A catalogue of the Mezcalita Press book collection. Click the book title to be taken to Amazon to purchase. Visit these authors on their websites to learn more about them and their work.
Rod Picott's second collection of poems, Murmuration, is a walk down the crooked path of life. The thrill of a child's first bicycle, the looming death of a loved one, the wonder of nature and our relationship to it are all deftly explored. With Picott's keen eye, prosaic story-telling sensibility and comic dryness - poetry is made temporal without removing its spiritual power. Small and large revelations are on uncovered in Murmuration. Sex, work, racism, family, hope, loss, self-doubt and the small victories of life are all given weight in Picott's work.
Grant Peeples lives in a pink house. And he is not a poet who writes poems about his cats. Though a cat does get shot in a poem in My Advice to Pilgrims--after it is found killing a bird at the feeder in the front yard. The remainder of the 92 poems here are, by-in-large, void of gunfire. But all are equally unwavering in their own version of in-your-face-ness; and are patently bereft of nostalgia and sentimentality.
Jonathan Byrd's new book, You've Changed, is now out! Mary Gauthier says that this book of "masterful poems leaves me with hope. Takes me through darkness, past sorrow, to the other side of despair, past the losses, the crosses, beyond surrender. Offers a glimpse of the star field where there are no more words. Just the gentle glow of eternity. Hope. What more could I ask of a collection of poems?"
Listeners to Picott’s songs know the craft and the beauty, the perfect words, of his vignettes of working-class life and love. They will hear a similar voice in these short stories, and they will recognize the insight and the honesty about hard times.
And yet that honesty, while brutal in places, is seamlessly delivered through the crafting of his characters’ brutally honest dialogue and dialect. An often treacherous realm that he navigates with the skill of a seasoned novelist.
God in His Slippers is the poetry debut of acclaimed singer-songwriter Rod Picott. In a vivid collection that ranges from the lurid to the exquisite, Picott deftly handles a wide range of territory. Much like his songs, Rod Picott’s poems are tender, truthful, and darkly humorous. Always aiming for the hardwood of truth beneath the shag carpet of assumption, God in His Slippers is a wander through the mind of a gifted writer who clearly loves lining up boney words into a resonant whole.
In the follow-up to her debut poetry collection Kazoo Symphonies, Beth Wood explores deeper and more complex emotional territory. Inspired by an image from a Jane Hirshfield poem ‘Mule Heart’ in which grief and joy are carried in “two waiting baskets,” Wood seeks to find balance again and regain footing after heartbreaking loss. Ladder to the Light chronicles her journey from grief to gratitude to believing in love again—poetry as a ladder that lifts us back up to the light.
Beth Wood has long been loved as a lyricist and folk musician. She is a powerful songwriter with an equally powerful voice, who has won about every prize and award one can win in the singer-songwriter realm. Now she brings the magic of her lyricism to poetry. And not everyone can make that transition. But she has most certainly done it. Beth has the gift of storytelling, and she has it to the point that it doesn't matter what form or genre she employs. Kazoo Symphonies, with chapters on nature, life, love, and growing up, is, simply put, great storytelling. And it's worth every page.
Letters to the Daughter I'll Never Have navigates the gut-wrenching territory of a couple's ultimate decision to opt out of parenthood. In this book of letters to her imaginary daughter, Ashley Brown delves into the grief over what she'll be missing out on--feeling a mother's unconditional love; sharing stories and advice; and experiencing the fulfillment of creating a family with her husband of eight years. She also explains to her daughter the reasons for her decision and the fears and doubts about raising a child in today's world. She even acknowledges the relief of certain challenges she'll never have to face and sacrifices she won't have to make. Sometimes brutally candid, sometimes funny and heartwarming, Brown's letters take readers with her on the journey of arriving at this almost impossible decision all while celebrating love and family.
Step inside a slightly off-center world populated by cowboys, cotton farmers, oil heiresses and small-town merchants. The Prosper Chronicles explores the fictional West Texas town of Prosper, a town that is "seriously overnamed." Along the way there is plenty of coffee, wild plum pie, wry observations, unique characters and, of course, Beloved Rest Cemetery.
Part Garrison Keillor, part John Henry Faulk, Bob Wood, with his keen ear for the vernacular and sharp eye for detail, admits that many characters and events in the Chronicles have a kernel of truth at their core.
Adam Carroll promised a songbook to fans who supported his last album project in 2014. And in January of this year one of those guys, Ernie, reminded him politely that he was still waiting for his copy. Well, here you go Ernie. Better late than never. This book is a collection of lyrics, chord progressions, and the fun stories that go with them, of Adam Carroll’s best-known songs—a fascinating look at the span of a long and powerful career.
Jon Dee Graham & Nathan Brown
In this collection of co-written poems, former Oklahoma Poet Laureate Nathan Brown and three-time Austin Music Hall-of-Famer Jon Dee Graham call on the grumpy specter of Charles Bukowski to tell their world slant. Every poem's title is a line or phrase from Bukowski's work. Even the title of the book, Don't Try, is the inscription on the old man's tombstone. Like a collection of profane Psalms, this book brings the concept of "duet" to poetry. And it comes out swinging with the sounds of distorted guitars and smoke-encrusted vocals.
An Honest Day’s Prayer is the first in a trilogy of books that Nathan Brown is dedicating to his daughter, Sierra. Followed by An Honest Day’s Ode and An Honest Day’s Confession, the series is intended to be an encouragement to her, while still being honest about the state of the world, in these times of political unrest, cultural uncertainty, and the government’s denial about the health of the planet. From cheese to trees, to frogs, dogs, and crazy neighbors, this book covers a beautiful spectrum of prayers and praises to the everyday things of everyday life. But it also does it with Nathan Brown’s unique vision and angle on the world that Naomi Shihab Nye once referred to as “a tilted long-ranging eye that sees the next bend in the road, even when he’s standing right here, firmly planted.”
An Honest Day’s Ode is the second in a trilogy of books that Nathan promised, and is dedicating to, his daughter Sierra.
An Honest Day’s Confession rounds out the series by, possibly, being a little more honest with his daughter about life and culture, while still striving to remain positive and hopeful. All three books laid down the rule of “no blue language.” A condition that does not come naturally to Brown.
The second book in a trilogy that began with the collection I Shouldn’t Say… and will end with Apocalypse Soon. The poems in this collection reach back into some older material that confronts Ezra’s feelings about poetry as a genre, but also poets as writers, performers, and general problems for society, not to mention themselves.
Lipshitz’s debut book is one he didn't necessarily want to put out. However, Nathan Brown, owner of Mezcalita Press, after reading much of the material asked his permission to do it for him, especially in light of our current political climate. The book is divided into four chapters. The first is "The Home I Never Quite Had." The second is "Adam's Broken Rib," a section dealing with the wiles and difficulties of human relationship between the sexes. The third is "Holy Days," that covers the fall season of 2016 that ushered in the presidency of Donald Trump. The final chapter is called "The Fourth Horseman." It is a point-blank look at the insanity of a narcissistic megalomaniac becoming the leader of the free world.
Apocalypse Soon: The Mostly Unedited Poems of Ezra Lipschitz
The book is divided into three chapters. The first is “A Serious Laughter.” The second is “Among the Ruins.” And the final chapter is called “According to St. John the Divine.” The poems in this collection speak to climate change and its effects on coming generations, and they seek to laugh among the ruins. The closing chapter, however, is a direct “call and response” to various verses from every chapter in the Book of Revelation.
"Karma Crisis: New and Selected Poems," contains a selection of poems from Nathan Brown's first three books, along with a collection of new poems. The titles of the earlier books are: "Ashes over the Southwest" (2005), "Suffer the Little Voices" (2005), and "Hobson's Choice" (2002). The book "Suffer the Little Voices" was a finalist for the 2006 Oklahoma Book Award. Nathan's real gift is his ability with short narrative. He is first a storyteller. And so, where much of today's poetry tries to establish an air of superiority, holding the reader at bay, Nathan's work invites us into his well-traveled life and world of stories.
My Salvaged Heart
As a follow up to his earlier book, My Sideways Heart, Nathan's newest, My Salvaged Heart: Story of a Cautious Courtship continues his breadcrumb trail of poems "about love" for people who don't like "love poems." The book is searing in its honesty about the glories and the pitfalls of relationship, beginning with an early meeting, the ensuring friendship, and eventual courtship of his wife, Ashley.
Less is More, More or Less
The book is an exploration of what can be housed in fewer words, a study in brevity, with no poem longer than a single 5 X 7 page. And the one-word blurb on the back cover, from Austin Music Hall of Famer Jon Dee Graham, drives the point even further to home: "Sneaky."
To Sing Hallucinated: First Thoughts on Last Words
To Sing Hallucinated: First Thoughts on Last Words matches contemporary poems with the last or dying words of the famous -- beginning with Socrates and moving up through the centuries to Charles Bukowski and John Denver. With back cover comments from May Swenson Poetry Award winner George Bilgere and Grammy nominated James McMurtry, this latest work from Nathan Brown looks to be his best to date.
Orphan Poems chronicles a full year of heartbreak and healing after the author's father's death with letters and poems written directly to him. These intimate pages offer a difficult but universal message: Even after the most painful times, it's all right to rediscover happiness.
Edited by Nathan Brown
An anthology edited by Nathan Brown, the 2013 - 2014 Poet Laureate of Oklahoma. It includes poems "about" Oklahoma that are written by natives, ex-pats, and visitors alike. These poems are an honest, and sometimes raw, look at the state's past and present by way of three chapters titled: People, Places, and Odds & Ends. Among the poets represented are Pulitzer winners Stephen Dunn and N. Scott Momaday, as well as Naomi Shihab Nye, Joy Harjo, George Bilgere, Ron Padgett, and many others.
Table for One
Jenni Finlay's Table for One is a collection of poems that carries us into the hospital and motel rooms of hardship and healing. It is a concise, but incisive look at the bewilderment of health problems, their institutions, as well as the confusion and loneliness. Tough, but redeeming. Honest, yet hopeful at the same time.