A Storm of Honey
Notes from the Sabbath Country

by Charles Semones

    

         A Storm of Honey -- Notes from the Sabbath Country

The book cover depicts the Deep Creek Road bridge over the Chaplin River in Western Mercer County, Kentucky. This is the rugged and almost mythical terrain that Charles Semones in his writings often refers to as "The Sabbath Country." The field in the foreground is ready for the planting of tobacco. The photo could have been made in the early summer of countless years; the landscape has changed little during much of the last century.

A Storm of Honey, 105 pages,
ISBN 1893239314  softcover, $14.00


Praise for A Storm of Honey ---

"I've never visited 'The Sabbath Country' of Mercer County, Kentucky, but I've just heard its voice and he left me grinning and nodding. Quirky, cranky, indiscreet and elegiac, by turns sentimental and sardonic, Charles Semones reads like an improbable cross between James Still and James Thurber."  ---Hal Crowther, author of Cathedrals of Kudzu
     

From the opening pages, when jubilant spring birds awaken h
im from winter's doldrums, to the final paragraph of his clever tribute to Henry David Thoreau, A Storm of Honey by Charles Semones is a triumph of sweetness over bitterness. It is a book about facing difficulties---from a simple broken arm to the deeper fractures of anger at a grandfather who never understood him---and overcoming them by putting fury in a larger perspective. We are, of course, subject to pain, but this wise and joyous book reminds us that we are also capable of healing.
--- Steve Harvey, author of Bound for Shady Grove, Lost in Translation, and A Geometry of Lilies.

Charles Semones brings his poetic gifts---vivid imagery, passionate lyricism, and emotional depth---to this rich collection of essays. He guides the reader to both peaceful and emotionally filled places hidden in our frenzied "CNN world"; places where he generously opens his soul to us. The lessons he shares---drawn in part from living close to the land, the conflagration of World War II, and a fitting tribute to Henry David Thoreau---cannot be ignored. We have no choice but to become introspective; yet, his prodding is our reward.
--- Peter Krass, author of Blood & Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel, and Carnegie.

A Storm of Honey proves Charles Semones is an excellent essayist as well as an excellent poet. Places and people lost to time and death are resurrected in Semones's lyrical prose. He is a writer of exceptional talent.
--- Ron Rash, author of Raising the Dead, One Foot in Eden, and Saints at the River.


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Charles Semones
Charles Semones

Charles Semones was born in 1937 at Deep Creek in rural Mercer County, Kentucky. He was educated in the public schools of Mercer County and at Campbellsville College (now University) and Eastern Kentucky University where he took creative writing courses. He started writing poetry seriously at Eastern Kentucky University and attended EKU's first annual summer writing workshop, the poetry section of which was conducted by the late John Crowe Ransom, the famous poet and critic, and former teacher of such notables as Allen Tate and Robert Penn Warren with whom he was later to become known as one of the Fugitive poets at Vanderbilt University. Semones' first published poems appeared in Eastern Kentucky University's literary magazine, Belles Lettres. 

After spending two years in the US Army, stationed at various bases in the United States, Semones became a teacher in the Mercer and Nelson County, Kentucky, public school systems. He met Joy Bale (later to become Joy Bale Boone) and published early poems in Approaches, the "little magazine" which she edited. He won the Blaine Hall award from Approaches twice. He considered Joy Bale Boone a mentor for several years. He later published numerous poems in Kentucky Poetry Review and attended poetry workshops under Hollis Summers and George Garrett. He corresponded with famed poet-novelist and Kentucky native, Robert Penn Warren, for a number of years until not long before the death of Mr. Warren in 1989. 

One of Semones' poems was published in Quentin R. Howard's first issue of Wind Magazine. He continued to publish frequently in Wind during Howard's editorship of that magazine. His first full-length collection of poems, Witch Cry, was published in 1973. His poems were published in the anthologies, This Place Kentucky, God's Plenty: An Anthology of Kentucky Writing, and later in Through the Gap. During these years his poems were published in literary magazines such as The Chattahoochee Review, Kansas Quarterly, The American Voice, The Journal of Kentucky Studies and numerous other literary magazines across the country. His poems have been published in the general interest magazines, Yankee and The Mennonite. Along with Joy Bale Boone, Wade Hall and Richard Taylor, he received significant mention in William S. Ward's groundbreaking A Literary History of Kentucky (University of Tennessee Press, 1988). 

In 1993, Semones' long poem "Homeplace," first published in Kentucky Poetry Review, was published as a chapbook by Larkspur Press. His second full-length collection of poems Hard Love (1994) was published by the newly founded Wind Publications. In 2003 Wind Publications published his third collection Afternoon in the Country of Summer: New and Selected Poems which won the Kentucky Literary Award (poetry) presented by Western Kentucky University. Semones has conducted poetry workshops in Pikeville, Kentucky and at Campbellsville University. Other than Robert Penn Warren, the Kentucky writer he most admires is Elizabeth Madox Roberts (to whose memory he is devoted and through membership in the Elizabeth Madox Roberts Society works to restore Miss Roberts to her rightful place in American literature). He lives in historic Harrodsburg, Kentucky with his black Chihuahua, Gringo.

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