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PLACES IN THE MAKING Author draws inspiration from Geneva roots

Twenty years ago, in the sunken gardens at Houghton House on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Jim Cocola read a piece of poetry that inspired the project that would launch his career as a scholar and a writer.

A graduate of Geneva High School, Cocola recalls the time he spent at what was then known as Geneva Free Library. From those shelves Cocola selected, among countless other tomes, John Ashbery’s “Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror.”

Included in this book was a poem titled “As You Came From That Holy Land.” The experience of reading a poem set in western New York near a graveyard — while he too sat in western New York aside a graveyard — inspired the work of his recently published book, “Places in the Making.”

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