A Guide for Parents of the Autonomous
by Christopher & Angelo Luna
Exchanging Wisdom features poems for and about Christopher’s son Angelo Luna, as well as a few pieces Angelo wrote for Christopher. The earliest poem was written when Angelo was three, and the most recent at age 21. Christopher endeavored to encourage his son to be an autonomous, freethinking individual. Angelo grew to become that and so much more. Taken as a whole, the poems in this collection track the development of Angelo’s personality and the strong bond between father and son.
About the Authors
Christopher Luna is a poet, editor, teacher, writing coach and collage artist. He served as the inaugural Poet Laureate of Clark County from 2013-2017. Luna has an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and is the co-founder, with Toni Lumbrazo Luna, of Printed Matter Vancouver, an editing service and small press for Northwest writers. He founded the popular LGBTQ+ friendly, all ages and uncensored Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic in Vancouver, WA, in 2004. Christopher Luna’s books include Message from the Vessel in a Dream (Flowstone Press, 2018), Brutal Glints of Moonlight, and The Flame Is Ours: The Letters of Stan Brakhage and Michael McClure 1961-1978.
Christopher believes that the parent-child power dynamic is inherently fascist, so he endeavored to raise his son to think for himself, question authority, and make his own decisions. He respected his son’s humanity enough to trust him to be responsible, to “allow” him his autonomy. Despite what some saw as tragic indulgence, Angelo grew up to be a sweet, kind, polite, philosophical, compassionate young man who will surely accomplish things his father could not. Christopher could not imagine being more proud of the person Angelo became.
Angelo Luna is a poet, son, and LEGO connoisseur. Originally from New York, with a migration to Washington as a young child, he grew up with a fiery bloodline and cold weather. Currently employed as a teller for Wells Fargo, he loves writing, working, and finance and is interested in what every human has to offer.
Early Praise for Exchanging Wisdom:
Christopher Luna is a true heir to the Beat and New York School traditions of candor and grandeur. This collaboration and celebration of life runs on impeccable timing and deep love. As Luna and his son Angelo exchange wisdom they also re-invent the meaning of open verse: these poems crack open the heart and spill the joy of parenthood into the world.
—Lisa Jarnot, author
Robert Duncan, the Ambassador from Venus
One day you’re gonna have to…remind me how to believe in the basic goodness of all beings, Christopher Luna tells his son, Angelo, in his latest book, Exchanging Wisdom. More than a collection of father-son poems, Exchanging Wisdom is a record of gratitude. Luna knows that to be a parent is to be both teacher and pupil, vulnerable and responsible. In every poem Luna’s love beams: Like Lone Wolf and Cub we traversed…and you reminded me that magic is real…. These poems contemplate our never-ending wars, sickness, apathy, and art-making through the lens of a deeply reverent father. For some, being a parent, being the adult, is synonymous with having the answers. Luna, a Buddhist poet, community-organizer, and activist, reminds us that questioning is the only way to truth. What are you afraid to find? he wonders. Are these the right questions to ask? In these mind- and heart-opening poems Luna invites us to experience pure joy and wonder again through memory and thankfulness. Once you’ve opened those doors/ you need never do so again, asserts Luna. Once father you cannot go back to your former life. Thankfully for us, Luna never did.
—Claudia F. Savage, author of Bruising Continents
In this triumphant call-and-response love letter between father and son, the epic journey of the heart is explored in wisdom, witness, wonder, actualization, and kindness. We accompany two speakers in a multi-generational reckoning of what it means to be human, to be family, to embody and take forward a love which will outlive us all. I wept at the depth of connection I traveled in this lifesaving, life-affirming journey. As father and son are eternally swapping roles as student or teacher, together they inherit themselves. Angelo (the son) reflects in a poem to Christopher (his father) on his birthday, …focus on the love. That’s the real stuff the pure stuff…The world needs more of this…This collection gives it to us real and pure. Our world is so much better for it.
—Sage Cohen, author of Fierce on the Page
Christopher Luna always writes with his heart on a swivel, keeping watch for moments of significance, either now or some distance from now. But Exchanging Wisdom is more than just a love letter to parenthood or salvation or even to his son. In the right light, this book is a star map to guide the traveler. Drink it all in. Use both hands if you have to.
—Tommy Gaffney, author
Three Beers from Oblivion and Whiskey Days