New title from Scienter
announces its first publication since 2009:
R. L. Barth’s No Turning Back; the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.
32 pages including front and end matter. $12.50
In this sequence of poems, Barth explores the elemental qualities of human nature laid bare in the arena where those qualities are most exposed—War. The poems trace, in short vignettes, the doomed defense by French forces of Dien Bien Phu, a fortified position in the northwestern area of Vietnam. This 1954 battle with numerically superior Viet Minh forces precipitated the withdrawal of France from Vietnam and the partition of Vietnam into northern and southern political spheres. It was a precursor to the U.S. involvement that became the Vietnamese War. The pride, arrogance, and cowardly betrayals that led to the devastating French defeat are contrasted with the fatalistic courage of French troops who fought to the end against impossible odds.
R. L. Barth is the author of many books of poetry, including: Deeply Dug In; Battlefield Prayer; Small Arms Fire; Reading the Iliad; A Soldier’s Time; and Looking for Peace.
Turner Cassity, Under Two Flags; Echoes of the Foreign Legion
(16 pages including end matter. $8.50)
Two longer poems by the late, award-winning iconoclast. Expectations, by readers familiar with Cassity's work, of wit, political incorrectness and dry but gut-busting humor will not be disappointed.
Maryann Corbett, Dissonance
(24 pages including end matter. $8.50)
Sad, tender, tough—spare, clear-eyed poems by a rising poet.
On observing some college kids:
"I will decline to comment. They don't need
my sage advice, nor do they need to know
this priceless and expensive life they lead
was lived already. Or how long ago."
R.L. Barth, Battlefield Prayer
(8 pages. $7.50)
Put aside all expectations when you pick up Bob Barth's poems. Offense is guaranteed for literary and ideological predilections of every sort, in this group of epigrams which are by turns bitter, wry, and simply poignant.
Ghostly, we are like disembodied sounds:
Voices afar, echoes diminishing."
R. L. Barth, Semper Fidelis
(8 pages, including front & end matter. $6.25)
Ten epigrams. The title poem is dedicated to the poet’s father—a Marine veteran of WWII—who died last year. Other poems include five new additions to Barth's Dien Bien Phu series. All display the terse iconoclasm that characterizes his work.
Mark S. Bauer, The Gnarled Man Rises
(24 pages including front and end matter, $9.50)
This book moves from despair to a clear-eyed hope in poems serious, formal, and meaningful. Mark Bauer is Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University in Rhode Island. He has maintained an active literary life, publishing widely in literary journals. In 2002, Robert L. Barth issued his chapbook of epigrams, Imperial Days.
"She hears him falling down
hard, cursing life on crack.
He snores. She hears, gets up,
and slides the deadbolt back."
Bruce Bennett, Examined Life
(16 pages, including front and end matter. $7.50)
58 epigrams, each condensed in true epigrammatic fashion to two lines, ranging widely in subject but consistently iconoclastic in tone.
Bruce Bennett is Professor and Chair of English and Director of Creative Writing at Wells College in Aurora, New York. Harvard educated, author of seven full-length books of poetry (including New and Selected Poems, Navigating The Distances) and more than twenty poetry chapbooks, Bennett’s distinguished career includes being a founder of the Wells College Book Arts Center and Wells College Press as well as of Ploughshares, and service as Director of the Center and Press until 2002. His poems and reviews have appeared widely in respected journals, textbooks, and anthologies.
"God's spy"? How interesting. Amusing sport.
But things have changed. To whom do you report?"
Suzanne J. Doyle, Calypso
(21 pages. $8.50)
Fierce and focused, in her first volume of poems since Dangerous Beauties, Suzanne Doyle continues to demonstrate the intensity achievable in poetic form.
"You would be proud now, Father, could you see
me poised beside this lake on granite scree,
the fly dropped like a leaf onto the water,
the line expertly coiled. I am your daughter."
—From The Strike
Rhina Espaillat, The Story Teller's Hour
(14 pages. $7.50)
In two separate poem sequences, Rhina Espaillat displays an entrancing beauty, even as she wrestles with matters of substantive challenge. Espaillat shows here the skill and depth that have won her acclaim and many awards.
"Or begin decades back, perhaps beyond
the sprouting of those willows, with the old
dock sliding to the bottom of the pond,
crouching in ambush on the silty mould."
—From Sonnet No. I
Warren Hope, Moving In
(13 pages. $7.50)
Eclectic in both form and subject, these poems include blank verse, tight epigrams, and the traditional sonnet. The subjects range from Hope's experiences in Vietnam to everyday observations about humanity, to the serious illness that nearly killed him recently. All the poems embody Hope's wry affection for regular people.
I have been home, now, from the hospital
For seven months—no, it is almost eight—
And yet I sometimes think I am there still,
And that a stranger eats meals from my plate."
X.J. Kennedy, The Seven Deadly Virtues: poems, songs, verse and epigrams
(24 pages including front and end matter, $9.50)
Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, always entertaining, these poems give us the incisive but warm wit for which Kennedy is known.
Only among the fronds of plants felt sane,
Distrustful of his own root-cellar brain."
T. S. Kerrigan, The Shadow Sonnets and other poems
(11 pages, plus front and end matter, $8.50)
Reflective, gentle poems by a poet and lawyer. Good writing in metrical forms.
"Relentless winter sweeps away
The signatures our bodies etched
On wooded slopes and meadow grass,
The pathways where no trace remains
Of transient markings passion left."
—From The Berkeley Hills
Katherine McAlpine, Past and Present
(19 pages, $8.50)
In these serious and formal poems, McAlpine speaks sometimes in her own voice, and sometimes in the voices of figures from both the past and present. The subject matter is substantive, and the treatment distinguished in these fine poems.
"His rhymes were funny, sly, and fiercely sane
—which won small recognition, no awards,
lush grants, or honorary motarboards.
Yet he continued, undeterred,
to skewer sacred cows and scare the herd."
From Epitaph for an Unfashionable Poet
Ellen Stephen, The Poet's Pen
(20 pages, including front and end matter. $8.25)
By turns metaphorical, devotional, conclusory—poems in the tradition of meditation and discovery.
An Anglican nun of the Order of St. Helena, Ellen Stephen's work reflects the tradition of devotional poetry that includes Donne, Herbert, and Hopkins. She was a student of Yvor Winters at Stanford in the 1950’s. Poems in her Masters dissertation were published by Alan Swallow in 1958 as A Local Habitation. Robert L. Barth issued two chapbooks, Forms of things Unknown in 1998, and From Earth to Heaven in 2000. Winters critiqued her (sub nom Ellen Kay) in Forms of Discovery.
What is this nothingness of me
but a capacity for Thee?”
Richard Taylor, Braintree
(19 pages. $8.50)
In these poems, Richard Taylor displays the gentle wit, careful word selection, and pleasing verbal music that has made him a much loved poet and given him a loyal following. Former poet laureate of Kentucky, professor of English at Kentucky State University, and denizen of rural Kentucky near Frankfort, Taylor delights and challenges in these fifteen poems set in his native Kentucky.
Robert West, Out of Hand
(24 pages, including front & end matter. $8.50.)
Epigrams and other poems in the epigrammatic tradition. Keen and witty moral assessments of prominent "types"—poets, political candidates, evangelists, and others—along with some more tender pieces. Although widely published, this poet is a pleasing discovery for Scienter.
Gail White, Ignoble Truths; poems
(15 pages, plus front and end matter, $8.50)
A thoughtful range of tone by an experienced and capable poet displaying a wry and wistful wisdom and the fullness of her powers as a poet.
"Old lovers feel each other's breath
As ships in harbor feel the tide,
A subtle current underneath
That pulls them to each other's side."
—From Old Lovers
Yvor Winters, A House
(8 pages (including end sheets), $6.00)
In this previously unpublished poem, the 20th Century master provides autobiographical insight, and tries out material he was to include in modified form in some of his great poems. From a ms. in Special Collections, Stanford University. This title is published jointly by Robert L. Barth and Scienter Press.
Some non-Scienter titles
Gifts from Bob Barth--remnants of the following titles:
The Uncollected Poems of Yvor Winters, 1919-1928, R. L. Barth, ed. (Robert L. Barth, 1997)—35 pp., including an afterword by Barth—$8.50.
The Uncollected Poems of Yvor Winters, 1929-1957, R. L. Barth, ed. (Robert L. Barth, 1997)—24 pp., including a preface by Barth—$8.50.
The titles describe these books, which contain a number of Winters' poems that cannot be found elsewhere.
The Winters titles are available on Amazon.com.
Poems by Scienter's editor/publisher:
Scienter's policy is not to issue books written by the publisher. However, we have on hand issues of two volumes of Leightty's poems published by others. One is the remnant of Leightty's last chapbook (another Bob Barth gift), Civility at the Flood Wall (Robert L. Barth, 2002)—24 pp. ($5.00). The other is a reprint selection of his poems recently issued in the journal Legal Studies Forum, entitled, descriptively enough, Poems by David Leightty (2006)—11 pp. ($5.00). The Legal Studies reprint contains some poems from both Civility at the Floodwall and Cumbered Shapes (Robert L. Barth, 1998), as well as some previously unpublished.
The Leightty titles are NOT available on Amazon; they must be ordered from Scienter.