Neil Lehrman has made several trips to Africa, the first more than ten years ago. This chapbook is a meditative record of that trip beginning at San Francisco International Airport and the journey to Zimbabwe, Zambia and back home. Neil Lehrman was the co-founder of Dryad Press, which first began life as a poetry magazine in 1967. He was the author of the novel Perdut and lived in San Francisco. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage in March 2015.
By Way of a PrefaceTo keep a journal is to speak to yourself. While its entries may be a means for remembering — where were you, what were you doing — they are something more the small traces of what of what you were thinking and feeling at a particular time. In this sense, journal entries are like lyric snapshots of the self in reflection. Most journals are private — they are not meant for others’ eyes. Nor was this journal of my first trip to Africa for a safari in 1994. I had no intention of publishing what was for myself alone — the day-by-day entries were what the poet Delmore Schwartz called the “priceless particulars” of a traveler, my modest attempts to see things as clearly as I could. But as I reread this journal years afterwards, I changed my mind. I felt that it reflected something about me that I didn’t want to keep to myself. Perhaps in self-justification, I thought of the reply a poet gave when asked who he wrote for. For my family, he said, for my mother and father, for my grandparents, for my friends, all of them, living and dead, and then in the reverse order so that I might have a good journey on my way back home.
Neil Lehrman is the co-founded of Dryad Press, which first began life as a poetry magazine in 1967. He author of the novel Perdut and lives in San Francisco where he heads a CPA firm, Johnson, Levie and Lehrman.