TURNING PLOW PRESS
Publisher of fine poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction
Our books are available through a number of online retailers, or directly from our authors.
Come Before Winter is a polite invitation written with a keen and pressing awareness of time passing, measured and marked by the turning of seasons. Like the pastoral letter from Paul to Timothy, from which the title is derived, these poems arrive as exhortations to the reader to meditate, as Emerson says, on “the flux of all things.”
“Ken Hada’s poems in Come Before Winter are exhilarating: richly textured, humming with energy, and deeply felt. Hada finds depths where no one else bothers to look. I read this book twice and I’m just getting started with it.”
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Praise for The Currency of His Light
Roy Beckemeyer, in his shining new collection of poetry, explores, questions, laments, and celebrates the mystery and power of light in language, art, spirit, and life. His deep and abiding investigation of the natural world generously gives these poems grounding, heft, and precision so that what’s often beyond words can take flight. From murmuration at large to robins in particular, he brings what’s often the backdrop of our lives into clear view, amplifying “the last August cicada saws” as well as the “Vidalia onion’s dream.” His homages to the arts and artists, including Monet and Milton in the title poem, reveals the sparks that make art, “…coined by eye and hand/ and light’s merciless vicissitudes.” Going deeper into mercy and its opposite, he writes of grief, love, and memory with startling tenderness, especially in the villanelle, “A Father Who Lives Longer Than His Son.” Beckemeyer speaks intimately to the reader and his beloved, telling us, “You are the beguiling yin-ness / and yang-ness of mythology’s shape changer,” encapsulating in this poem how light is the ultimately shapeshifter. This whole book is an ode to wonder, and the kind of wonder we especially need to illuminate our lives right now.
--Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Poet Laureate of Kansas 2009-13,
author of How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems
Roy Beckemeyer’s penetrating and beautiful new book of poems, The Currency of His Light, illuminates the wonders and mysteries of the natural world, the depths and hopes of seasoned love, and the power of his elegant poetry to enlighten and delight. These are poems to relish; they lead to myriad inroads of joy. And throughout is the light. At first blush, we notice how it quickens Beckemeyer’s perceptions and poetics. In his expert hands, the vividly painted birds of the Kansas plain burst into a sharply focused new existence: They not only obey their nature, but they incarnate the poet’s words, emotions, and meditations in their fluid movements over the fields. What’s more, their avian glory is underwritten by the poet’s imagination – the hidden fourth dimension of all things. With it, nature blossoms into its full essence, encompassing the yearnings of our lives, as well. And for Beckemeyer, nature’s finest demands poetry’s best. And in this book, his best, he delivers. As with E. E. Cummings, love transports Beckemeyer’s poetry to its rightful place between heaven and earth. The light shines on it, and beauty blooms from the shadows, sparkling with elevated diction, visceral imagery, keen metaphor and “the color of blessing.” Highest recommendations.
--Arlice Davenport, author of Kind of Blue: New Poems.
Winner the 2023 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry
"Our stories must be told” ends the poem “Augusta Savage: In Her Hands,” and in this dynamic debut collection, poet Mary Gray does exactly this, telling stories of African American lives from myriad perspectives through her artful, musical lines. Bass Reeves, Augusta Savage, the Fultz quadruplets, Michaela DePrince, Doris Payne, and Michelle Jones are some of the more famous figures who appear alongside girl scouts, WW I soldiers, the poet herself, hiplet dancers, and victims of police brutality. Gray makes this polyphony of voices cohere through her elemental, mythological language as well as her deft use of rhythm, rhymes, refrains, themes, and forms. At the same time, she uses these voices to explore concepts such as freedom, violence, duty, self, family, country, and pleasure that are often less than coherent, especially given African American history, which is synonymous with American history. In sum, this collection provides real knowledge, shining beauty, and disciplined hope.
Timothy Bradford, author of Nomads and Samsonite
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poems by Ken Hada
Winner, 2022 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry
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Praise for The Inner Life of Comics
What do Pagliacci, Shakespeare, Coltrane, and Thoreau have in common? Paul Juhasz knows. In The Inner Life of Comics he unravels the tangled knot of moving through the world as a thinking, feeling man. Like Shakespeare and Thoreau, his language is layered and profound. Like Pagliacci, he is a court jester, a truth teller always among the crowd but rarely of it. And, like Coltrane’s music, his minor-key bebop finds a way to your heart.
Jeanetta Calhoun Mish
2017-2020 Oklahoma State Poet Laureate
There is a bone-deep weariness to this new collection of poems by Paul Juhasz. It’s the weariness we’ve all survived after a year and more of isolation during the pandemic, but Paul’s is deeper, his borne of a life fractured in middle age, of love found, then lost, of endings and new, tentative beginnings. There is also something I think of as classic Paul humor, an ability to face the worst that life throws at you and make a joke of it. Stare the hangman down, then make
him laugh, right before he pulls the lever. But there’s more. Though darkness, “the bear,” always lurks (source, Paul reveals to us, of all great comedy), he has discovered in this collection something much finer than that, the mysterious thing we call poetry. There are lines in these poems, prose and lineated, of surpassing beauty. There are moments in these lines, in these poems, when the comic rests and the poet takes over, and we find ourselves mesmerized and lifted into a kind of peace that lets us know Paul has travelled through the darkness and come out on the other side full of truths and beauties that sustain long after the laughter fades.
author of Too Late for Manly Hands
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