Thursday, September 29, 2011

From Codhill Press, H. R. Stoneback's VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING

Des Hymnagistes poet H. R. Stoneback has recently published VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING (Codhill Press). Please visit their website for more information or to order, please visit


--"VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING is a funny, tragic, wonderful book . . . Stoneback writes always with good humor and great passion--about Paris, about love, about grief and joy, about the gains and losses of more than half a century gone."
Alex Andriesse Shakespeare, writer, Boston College

--"A virtuosic synthesis of disparate forms and haunting formulations, VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING is 'life-writing' of a wholly new and overwhelming kind, 'written' in the fullest sense and born of a life lived with passionate intensity."
William Bedford Clark, poet-critic, Texas A&M University

--"H. R. Stoneback's VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING . . . [is] an epic account of roots and sources, and it's close to the bone, intimate beyond words, stirring. Love is at the center of this book: romantic love, love of music, and love as a driving (and saving) force."
William Boyle, writer, University of Mississippi

--"There are only a few voices I can listen to and feel the way I ought to feel in church. H. R. Stoneback's VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING captures some of those voices . . . These are sacred songs; these are eternal poems. Listen slowly with infinite love and compassion."
Matthew Nickel, poet-editor, University of Louisiana

And, from the back cover of VOICES, among a host of laudatory comments from leading writers about Stoneback's recent volumes of poetry, a few excerpts:

--"[Stoneback's CAFE MILLENNIUM] performs an act of verbal hypnosis on its reader."
Billy Collins, Poet Laureate

--"These poems [SINGING THE SPRINGS] spring and sing right out of the earth . . .I hug these songs to my heart."
Catherine Aldington, French poet-translator, Imagist

--"The poem [HOMAGE: A LETTER TO ROBERT PENN WARREN] is a delight, a great read, a rumble of energy all the way through . . . the rhythmic roll and strut."

Dave Smith, poet, editor THE SOUTHERN REVIEW, Coleman Professor of Poetry, Johns Hopkins

--"What I love about Stoneback's poetry is that it makes you love poetry . . . He's a bard, celebratory and rhythmical, with an unmistakable voice and he gets and begets the numinous nature of poiesis."
Allen Josephs, writer, University of West Florida

--[Stoneback is a] Postmodern modernist extraordinaire!"
John R. O. Gery, poet, Director Ezra Pound Center for Literature


--"Stoneback's lyrical prose takes the reader inside the soul of Hemingway's Paris to reveal tantalizing secrets."
A.E. Hotchner, writer, Hemingway colleague, author of the classic PAPA HEMINGWAY

--"Stoneback's evocation of Hemingway's Paris is as close as I have come to reliving those Paris days in the company of Ernest Hemingway."
Valerie Hemingway, writer

Thursday, March 10, 2011

From Penn's Store to the World

From Penn’s Store to the World: An Anthology of Poems

98 pp.
Edited by H. R. Stoneback
with Amanda Boyle and Brad McDuffie
Des Hymnagistes Press 2011

In the spring of 2010 a great flood inundated Penn’s Store, which is located near Gravel Switch, Kentucky. The old country store is situated at the edge of the tobacco and corn bottomlands, and to the uninformed eye of the casual passerby the store might appear to be just another ramshackle structure in a dying agrarian community. But this store is a historic landmark, said to be America’s oldest country store run by the same family—since at least the 1840s. The Penn family that still runs the store is related to the great Kentucky writer, Robert Penn Warren. It has since become a place for poetry and song gatherings, and for over a decade the location of the annual Kentucky Writers Day celebration every April. This is an important landmark of Song and Story, Ballad and Poetry, in a numinous place redolent with a sense of the past.

Because of the flood, H. R. Stoneback organized a Benefit in November 2010 to raise money to help the damaged store. A direct result of the Benefit was the publication of a substantial volume entitled From Penn’s Store to the World: An Anthology of Poems. All funds raised by the benefit went directly to Penn’s Store as a gift. (And any profits made by the book will also go to benefit the Store.) This book contains 50 poems—some written by well-known poets of national reputation, some by previously unknown poets who wanted to help the cause. And the poets are not just from Kentucky, but from numerous states and countries. It is the hope of all poets who participated that Penn’s Store will survive.

W. H. Auden was not the first or the last to say that poetry makes nothing happen. We beg to differ: poetry can make things happen, especially when words are anchored in the spirit of human community and deeds of concrete compassion. In this crusade to save Penn’s Store words were deeds, poems were cash.

If you would like to purchase a copy of From Penn’s Store to the World: An Anthology of Poems and help Penn’s Store, please write to Des Hymnagistes at for ordering information.