12 years plus was the timeline for the making of this critically-acclaimed novel. Nappa was deeply immersed in the life, poetry and world of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from 2002 until June 14th, 2017 when it was officially released on his 59th birthday. It garnered early praises while he worked on it as his thesis in the MFA Creative Writing program at Queens University in Charlotte and even more upon its completion and release. Here’s a summary from the jacket:
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was enormously famous in his day. Adults and children celebrated his poems, both in America and abroad. He was the first American poet admitted into the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey in England and was renowned for such works as “Hiawatha,” “Paul Revere’s Ride,” “Evangeline,” “Tales of a Way-side Inn” and others. However, his amazing life was wrought with trials and heartaches during an era when America was laboring to grow up without destroying itself in the process. What Longfellow Heard is a powerful telling, in many of the words and musings of the poet himself, of his tragic quest for love and family, his longing for art and fame, and his heartbreaking losses. Discover how his art and faith wrestled within him while he desperately tried to make peace with the tumult of his times. Experience the tragedy of his first marriage, his long road to recovery, and his passion for the woman he pursued for seven years while the nation fractured and his poetry soared. What Longfellow Heard is a novel with profound relevance to our modern-day polarization, increasingly clouded national identities, and the universal aching for peace, joy, and purpose in the midst of conflict and confusion.