The latest titles from Deerbrook Editions

Expanding on the post, The year in books, this post will give some details about books fresh off the presses. (Some links provided to book pages for ordering, shipping in the USA is free)

First, the Maine Poet Laureate’s new title, How to Start Over, poems by Stuart Kestenbaum, includes some experimental poems using source words supplied by others (loosely might be called found poems). The cover features art by Susan Webster entitled, The letter A. Stuart Kestenbaum has other books from Deerbrook Editions.

Read more and order here










Next is Daybook I by Toni Ortner. This is a deluxe volume at 7 x 10 in.

Toni Ortner is a poet and author who lives in Brattleboro, Vermont. She has 16 books that have been published by fine small presses, 14 of which are poetry books. She is Vice President of the Write Action Board that supports writers in New England through readings and other events. She gives readings at Vermont libraries and bookstores and reads at the Brattleboro Literary Festival. Her work has appeared frequently at and she has had numerous articles published in The Commons. You can read endorsements where her book is available here on the press site 

Read her column on vermontviews.









Third is a new book of poems, Chestnut Ridge by Dawn Potter. Chestnut Ridge is also a deluxe volume in 7 x 10 in. format.

“Dawn Potter’s rich and remarkable Chestnut Ridge gives us voices and artifacts tracing the development of southwestern Pennsylvania, from 1635 to 2013—from missionaries to racial conflicts, mining disasters to the way changing times can leave us adrift. Potter makes history alive and compelling.” —Betsy Sholl

Dawn Potter directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. She is the author of eight books of prose and poetry, and she lives in Portland, Maine.

Chestnut Ridge is available here

Old lovers never die

Once in a while when you think you see somebody that looks like somebody you knew 30 years ago, it does something to your day, maybe even that sense of remembering who you actually are, the person you are made certain decisions toward becoming, in spite of mistakes, you loved them all.

From being green in an iron lung, to being a vegetarian with a tendency toward Macro, as most youth, beyond hopeful, beyond optimistic, overestimating purpose, while some say be a doctor or a lawyer, others said how talented you are, you lived on a kind of threshold. The painters argued over whether your cartoons were art, whether you should be drawing from nature, eventually a teacher would balance it all out when he said about your sketchbook, “It shows how you think.”

Likewise, decades later, when realizing how angry you were at your father for not only divorcing your mother but for remarrying. The therapist rang a bell when he said, “He was not emotionally responsible.” Imagining that phrase, the gears were turning, the brain shifting and a reason flowed and grew into understanding why so many mistakes eclipsed purpose. But not imagination, not drawing, even from memory, the self is all you need, your mind is guaranteed, but it takes years if not a lifetime to know what the gurus mean when they say to control your mind. Or Jesus when he said, “. . . as you believe so shall it be.”

You can walk the same summer day’s path thinking about annoying things or you can be counting your blessings, don’t you know. When you have the insight you are on the path to self knowledge, ha. But then what is knowledge? Know your self. How little we know. Facts and figures, skills and practice—talent, now there is a conundrum. What good is talent if you do nothing with it. Some consider success the end to the means. But the business of art is not making art, learning what your teacher is really saying, because the best teaching is by example. You know this if your mother did not make you do things. You cannot force people to do things. Mothers teach by example.

Desire makes the world turn, and it causes so much pain. Learn to love without desire, ha, then there is no song, there is no moonlit night when a field becomes a sky of stars for the fog of fireflies blinking in courtship. Yes, find my love by light.

So when you see that face in the market pondering the shelf of soups, or the rack of breads, and somehow it dawns on you that the store is full of lovers, all those faces, in their own worlds, all milling around almost impervious to each other, what have you noticed?

Lots of new books from Deerbrook Editions

DE book spinesIn spite of what has been said if you search for stats of what people buy (poetry often does not even show up), last year (2017) was a good year for Deerbrook poets, mostly selling on amazon, with more good people going to the press Website. A survey done by The New York Review of Books a few years ago put poetry at about 20% of what people were buying in a year. Almost half of the top top subject, history. Here is an interesting article from a couple of years ago on CNN.

Lots of recent titles of interest; check out the backlist post on the site.  Twenty three new titles were published in the past coupe of years, to be exact. Many titles have previews of  on which provides an excellent interactive catalog.

If you visit the site there are several menus for looking up titles, and most pages include reviews and endorsements about authors and titles, as well as embedded previews from This link goes directly to all the current previews.

When you order from the press Website in the USA you get free shipping. Usually sent media mail you get what amounts to a discount of about $2.60 off the price of a single title. Other presses often add shipping to the price of the book. It’s our way of saying thanks for ordering from the site. Also, please note that with PayPal you do not need an account with PayPal, you can use the card of your choice.


Sarah White on The Lake & Off Course

Sarah White on The Lake two poems, Ventricular, and The Ballad of Narayama


Young Fanny Mendelssohn, in petticoats and pumps—
In the lower chambers of the heart
lost every race against her younger brother.
severe arrhythmia gives rise
In their middle years, they raced again and she awoke
to a danger of collapse       
at the gates of Death, alone.


Chest compressions may be given
On the day of her burial,
         by anyone, including family members.
Felix heard anthems in an awkward key, and her voice:
       To restore a normal rhythm
“Brother, you’re so pale. There’s not much time.
(about 100 beats a minute)
Take these dark hymns and write my elegy
       electric shock must be administered  …
at lightning speed.



The Ballad of Narayama


A man carries his mother on his shoulders
through the brambles. She will no longer
be living in the village.
They’re going up the sacred mountain.


He is weary. He doesn’t want to leave her
up the mountain in a clearing
on her prayer mat, knees crossed,
peering through the brambles.


She knows she won’t be living
in the village. The man carries
his mother. He is weary.
The snowfall is a blessing.


Narayama is a mountain and a ballad
to be sung in any order—
down from the prayer mat
to the village, up to the clearing


where he leaves her, cross-legged,
smiling at the snowfall
and the shoulders disappearing
through the brambles.


Sarah White’s most recent published collections are The Unknowing  Muse (Dos Madres, 2014) and Wars Don’t Happen Anymore (Deerbrook Editions, 2015). She lives, writes, and paints in New York City.


The Lake 

“All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. And then there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.” 
Jean Rhys


Inspired by Jean Rhys’ imperative, The Lake is dedicated to publishing all forms of poetry by new and established poets, highlighting the best of contemporary poetry and reviewing the best of the new books.


Also appearing on Offcourse  literary journal in Albany.

JR Solonche in Offcourse: inspired by Chinese poetry

JR Solonche is a man of literature. He expresses his love of literature with many forms, more than I can say I know. Read this wonderful verse in Offcourse, penned out of simple love.

One of my favorites posted here; go to the link to read the other four.



(After an Anonymous Chinese Poem)

A handful of clay
and a birch twig
for a handle.

Be grateful
for whatever
falls in.

These words
are first.



Five-time Pushcart as well as Best of the Net nominee, J.R. Solonche has been publishing poetry in magazines and anthologies since the early 70s. He is coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books) and author of Beautiful Day(Deerbrook Editions) and Heart’s Content (Five Oaks Press). He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with his wife, the poet Joan I. Siegel and nine cats, at least three of whom are poets.
His work has appeared frequently in Offcourse.

Beautiful Day

JR Solonche returns to the Lake

A couple of poems in December’s The Lake Journal: The Lake poetry

Jacob and the Angel

Afterward in the morning,
already late in the morning,
already near noon,
he awoke,
and no one was about.
His right hand was gripped tightly
on the shin of his leg.
His left arm was under his head
so that the elbow was stiff,
and the forearm was numb
from the weight of his head upon it.
His mouth was dry with the dryness of sand,
and the lips of his mouth were parched as the sand of the desert.
He felt the soreness in his limbs.
He felt the stiffness in the joints of his limbs.
He saw the full light of day illuminating the tent.
The flap of the tent opening was bright with the brightness of daylight.
And even full with soreness in his body,
and even full with stiffness in his limbs,
and even full with a terrible thirst in his mouth, he sprang to his feet,
and he threw himself upon the tent opening,
upon the full light of the tent opening that flapped like white wings in the dry wind.

The Jonah Story

I do not like the Jonah story.
The Jonah story is all
obedience and disobedience,
God calling on the wind
to frighten the sailors,
God calling on the whale
to swallow up Jonah
and spit him out again
on dry land, God
calling on the worm
to desolate the vine.
The Jonah story is all God
calling. I do not like the way
the Jonah story ends.
The Jonah story ends
without ending. It ends
with God asking
Jonah a question,
but really asking one of those
holy rhetorical questions
that God is so fond of,
and that is where Jonah is
left hanging,
on the question mark of God.
And I do not like this because
I want to know what happens
to heroes at the end of stories.
What happens to Jonah
at the end of his story?
What does Jonah do?
Does he go home?
Does he stay where he is
on the east side of Nineveh
where he prepares a field
of gourd vines? Does he
sleep twenty-four hours through?
Does God leave Jonah alone?
Does God leave Jonah alone,
finally, oh finally,
in the shade of the vine?

J.R. Solonche has been publishing in magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He is author of Beautiful Day (Deerbrook Editions) and coauthor ofPeach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with his wife, the poet Joan I. Siegel, and nine cats, at least three of whom are poets.