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Many of the readers who have purchased Craig’s previous book have been asking him

when he will write another book. This is the response to their requests as well as an

 opportunity to share a different aspect of his work with such culturally relevant piece



Books by Craig Garner

A Poetic Twist of Fate  / A Poetic Quest for Faith  / A Poetic Purpose to My Life / Trouble?

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A Poetic Purpose to My Life

By Craig A. Garner

A Poetic Purpose to My Life is Craig’s fifth book of poetry [(2007] and it is dedicated to the memory of those pioneers that paved the way for us to be where we are today. All of the great activists who put their lives on the line for a better future taught him that we have a responsibility to give back to those coming up after us.

A number of poems are dedicated to those who were committed to having “A Life Worth Living such as Dr. Martin L. King whose life was much “More than a Dream” and Adam Clayton Powell’s “Use What You have in Your Hand.” There is also a dedication to those mothers who have to raise their children’s children and/or raise their children in dangerous urban neighborhoods such as “Grandma’s Gotta Have a Life to” and “Motherhood in the Hood.”

The poems within A Poetic Purpose to My Life are still written with the same style and flare of the previous books yet it provides a more personal touch than Quest and Twist. It provides a poetic insight as to why he writes the way he does and will continue to do so. Thus you will experience pieces like “The Poet; “Power of the Poet”; and “Be True to Yourself,” which are poetic expressions of his purpose for writing poetry.

A dedication to the students of Virginia Tech who were senselessly murdered is captured from the students’ view and from their love ones’ view in “In the Mist of a Killer” and “We Will never Forget.”

Many of the readers who have purchased Craig’s previous book have been asking him when he will write another book. This is the response to their requests as well as an opportunity to share a different aspect of his work with such culturally relevant pieces as “Pull Your Pants Up,” “Unfulfilled Dreams”; and “Still Trying to be Cool.” Lastly, he has inter-dispersed some quotes from other poets and scholars that he ahs admired for many years.

Contact Information / / 147 Park Place /  Irvington NJ07111 / 973 493 9578

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A Poetic Quest for Faith

By Craig A. Garner

A Poetic Quest for Faith is Craig’s fourth book of poetry [2005], which is created using the same style and "to the point" message format that has entertained many of his readers in the past. However, he has expanded his horizon and began to write about many of the issues in everyday life that we all experience. This is still done using his unique ability to blend rhyme and storytelling such that it caresses the reader eye while providing thought provoking concepts. His poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and he has won awards for a number of his poems.

As mentioned in the past Craig writes from his heart and says the things that many other people feel but are not willing to say. He pushes a lot of buttons but does so in an entertaining and thought provoking manner. In this latest offering he touches on a number of "hot topics" such as "Style Over Substance" where he points out the vanity in paying to have your nails done while other more pressing problems persist. In "Tats" he explores the folly of having tattoos placed on your body, and in "What’s Up Dog?" he challenges folks to understand the negative impact of some of the words we use.

Craig has also expanded his repertoire to include a lighter side by including such pieces as "Waiting in Line" where he expresses many folks fear about having to wait in long lines. His poem entitled "The Look" clearly identifies the old school feeling of being intimidated by your mothers "look" when you’re doing something you shouldn’t, and his signature piece entitled "Who’s On the Money" is also provocative but humorous.

Lastly, Craig always provides some poems that remind us of historical anomalies or just great people that have been overlooked in the past. His poem entitled "Greatest Mind of his Time" is a tribute to Grandville T. Woods the great African American inventor and self taught engineer. But he also provides us with a written picture of a recent great activist and artistic contributors such as the recently deceased Ossie Davis in the poem "Regal Spirits Are Calling." And, he continues to interject numerous quotes throughout his poetry to share insights of some of the intellectual giants that he has admired throughout the years.

Contact Information / / 147 Park Place /  Irvington NJ07111 / 973 493 9578

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Other Craig A. Garner books include A Poetic Twist of Fate (2004)

Craig A. Garner  three books were published by Word Association Publishers (Tarentum, PA 15084)

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Garner’s latest book of Poetry is more out spoken

By Jessica Marlowe


The poetry of Craig Garner is a breath of fresh air. It is visionary and displays great compassion and insight for his community and its residents.

Garner, who is the poet laureate of the township of Irvington, has recently published his fifth collection of poems A Poetic Purpose to My Life. Garner’s body of work is very representative of his view of both the positive and negative in what he sees around him, as well as the brighter world to where he hopes it will all lead.  The messages he hopes to convey through his poems are, according to him, “not only descriptive, but prescriptive in terms of what needs to be said.”

His words express the ideals of one who has a genuine affinity and a strong concern for his world, its youth and its future.  In his most recent book, he is more outspoken about than in his earlier books.  The verses “tell it like it is” and Garner doesn’t sugarcoat what he has to say.  In some, his voice is quite stern, though it is never angry.  On the contrary his poems are sometime humorous.  One example “Pull Your Pants Up” is essentially a scolding given to a young man inconsiderate of others in that his fashionable falling down pants display too much of that which were designed to cover.

These poems also point to Garner’s concerns regarding the youth of today, as he indicates in “Be True To Yourself” and “To Be or Not To Be a Minority.”  I try to stress to them, he said of youth, “the importance of education in an increasingly technology-based world of which they should work hard to make themselves a part.”  He particularly hopes to instill in them the level of confidence necessary to pursue such goals. 

So what is his driving force?

“I think that I’m doing my part to provide a bit of direction” he said.  “People can’t go through life doing nothing and expect things to get better.  They must step up to the plate and make things happen, even if that is difficult for them.” Quoting from a Maya Angelou, he stated that, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

Referring to such poems as “Idol Worshipping” and “2007 and Still Trying to be Cool,” he explained his desire to cause people to see things from another point of view. “People are doing so many things that don’t help them grow, keep their families together, and sustain their communities,” he said. “I am asking them ‘Where is your focus?’ If you focus on “American Idol” or some reality show certainly you can’t focus on critical issues.”

Community is also the theme of  “Patronize Your People’s Business,” a poem inspired by a friend of his who at one time owned a store in his neighborhood. Garner said many of the local people who knew that store owner often asked for and expected to receive a discount.  When the storeowner did not agree to a discount many of those would be shoppers went else where and, eventually his store closed.”

Garner offered, “The problem is maintaining a community that is thriving and is self-sufficient.  Don’t go to another town or to the mall to buy the things you need when they are available here.  Money should come into a community and their circulating helping to sustain it so that it thrives; otherwise it will die.

When asked if he could accomplish any single thing with his poetry, what would it be, Garner replied “To give people hope and a reason to believe that they can make a difference and turn things around for the better.”

When asked if there is a common denominator, a binding tie, to his poems “Garner answered “It’s really all about the community and shedding light on issues that are being overlooked.”  Accolades for A Poetic Purpose to My Life and the insight of Poet Craig Garner.

Source:  Irvington Herald 01/10/2007

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Author Bio-Sketch

Craig Andrew Garner has been a resident of Irvington NJ for over twenty four years.  During this time he has been a community activist, president of the Park Place Block Association, former elected member of numerous boards and committees. He was appointed Irvington Poet Laureate in 2004 by the Honorable Wayne Smith, Mayor of the Township of Irvington.  He and his wife have received numerous awards in recognition of their community involvement, and support of political and education organizations.

Prior to coming to Irvington, Craig and his family resided in Newark NJ.  He is an honors graduate of West Side High School, Essex County College and Kean College which is now Kean University. He has worked for a Fortune 500 company over twenty four years as a Programmer, System Analyst, Data Architect, and Quality Assurance Manager.  While working in this corporate structure Craig began writing poetry as a therapeutic method of dealing with his environment and numerous issues.  But eventually he began writing poetry to express his concerns to students at numerous Career Fairs regarding the impact of the information technology revolution on their career choices.

Over the last twenty years he has self published four books which are Rhymes for Reasons I & II,  A Poetic Twist of Fate (2004), and most recently, A Poetic Quest for Faith [2005].  His experiences working in corporate America while maintaining his roots to his community provided him with a unique perspective of life that has laid the foundation for many of his poetic expressions.  However, his experiences during a tour of duty in the Air Force also molded many of his views.  He was stationed in Eglin, Air Force Base near Pensacola Florida for four years during the Viet Nam war and traveled throughout the South as one of the stars on the Eglin Base Basketball team.  The images and his experiences of the “Sixties” South has left impenetrable impressions on him that has influenced his writings.

Lastly, his re-education via attending seminars held by the First World Alliance in Harlem, NY and going back to college to take Black History courses solidified his understanding of his history.  This self knowledge led to the belief in himself and his people as a driving force in the universe that demands to not only make a difference in life but a sustaining impression in history itself.  This underlying strength plus the support of his wife and family has given Craig the inspiration to continue to write and have A Poetic Quest for Faith in mankind’s positive attributes.   Craig is married to Veleria Brown-Garner, who is a Math teacher for the Irvington Board of Education., has two daughters, two brothers, two sisters and three nieces.

Contact Information / / 147 Park Place /  Irvington NJ07111 / 973 493 9578

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Never Miss Your Water

 By C. A. Garner

                                    Got home one day

                                    and you weren’t there.


                                    Doing your thing with

                                    nary a care.


                                    The scent of your perfume

                                    was the only thing.


                                    That could remind me of

                                    our wedding ring.


                                    There were no messages

                                    saying you would be late.


                                    There were no messages

                                     that could help me predict our fate.


                                                Only silence in a house

                                                that needed some noise.


                                                Only silence in a house

                                                with yesterdays toys.


                                                Did I take you for granted

                                                by not caring more?


                                                Did I hang out too late before

                                                I walked through the door?


                                                Or did I just lose interest

                                                in your concerns?


                                                While I focused on how much

                                                money I could earn.


                                                Well whatever I did

                                                I sure miss you.


                                                And will do anything that

                                                you want me to.


                                                If you’ll just come back

                                                home to stay.


                                                And let us start over

                                                with a new day.


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 By C. A. Garner

                                                Everyday they go to work

                                                with their hopes up high.


                                                Trying to keep their heads

                                                to the sky.


                                                Knowing they’ll be challenged

                                                by one of their own.


                                                Knowing that they’ll have to

                                                go to battle all alone.


                                                Without all the support that

                                                should be expected.


                                                Attempting to ensure that they’ll

                                                remain respected.


                                                Going above and beyond

                                                Just to reach everyone.


                                                Spending their own dollars

                                                just to stay on the run.


                                                Dedicated to a fault

                                                since everyone knows.


                                                They’re the last to be told

                                                how it really goes.


                                                Going in sick just to



                                                The children get everything

                                                they came there for.


                                                Sacrificing their health

                                                and their families needs.


                                                Just so their students

                                                will somehow succeed.


                                                Their job is never

                                                fully appreciated.


                                                Until their students are grown

and have graduated.


posted 20 November 2007

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By Craig A Garner

This book, Craig's seventh, is a semi-autobiographical depiction of what he has gone through during his entire life as a child from the projects to an IT manager at a Fortune Five Hundred company. And, his transition from a sports star in the Air Force to the Poet Laureate of the township of Irvington, and Chairman of the Planning Board. It is a very interesting and compelling story of redemption, enlightenment, and excitement during an era when many young African American men were struggling to define their role in our society. As usual, no punches are pulled since Craig tells it like it is or in this case was. His story is an American story that should reverberate throughout many folks' minds allowing them to easily relate to it. From his troubles down south to his troubles up south, Craig weaves a magical trail of his very emotional and turbulent life. He then sums it up with the much awaited uplifting ending that everyone would wish for themselves. Craig's life story is a must read because it shows how with perseverance, persistence, and love one can overcome much adversity in their life. It is ultimately a testimony to the fact that there is a price to pay for speaking the truth. But with the belief in God and support of your family all things are possible, in spite of what anyone may say or anyone may do. Craig has interspersed some of his latest poems between the chapters, staying true to his authorship's roots in poetry. Also included are quotes from some he has admired over the years  . Trouble? By Craig A. Garner

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Faces At The Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism

By Derrick Bell

In nine grim metaphorical sketches, Bell, the black former Harvard law professor who made headlines recently for his one-man protest against the school's hiring policies, hammers home his controversial theme that white racism is a permanent, indestructible component of our society. Bell's fantasies are often dire and apocalyptic: a new Atlantis rises from the ocean depths, sparking a mass emigration of blacks; white resistance to affirmative action softens following an explosion that kills Harvard's president and all of the school's black professors; intergalactic space invaders promise the U.S. President that they will clean up the environment and deliver tons of gold, but in exchange, the bartering aliens take all African Americans back to their planet. Other pieces deal with black-white romance, a taxi ride through Harlem and job discrimination. Civil rights lawyer Geneva Crenshaw, the heroine of Bell's And We Are Not Saved (1987), is back in some of these ominous allegories, which speak from the depths of anger and despair. Bell now teaches at New York University Law School.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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