TURNING PLOW PRESS
Publisher of fine poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction
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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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