Category archives for Books

The Road to Ballyvaughan

The Road to Ballyvaughan“There’s a clean, lively language at work here, full of fine words clearly relished, while those poems lodged in Irish landscapes, both physical and literary, shine with the virtue of authenticity: they see, feel and communicate what’s actually there, what’s been experienced with sharp eye, responsive ear, imaginative understanding. Powered by such energies, Staying Blue stays satisfyingly alive from start to finish.”

— Eamon Grennan


“Gibbons Ruark is a yea-sayer. Here is poetry to give us heart, full of serious praise for life and humankind, in language strong and beautiful. It seems a lovely irony in a time when Irish poetry is thriving that Ruark, with his roots in North Carolina, should stand so high among those contemporary poets who can write of Ireland with the most sympathy and understanding.”

— X. J. Kennedy on Rescue the Perishing


The Vishnu Bird

The Vishnu BirdThe Vishnu Bird is both a memorial and a memoir in lyric poetry. This clean-spoken, deeply-felt chapbook remembers the poet’s dear friend by tracing his vocation of anthropology, and honoring his spiritual depth, through vignettes from the speaker’s own past. Yet if this is a collection of last things, and past things, it also imagines next things.


The Vishnu Bird is above all a book of making—fabrics and lyrics, images and memories—whose textures are richly humane. Kathryn Stripling Byer’s elegiac articulations become, like all true poetry, ‘the hoop / in which we cast our stories’ in order to ‘hold [us] fast.’”


— David Baker


Astir-front-cover“Rich in detail and attentive in focus, Kevin Boyle’s poems rock back and forth between tenderness and irony. In language both fluent and metrical, they explore what it’s like to be alive and awake in today’s shifting cultural environment. Leavened with a fine wit and possessed of a restrained compassion for the male self coming to terms with the layers of his life, these are the sturdy poems of a grown man.”


— Dorianne Laux, author of The Book of Men


“Kevin Boyle’s poems come at you from a variety of angles: fatherhood, childhood, man in the street. Memories of a Philadelphia neighborhood, a boy with his paper route trying to collect, ice on the Delaware River. These are the poems of an America that’s changing and they cover a long arc of time, diverse in method, restless, inventive. They are not without their dark moments, but Boyle’s generosity and humor keep shining through the lines.”


— Joseph Millar, author of Blue Rust

Delicate Thefts

Delicate Thefts“If you have any doubt that Debra Kaufman is one of our best contemporary American poets, then read this collection.”


— Kathryn Stripling Byer, Descent, Coming to Rest, Catching Light and 3 others from LSU Press 


“Which universe does Debra Kaufman inhabit? The “dark, indifferent” one or the one in which “The white pine waves/like a kind neighbor”? Perhaps her universe changes with time and she records these changes in her graceful, thorn-sharp lyrics. What happens around her also happens within her and what she remembers she makes memorable. Perhaps she embraces what her friend once said, “If you listen closely … you can hear things.” Passionate in its angers as well as in its affections and as closely tuned as a clavier, Delicate Thefts is a trove of classy gifts.”


— Fred Chappel, author of Familiars, Shadow Box: Poems and over a dozen other collections from LSU Press.

Marks of the Witch

Marks of the Witch“Catherine Carter’s poems wrestle with contemporary human dilemmas: identity, aging, nostalgia, desire, as well as our place in the natural world. I’m drawn to her diction, spiky and sharp, grounded in the imagery of experience.”

— Joseph Millar, author of three books, including Blue Rust (Carnegie Mellon University Press), recipient of Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts fellowships.


“Stephen Spender once described poetry as ‘enchanted utterance.’ Few contemporary poets write poems that come as close to Spender’s definition as Catherine Carter. Call it enchantment or call it witchery, the poetry in Carter’s Marks of the Witch creates through its incantatory rhythms and startling imagery a voice that reveals nothing less than the mystery residing in even the most ordinary detail of our daily lives.”

— Kathryn Stripling Byer, author of six books of poetry
including Descent (LSU Press), winner of the SIBA Award
and the NC Poetry Award

Music from Small Towns

Music from Small Towns“What I love about these poems is how they manage to be so eloquent without being pretentious. I’m also drawn to the way Maginnes juxtaposes fire and its quick losses with fire’s complement, slow vanishing. Not all the poems in this collection directly address either of those ideas — Maginnes is too smart for that — but I finished these pages thinking it was change that infuses the finest of them and that Maginnes, like so many of us, has striven to accept what is, even when it’s transition, and through that acceptance find peace. I admire that, and this book.”
— Lola Haskins, The Grace to Leave, Still the Mountain, Desire Lines, New and Selected Poems

Widow Poems

Widow PoemsThese deeply moving poems about grief, its aftermath, and learning to embrace the world again rank with Betty Adcock’s finest work.

A new book of poetry by the author of six award-winning collections from LSU Press.


        Only the fox came
on the night you died, strange
angel the color of gold fire…..

Feeding the Light

Feeding the Light“Rooted in hypnagogic logic and deeply seated in the tradition of Jayne Cortez, Quincy Troupe and Ntozake Shange, Jaki Shelton Green’s verse narratives pay homage to the orphic ethos of the mythmaking South with all the viscous verve of Van Gogh with a palette of syllables, images and words blurring through our senses like the thick, sleek wax of magnolia leaves. Her images conjure cultural beauty from a world-weary—yet ecstatic—kaleidoscopic lens while sustaining a pained relevance that serves up love from every angle of human anguish: the forced marriage of a child bride; memories of grandmothers and mentors, praiseworthy and proud. In Feeding the Light, Jaki Shelton Green captivates with a global vision. Her poems are totems and tomes; they are percussive, convulsive and constructive.”

—Tony Medina, author of Broke Baroque, The President Looks Like Me & Other Poems, and An Onion of Wars.

Steal Away

Steal AwayAn intimate, tender and lyrical chapbook that looks back at a childhood, where friendship, family, and slavery intersect. These poems ponder the conflicted emotions, from joy to sorrow, that come from meditating on one’s legacy.

Shelby Stephenson’s Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize, and the 2009 Oscar Arnold Young Award from the Poetry Council of North Carolina.

What Matters

what-matters-thumbPoems by Pulitzer Prize winner Claudia Emerson, MacArthur Foundation Genius grantee Thylias Moss, National Book Award finalist Alan Shapiro, Yale Series of Younger Poets awardee Fady Joudah, and 90+ other writers.  Questions, answers, meditations,and explorations on the why and how of living.

The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths

prairie-cover-thumbWinner of the Jacar Press 2013 Full Length Book Contest

These sly, beautifully crafted poems inhabit and haunt the heart-land. Sandy Longhorn is a poet with the gifts of observation and imagination. An original voice with a knack for telling tales.

— Stuart Dischell, Backward Days, Dig Safe, Evenings & Avenues, Good Hope Road (Viking Press)

The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths is a stunning collection of poems. With her gift for startling images and precise music, Sandy Longhorn converts the normally peaceful vision of the prairie into a place that perpetually threatens to turn innocence into a cautionary tale. In these poems, young girls discover haunting consequences for “refusing to mind.” Disobedience transforms girls through underground language or the bright forgetfulness of poppies. In this landscape formed by elegy and glaciers, everything worshiped is dead or wounded, yet Longhorn’s imagination and lyricism resurrects these myths so you can “taste the light his body had foretold.”

— Traci Brimhall, Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton), selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize

The Garden of Persuasions

garden-cover-thumbWinner of the Jacar Press 2013 Chapbook Contest

The Garden of Persuasions speaks in a low voice you must quiet yourself to hear. “I have left some things out of this picture,” it says in one of the poems. Readers will find a quilt half-made, a broken bird, “pebbles that hold the last of the light” and
“a rhetoric of petals and leaves,” but no excess. Maura High knows how to leave things out: to say, and to say no more.

— Sarah Lindsay, Twigs and Knucklebones (Copper Canyon Press), Primate Behavior (National Book Award finalist)

This sheaf of poems is a dazzling tour de force. Maura High’s poems demand attention. To grasp the depth of these masterful lyrics, you must be as scrupulously alert as the author herself to the physical details of the universe; but you must also stay on high alert, in every last poem, to Maura High’s endings, which will snap you awake, as few poets can do, to all the joys and sorrows and mysteries of human experience.

— Sydney Lea, I Was Thinking of Beauty, Vermont Poet Laureate


reckoning-thumbTough words from Edison Jennings on how to survive “the coming of claws and snapping teeth,” and how to reckon our course through “the plenty of loss.” No whine in this voice, no plead for succor–these hardhitting poems come from a man who insists with lyrical clarity that we live in concert with all that makes us quicken. The poem, “Old Bitch and Bone,” demonstrates this wisdom. “Crack the shaft,” he writes, “and fang the fat, gristle and marrow.”

— Julie Suk, Lie Down With Me: New and Selected Poems, The Dark Takes Aim (Autumn House)

Edison Jennings’s stately, courteous, richly meaningful lines carry their precious burdens lightly. Those burdens include the ultimate reckoning, and his clear vision of them is, like the North Star he describes in “Spherical Trepidation,” “glinting like a battered nail / from which the weight of heaven swings, / and nothing holds the nail in place / except the void it’s stuck in.” Jennings’s lines movingly evoke both the gravest realities and the pleasure of everyday exertions and emotions. These poems are an accomplishment that I treasure and to which I will return.

— Reginald Gibbons, Creatures of a Day (LSU Press), National Book Award finalist

These poems knock me flat.

— T.R. Hummer, Ephemeron, Southern Messenger Poets Series (LSU Press)


7 haiku cover web thumbEdited by Roberta Beary and Lenard D. Moore, this collection highlights 14 haiku writers who chose their ‘best poems’, those they believed would last over time.  The writers were selected in a vote by editors and other noted haiku writers as the premiere English language haiku poets. The 80 lb. Mohawk cover features original brushwork by Ron Moss. It is a limited edition publication, suitable for book collectors.  $15  plus $3 postage

Contact us to check availability.

Sonnets of the Cross – Collector’s Edition

sonnets coverA hand-bound, limited edition chapbook, signed and numbered by NC Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti.  Original pen and ink art works by Tasmanian artist and poet Ron Moss, created exclusively for this project.

The Sonnets of the Cross are based on the fourteen Stations of the Cross that commemorate the final hours of Jesus’s life, beginning with His sentence of death and culminating with His removal from the cross.  

The spirituality embodied in these sonnets is unconventional, iconoclastic. Most of the poems are set in Pittsburgh and North Carolina, and contemporized among the working class and disenfranchised. Their Christ is a brilliant laborer with a blazing social conscience and abiding love who is wrongly convicted of a crime, then executed despite His innocence.

$25, plus $4 shipping.  Order the book by filling in the form, with your address, on the Contact page. Use the Donate button to pay by credit card.

Notes for a Praise Book

Notes for a Praise BookJeff Hardin is extremely sophisticated, mature, and knows exactly what he is doing.

— Toi Derricotte, The Undertaker’s Daughter (Pitt Poetry Series), Academy of American Poets’ Board of Chancellors

An “advocate of letting things lean as they must,” Jeff Hardin does not shy from the realities of a changing world, each poem “the gist of the gist,” that precise and graceful a rendering. Of course there is sorrow in Hardin’s awareness of the present slipping into the past, into “a field gone dark with itself.” And there is beauty, too—as Hardin shows us—in the inevitability of “a compass pointing here / and nowhere else.” Notes for a Praise Book is the welcome new work of a wise and generous poet.

— Claudia Emerson, Late Wife (LSU Press, winner Pulitzer Prize)

…and love…

...and love...Poems by Marge Piercy, Sam Hamill, Dorianne Laux, Ron Rash, Lola Haskins, Stuart Dischell, doris davenport, Fred Chappell, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Alan Michael Parker, Michael Chitwood, Betty Adcock, Joe Millar, Nancy Simpson, David Huddle, Holly Iglesias, Dannye Romine Powell and 100+ other poets.

Lovers and spouses. Sons and daughters. Parents, friends, strangers, pets. First love, last love, dying love, passionate love, sad love, wasted love, devoted love; love of body, love of spirit, love of self, love of place, love of time, love of moments, love of love.

Love that shivers, fizzles, shimmers, love that fades, dissolves, grows bitter. Love that races ahead, love that lingers. Comfortable love. Edgy love. Hungry love. Discarded love. Love that can no longer be called love. Love too great to be contained in one word.

Love as sacrifice or companionship. Love as passion, lust, or fetish. Love as angry or kind, controlling or tender. Love that lasts, in spite of itself. Love won hard. Love lost. Twists,turns, calamities, salvation. The sweet, delicious falling in…

We’ve been lucky in love. Love has come to us in abundance. Or love has been withheld, denied, stolen, broken. We’ve stumbled on love, we’ve chased after love, we’ve driven into the storm of it. We’ve courted love. We’ve been stalked. We’ve fallen. We’ve soared. We’ve despaired. We’ve shared love, been lonely in love and been, well, awake–in all the ways that make the breath come quick–all for the sake of three words. Whatever it brings, love is the only thing that makes everything else ring true.

Amaranthine Hour

Amaranthine HourWinner of the Jacar Press Chapbook Contest
by Chera Hammons

This is wonderful work. The poems in Amaranthine Hour are both vibrant and somehow modest at the same time, wonderfully reflective. The speaker has earned maturity and understanding yet realizes that even this achievement has its limits and is ephemeral. The mildly eccentric, at times, lineation works here, as do subtle repetitions throughout the well-patterned and arranged manuscript. Teeters at the brink of sadness but refuses to give in to it.

        – John Hoppenthaler (Anticipate the Coming Reservoir and Lives of Water, Carnegie Mellon University Press)

Amaranthine Hour is an elegant meditation on the mysteries of nature—personal experience—and the soul—in the redemptive inventive human act of naming the invisible, and the formerly unnamable. A rich phenomenological grappling with grief, mortality, love, and the violence of loss.

        – ‘Annah Sobelman (In the Bee Latitudes)

Smoke of Her Body

Smoke of Her BodyWinner of the Jacar Press Full Length Book Contest
by Stephanie Levin

Sensuous and precise, these poems explore the boundaries and transgressions between parents, children, lovers: the ways we confine one another, the ways we break free.

“This one just has that punch in the stomach, ‘wow, who the f#!% wrote this’ factor going for it. I like how the poems are strong, yet understated, loud and quiet at the same time.”
        – Dorianne Laux, The Book of Men (W.W. Norton)

“Unrelentingly harrowing.”
        – Marie Howe, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (W.W. Norton)

Bitter Acoustic

Bitter AcousticWinner of the Jacar Press Chapbook Contest
by Sharon McDermott

A woman’s yearning and the inevitable losses of a life take shape, find meaning in the rejuvenating power of the natural world, and the rich textures of language.

“Here is poetry that insists on music not only heard but palpable, the physicality of language and the beauty of that body. In the “ice pizzicato,” “petrified spirals of delft blue,” and keening and splintering glass of the intense opening poem, “Icicle Suite,” we are let into the “song of the odd dream.” This and the poems that follow are mystery and clarity together, and a medicine for hearing, however bitter, as well as emotion embodied, a tactile grace. From the winter snows of the first section, changeable and audible, to the “sloe gin of summer twilight” in the turn of the second section, these packed lyrics win us toward a vision. McDermott remembers the old magic: poetry as memorable language. Bitter Acoustic is a making so genuine, so original, so true it takes the breath away.”
        – Betty Adcock, Slantwise (LSU Press)

“Sharon McDermott has an acute musical ear, and the life of sound, and how it intensifies feeling, is everywhere in Bitter Acoustic. ‘Then drizzle blew the night to pins’ is an instance early in these pages. The book, for me, begins in blues, rueful, not self-pitying; wise, but caught. Then in the second part of the book, the ground begins to shift: the poetry itself seems happy to be joyful, and gains life from it. A hard-earned, beautiful book.”
        – Jean Valentine, National Book Award Winner

Southern Fictions – Collector’s Edition

Southern FictionsA book of sonnets by Kathryn Stripling Byer

A rare, limited edition handmade book of sonnets about race relationships in the South by the former NC Poet Laureate. Each one of the 100 copies of this collectible book art is made from handmade paper covers, with Confederate flags pulped in, archival interiors, individually hand-printed on a letterpress, and hand bound. A literary artistic artifact for the serious poetry lover and collector. $100 each.

To see more about the process, visit Horse and Buggy Press.

Contact us to order a copy.

The Sound of Poets Cooking

The Sound of Poets Cooking

Sold Out. 

Featuring work by five dozen poets, including NC Poet Laureates Fred Chappell and Kathryn Stripling Byer, and dozens of other nationally celebrated writers. The poems alternate with recipes written by the poets, their family members, lovers and friends. The writing is at turns sensuous, hilarious, elegant, and playful. The recipes range from Asian, through European, to Middle Eastern dishes, as well as regional favorites from across the U.S.–tiramisu, homemade curry, vegetarian meals, exotic seafood, some simple, some complex. There is something here for every palate, literary and culinary.

Proceeds from the sales of this book will be used to fund writing workshops in excluded communities.

The Next Moment

The Next Moment

A poetry collection from Debra Kaufman

“Kaufman’s poems trace a journey of passion, emotional turmoil, loss and reconfiguration, sometimes in natural settings of almost mystical beauty. She can be exact: ‘the heron hushed and studious…’ Or lyrical: ‘…leaves swoop and skirt/the chilling wind like chimney swifts,’ and perfectly descriptive: ‘Clouds gray as porridge hold down the air.’ The first section is all longing, self-questioning, and self aware desire-turned-feminist. The contrapuntal “Minestrone, Rainy Day” is a dance of ordinary soup-making with an interior monologue of rich grief and empathy.

A father’s death is the shadow and silk, smoke and tears and the heart of the central section, rendered in short lyrics. It is out of such loss that the poems of the final section emerge into, and as, “This Moment.” Now summer’s song is shimmer, and autumn’s song is a boy playing in the leaves tossing ‘armfuls of color/upward, like sparks.’ The poet’s song is lament becoming hymn of acceptance and celebration.”

        – Betty Adcock, NC Award in Literature, Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation

Part of the proceeds from this book will be donated to GEMS — Gridley Emergency Medical Service (rural ambulance) and to Hospice.

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