Black Tupelo Country

Cover of Black Tupelo Country by Doug Ramspeck

 
Overview

The poems in Black Tupelo Country explore how superstitions appeal to our primitive selves, how we read into nature our fears and longings, and how the natural and supernatural worlds interconnect in language and perception. Dark satiric poems also occur in the book, including ones about Adam and Eve selling sub sandwiches at a strip mall, Socrates as a homeless man on the streets of Cleveland, and Dr. Mengele working as a Walmart Greeter. Winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry.

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Possum Nocturne

Cover of Possum Nocturne by Doug Ramspeck

 
Overview

The speakers in Possum Nocturne imagine the landscapes of their days as alive with portentous meaning. These are characters who are convinced that a hoot owl whispers secret messages to those who will listen, that a black tupelo limb is an augury, that three crows in a black willow tree portend death, that a dry stream bed suggests that a spouse or relative will have a miscarriage, and that we can read our futures in the entrails of a pickerel frog or in a hognose snake skin found draped beside a river bank.

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Mechanical Fireflies

Cover of Mechanical Fireflies by Doug Ramspeck

 
Overview

Mechanical Fireflies explores the human tendency to imbue the physical world with human traits, and to interpret those human traits as inseparable from the natural order. In “I set up my desk in the woods and write,” the speaker imagines that there are “fragments of words / beneath tumbled apples / fermenting by the stream’s edge.” The surreal animism of the poems plays out across rural and urban landscapes, and delves into the present, the historical, and the mythological. Winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize, selected by Mary Ruefle.

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Original Bodies

Cover of Original Bodies by Doug Ramspeck

 
Overview

Original Bodies explores the primitive mindset, the ancient brain that exists within us all. Most of us don’t believe that three crows in a black willow tree portend death or that we can read our lives in the entrails of a pickerel frog or in a hognose snakeskin found draped beside a riverbank. But we do wish that we might gain some small control over our destinies. Residing half in the real world and half in the dream world, the poems accentuate the slipperiness we often feel between the corporeal and incorporeal. Winner of the Michael Waters Poetry Prize.

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Black Flowers

Cover of Black Flowers by Doug Ramspeck

 
Overview

In dark lyrical verse, Black Flowers follows a speaker from childhood into adulthood as he navigates the animistic world of crows, conjurings, and winter snows. By juxtaposing euphony and clear, startling imagery, Ramspeck’s novelistic new collection molds the landscape to reflect the speaker’s memories and the challenges of growing up in a dysfunctional family. In the tradition of William Wordsworth, Black Flowers brings the flourishes of the Romantics to the grit of present day. Finalist: UNT Rilke Prize.

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