In the Dark, Soft Earth

Hardcover, Paperback, and Kindle pre-orders now available.

Dig into this delectable journey through the dark, sensual, and ravishing poetry of Frank Watson. Ruminate the searing to the sultry as you absorb this haunting lilt of burning carnality. The poems ignite rapid and surprising shifts in focus and perspective as they twist and turn your preconceptions, allowing the implications to linger in your thoughts.

Vignette verses explore the workings of love, nature, spirituality, and dreams with sprinklings of tarot symbolism and jazzy blues. Together these verses contemplate the subtle underpinnings of a soft earth.

Hear what readers and reviewers have said about Frank Watson’s poetry:

“A dazzling and intriguing poetic examination of the wonders of the universe.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“These verses are lush and bewitching.”
—Katherine Harris, NetGalley

“Lyrical. Mysterious. Sensual. I adored this volume.”
—Catherine E., NetGalley

“Each stanza feels natural and not crafted, as if words simply blew in through the poet’s heart on the breeze.”

“A wonderful selection of well-organized brilliant poems.”
—Sharon Reif, NetGalley

“This collection is truly captivating and beautifully written.”
—Lenore Jordan, NetGalley 

Scheduled to be released on July 7, 2020. Pre-Orders Available Below:


KIRKUS REVIEW (starred review)




The natural world melds with the spiritual unknown in this collection of poetry.

The epigraph to this new offering by Watson asserts: “Finding meaning / in the subtle underpinnings / of this soft earth.” This reads as the poet’s mission statement for the forthcoming pages, where he delights in illuminating the disregarded minutiae of human life. The fluid collection is divided into 10 books, each no more than 50 pages long, and complemented by paintings from a broad range of artists, from Nicholas Roerich to Pieter Bruegel the Elder. In the opening poem, “origins,” the author’s camera eye zooms outward from microcosm to macrocosm, capturing “distant sands / turned white as flecks / on wild black hair” to the infinite expanse of “where the world begins / before Creation.” This strikingly visual collection then seeks to understand humankind’s place in the universe by taking readers on a poetic journey through time and space. Watson’s writing is sparse yet deeply thought-provoking, as in the poem “fossils,” which celebrates an indelible declaration of love across the ages: “In two thousand years / they will find an oak fossil / with the lovers’ names.” The poet has the ability to evoke complex ideas regarding existence with an enviable economy of line, as here in “particles”: “All the dust / that’s swept into / the world’s wind / and the particle / that is me.” Watson’s previous work has been criticized for its fragmentary nature—this offering is also heavy with visually arresting images, but read in sequence, the poems serve to inform one another concurrently. For example, the poem “she sleeps” could be interpreted as a fragment: “She sleeps / beneath the moon / as I slip / into the covers / of imagination.” But it is embellished by the following poem, “desert of dreams”: “She shadow-walks / across the desert of dreams / to pierce my sleeping mind.” The result is an intoxicating, acutely observant collection where landscapes shift continuously and meaning is in a constant state of flux. Fans of Watson’s work will find this his most penetrating, cohesive volume to date.

A dazzling and intriguing poetic examination of the wonders of the universe.


Review Excerpt

I picture Frank Watson writing from a mystical castle, rooted in the dark, soft earth and yet soaring into the sky. Wistful, he watches the journey of his silhouetted love sailing above the water. That is the imagery that wrapped around me as I read the book. If you want to be taken away to an ancient world, learn of old, lost love, then this is the poetry book for you.

By Mary Beth Bretzlauf at HighlandParkPoetry.Org


The newest collection of poems by Frank Watson, In The Dark, Soft Earth, speaks of the ephemeral yet enduring quality of love, the power of longing, the reality of not being able to quite hold onto anything in this world. Although this yearning for things that are fleeting is poignant, it also helps us to become aware of who we truly are.

The poems take us through the spiritual world, through time and space, yet are always grounded in the imagery of nature. The many references to the earth dark, soft, deep, are reminiscent of James Hillman’s writing on the “organic motion” of growing down, sending down roots to embody our true nature.

The images by such luminaries as Roerich, Magritte, Picasso, and Kandinsky beautifully complement the poems and have a hypnotic effect, bringing the poems even more fully to life, and inviting us to connect with our personal memories, desires, and creative spirit.

Julianne Davidow, MA, CMC, ACC
Author, Coach, Adjunct Writing Instructor
City College of New York



This book is a soul map, a safe harbor, a secret key to the door of humanity right now. In ten interconnected sections, these poems guide us into the wisdom of earth, even as the elements of air and fire and water threaten us (and her). With short lines and spare language, like the last few remaining pieces of candy left in the house, Frank Watson feeds us something sweet as we keep on living here, even while, as he writes in the poem “omen,”

there were bodies
many bodies
above and below the streets
and all were one with the city

Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D., ecofeminist poet and novelist


Never a wasted word in these tight, lyrical poems that weave nature, time, space, spirituality, and love—especially love—in a web of insight that surprises. This collection of poems is divided into ten books, each with a title that insinuates subject and perspective, and that contributes to the book’s marvelous structure. Pictures, such as paintings by Picasso, Seurat, Rousseau, as well as Tarot cards and a Japanese calligraphy by Keido Fukushima, images in color, contribute to what Frank Watson has masterfully created in this impressive book of poetry—In the Dark, Soft Earth.

—Michael Onofrey, author of Bewilderment, Sightseeing, and Future


In the Dark, Soft Earth is a collection of poems pregnant with a heightened appreciation of love, nature, spirituality, and dreams expressed in pictures and metaphors that require deep understanding of the English language. Watson is clearly a gifted poet who gives the poetry lover a chance to navigate his own universe in bliss.

—Emmanuel Kane, author of Growing Flames, Fury & Lavender (PRA, Publishing, 2016), and A Gun and a Rose (forthcoming)