Bright Soil, Dark Sun / Samuel Franklin

Bright Soil, Dark Sun : Finishing Line Press, 2019

 

Front_Cover_2How does before become after? What happens to our dreams? Our disappointments? These stunning poems in Bright Soil, Dark Sun interrogate time and present moments of excavation, of tracing—and sometimes slipping into—the echoes and scars into which we wake each day, “the world and what haunts / beneath it blending in / bitter harmony.” How much of the past—our own or that of others—can we truly understand? And what is the cost of that understanding? Samuel Franklin explores these corporeal labyrinths and lets each poem reveal its own distinct thread. To quote one of his speakers, I am glad “I was there to see its glint.” Matthew Woodman, editor of Rabid Oak

Franklin writes with the delicate grace of a contemporary Orpheus. In a world not so much post-modern but post-mythology, staring down the failure of Gods, this collection follows those ordinary people caught halfway between cynicism and hope wondering what happens now. Dexterous and touching, every moment of these poems is a delight or a heartbreak or both. Amy Kinsman, author of & and editor of Riggwelter

SFranklinSamuel Franklin  is the author of two books of poetry: Bright Soil, Dark Sun (2019) and The God of Happiness (2016). He resides in Bloomington, Indiana, where he enjoys making useful things out of wood scraps and losing staring contests to his cats. He can be found at samueltfranklin.com.

Bright Soil, Dark Sun can be purchased through most booksellers, including the following:
Finishing Line Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Includes three poems first published in Third Wednesday, Vol. X, No. 1 (Winter 2017): Driving on an August Evening, On a Ferry for Beaver Island, MI, and As Things Are.

 

Driving on an August Evening

Hacksaw jabber of cicadas
like trees singing on Highway 46,
hurtling through Brown County,
our faces full of wind, eyes reflecting
clouds like mists of fire
or smoking barges steaming westward,
twilight pines melting against a Rothko sky—
blood-gold, bonfires, red mouth around ripened corn.

The Bold News of Bird Calls / Edward Morin

Headshot.cropped_by_Toddmorin_frontThe meadowlark, belting his song from a post on this book’s cover, is recognized across the country as a harbinger of spring. Enlivening the ambiance of this poetry collection, familiar birds represent the character and mood of its four sections: noisy jays, melodious wrens, steadfast robins, tranquil swans. While birds populate many of the poems, hardly more than a handful have birds as their subjects. The poems’ subjects derive from wide ranging personal experiences often narrated as dramatic situations, usually with something emotionally important at stake. Settings are urban and rural, delineated in finely tuned sensuous detail. Some poems are sonorously lyrical, others ironic or assertive.



Publication of Edward Morin’s The Bold News of Birdcalls is good news not just for birders and other celebrants of the natural world, but for all poetry lovers. I love Ed Morin’s sense of place; he is a real Michigan bard, and his evocation of many familiar Michigan places amounts to a North American version of what the Irish call Dinnṡeanċas, “place lore,” the recitation of which is one of poetry’s most ancient and revered obligations. All this is accomplished with human warmth and a rare sense of empathy.”
Richard Tillinghast, author of twelve books of poetry and five of creative nonfiction, most recently Journeys into the Mind of the World: A Book of Places.

Birds flutter, feed, and swoop through these poems: motifs that knit together subjects as closely-observed as a decaying Hallowe’en pumpkin, armed robbery at a paint store where the speaker holds short-lived employment—a narrative that had my heart in my throat!—and elegies for early-passing friends, colleagues and poet-pals from the speaker’s younger years as a university instructor. Academic politics of the corporate university also grip our attention, as does some professorial ogling! The unforgiving contrasts of northern Midwest weather serve both to warm and cool the tonalities of poems filled with self-questioning, forgiveness of others, and compelling human stories.”
Carolyne Wright, author of This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems, and lead editor of Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace

Paperback: 102 pages
Price: $18.50
Publisher: Kelsay Books (January 7, 2021)
ISBN: 978-1-952326-70-7

Available from Kelsay Books and at Amazon.com.

Random Saints / Joe Cottonwood

Random_Saints_72Random Saints by Joe Cottonwood
Publisher: Kelsay Books, May 2020

available at Kelsay Books and from Amazon.com.  

In “Officially Licensed Poet,” the speaker says to the poet ‘I don’t really like poetry but I like your stuff.’ I really do like poetry and I like Joe Cottonwood’s stuff too. If I were asked to choose a book to encapsulate late twentieth century early twenty-first century life as told by a humane and gifted observer, Random Saints would be my pick. Cottonwood is a master story-teller. Put a log on the fire, pull up a comfy chair, open the book. Prepare to laugh, prepare to cry, prepare to feel better about the human race.
Donna Hilbert, author of Gravity: New & Selected Poems

I have to say HOLY WOW. This whole thing knocked me over. Joe Cottonwood is a poet of uncommon perception. His work is direct, embodied, and authentic. Each poem is packed with the real wealth that comes of close observation and hard-won wisdom, carved down to the essence. Let Random Saints show you how the “grinding of the earth creates a diamond.” Then grab a few extra copies. You’re going to want to share this book. 
— Laura Grace Weldon, Ohio Poet of the Year 2019, author of Blackbird

Joe Cottonwood’s humanity illuminates his beautiful poetry, unfailingly drawing us into kinship with our fellow beings—two-legged and otherwise—in ways that surprise and delight. His writing proves the power of simple words and everyday experiences. I was honored to publish so many of these pieces in The MOON magazine.
— Leslee Goodman, publisher of The MOON magazine

JoeJoe Cottonwood is a carpenter by day, poet by night. He lives under redwood trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.