The Singing of the Wheels
Poems from Somewhere Not Far
by J. Brian Long

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      J. Brian Long

Though born in South Carolina and, as a child, having taken up residence for extended periods of time in both Florida and Texas, J Brian Long has spent most of his life in eastern Tennessee. A hotel manager by trade, he also serves on the board of directors for the Knoxville Writer’s Guild and edits the poetry section of The Christian Guide. He is the proud father of two sons, Nat and Tad, and keeps house with his life’s love, Merrie, to whom he has been wed since 1988.

Among other things, he enjoys traveling, tennis, and sitting on his porch swing with pen and paper in hand. J Brian Long began writing in earnest in 1992, and has spent a great deal of effort since then honing his craft through independent study, flagrant imitation of poets he most admires, such as Sandburg, Naomi Nye, Jill Alexander Essbaum, MacLeish, and Peter Ackroyd, and has come to his first book as a result of the careful critique and guidance given him by others more wise and experienced than he. Though his work has appeared in various magazines and literary journals and has now found a home with Wind Publications, he is not at all satisfied with his poetry, and, in fact, does not consider a single piece he has written as being “done”. He admits to a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to his own poems, and even more so to those written by others, but holds to the belief that he will one day “write words that shake the earth.” In the meantime, though, he attempts going about it one poem, one reader, at a time.

           The Singing of the Wheels -- Poems from Somewhere not Far  by J. Brian Long

The Singing of the Wheels is a striking debut by a gifted poet. With his memorable language and sophisticated sound-play, J. Brian Long proves himself an exceptional craftsman, but there is also plenty of heart in this collection as we journey to where the sacred and profane intersect and diverge in Long's wise, wide gaze.
                              -- Ron Rash

Mr. Long, I beg to differ. It isn't "Somewhere Not Far" at all. No, these poems travel their own great distances--to God and back, to Love and beyond it, through Loss and past the Letting Go. And--best you believe it--there's danger on this road. Be glad and beware it both; it's the landscape of the breaking, the broken heart.
                              -- Jill Alexander Essbaum

Sustaining metaphors of journey, geography, and stillness, the poems in J. Brian Long's The Singing of the Wheels are all "the sounds of maps unfolding." Long's eye and ear on the natural world infuse this remarkable first volume with an instinctive power through which we join him in brilliant explorations of "the makeshift, far-flung myth of us."
                              -- Claudia Emerson

From The Singing of the Wheels -- 

Mile 232

From the receiver, my son's voice
is an ache; it pops, sizzes: storms
somewhere between us. He tells me
I am missed. I tell him that

he is mist, that times I can see nothing
else, that I have caught sight of him
low in the ragweed hollows, glimpsed
him drifting among the umbral

ravels of rhododendron, brooding low
in the darkling laurel hells, that he has
made me brake, sudden, through the high,
hemmed passes. Just before we disconnect,

he asks if I have been writing (Yes.
Righting.) and how much further
I hope to go.  I simply don't know.
I haven't yet made it. I can't turn around.

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