My Debut Chapbook: Moons, Roads, and Rivers

Updated Cover: Image by Michael B. McFarland

Moons, Roads, and Rivers, my first chapbook, is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Click here to reserve your copy!

Why Pre-order?  Because the size of the press run is determined by the number of advance sales, so the more pre-orders, the more books they will print.

The official release date is November 17th, so if all goes as planned, you’ll have your copy of Moons, Roads, and Rivers in time for the holidays. Just be aware that these things sometimes take longer than anticipated. I’m looking now to schedule readings for the new year.

Keep in mind, the pre-order opportunity only lasts until September 22nd, so please order by then if you can.

Of course, you could also send a check if you prefer; just scroll down to find out how.

What’s this Chapbook About?

Moons, Roads, and Rivers is a small collection of poems set along highways and side roads from Pennsylvania to Indiana, from backyards and bar stools to graveyards and broken-down cars. You’ll meet a boy who hasn’t learned how to swim and a little girl “who cried / when the moon fell in the river.”

Find out what my dad has in common with Hoover Dam. Discover my favorite graffiti and why my neighbors shake their heads. Some poems were previously published in places like San Pedro River Review, The Blue Hour Magazine, and Contemporary American Voices.

What some good people have said:

With images wrought in highly perceptive verse, David J. Bauman’s poems speak eloquently of what we love, and what prevails over the artificial and transient . . . Such poignant natural details, personal and reflective, “slowly / raise the relics to light,” recalling the land and riverscapes of James Wright. The poems of Moons, Roads, and Rivers embrace and take solace in what blesses our lives, generously offering a luminous, enduring work.
Jeffrey Alfier, editor of Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review

David J. Bauman threads dynamic energy throughout Moons, Roads and Rivers, which leads the reader to palpable angst and longing . . . movement between floating and sinking as you travel the circuitous curves of his journey . . .
Dawn Leas, author of I Know When to Keep Quiet and Take Something When You Go

David J. Bauman‘s debut chapbook, Moon, Roads, and Rivers, is a celebration of  everyday elements that we often take for granted . . . Bauman’s lines and rhythms are precise and fine-tuned . . . At the heart of the book, the poet celebrates humanity, despite our flaws, and acknowledges that we are at our best when we are attuned and respectful to the greater world around us.
Brian Fanelli, author of Waiting for the Dead to Speak (NYQ Books)

Read the complete book jacket blurbs at Finishing Line Press when you pre-order Moons, Roads, and Rivers by clicking right here.

An excerpt:

Age 13

I stood on the bank, under the old
Black Bridge, my toes secretly
digging pebbled sandstone.
My friends had just transformed into fish.

We’d been splashing in the shallows.
Now their feet kicked spray.
Arms over arms, faces turning
to breath with each stroke, they swam
through the deep water, all the way out

to the first pier. Knee-deep on its
concrete ledge they were calling to me.
I’d never told them that I hadn’t learned how.

—from “Swim”

Pre-order :

Remember, if you order early it helps increase the final print run. If you can help me reach my pre-sale goals, I’ll be ridiculously grateful.

Reserve your copy of Moons, Roads, and Rivers from Finishing Line Press (You guessed it, by clicking right here).

To order the old-fashioned way (by check or money order) print or hand copy the following and send it off to Finishing Line Press at the address below:


Please, send me ______ copy(ies) of Moons, Roads, and Rivers by David J. Bauman
at $14.99 per copy plus $2.99 shipping.

Enclosed is my check (payable to Finishing Line Press) for $__________

Name:

Address:

City/State/Zip:

Please send check or money order to:

Finishing Line Press
Post Office Box 1626
Georgetown, KY 40324

Barely South Review and Other News

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Yes, I took this photo.  A one-word poem on a tree.

I’ve been so busy working with Word Fountain, the fantastic little literary magazine that my employers enable me to edit (along with three super-cool coworkers who are editors and artists for the mag.) that I forgot to post about the excellent lit mag Barely South Review where my poem “Advent” was recently published in their spring issue!

Check them out. Check out the rest of the issue, and do all that stuff like “liking” and following on social media. All that sort of support is helpful, especially now as Continue reading

Three Poems at Yellow Chair Review

Yellow Chair Review’s new issue is up, with three of my poems included. Read, “Coyote,” “Cleaving,” and “Timothy” by clicking right here.

Also, please read an excellent little piece that just embodies the art of saying it between the lines by checking out “Reel Mower” by Timothy DeLizza. I had just moved this poem into the “Yes” folder for Word Fountain’s winter issue when Timothy contacted me to let me know that it was already snatched up by Yellow Chair Review! So now I guess I can’t complain. It’s good to be in great company!

Check out the whole issue of Yellow Chair Review here.

George, Originally Published in Contemporary American Voices

William_Butler_Yeats_by_George_Charles_Beresford

George’s favorite “modern” poet.

Recently I shared another video in which I was reading a poem.  It was well received, but what surprised and delighted me was a comment from a former, and favorite teacher of mine, that the “lady moon poem,” which followed that piece, was “fabulous.” I had forgotten that it was included in the video clip. Having said that, what follows is not the lady moon poem, not yet.

Not only is that poem unpublished, but to be honest, I had never even submitted it anywhere. It’s a good piece, so why have I been holding on to it? I think it’s because of something that happened at the last meeting I had with another major mentor in my life, Mr. George Pfister.  You see, he was ill, having been fighting complications of MS for years. I had been watching that tough, Bronx-raised, cranky old poet shrink. Okay, so he wasn’t that old, but his illness and disposition made him older than his years.

I remember asking him who was his favorite modern poet. With conviction, he answered, “Yeats.”

“George,” I said, “Yeats is not exactly modern.” *

“I’m doing the best I can,” he growled.

I don’t know how he managed to prepare snacks for us that day, let alone how he made the climb up those narrow stairs to his apartment, but using his walker, he had set out a plate of crackers and cheese and had neatly put out two glasses and a bottle of wine. He wanted me to bring some of my poems to read to him again. So I brought the lady moon poem. And the tough old bird had me baffled because he was wiping tears from his face, and softly laughing. I wasn’t sure if he was happy or sad. Apparently, he was both.

I asked what was wrong. He shook his head, and said, “That’s very publishable. Just do a little editing and send it out.” He waved his hand, anticipating my questions, “You’ll know what to do. It’s beautiful. Someone will publish it.” The thing is, I think he knew that we wouldn’t have many more meetings like this, and he confessed that he was having a hard time maintaining his focus for long periods of time. He seemed so tired.

Well, the moment was beautiful anyway. I will heed his word and send the poem somewhere. Maybe I’ve kept it mostly to myself because I wanted it to be perfect, to honor him the way he should be honored, or else I just didn’t want it to face rejection by an editor. But it’s been edited, carved, and polished many times since, and now and then, as in the case of the aforementioned video, I’ve felt the need to read it out loud. I’ll share it with you on the blog once it gets printed somewhere.

Meanwhile, the following poem was written before the scene I described above, before the walker had become necessary. But it was only a rough draft, and I never did share it with him. We had bonded over poetry and were really just getting to know each other. I was managing the front of the house at a restaurant and bar near his place, and I just wanted him to get home safely. There is much more to say about George, so I suppose there will be more posts about the scoundrel soon, and probably—hopefully—more poems about him also.

This poem in his name was originally published in Contemporary American Voices along with featured poet, Brian Fanelli and Jason Allen.

George

As children in the graveyard
we used to play a game
with flashlight and fear,
our minds scrambled
with a nervous delight,
a desire to be missed—
and then discovered.

Now we do like then,
but headlights pass on,
engines fade. No one waits
behind a tombstone here.

Tonight I help you home—
not far, just down the street
and across, but it takes time.
Weaving the sidewalk, we find
a stoop with three steps,
and rest a while.

No moon. No stars. No ghosts.
The other bars let out hours ago.
You and I discuss wives,
children and exes, our need
for gods, or not, thoughts
on the cross, crusades,
and inspiration, scripture
and verse, muses
and the history of prayer.

Eventually we rise,
walk wavering and slow,
not wanting you to go
as other greats have, downed
by a taxi near the tavern.

Seven more steps to the curb,
under a halo of light, you
bobbing slightly as I bring
you around. I am happy we are
here, aiming for your door,
and more than a little relieved
that the graveyard is outside of town.

©2014 by David J. Bauman. Originally published in Contemporary American Voices, June 2014

We could delve into the debate about whether Yeats was an early modern poet or the last romantic poet, but George pretty much knew where I was coming from on this issue.

 

Swing, a School Bus Poem

In keeping with the request that I share more of my published poems, here’s a clip from part of a longer reading at the Joseph Priestley Memorial Chapel in Northumberland Pennsylvania. Two months later this poem appeared in the pages of Contemporary American Voices alongside the excellent poets Brian Fanelli and Jason Allen.

Swing

While I was waiting
for the bus, Miss Shaffer said
“Get off the gate!
It’s not for swinging.”

But I knew better.

Another, on the playground—
I don’t recall her name,
But she yanked
me by the arm, right off

the swing set, and screamed,
“Don’t call me ‘old Lady!’”
I was only trying to yodel
(Yodaladie, yodaladie…).

And one time I wasn’t doing anything,
so I was sent to the principal’s office.
That was when days were for doing
nothing when you could.

When swings were for singing
anything that came to mind.
Fences were just in the way
and every kid knew the truth;

gates do that for a reason,
and it goes against nature
not to swing them.


©2014 by David J. Bauman. First printed in June of 2014 in Contemporary American Voices.

“Father” Published in the San Pedro River Review

San Pedro River Review, The American Southwest Spring 2016The kind editors of the San Pedro River Review and Blue Horse Press have graciously published me for a second time, now in their newly released spring issue of the SPRR, The American Southwest. I would have gotten it sooner had I thought to give them my new address. When Jeff and Tobi emailed me to accept my poem “Elemental” for their fall issue, they asked if they could also keep “Father,” a poem whose metaphor compares my father’s upbringing to the building of Hoover Dam, I was thrilled. I just never thought to contact them after our move.

But between their generous and quick response to my request to purchase two more (I still think Jeff under charged me!) and my former landlord finally getting the original package from the new tenant and mailing it along, all four copies arrived this week. Sadly they showed up on the doorstep as I was running into the house, full-tilt, ill from a stomach bug on Wednesday, a virus that has kept the whole family down for days now, so it’s taken until the last day or two for me to be able to really sit down and digest this hefty volume.

And what a beautiful volume it is, chock full of poems set in, or referring to, the American Southwest. It was a huge undertaking on their part, and I appreciate the care with which they ordered the fine work of so many writers, and distinguished poets like Alex Lemon, Adrian C. LouisCiara Shuttleworth,  and famous Cowboy Poets like Paul Zarzyski and J.V. Brummels.

Of course not all of them are great Western poets like Red Shuttleworth, SPRR is very welcoming to Easterners like Doug Anderson,  and the guy who writes this blog.  I’ve also discovered some new favorites in Lisa Fay Coutley, Ken Hada, and the intriguing Jack Granath, whose rhyme and word play I find delightfully refreshing.

But I confess that the most thrilling part for me personally was not only seeing that my poetry hero Naomi Shihab Nye was also published in this volume, but when I was well enough to crack open its pages, I realized that Naomi’s poem  was right next to mine, the last few stanzas of hers touching mine through the page. Now, this may seem trivial, even silly to you, but I have admired Naomi’s work for so long now. I can only explain it like this: You’re a musician and a big Beatles fan, and without even knowing it was about to happen, you suddenly get the chance to stand on stage and play in the same set as John Lennon, or Paul, or Ringo.

I have recorded at least one of her poems, and featured her in previous posts. She is the poet about whom one of my other long-time heroes, William Stafford said, “She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life.” You may have even read her piece “Gate 4-A” that was making it’s rounds on social media lately, causing a pause for sanity amidst the current shameful and pernicious state of American xenophobia and racism.

So enough about me, order your copy of The American Southwest Issue of San Pedro River Review, and you’ll swear you can see with your own eyes how the river turn to fire at sunset.