by Constance Brewer & Kathleen Cassen Mickelson
Nominated for the Eric Hoffer Book Award
“Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction.” C.S. Lewis
I’m pleased to announce the release of my newest poetry book, the chapbook Prayer Gardening, co-authored with poet Kathleen Cassen Mickelson. We’ve worked together for years, first as co-founders of Gyroscope Review poetry magazine, then exchanging poems for critiques. Our work covered similar interests and themes, and this collection grew organically out of our poetic conversations.
Prayer Gardening speaks of the way we connect to each other, nature, and the world around us. It takes a deep dive into what makes us human, and how we forge relationships. The chapbook alternates between two voices that explore connections and discover our similarities more than our differences.
Collaboration Discussion and Reading by the authors.
In this video we discuss how we came to collaborate, and the joys and pitfalls of working with another author toward a common goal.
Morning Worship by Constance Brewer
Night Poem # 1 by Kathleen Cassen Mickelson
Prayer Gardening is available from Kelsay Books:
Prayer Gardening is also available as a paperback here:
Prayer Gardening – Amazon
Or available from the author
constance (dot) brewer (at) gmail (dot) com, or through this website’s contact form.
Praise for Prayer Gardening:
Constance Brewer writes in Prayer Gardening, “my eyes adjust to nuance,” and my eyes do too, as a reader of this evocative chapbook that explores daily life with fresh eyes. These are poems of gratitude, in Kathleen Cassen Mickelson’s words, for the landscape “in which I love everything/the traffic, the gas pumps/the bus bench, the library…,” while also acknowledging “the hunger beneath every song.” The interplay between the two poets immerses us in family relationships, encounters with the natural world, and most of all, a mature understanding of the contradictions in all of our lives, for “What is love but a failed picture of the moon.”
–Joanne Durham, author of To Drink from a Wider Bowl and On Shifting Shoals
The earth-toned poems in Prayer Gardening by Constance Brewer and Kathleen Cassen Mickelson burble along the riverbank, lace themselves among the trees, tease us through seasons, give us glimpses of dreams, the yeasty smell of bread rising, the moon, angels, and even origami. And, oh, the birds—glorious, full-throated, “each voice as one small part of a choir,” (KCM) “light arrowing down/ to anoint… with purpose”(CB). Though there are two distinct voices here, one cannot help but deduce they are both channeling the same dazzling earth-centric deity.
-Kari Gunter-Seymour, Ohio Poet Laureate, author of Alone in the House of My Heart
Prayer Gardening sparkles with birds, stars, and snowflakes. In these pages we feel touch “sweep my soul/back into my body” and “hear the hunger beneath every song.” Constance Brewer and Kathleen Cassen Mickelson’s words call us to “whisper thanks for this breath,” reminding us to fully inhabit our lives—as the best poetry always does.
– Laura Grace Weldon, 2019 Ohio Poet of the Year, author of Portals
Other Books by Constance Brewer
Piccola Poesie: A Nibble of Short Form Poems
Piccola Poesie contains a variety of Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, and American Sentences that explore human relationships, our relationship with nature, and with everyday objects around us. The poems wheel through the seasons and incorporate observations and commentary in appreciation of everyday life. These short, easily digestible poems permit the reader to find answers to important questions like, ‘What’s up with cats, anyhow?’ and why winter causes poets to rush outdoors to witness the season. Like macarons, the reader can enjoy these poems as daily treats, or they can be gobbled down by the handful.
100 small-bite poems for a fast-moving world.
(If you purchase, please consider leaving an Amazon review. The karma squirrels will smile on you.)
Praise for Piccola Poesie
Judge’s Commentary on Piccola Poesie from the 27th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards
I love this cover design! It is perfect for the contents of the collection, indicates the short-form variety quite well, and is well made. I think it also reflects the vibe of the poems inside while drawing readers in. The collection is well formatted, with consistent structure and clear easy to read text. I appreciated and was impressed that throughout this collection there is a variety of feeling, emotion, topics, and moments expressed and all through such short tight bites of poetry. That’s not easy to do! I really liked p. 93, which made me hungry and also had me remembering moments where I had prepared food for myself and others I cared about. The humor in p.85 lamenting age and changing bodies and pointing at the passage of time by going to the gym, cracked me up and made me think. There’s a great talent here and I’d love to see what could be done with more slightly lengthier spaces. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this collection is how relatable these poems are, and, while short, they manage to create something readers can view through their own perspective and in that way find common ground together. It’s delightful.
Judge, 27th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.
Chapbooks looking for homes:
Astronomy Lessons – Astronomy Lessons looks to the stars to explain what it means to be human. These poems explore the poet’s search for a foundation as she moves from doubts about her place in the world to finding her cosmology. The quest for understanding begins with her own creation myth—the closely held truths and fictions common to us all.
The Family Rate – The Family Rate is a multifaceted story of all the ways families can make us—or break us. Told through one woman’s life, it ponders the good and bad of childhood and parents before moving into adulthood and a shaky marriage. The mystery of her own children, parental deaths, divorce, and a growing realization of how relationships work forces her to confront hidden fears. She learns to give her heart to another, for real this time, as she becomes at peace with her past.