaraderie, and spirit.

In Les Epstein's Sleep Cinematic or Golem's Quartet: Poems of Chats and River Boat Trips, a misunderstood golem, a heart-sick mouse, and a street-wise rabbit walk into an opera house. No, this is not a joke - it's a set up for a mock epic. As one would expect, a good deal of humor with a touch of satire ensues. Buckle in for many adventures and tales retold as the characters learn the true meaning of friendship and sacrifice.

This is an amazing book!

Meet The Author

Les Epstein author photo

Les Epstein is a poet, playwright, opera librettist and educator.  His work has appeared in journals in the United States, Philippines, India and the U.K., including Slant, The Bacopa Review,  Mojave River Review, Clinch Mountain Review, and Jelly Bucket as well as the anthologies Heat the Grease (Gnashing Teeth Publishing) and Pain & Renewal (Vita Brevis Press).  His work was honored by the Writers Guild of Gainesville (FL) in 2021 and has been featured in the podcast, “Sunflower Sutras,” broadcast out of Washburn University. His chapbook, “Kip Divided,” will appear from Finishing Line Press in 2022.  As a playwright, his work has been staged by such theaters as the Belfast Maskers (Maine), Greenbrier Valley Theater (WV), Stone’s Throw Dinner Theater (Missouri) and the Roy Arias Studio (New York). He contributed libretti for two operas, Barefoot(1997 premiere) and Miss Lucy (2011 premiere). Cyberwit released a collection of his short plays and libretti (Seven) in 2018.  Epstein’s bi-lingual collaboration with Claudia de Franko, Llorona of the River is available through Silver Birchington Plays. He received undergraduate degrees in Theater Performance and English from Otterbein College, and MA in English from Miami (Ohio) University and continued with studies in Literature at New York University and in Theater Education at The Ohio State University.  He completed his teacher training at Mary Baldwin College.  In addition to work with theater, opera and ballet companies from North Carolina to New York City he spent ten seasons as Education Director and Production Coordinator for Opera/Columbus and another seven as Executive Director for the Children’s Theater of Winston-Salem before settling in as a teacher with Community High School (Roanoke) for which has staged more than thirty-five productions.



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