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Press Fifty-Three

560 N. Trade St, Ste 103
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
$14.95
Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314

Ann Herlong-Bodman
Loose in Far-away Places 
by Ann Herlong-Bodman

6 x 9 paperback, 86 pages
ISBN 978-1-941209-62-2
Ann Herlong-Bodman is the author of the chapbook Pulled Out of Sleep, and her poems have appeared in a variety of journals, including Atlanta Review, The Cortland Review, and The South Carolina Review. After receiving degrees from Columbia College and the University of South Carolina, she taught at the USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications and at Lander University. When the Berlin Wall came down, she taught in East Europe under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State and lives now near Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband Robert.
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Praise for Loose in Far-away Places

Loose in Far-away Places is like a geography lesson without maps. Each place illuminated in these poems contains far more than imagery. Small parables full of wisdom are scattered across these pages, describing journeys that traverse the planet, and Ann Herlong-Bodman is the navigator reminding us “This is how it happens, One sail after another. / Life moves on and we sail out of ourselves.” Exactly.
—Marjory Wentworth, Poet Laureate of South Carolina 

Don’t let Ann Herlong-Bodman fool you; she’s no tourist. Yes, she’s traveled far and wide, even left her home in Charleston to set sail, quite literally, to distant shores. She writes, “I, who / for a lifetime tied my wings / to red hills, clay, the smell of honeysuckle, / suddenly turned loose to listen / for the sirens at the edge of the continent.” With the awareness of a poet who notices not just the beauty she seeks but also the difficulties and modern detritus of the world, Herlong-Bodman visits each place with a deep yearning to understand. As a teacher by training, she tries to learn the unknowable languages and impossible histories of those she encounters, and as a poet she embraces the truths she finds, no matter how ugly. In her hometown, this means bravely telling stories pocked with the legacy of racism and poverty, and abroad, this means using that same empathy to try to enter countries torn by war. In her own words spoken from her experience sailing, “It is the reefing and sheeting you must learn— / how to move through the queasy unknown alone, bend / chance your way, not matter the pitching and turning— // how to take the wind on the beam no matter the scars, / the bruises, the bloody nose— / how to stand calm, steer toward whatever’s out there.”
—Nickole Brown, author of Fanny Says

If national memory is stitched from tumultuous change, extraordinary heroics, the singular, celebrated voice, it is also threaded throughout with the unremarked time we spend with co-workers, with lovers, and on our own—the incremental shifts of the everyday. The poems of Loose in Far-away Places all attempt to understand and record change even as they face the knowledge that the “things that change us only change a fraction.” This is a meditation on the past and the future and the difficulty of understanding one’s country, understanding one another, understanding ourselves. On every page, Ann Herlong-Bodman polishes away at the conflicting ideals at work both within the world and within our hearts until, ultimately, only three things remain: faith, hope, and love. “In such light, I see more clearly,” she says. We all do. 
—Terry L. Kennedy, author of New River Breakdown

POEM
Taking Flight 
     Greek Islands


It is a gift, he says, and I 
turn to stare at the stranger 
and the necklace,
its stone as blue as the sky 
I will not see today. 
Flight’s canceled.
It will keep you safe, he says.
From what, I think.

I came . . . she not come . . . 
please take, he says 
and I lean forward 
to let him place the necklace 
at my throat, a blue-eyed charm 
worn by the locals, its clasp 
coaxing olive groves
and wine, 
water the color of aubergine

and I embrace 
the dream of strolling 
through narrow streets 
with the stranger, my face 
to his, his hand sliding 
down the curve of my back

as I straighten my skirt 
and flip back my hair to peer 
over the crowd, thank him. 
But the stranger 
is checking his iPhone, 
waving goodbye, throwing kisses
while all around the sound 
of the clasp lifts me 
into a new light, the sky clearing, 
passengers running, 
and I’m standing
in the glow, 
blocking the line at Starbucks. 

Cover photographer Dawn D. Surratt studied art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as a recipient of the Spencer Love Scholarship in Fine Art. She has exhibited her work throughout the southeast and currently works as a freelance designer and artist. Her work has been published internationally in magazines, on book covers, and in print media. She lives on the beautiful Kerr Lake in northern North Carolina with her husband, one demanding cat and a crazy Pembroke Welsh Corgi.