‘Penultimate Human Constellation’

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East Lyme father and son publish a book of poems they’ve sent to each other over the years.

by AMELIA KOZLOWSKI

A special father-son relationship can develop in many ways, whether it’s watching sports together or spending time together in the kitchen cooking dinner. East Lyme High School alum Benjamin Ostrowski and his father Steven Ostrowski show their dedication to their father-son relationship in a unique way: writing poems.

The two decided to write poems as a way of communicating while Ben was away at college at Brown University. Steven has written poetry his entire life, and started sharing this love with Ben when he was young. Steven explained that they used the poems to find different and unique ways to create imagery and write words and phrases.

“It was like a surreal conversation. We understood each other on a poetic level. There was no discussion of what came next. We just wrote,” said Steven.

The poems were a way for the Ostrowskis to talk about what was going on in their lives in an unusual and different way.

“Sometimes it’s tough for a teenage boy to straight out tell his dad he loves him, or that he’s terrified about life. The poems were useful vehicles to let him know I was scared but thankful,” explained Ben.

This summer, the Ostrowskis decided to compile the poems they’ve written over the years and publish them in a book. They named the book “Penultimate Human
Constellation,” an example of how they played with words and phrases when writing the poems.

In the book, the poems’ subject matter includes their daily life, thoughts about the future, and stories of the past, such as when they adopted Ben’s brother, senior Dev
Ostrowski. Dev recognizes the hard work and passion that was put into the poems.

“My dad and brother have always been super close. They find any way they can to express themselves and strengthen their relationship,” said Dev.

To both, the book is an important piece of their relationship and something that they will cherish forever.

“The book is especially helpful to read when I feel alone and worried about the future. There’s an exchange in it for almost any type of fear. It’s not an answer key though. That would be both impossible and lame. It’s more like just going out to have a catch with my dad,” said Ben.

This father-son bond is one that will be remembered.

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