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My Life on Little River
by Phibby Venable
edited by Ed Bennett

Publisher: Quill and Parchment Press
Publication Date: Summer 2011 by Subscription
Format: Paperback
ISBN 13: 978-0-9764244-8-2
50 pages/50 poems
Price: $15.00
Quill and Parchment Press
216 Ashland Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405


Advance Praise:

Weaving poems from the filaments and fabric of her life –
family, friends, lovers, community, and on the magical banks
of Little River – poet Phibby Venable presents herself in this
new collection as a woman of her time and place, yet beyond
them. These are poems of great presence, with an easy mixture
of foreboding and innocence in them. “I mean to pick the sweet
mint that grows wild on the hill beside the railroad tracks, but
I hear voices and squat, narrowed into myself, and listening to
the people under the trestle,” she writes in ‘Wrecks That Are
Human.” Sometimes the challenges of the world might threaten to
overwhelm. But despite them, Venable maintains that she will yet
find, as in the poem "Broken Shores," her reflection "humming love
songs to sweet bloodroots and irises, flexing my feet in soft earth,
gone native."

George Wallace
Writer In Residence, Walt Whitman Birthplace


In this rich collection, Phibby Venable's wide-ranging imagination, coupled
with her delicate sensibility, invite us to see and feel like through the
prism of ever-changing metaphor, ever-changing response to the beauty and
melancholy of life. The title poem, the first in this lovely and thoroughly
enjoyable collection, pulls us into her finely painted world, where "the leaves
rode/your blue back in heady speeds/and the snow touched you/in feathers of
canishing." A dark poem, like "Blackboard Baby" suggests quiet grief. "I have
nothing but stars/to write with/ ,,,/they make a sound/ that is silent/a dead
quiet screech/ of dark words." Her voice is never loud, but modulated. Poems
like "Letters to a Plowed Field" evidence her deep love of and respect for our
natural environment, "...I lean too heavily on the earth,/but I believe in her
like a mother". This love, and this respect are given equally to the people
and small towns of her Appalachian surroundings. Phibby Venable enters into
sisterhood with all that surrounds her, whether a jarred firefly struggling
to be free, (Firefly) or a neglected child (Natalie's Cocoon). This is a book
to read and re-read, to savor the better its gentle wildness.

Janet Butler


Author bio:

Phibby Venable is an Appalachian poet & writer. Her work appears in
numerous anthologies, reviews, and e-zines, both nationally and
internationally, including, 2River, Poetrybay, the Appalachian Journal,
Southern Ocean Review, Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Clinch Mountain Review,
Quill and Parchment.com
and the Circle Magazine. Miss Venable is the
author of three poetry chapbooks & two full collections, including, Blue
Cold Morning,
and Blue Water Poems. She was nominated in 2010 for the
Pushcart Prize by Quill and Parchment.com.

Introduction to the book:

From my window I watch the waters of North Holston travel
over the rocks to meet in a larger body of water much
farther downstream. Sometimes I walk the small trails by
the water to watch the natural beauty that is, like
everything else, fleeting in a bow to progress. Even as I
write, an interstate is being planned through this valley
that will cut away the trees & blast the heavy mountains
into a submission to progress. It is the way of things.

My Life On Little River is a tribute to the river, the
mountains, and most especially to the wild geese, that take
flight each fall & return in the Spring.

They know nothing of the plans of man & travel their flight
plan on faith.

Many of the poems here reflect the nature of the wildlife,
the flowers & the human heart. Each living thing, no matter
how small, has a unique journey.

This is a portion of mine.


From the Book:


Invisible Songs
by Phibby Venable

Butterflies have a small song that hums
so deeply within the breast, that their breath
skips a beat, and if no one is listening,
the song is lost.
Even the ladybug, in her red armor,
offers a voice, to the energy of air,
but if no one is listening, there is no proof
that her hum was ever there.
All unknown injuries to nature and to God,
slip through the human heart of shrubs.
It is the listening that never perfects itself,
that never notes the fragrance through pine wind,
that could communicate a knowing of sorts.
People do not like the hint of things.
It is a soft bruising, to the tired head
that dreads effort, or perhaps only fears
the entanglement of music,
the way it may rise or fall at will.
The unknown way of things too delicate
to shout from the railings.
If there is a song some place,
in butterflies or bees,
most people believe,
it is nothing more than the reverb
of static or wires.
If there was anything more,
they would have heard.



 


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