Amy Wang writes for The Oregonian: World Poetry Day is Saturday, March 21, and if there’s anything the world could use more of right now, it’s poetry. Here’s a look at five recently published poetry collections with Oregon roots, as well as a classic collection by an Oregon poet receiving special recognition this spring.
One of our books, Scarlet Blue Wounds, is featured in Amy’s piece.
Consider the moments in this collection – a mother is buried, a son is born, Alaska melts – each event a signpost. Reflect on the signs of rest and restlessness, simplicity and complexity, life given and taken and throbbing. This is the way of faith. We watch for truth’s brilliant appearance, and in the midst of our heartbreak-while-waiting, we pray. Jeffrey Johnson’s poems listen to the angels, they sing the doxologies, they pay loving attention to life. They are prayers. They will help you feel the power of life. They will teach you to pray.
The ancient Chinese poets loved ambiguity, loved paradox, and would have loved the puzzling, reality-defying entanglements that frustrate and fascinate us today. They would have laughed at them, too, while exchanging good wine and poems with each other as they watched the moon rise and be reflected in the hundred rivers flowing through the thousand mountains surrounding them and all the ten thousand things.
Emmett Wheatfall shows us how the roots of love grow deep in the soil of sacrifice. He illustrates the intensely complex relationship between idealism and realism. His poems hurt in just the right way. And it’s no small feat opening one’s own racial and cultural wounds for the world to see. It takes courage. It takes trust that a country will recognize itself, and its complicity, in those wounds. And Wheatfall trusts us to witness along with him. He proves himself ready and willing, even eager, to, as the titular poem in this collection demands, “build a new world” together.
A poem she wrote has been translated into multiple languages, set to music, and featured in a best-selling book on spirituality and the twelve steps. But until recently, the author of “Breathing Underwater” has been virtually unknown, and the collection containing that famous poem has never been published. Richard Rohr calls it “stunning”; other writers and poets describe Carol Bialock’s debut collection as “brilliant and luminous”; “lighthearted and holy”; “dynamic, immediate, ecstatic”; “a book of love and God … bursting into bloom.”
This astonishing new collection from poet Bethany Lee weaves the thread of her keen attention around life’s joys and sorrows, draws them tightly together and offers them into our hands. With unflinching courage she extracts beauty from her journeys as seafarer and grief-tender, makes her way into the present moment, and invites us to come along.
The Breath Between offers good company for hard days, water for the thirsty spirit, and a summons to inhabit your own life more fully. You will not regret the time you spend in the chapel of these words.
I have been slow to respond to emails and hard to get in touch with by phone. And I’ve been thankful for your patience. Since the start of the year, Barclay Press and its associated imprints have completed eight titles (more than in 2016 and 2017 combined). We’ve introduced ourselves to eighty-four independent booksellers. And we’ve raised roughly $9,000 to help cover production costs for new books. Our continuing efforts might not pay off for awhile, but I’m excited about the quality of the work you’ve brought our way, and I’m hopeful for our future together. […]
Denham’s internal exploration, aided by poetry and letters and images, offers us a portrait of one man’s attempt to practice revolutionary love in response to murder. Wrestling with grief over the killing of a boy he loved as a son, Denham confronts his own impulses to condemn the ones who murdered him. With the courage to perform “open-heart surgery” on himself, Denham returns again and again to restorative justice as the only way forward. A solemn read, a quiet contemplation, a hopeful longing, What Is Justice? is a respite for anyone committed to labors of love and justice.
to the water signs who made me
to the loves & lovers who’ve held me
to every version of my self I am trying to love
this is how I feel the world
Each year, the Eric Hoffer Award presents the da Vinci Eye to books with superior cover artwork. Cover art is judged on both content and style. The da Vinci Eye is given in honor of the historic artist, scientist, and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. This is an additional distinction beneath the Eric Hoffer Award umbrella. […]