SUNY Potsdam Professor Dr. Rick Henry’s latest novel, “Letters,” was recently published by RA Press. His sixth published book is set in a rural area of upstate New York, a region that he has continued to use as a backdrop for his fiction writing over the span of his 20-year career at SUNY Potsdam. “Letters” is available locally for purchase at SUNY Potsdam’s College Store, St. Lawrence University Brewer Bookstore, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
In “Letters,” a novel set in 1855, Dr. James Grey gets called away to an emergency in the middle of the night, unaware at the time that he will remain on the road, and away from his wife, for the next seven weeks. The novel details his life on the road and communications between him and his wife Sadie. The letters share Grey’s concerns with his patients, gossip, politics, and adventure. Many of the letters address ordinary household concerns—the purchase of a new pair of boots, the health of a horse and Grey’s favorite spoon gone missing. Midst the ordinary, there are the extraordinary stories of babies stolen, a runaway slave, a hidden pregnancy and a fake birth.
“A big inspiration for the novel were the letters between my wife’s grandmother and grandfather as he was touring Europe in the 1930s. She remained in the States. Those letters are serious and playful, and reveal a couple who are, in spite of the distance separating them, deeply in love,” Henry said.
Henry has explored upstate New York through several other fictional novels, notably “Lucy’s Eggs: Short Stories and a Novella,” winner of the 2006 Adirondack Center for Writing Award for Best Fiction. His novel “Increase Crawford” (not yet published) is also set in upstate New York. “I have lived across the United States, but always return to the sensibilities, landscapes, and histories of upstate New York. I love the place,” Henry said.
About the Author:
In addition to “Letters” and “Lucy’s Eggs,” Henry has published a recent collection of prose poems, “Then,” two novellas, “Chant” and “Sidewalk Portrait: Fifty-fourth Floor and Falling,” and “Snow Fleas.” Henry has been a Professor of English at SUNY Potsdam since 1997 where he teaches literature, linguistics, writing, and he directs the B.F.A. in Creative writing program. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, M.F.A. in Fiction from Bowling Green State University and his B.A. from St. Lawrence University. For more information about his work, visit: www.rickhenry.net.
About SUNY Potsdam:
Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.
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