“When I First Held You,” at the Park Slope Food Co-Op Reading Series
“It was a strange position to be in,” Brian Gresko admitted. “Editing the work of authors that were older than me. People I had looked up to–whose work I’d long admired.”
He was talking about his new anthology, When I First Held You, a collection of acclaimed writers’ stories on the triumphs, challenges, and transformative experiences of fatherhood. Far from a simple, warm-hearted crowd-pleaser, much of the stories (some of which Gresko read to the audience) were candid, chilling, and raw.
“I told the authors, ‘be honest, don’t be afraid to express emotion,’” Gresko said. He found himself occasionally needing to pull unseemly details into the fore, to help the stories come to life.
Some of the authors wrote about their own fathers, Gresko explained, while some about being dads themselves.
“There’s this idea of fatherhood being in flux—of tensions between stern discipline and affection, between being a financial provider and spending more time at home,” Gresko said. “I wanted stories that explored the changing culture. Even divorce is a frequent subject.”
The reading was held at the Park Slope Food Co-op, where fellow author John Donohue Moderated.
When I First Held You was published by Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and features writers such as Ben Greenman, Dennis Lehane, and Rick Moody. In addition to editing, Gresko wrote an introduction and a forward was penned by Darrin Strauss.