Selections from RHL books

Web del Sol :: 20 pieces from The Work of the Bow and The Effigies back in the 90s.  Bow‘s short narrative poems, mostly concerning family, fatherhood, love and loss, differ in form if not tone from the elegiac flash fiction sketches of New Orleans neighborhoods and characters in The Effigies.

The Work of the Bow, 1997

The Effigies; is still available from James Finnegan’s Plinth Books: http://plinthbooks.org/rhlong.html, and The Work of the Bow remains in Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s catalog: http://www.csuohio.edu/poetrycenter/. Both books are findable via Amazon, ABEbooks, etc., and in libraries around the country via WorldCat. Much of The Work of the Bow can be read as a Googlebooks preview. (I’m still the best source for either of these books, as well as The Power to Die–signed, sealed, delivered, they’re your$.)

The Effigies, 1998

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The Power to Die (1987), took its title from the last stanza of Emily Dickinson’s #754 (“My Life had stood–a Loaded Gun”). The only poem from that book on the web is the final, 5-part elegy for McKendree Robbins Long: “Grandfather Long the Last Time”. Have a look at his best-known painting, “Apocalyptic Scene with Philosophers,” at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

The Power to Die, 1987

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McKendree Robbins Long was a portraitist, a Presbyterian minister, a charismatic ecumenical evangelist styled the “Picture Painter of the Apocalypse,” a religious poet and hymn-writer, a visionary interpreter of the Book of Revelations and a deeply conflicted erotic diarist of a certain Woman in Red. In his grandfather role, he was  jolly, face-pulling, eye-rolling, ventriloqual from basso to falsetto. He taught me to shoot his heavy hunting bow at fresh oil portraits of bloody-mouthed leopards and bobcats; told scary stories with gusto; with equal gusto, acted out his (far more terrifying to a boy of seven) paintings of the end of the world–giant blue devils, naked sinners tumbling from the sky into hell, Eisenhower, Kruschev and Castro about to be annihilated by a zombie-staring Christ on a white horse. He made a decisive impress on my imagination during its earliest years. Brad Thomas and David Steel cataloged his work for NCMA. You can trace his influence in another grandson, my cousin Ben Long IV, best known for his frescoes.

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At Virginia Quarterly Online, two more pieces from The Effigies :: “Stealing Dirt” and “Eyes of the Swordfish.”

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Peter Liotta reviewed The Effigies in Peter Johnson’s incomparable The Prose Poem: an International Journal. Read it here.

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Until the book itself comes out, here is a link to the PDF of the Advance Review Copy of The Kilim Dreaming: Kilim COVER_for ARCs

One Response to “Books”


  1. […] love books. Not just my own, though I have a special affection for them. I write them longhand, one poem or piece of prose at a time. I used to type them on an Underwood […]

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