New Book from Deerbrook Editions

Chestnut Ridge, poems by Dawn Potter, a varied and brilliant chronicle of a region in Western Pennsylvania.
PORTLAND, Maine - Aug. 13, 2019 - PRLog -- These poems weave fact with fiction; and their details, settings, characters, and voices were influenced by the author's interactions with innumerable sources. Though we might imagine such sources to be largely the black and white of old printing, there is living color winding through due to the author's personal experience, which is explained in a preface to the book.

Potter is always original and from the heart, and in this case, her words integrate multicolored impressions of places and people, the things that make up the history of a region.

From the back cover

William Faulkner is famous for mining "his own little post stamp of native soil" for what he called "the old universal truths." In Chestnut Ridge, Dawn Potter is following Faulkner's wise path, giving us a polyphonic portrait of southwestern Pennsylvania in an impressive range of voices, pitches, and forms. She starts with the region's tragicomic history—"the undiagnosed roads littered with sorrows"; "the pale and ruminating / heifer"—moving gradually through time to the present. All along, mining the full possibilities of persona, our intrepid author takes possession of her own origins as melancholic witness to a bygone America whose history it would be a terrible mistake to lose. This sad, moral, and really smart book is essential reading for anyone interested in hearing a master poet sing an indispensable bereavement song.

         —Adrian Blevins

Dawn Potter's rich and remarkable Chestnut Ridge gives us voices and artifacts tracing the development of southwestern Pennsylvania, from 1635 to 2013—from missionaries to racial conflicts, mining disasters to the way changing times can leave us adrift. Potter makes history alive and compelling. These poems hold up a mirror to the way assumptions and pressures shape our lives, as they trace how the land changes from wilderness, to commercial venture, to the aftermath of industry. It's hard to know what to praise more:  Potter's deft and supple forms, the rich empathy through which she creates the voices of others, or the way her poems make the past alive in all its complexity. In a time when history and truth are under attack, these poems are not only beautiful and profound, they are utterly crucial.

         —Betsy Sholl

Author of eight books of poetry and prose, her writers memoir Tracing Paradise: Two Years in Harmony with John Milton won the 2010 Maine Literary Award in Nonfiction. Dawn Potter directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. More about Dawn and her writing can be found on her site

A 7 x 10 deluxe edition available here
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