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Poems combined for local author's first book

Michael Hurd has gone from library custodian to library material provider with the publication of his first book of poetry, "Almost Heaven."

A former teacher and facility manager for the City of New Richmond for 23 years, Hurd has been writing for fun since he retired in 2003.

"I always wanted to write short stories," he said. "But after I wrote my first poem, someone told me it ought to be published."

He sent it off for consideration, and sure enough it was published. He had 17 poems published before he received his first rejection.

Since beginning his poetry career at the age of 40, Hurd has had 50 poems published in magazines, anthologies, wedding announcements and more.

As the encouragement surrounding his work grew, Hurd sent off book proposals to publishers.

"I was contacted by six publishers who were interested," he said.

Hurd decided to sign with Xlibris, a subsidiary of Random House, because of their extensive marketing support.

"It all kind of came together by accident," Hurd said. "But some of the best things happen by accident, I guess."

In "Almost Heaven," Hurd said he gives the reader a peek at the beauty of God's creation.

"We spend a lot of our lifetimes searching for Eden, our place to spend our years in splendor and bliss," he writes. "We work hard to make money to create this place with the big houses, boats, cars and whatever else it takes to make us happy."

Hurd said he sees the loveliness and mystery of the simple things many have overlooked and failed to appreciate.

"Just like the mystery of a leaf, the serenity of a winter's night and the hope and joy brought by the birth of morning," he said.

Hurd said he strives to use poetry to warm readers' hearts, inspire their souls and strengthen their faith.

The book is available through major retailers such as Borders Books, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Hurd is the father of three and grandfather of five. He has a bachelor's of science degree in education and a master's in reading with learning disabilities from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

In the late 70s, he co-authored the special education handbook for CESA 11, in western Wisconsin.

From 1973, he taught regular, special and adult education in the classroom, homebound and tutorial formats.

Hurd said he's already working on future poetry book projects, as well as individual poems.

"I write every time I see something that stirs me," he said.

For more information, visit www.michaele