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
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 ---
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
From the opening pages, when
jubilant spring birds awaken him 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
excellent poet. Places and people lost to time and death are
resurrected in Semones's lyrical prose. He is a writer of exceptional
--- Ron Rash, author of Raising the Dead, One Foot in Eden, and
Saints at the River.
A Storm of Honey is available
from your favorite local bookstore, on-line from Amazon,
directly from the
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,
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.