Joseph and his lovely wife Joyce.
1. Tell me about your book.
This collection of one hundred poems shares messages of praise for Christians while encouraging others to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ. The common thread that links these poems is that people can overcome past troubles to achieve a life of abundance as laid out by the Scriptures. This is a poetic expression of one man's Christian faith in God.
As reviewed by New York Times best selling author Ellen Tanner Marsh
Any Christian surveying the current state of modern poetry could easily become discouraged, given that much of that poetry can only be categorized as nihilistic. At worst, such poems seemingly promote despair and violence—against society, the church, or even against oneself. At best, they consist of self-centered whining and over-dramatic emotionalism, completely devoid of spiritual muscle and ethical backbone.
New author Joseph J. Breunig 3rd, in his fine debut collection Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory, takes a fresh stride in the opposite direction, in a poetic compilation that should delight anyone who enjoys reading Christian literature as well as poetry. The book comprises over 100 poems of various lengths, although they generally do not exceed one page. In a slight concession to modern poetic style, some of the stanzas are unrhymed, yet all of them speak to Christian themes, such as faith and its testing, seeking a higher road, the state of grace, error and sin, biblical people and events, and personal redemption through God's word.
A common thread that runs throughout the majority of the poems is that individuals— regardless of any mistakes they may have made in the past—can still turn to Christ as their Savior and begin the slow, sometimes painful, but always positive process of redeeming themselves, in developing a new life filled with abundance and spiritual serenity. By reaching for this new and uplifting collection of Christian poems, readers can indeed begin reaching towards God's glory.
2. How did you come up with that idea?
For about three years, I had been writing thousands of Haikus and Senryus, but never felt fulfilled by the accomplishment of completing five manuscripts- each one contains 505 unique verses.
Once I felt spiritually inspired, I began to write longer, traditional poems that explored the depths of my Christian faith. (Although I’ve been comfortable with my faith for many years, I had never given a tangible voice to it, so that I could more easily share my understanding of it with others.)
I had been downsized from my I.T. (Information Technology) position and was unemployed for nine months; each morning of my job search, I spent 30-60 minutes writing poetry to develop my style and to frame my mindset for the day. Once re-employed, I discovered that I had completed 75 original poems; it was at that point, that I seriously considered publishing my work; however, I felt that the volume of work was insufficient. So I composed another 25+ poems, while researching available publishers; eventually I chose BookSurge during the summer 2006, which was later renamed CreateSpace. My book, Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory, was completed mid November 2006.
3. How did you get interested in writing this particular subject?
I was primarily raised under the teachings of the Baptist Church, was saved in my early teen years and regularly attended services. As my spiritual hunger progressed and grew, I migrated to the Pentecostal Church as an adult. Prior to embarking on this poetic journey, I had become “Spirit-Filled”, whereby I could speak in “Tongues”. This transformation of my heart enabled me to be more concerned about having a personal relationship with Christ from a person who had lots of knowledge about Him.
4. What kind of research did you do for this book?
No external research was needed; I looked inwardly at myself and forced myself to come to terms with my “identity in Christ” (having attended Church for three decades).
5. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Presently, my typical day entails the ongoing job search and writing/sharing/marketing poetry and my book; although I’ve never set a (formal) daily writing goal, I expect to complete a second manuscript (tenth overall) this year and have set a personal goal to write three more manuscripts next year.
6. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Besides getting meaningful/timely feedback from my readership and training others to spell my last name properly (when my poems are accepted by literary organizations), it’s earning a successful living from my writing.
In addition, too many people suffer from the mindset that “poetry has no real value”- while adoring their music collection(s), failing to recognize that a song is actually p-o-e-t-r-y accompanied by a tune. Therefore, these same individuals “pass judgment” without having taken time to actually read your work and just assume it’s bad. (IMO, the real problem is that there is an abundance of poorly written poetry readily available.)
7. What’s the best thing about being an author?
The freedom to express myself freely about my Faith; people tend to be surprised at the variety of topics that I’ve addressed in my poetry, as well as the quality of my writing.
8. What are you working on now?
Presently, I’m completing the fourth sequel to my original title; it will be the second manuscript completed in 2014. (Currently, I have enough notes to write another 10+ manuscripts of 120-125 poems, with more ideas/topics being developed each week.)
9. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Be authentic; be transparent; be passionate; be consistent; understand your target audience; write with conviction about what you know and have experienced; focus on the work and not money; without quality of work in one’s writing, no one will be willing to spend their money buying poorly written books. Lastly, have your manuscript properly edited by a professional. Spelling, grammar and punctuation is STILL important- especially in poetry.
10. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
William Wordsworth and Gershon Hepner are among my favorite poets; my favorite book is: How to Rule the World (edit聽title/settings) / A Handbook for the Aspiring Dictator (which contains lots of parallels to I.T.)
See www.shelfari.com/jjbreunig3 for more details!
11. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
What kind(s) of impact would you like to see your poetry have?
I hope and pray that:
l Unsaved/unchurched people be more receptive to ideas of faith
l Christians will become stronger in faith
l Christians will find their identity in Christ (if unknown)
l Christians will become more articulate in expressing faith
l Christians will expand my work into new songs and other Christian materials, such as greeting cards
l People will gain a greater appreciation of Eph 2:10- its implication is that people are the embodiment of God’s poetry
l Churches would partner with people like me and build a true army of God
12. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Not sure; working titles would have to include:
l Both Brain Hemispheres Function
l An Analytical Tumble into Poetry
l Sealed and Approved by Christ / My Journey of Poetic Faith
l One Maine-iac’s Journey of Faith
l Overcoming Sin’s Blackness / My Witness of Faith
l A Personal Mash-Up of Software and Poetry
Thank you for your time Joseph. If you would like a copy of his book just click here to purchase Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory.