TURNING PLOW PRESS
Publisher of fine poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction
"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
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
Paul Juhasz’s The Inner Life of Comics was written in forced isolation, forced by his divorce, his relocation to Oklahoma and then heightened by COVID. This isolation led the poet to grapple with the essentials of human existence: what is love, family, manhood, and what is the fount of humor. Although the subject matter is heady, since this book is authored by Paul Juhasz, there are plenty laughs along the way. But, as we learn from his poem about Pagliacci, there is a costfor these laughs, paid by the comic—a steep and dark one. Like a comic doing standup, or magician doing sleight of hand, Juhasz often directs our gaze on the familiar. These set ups include parking lots, a man playing hacky sack, a meal, a cup of coffee, but then to our amazement comes the reveal, and, with it, a deeper meaning.
Author of A Living is Not a Life: A Working Title
from Turning Plow Press
Ten Acres of the Universe
by Paul Bowers
In the first poem of Ten Acres of the Universe, Paul Bowers shows he can wrap an event as timeless and familiar as spring plowing in words and images as fresh and unanticipated as spring’s surprising renewals. Elsewhere, he points out “stars and galaxies … heading home at dawn, / the dying glow of their headlights / disappearing over the farthest hilltop of the Milky Way” and we find ourselves both safe at home and feeling we have traveled to the far reaches of the heavens. Arranged in four chapters, the seasons from spring through winter, these poems capture the universality of the passage of our collective years, the patterns of hours and skies and everyday encounters that make up our days; they are like string reminders tied around your heart that will bring back moments from your own life, vivid and alive, some quietly peaceful, some devastatingly poignant. This is a book I will keep close and read often; I suspect you will want to do so as well.
--Roy Beckemeyer, author of Mouth Brimming Over