by Kathy Lohrum Cotton & Michael D. Scott
59 poems ~ 29 Illustrations ~ 106 pages
US Price: $13.00
UK Price: £11.69
Publisher: Independently Published
ISBN: 9798353225188
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Synergy is a collaboration by two writers who had never met: Kathy Cotton, a longtime poet, and Michael Scott, an ER doctor, lawyer and new poet. Both members of the Illinois State Poetry Society, Michael pitched the project idea by email and Kathy accepted the challenge. Over the course of a year, the two created the collaborative poetry that anchors Synergy. Michael chose themes and wrote opening lines. Kathy responded–back and forth, creating the mirrored formats. Their diverse backgrounds and styles blend to form a truly unique collection, enhanced by 29 black-and-white photographs and collage-art images. The collection closes with pairs of individual poems on the same themes, and single poems by each poet.


Synergy is a captivating weaving together of two disparate poets. Kathy and Michael alternate who is loom and who is thread, creating fine poetic cloth that covers every facet of living–from communication, aloneness, hunger, touch, memory, longing, to our “unfalling”–an odd paradox that both grounds us and rises us about the gravity of life. In their weaving, Kathy and Michael untangle the threads of our many masks and show us what is hidden within ourselves.
–Barbara Blanks, author of Life’s Savage Beauty, and nine other books

Synergy is the perfect title for poets Kathy Cotton and Michael Scott’s new collaborative project. Merriam-Webster describes synergy as “a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility.” This is augmented by poet Neil Blumenthal’s observation that “A good collaboration pushes the boundaries of both partners.” Together, Cotton and Scott become an in-the-flesh presence to those seeking a truly human poetics. They write the poems that inhabit the air we breathe. Their unique collaboration, enhanced by 29 black-and-white images, does more than “push the boundaries of both partners.” The boundaries are redrawn entirely.
–Michael Escoubas, Senior Editor, Quill and Parchment


Kathy Lohrum Cotton is a southern Illinois poet and editor whose work appears in literary journals, magazines and anthologies and also as exhibits of poetry combined with her digital collage artwork. Cotton is the author of two chapbooks; the color-illustrated poetry book, Deluxe Box of Crayons; and the 2020 collection, Common Ground. She supports the art of poetry as a board member of both the Illinois State Poetry Society and the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Cotton has designed/edited more than 60 books, including NFSPS annual collections of prize-winning poetry. Visit her website,

Michael Scott, MD: Healer. Imaginer. Wayfarer. Lover of word sounds and stories. Now semi-retired, he has practiced for more than 30 years as an emergency physician. A native of Mobile, AL, he holds degrees in chemistry, medicine and law. His childhood and academic paths led him through unique swathes of Americana, over decades of societal change. Sparked by natural curiosity, and with a honed gaze toward the specific, he has cataloged and scribbled many tidbits of thought and observation. This pastiche of life experiences and impressions, plus the emotions which they evoked, provide both substrate for his poetry and its incitement.


Afterlife Is Right Now
by Kathy Cotton and Michael Scott

Minute deaths occur every second.
Cells regenerate. I sleep. I forget.
An unbroken chain, the “what comes next”
and the “what’s left behind” occur right now.

In the wake of your death, I live in
your afterlife, and a part of you lives on
beyond your passing. I pick up pieces
you left behind, carry them forward in me.

This afterlife is at my beck and call.
It is in my hands; it slips through my fingers.
It is the stories I tell, the stories I live,
the stories that are told–that live on.

So long as I breathe, speak your name,
remember your words, we survive together.
I move on, each day still enriched by you.
For the living, afterlife is always now.

Nothing Left to Say
by Kathy Lohrum Cotton

Let there be
not one wet drop
in the bottle’s bottom,

not one root-seeking seed
tucked within this
wind-whipped tumbleweed.

Before the packing up,
before the wagon pulls away
from this worn home,

let my door stand open,
windows bright,

Let me leave only dust,
slip away with

What I Love About Deserts
by Dr. Michael Scott

Deserts keep secrets, eons in quiet
Confidence conveyed, cured by heated winds.
Vast solitude cordons night-sky piet.
Moon’s bright beams pantomime what dawn portends.
Extremes are encouraged without amends.
Cacti reach skyward, absolved of blather.
Needles add protection against new friends.
Well-adapted to a dearth of slather.
Wind-blown rubbish scallops steppes then gathers
Current, becoming moist as they travel
On to tears; aridity’s safety gone.
All water makes tears, a wind-blown cavil.
An austere silence that secrets condone:
Pure, dead-letter solace in desert zones.


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