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 Campbellsville 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. Ransom was the teacher of such notables as Allen Tate and Robert Penn Warren with whom he
became 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 the third book to be 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. 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). Wind Publications will publish his
A Storm of Honey--Notes from The Sabbath Country in 2004. He lives in historic Harrodsburg, Kentucky with his black Chihuahua, Gringo.
Afternoon in the Country of Summer is available
from your favorite local bookstore, on-line from Amazon,
directly from the
of the Kentucky Literary Award for excellence in poetry awarded
by Western Kentucky University and the Southern Kentucky Book Fest.
Read this review from Hollins
The lyricism of these poems
haunts the reader. . . It is time to celebrate the range and
achievement of Charles Semones' poems.
-- Robert Morgan
Charged with energy and music, the
world comes galloping in these poems. Charles Semones is a poet
who has the gifts . . .
-- George Garrett
From the book ---
Henry Thoreau Writes to Us
from Deep Creek
I hum the
constellations over the orchard,
toward September's ripe equinox, toward the solstice
and winter. Much to owls' amazement, whippoorwills
leave off naming themselves and go to bed early.
The cordial weather of autumn is on the wind.
Now the naked virgin in my neighbor's hayloft
comes out of hiding. Coitus with an angel,
though sorely difficult, is not impossible.
Largely it's a matter of position--upreared
legs being paramount, and a lush contralto
torn from either body at the instant of come
being likely to happen. While this may go on
ad infinitum, our sane, civilized season
will shepherd its flock of stars when the northern lights
dance like dervishes all over their plot of sky.
After frost and gossamer, Indian summer
will come cooing its halcyon lie to the land.
Already the plain people here are tapestried
figures woven into trance. I cannot rouse them.
They need to know that there's no word from heaven yet.
And won't be either. But that's another matter.
I'd rather be in Concord. Yours, et cetera. H.T.