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Catalog

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wisteria
climbing the maple
choking the moon


This collection is true to the traditional Japanese form, yet pushes English language haiku and senryu into new and unexplored territory.

Publication Date: April 16, 2024
ISBN: 978-1-7333295-6-9

 

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“If you look over the mountain you will see America” -John Henry Heckman

 

John Henry Heckman landed in the new world on April 9, 1852, when he sailed into New York harbor on the ship Agnes. He was a rudely educated 22-year-old farmer from Heinebach, a small agricultural village in Germany. Fifty years later, on June 17, 1902, his only surviving son, Charles, married Lillian Letters in Pittsburgh. This is the story of the German Heckmans, and two Irish families, the Shannons and the Letters, over this period – their first fifty years in America.

By coincidence, these three disparate families found themselves living within several blocks of each other in the Pittsburgh Strip District, an industrial neighborhood of poor immigrants. Their story, like that of millions of other immigrant families who arrived in the nineteenth century, is the enduring story of the American nation.

Publication Date: February 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-7333295-5-2

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Elsie Fitzsimons Hale’s work was inspired by fundamental things: her love of nature and the outdoors, her spiritual faith, and her devotion to marriage and family. Built on the foundation of these themes, poetry became a way of life for her – a means to express her joy of living and her faith in God. Her poems give us a record of a mystical practice of daily spiritual celebration.

The vision of life that is reflected in her poems is especially useful and necessary at this moment. It speaks of positivity, faith, and gratitude rather than grievance and anger. It celebrates the good, the natural, the simple things. Most of all, it reminds us of the virtue of courage in the face of the misfortunes and tragedies that befall us.

Publication Date: May 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1733329545

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In another haunting collection of lyrics that first appeared on social media, Robert Letters narrates four sequences of conversation. But these conversations are curiously one-sided, and the reader must decide who is speaking, and who, if anyone, is listening. Each short poem is an independent work, but also an integrated component in a set of mysterious patterns.

Publication Date: September 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1733329521

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Publication Date: June 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-0999285589

Honorable Mention Recipient, 2020 Brockman-Campbell Book Award

 

Garum was a pungent fish sauce made in Roman times from the leftover parts of many different kinds of fish. Most recipes for garum called for the use of the entrails, but an ingredient of almost equal importance was any kind of juice, especially the blood, that came from the fish. The fermentation qualities of entrails and blood combined to make the most pungent garum.

These poems embody the pungent quality of garum in three sections: a series of lyrics that investigate domestic life; a long narrative poem, Canal; and a sequence of short poems, mostly haiku and tanka, that chronicles a year of a domestic life.

Praise for Recipe for Garum:

“Poetic exploration of the extraordinary in the ordinary … an attractive picture of home and nature … an enjoyable sensory experience”

– Kirkus Reviews

"…does only one thing – but does it in a variety of forms, and it does it extremely well…domestic moments are rendered heavy with meaning by the intense focus of the poetry."

-Neon Books

 

"Poignant, sharply expressive…we hear the voice of the lover, the carpenter, the gardener, the farmer…voices of life."

-Compulsive Reader

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On February 16, 2015 Robert Letters posted a 5-line poem on the social media platform, Twitter.

pursuing
the mystery
allowing
the mystery
to pursue

This began an ongoing daily practice that continued for over four years, resulting in a 1,700-poem sequence that ended on October 22, 2019. Help Keep Out: Volume 1 contains the first three sections of this work.

The poems are necessarily short, constrained by the character limit of the platform. They are predominantly informed by Asian forms – haiku, senryu, tanka and sijo – though aficionados of those forms might not acknowledge these poems as progeny.

To see this series of poems in its entirety on the social media platform where it began, follow @RobertLetters on Twitter.

Publication Date: June 26, 2018
ISBN-978-0999285503

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Publication Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0999285527

On February 16, 2015 Robert Letters posted a 5-line poem on the social media platform, Twitter. This began an ongoing daily practice that continued for over four years, resulting in a 1,700-poem sequence that ended on October 22, 2019. Help Keep Out: Volume 2 contains Books 4-6 of this ongoing work.

The poems are necessarily short, constrained by the character limit of the platform. While they are predominantly informed by Asian forms – haiku, senryu, tanka and sijo – the poems in this volume are almost all 5-line tanka. Some contain casual observations of daily life:

do you remember
after spring snow
magnolia blossoms
melting
on the lawn

Others weave together threads of a darker narrative:

after I killed my brother
crushed him in that elevator
told my story
I locked myself
in a dark unladdered room

To see this series of poems in its entirety on the social media platform where it began, follow @RobertLetters on Twitter.

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Publication Date: December 26, 2018
ISBN: 978-0999285541

On February 16, 2015 Robert Letters posted a 5-line poem on the social media platform, Twitter. This began an ongoing daily practice that continued for over four years, resulting in a 1,700-poem sequence that ended on October 22, 2019. Help Keep Out: Volume 3 contains Books 7-9 of this work.

The poems are necessarily short, constrained by the character limit of the platform. While they are predominantly informed by Asian forms – haiku, senryu, tanka and sijo – the poems in this volume are all 5-line tanka. The poems present several different speakers, and often speak directly to someone, a “you,” who is always specific, but not always the same person.

Some are apparently domestic:

sometimes
you have to be
responsible for your own light
turn off the lamp
before coming to bed


while others seem to direct their words less specifically:


you
ghost in the night
whistling
tapping at my door
invisible


 

To see this series of poems in its entirety on the social media platform where it began, follow @RobertLetters on Twitter.

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Publication Date: March 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0999285565

On February 16, 2015 Robert Letters posted a 5-line poem on the social media platform, Twitter. 

This began an ongoing daily practice that continued for over four years, resulting in a 1,700-poem sequence that ended on October 22, 2019. Help Keep Out: Volume 4 contains Books 10-12.

The poems are necessarily short, constrained by the character limit of the platform. They are predominantly informed by Asian forms – haiku, senryu, tanka and sijo – and in this volume, the Sijo form is used extensively in Books 11 and 12.

Some of the poems comment on events that were occurring at the time of posting:

in Charlottesville
dark torches
enlighten
the monuments

 

while others reflect on the astonishing, mysterious nature of our evolving existence in the universe:

 

once the free electrons
were assimilated
imprisoned
within neutral atoms
the universe became transparent

To see this series of poems in its entirety on the social media platform where it began, follow @RobertLetters on Twitter.

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Publication Date: June 30,2020

ISBN: 978-1733329507

On February 16, 2015 Robert Letters posted a 5-line poem on Twitter. This began an ongoing daily practice that continued for over four years, resulting in a 1,700-poem sequence that ended on October 22, 2019. Help Keep Out: Volume 5 contains Books 13-17, the final five books in the project.

 

The poems in Help Keep Out are predominantly informed by Asian forms – haiku, senryu, tanka, and sijo. While most of the structural characteristics of these forms have been preserved, this is not always the case, and traditional constraints inherent in the genres have often been ignored.

Praise for Help Keep Out: Volume 5

“Dreamlike, with nightmarish scenarios fading into sweet moments in nature or love and then back to darker moments. Historical scenarios are juxtaposed against modern issues.”

-Blue Ink Starred Review

“Another collection of mysterious and haunting poems … will thrill readers who love the stark imagery and battles of epic poetry but want an update for the current national climate.”   

-Booklife

“The poems work when read as individual pieces, but the real poetry is in their combination. One can find patterns and connections between works that were composed months or years apart...A bracingly exciting read, and one that many – even those who haven’t followed Letters’ daily posts on social media – are certain to derive a great deal of pleasure from.”

-Neon Books

“A recurring refrain of a shaman on the mound, telling their people about invaders, highlights Letters’ investigation of why people feel the need to build walls around themselves and their communities, … allows readers to reflect on past and modern-day sentiments regarding colonization, immigration, and other issues ... Letters’ poetry is often striking, and he has a knack for poignant, brief descriptions. … This collection is moving and relevant. An expressive compendium of vividly descriptive verses.” 

–Kirkus Reviews

To see this series of poems in its entirety on the social media platform where it began, follow @RobertLetters on Twitter.

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