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April 26 , 2010

The Voluntourist


n. 1. A guy who attempts to save the world in an attempt to save himself.
2. Someone who can only do it two weeks at a time.

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this collection of poems is residue from my encounters during the 20 years from (1964-1985). ok, 21.people, places, events seen sometimes wryly, sometimes metaphorically, sometimes playfully and sometimes darkly.

When Ken Budd was thirty-nine, his father collapsed after eighteen holes of golf. Ken and his wife raced to the hospital—but it was too late. In the weeks that followed, as grieving friends revealed how his father had changed their lives, Ken started questioning his own life—and admitting, after years of denial, that he and his wife would never have children.

And then, still struggling with grief—his grief at losing his father, his grief at not being a father—Ken received an e-mail with the subject line: "Katrina Relief Volunteer Opportunities." He signed up. He went to New Orleans. And he kept volunteering: Costa Rica, to teach English; China, to work with special-needs children; Ecuador, to study climate change; the West Bank, to assist refugees; Kenya, to care for orphans. His goal: to find purpose by helping others, one trip at a time.

Wry, funny, and heartbreakingly honest, The Voluntourist will linger in your mind long after you've turned the last page.

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