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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.
Beautifully illustrated in color with classic paintings.
Hear what reviewers and readers have said about In the Dark, Soft Earth:
“An intoxicating, acutely observant collection where landscapes shift continuously and meaning is in a constant state of flux.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Hints of the bittersweet endings of love and the spells made in this trance. The search for oneself in this journey of life.”
–Chanelle Robinson, Goodreads
“We enter a consciousness where desire is a dream state, and I find myself longing to reunite with my Lover and give him the world’s last drop of rain, or the raven moon, or a road he may travel that will never end.”
“His poetry is haunting and evocative, and the beautiful art that intersperses the pages . . . captures the mood of his words perfectly.”
–Rohase Piercy, Goodreads
“Honest, deep, soul-touching. I found this to be exactly what I needed to reveal deep-rooted pain and heal certain aspects of my own broken heart.”
–Dana Johnson, Goodreads
“The poems take us through the spiritual world, through time and space, yet are always grounded in the imagery of nature.”
–Julianne Davidow, MA, CMC, ACC, Author, Coach, Adjunct Writing Instructor, City College of New York
All editions will be released on July 7. The paperback is available for early purchase now.
Quotes & Blurbs
“In a time of pain, loss, and inward turning, the poet holds a mirror to the human soul and gives voice to Spirit. Frank Watson’s exquisitely crafted collection of verse, accented throughout with sensuous, classic works of art, is a catharsis, a testament to Nature’s eternal power, love, and beauty surrounding us, if we choose to see before our inevitable return to the dark, soft earth.”
—Sue Owens Wright, award-winning mystery author and poet, sueowenswright.com
“Rhythmic, sensual, dreamy with a hint of the dark and twisted, In the Dark, Soft Earth makes me pine for Watson whispering his poetry into my ear as I sleep.”
—Anum Sattar, poet. Her work has appeared in Artifact Nouveau, Conceit Magazine, Florida Review, Grey Sparrow Journal, Oddball Magazine, Off the Coast, and other journals.
“The beautiful paintings act as a bellwether of the themes to follow. There is a pull and push between the present and the past. Nature takes a part in this commingling of time and space. Nature and love take turns in each other’s metaphors. Elements of the earth become the key notes of an ever-present faint music. Ekphratic poems are visceral. I foresaw the babel painting from the renaissance theme few poems ahead, a picture of the Babel tower by Ted Chiang formed in my head.”
—Prasanna Surakanti, contributor to The Motion in Motive (K L Storer, 2008)
“What an interesting book! I found myself lost in the photographs and the ekphrastic poems that accompanied them as I searched for the source of Frank Wilson’s interpretations. Reading this book was like awakening into a dream where longing and desire become palpable. How does one find the words to express love’s fleeting memory and the longing left after it is gone? Frank Watson turned to the world around him and extracted anything that offered even a hint of his desire for what once was but is no more. He sought comfort from things real and imagined. The unreal becomes real under his gaze. The real dissolves into thin air. Only the essence remains to be remembered.”
—Sarah Bracey White, author of Primary Lessons: A Memoir and The Wanderlust: A South Carolina Folktale
“Frank Watson’s In the Dark, Soft Earth aches with morning winds, rain, sun, and motion alive in every living thing. The unknown weeps. And the art-poetry combination creates a music in and out of rivers, leaves, and moonlight trysts.”
—Shelby Stephenson, poet laureate, North Carolina, 2015-18, author, Slavery and Freedom on Paul’s Hill
“Frank Watson has managed to successfully distill these poems to their essence, taking the reader on a journey through the vast natural and surreal landscapes of his mind. Poems like ‘afloat,’ ‘snow,’ and ‘fossils’ stay with you long after you read them, echoing in your head with their simplicity and depth.”
—Ran Walker, www.ranwalker.com
“A beautifully made book, In the Soft, Dark Earth shows Frank Watson working largely successfully in that terrain of simplicity, directness and brevity — so difficult for many poets. His work is reminiscent of the momentous calm of classical Asian poetry. I can see the acknowledged influence of the deft, distinctive strokes of calligraphy and haiku.”
—Justin Vicari, author of In Search of Lost Joy (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2018), The Professional Weepers (Pavement Saw Press, 2009), and Siamese Twins of the 21st Century (West Town Press, 2009).
“Frank Watson’s poems are open and unafraid. They are charming and generous. In the Dark, Soft Earth offers verses that are graciously welcoming, familiar and alive. His poems are firmly rooted in honesty and emotion. Watson writes in an engaging voice and offers a work of beautiful achievement.” —LB Sedlacek, author of The Poet Next Door
“Frank Watson writes, against a backdrop of sand and sea and drifting clouds, of a wife taken from him by stroke and dementia. In the Dark, Soft Earth is a beautiful book—poems of love and devotion—and I will read it again and again.”
–Renée Thompson, author of The Plume Hunter and The Bridge at Valentine
“In this elegant volume, Watson uses stark, terse language to discover deep meanings hidden beneath the surfaces of time and nature.”
—J. Weintraub, author. Poetry has appeared in the anthologies, Bite to Eat Place (Redwood Coast Press, 1995) and Movieworks (Little Theatre Press, 1990).
While J. Alfred Prufrock may squeeze the universe into a ball and roll it into some overwhelming question. Frank Watson’s In the Dark, Soft Earth contemplates love, nature, spirituality, and dreams in fragments and stories, as the fleeting moments of our lives are. Weighty contemplations here are not without humor as in “jazz notes” in the art of love, “finesse.” These poems are pointers to the magnetic poles of what’s important in life.,
—Koon Woon, author of Water Chasing Water, winner of 2014 American Book Award.
“Frank Watson’s lyrical In the Dark, Soft Earth has the feel of passing through the lanes of human history, coming to a stop, moving on, endlessly backward and forward inside a long, winding tunnel of dreams. Read on some cloud-covered, liquid evening, and prepare to be delighted.”
—Olivia Stiffler, author of Hiding in Plain Sight (Dos Madres Press, 2017) and Otherwise, We Are Safe (Dos Madres Press, 2013)
“Enchanting and evocative, this poetry collection sumptuously reveals a lyrical wonderland of mysticism and spirituality.”
—Ashok Rajamani, author of The Day My Brain Exploded: A True Story
“With images that snatch a reader’s breath, this book is a lyrical love letter to the earth and her timeless embrace of life and love, magic and mystery, and the connection of all souls.”
—Gary Earl Ross, award-winning author of the Gideon Rimes mysteries.
Watson’s collection is accompanied by beautiful pieces of classic art—inspiration meandering freely among his equally beautiful, spare (and often haunting) words. “One day I got lost / in the backwoods / and decided / never to return.” You may enter this book and decide to remain and make camp in this poetic landscape, too.
—Donna Marie Merritt, author of seven poetry collections, including Bible Poems from Cladach Publishing
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.
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
above and below the streets
and all were one with the city
—Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D., ecofeminist poet and novelist
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)
It’s absolutely amazing. It was a touching account of thinly veiled heartbreak and romanticism between human and nature. I am in love. What a crescendo of emotion in empathy. Truly, truly lovely.
—Silver Spence, www.silverspence.com
“A series of love songs from man to the Earth, Watson’s poems roll effortlessly from one to the next, taking us on a journey through myth and ancient time, always asking the question: how can we, as humans, find our way back to belonging?”
—Francesca G. Varela, Author & Environmentalist, M.A. Environmental Humanities, www.francescavarela.com
“In simple but elegant language, this poet conveys acute insight into the human experience.”
—Dr. Linda Sonna, Psychologist & Author. Latest book: Tortillas & Peanut Butter: True Confessions of an American Mom Turned Mexican Smuggler
“In the Dark, Soft Earth, Watson uses both fine and broad brush strokes of rhythm and vision. The inclusion of the classic works of such artists as Roerich, Magritte, and Picasso, creates a vibrant meditative dance of ethereal poetry rooted in a tangible palette.”
—Romaine Washington, author of Sirens in Her Belly
“Frank Watson’s koan-like poems are meant to be read multiple times, meditated upon, and ultimately cherished. Their dreamlike imagery and subtle musicality take us to a landscape between the conscious and unconscious, the hidden between the seen, and the real behind the real. This is work that speaks in a slender, but powerful voice emerging from a original poetic imagination.”
—Judith Valente is a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and PBS-TV, co-author of The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed, author of the poetry collection, Discovering Moons, and co-editor of the anthology Twenty Poems to Nourish Your Soul.