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Michelle Castleberry's "Dissecting the Angel and Other Poems" is the remarkable debut of a poet in strong voice and with a sure poetic sense in matters great and small. Stepping into the world presented here is to open a present you did not expect and find yourself almost overwhelmed with delight at what you have been given. The Gideons, jazz, the god of fire, nightmares, love and divorce, the devil's nephew, a Delta lullaby, and so much more are examined and brought to life here. Her poems are rich with imagery from her childhood among the tomato fields and timber lanes of southeastern Arkansas; Michelle Castleberry remains grounded in what is most important from her beginnings, even as she ventures out into the realm of intelligent and inspired imagination. This extraordinary first book by an already accomplished poet reminds us of the continuing importance, relevance, and, yes, necessity of poetry, poetry that offers us both pleasure and truth. Michelle Castleberry is a poet, sometime saxophonist, and clinical social worker. Her work has appeared in "Umbrella," "Bellemeade Books," "The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature," "Poemeleon," "The Anthology of Southern Poetry, Vol. V: Georgia," and "The Chattahoochee Review." She is most proud of her involvement in the Athens, Georgia, community of Word of Mouth, a monthly open poetry reading. She lives in Watkinsville, Georgia. Praise for "Dissecting the Angel and Other Poems" "Michelle Castleberry's poems are often quiet, but never subtle or shy. In fact, they are fearless and dead set on searching out and praising beauty in this world: from a coroner's exam table to a hospital burn unit in Afghanistan, or a winter carnival, these poems sing with feather and grit. Read this book and be moved." -Travis Wayne Denton, author of "When Pianos Fall from the Sky" and "The Burden of Speech" "Michelle Castleberry's poems are probative and lyrical, proving instinct and heart are still essential for our customary lives. 'Dissecting the Angel' is a fervent, defiant, and fresh collection from a poet of ardor and nerve." -Stephen Kuusisto, author of "Planet of the Blind" "In 'Dissecting the Angel and Other Poems, ' Michelle Castleberry conjures a landscape that is both of the real world-her home in rural Arkansas, and in equal measure, of the dreams we all carry within us of home: 'For most of my life/I've woken up from nightmares/mouthing the wish to go Home.' These poems are created out of sharply etched images and filled with insight. Most importantly, they all come straight from the heart of the poet." -Judith Ortiz Cofer, author of "A Love Story Beginning in Spanish" "Raw, piercing, full of sass and the sacrament of longing, her imagery captures the universal." -Trish Joyce, professor, creative writing, Broward College "Whatever gift it takes to make poetry, and from whichever god of words that gift is given, Michelle Castleberry has been exceedingly blessed. Her collection, 'Dissecting the Angel and Other Poems, ' is triumphant writing, a far better offering than anything I've read in a very long while. Lovers of rich, profound language will be mesmerized by her descriptive power and by the surety of her insight. The gods have chosen well." -Terry Kay, author of "To Dance with the White Dog" and "The Book of Marie.
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