Prayer for Joy

What was it we wanted
to say anyhow, like today
when there were all the letters
in my alphabet soup and suddenly
the ‘j’ rises to the surface.
The ‘j’, a letter that might be
great for Scrabble, but not really
used for much else, unless
we need to jump for joy,
and then all of a sudden
it’s there and ready to
help us soar and to open up
our hearts at the same time,
this simple line with a curved bottom,
an upside down cane that helps
us walk in a new way into this
forest of language, where all the letters
are beginning to speak,
finding each other in just
the right combination
to be understood.

by Stuart Kestenbaum      from Only Now 

appeared on American Life in Poetry and Poetry Foundation

available here: Deerbrook Editions


As letter forms go, “J” is an odd one not found in the original Roman alphabet of Roman caps but may have been a swash version of the “I”. Swash being a flourish, more often seen in the Cancellaresca hand or Italic letterforms. Note the third line “Imperatori” using a swash ‘I’ and see if you can find any more.800px-Cancellaresca_von_Vespasiano_Amphiareo,_1554

There is more regarding the sound of “J” formerly being as “Y” in some other languages. The J is still four or five hundred years old probably first appearing in manuscripts and early printed books after the invention of printing from moveable types attributed to Gutenberg.


Now and again

Where it Goes by Martina Reisz Newberry

Where it Goes features a photograph by Eleanor Bennett

Where it Goes, the latest book of poetry from Deerbrook Editions by Martina Newberry, features a photo by Eleanor Bennett, a promising young UK photographer. This second book of poems by Martina Newberry has been praised as “Revealing intense human vulnerability and wondrous irony . . . With honesty, wit, imaginative breadth and prosodic grace . . . Newberry explores the painful themes of death and life, youth and aging, prayer and spirituality”

Anne Tammel







Only Now, poems by Stuart Kestenbaum

The cover features a print collaboration by Susan Webster and Stuart Kestenbaum

Only Now has been a best seller at Blue Hill Books and selling well in general. A welcome review of this book appeared on The Line Break by Tom Holmes of Redactions magazine. This is the third book of poems Deerbrook Editions has published by Stuart Kestenbaum over the years.


From the back cover of Only Now:


Stuart Kestenbaum’s Only Now is a rare accomplishment: a collection of poems that takes on the fragility of the world and our own mortality, and does so with unflinching directness and, most impressively, with wit and a sincere prayerfulness. Many of these poems are what I would call strangely hopeful warnings, elegies-in-advance. They worry about the world in ways that register the beauty of what is in danger of being diminished. —Stephen Dunn

Other recent good books post here: for Freeing the Hook by Peter Harris

Freeing The Hook by Peter Harris

White Waves on Sand, Maine by John Marin













and here for David Sloan’s The Irresistible In-Between. David received Maine literary awards for poems in the book.

The Irresistible In-Between by David Slaon

The Irresistible In-Between cover features a photo by Chris Darling.

All books can be found on the front page of Deerbrook Editions Website.








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