Allegro for Life
By Earl Vincent de Berg
I met the author and his wife, Suzanne, several years ago over lunch in Phoenix, discussing fundraising strategies for an NGO they set up in Guatemala, “Seeds for a Future,” which provides training to impoverished rural women in and around Chocolá on the South coast, to improve family access to food and nutrition. I soon learned that we not only shared a love and appreciation of Guatemala and the Desert Southwest but that Earl was also a writer and, in his case, a poet as well.
I was surprised to learn that he started writing as far back as 1959 and is publishing this spring an autographical novel laced with poetry and photos about his adventures as a young man in the Sonoran deserts of Baja California, Mexico, and Arizona, A Finger of Land On An Old Man’s Hand. As a high school senior, he came across one of the best Chinese poets, Li Po, noted for his elegant romantic verse, which was what the author felt drawn to express to some of the various women in his life at the time. He was soon writing about nature, the environment, cities, and social issues, and his imagination was fueled by his travels through Central America, the Sonoran Desert, and the Andes. “Everything I experience has potential for a poem—even the increasingly dreadful business of politics.”
In this book, his poems are divided into “Songs from my Life,” “Poems from Guatemala,” and “Desert Songs."