Press Fifty-Three

560 N. Trade St, Ste 103
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

About the Cover Artist

Stephen White specializes in figurative paintings done on wood in gold leaf and transparent oil glazes. His work is available through the Little Art Gallery in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Village Smith Gallery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of five full-length collections of award-winning poetry. Her work has appeared in the 2013 Poet’s Market, Ted Kooser’s "American Life in Poetry," Asheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Literary Mama, NASA News & Notes, North Carolina Literary Review, storySouth, The Southern Poetry Anthology (Texas Review Press), The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, Verse Daily, and many others. Awards include the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, Atlanta Review International Publication Prize, Gold Medal in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and a Nautilus Silver Book Award. She lives in North Carolina.​
Telling Tales of Dusk
Poetry by Terri Kirby Erickson

ISBN 978-0982441633
8.5 x 5.5 paperback
100 pages
Praise for Telling Tales of Dusk
“In her poems, Terri Kirby Erickson sketches vivid and appealing word pictures that lodge in the reader's mind. I rarely see the wildflower Queen Anne's lace in a field without remembering how she contrasts the plant's delicate beauty with its common surroundings. It "dandies up a ditch," she concludes. So true—and thinking about it that way makes me smile.”
 Judy LoweThe Christian Science Monitor

“Whether writing about butter mints, the daisy chain of a group of daughters locked arm in arm, or a man burying his dead wife, Terri Kirby Erickson's poems have the characteristics we all strive for in our poetry.  These lyrical narratives are sensuous, tender, evocative, and familiar, bringing to life things we've all noticed but lacked the wisdom to put into words.”
— Scott Owens, editor of The Wild Goose Poetry Review

​“Coupling the candor and aplomb of Olds with the more profound and lyrical of Lux, Terri Kirby Erickson proves an exciting new voice in American poetry. Her subject matter spans the width between a lone Ferris wheel at a county fair, where ‘Coal dust fine and black as pulverized midnight,/covers everything for miles,’ to the vagaries of aging in the face of youth, when the speaker used to jump ‘out of bed, sleek as an otter,/sliding down the day.’ Erickson’s verse is filled with spot-on similes and metaphors, dotting its distinct and lucid structure with apt and artful alliteration, telegraphing image upon finer image to the nexus of who we are.” 
— Jubal Tiner, editor of Pisgah Review and author of The Waterhouse
"More than a poet, Terri Kirby Erickson is the best friend you always wanted, the kind you can count on both to tell you the truth, and to help you bear it. Her poems shimmer like moonlight on water in the farthest corners of your soul." 
— Sharon Randall, syndicated columnist and author of Birdbaths and Paper Cranes 

“Terri Kirby Erickson's In the Palms of Angels invites us to enter the world of everyday life made numinous by the poet's voice. "Heaven," for example, becomes a real place with white curtains billowing, the cry of gulls, the sizzle of bacon, a place where one wakes up among the things and people one has loved. Her poems become metaphorical palms in which angelic encounters are cradled.” 
— Kathryn Stripling Byer, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina and author of Wildwood Flower and Coming to Rest

“There is no store-bought redemption pasted to the ends of these poems, but neither will you find hopelessness, self-pity, a turning away from the world. What you will find at the core of all these poems is the timeless North Carolinian’s beneficent but ungilded witnessing.” 
— Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, co-author of True Compass and Flags of Our Fathers

Praise for In the Palms of Angels
In the Palms of Angels
by Terri Kirby Erickson

ISBN 978-1-935708-27-8
8.5 x5.5 paperback
120 pages
Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314

Terri Kirby Erickson
Purchase one of 53 special hardcover limited editions, numbered and signed by Terri Kirby Erickson and cover artist Stephen White. Click here for details.
Limited Edition Hardcover!
Nautilus Book Awards
Silver Medal
Next Generation Book Awards Gold  Medal
International Book 
Awards Finalist
A Lake of Light and Clouds
by Terri Kirby Erickson

ISBN 978-1-941209-02-8
9 x 6 paperback
122 pages

Praise for A Lake of Light and Clouds
“Terri Kirby Erickson writes poetry about the real stuff, engagingly, with sympathy and an open eye." 
— Peter Tork, of blues band Shoe Suede Blues, and former member of The Monkees

"Nothing could seem more natural than enjoying Terri Kirby Erickson’s poetry, so colloquial, so every day in its subjects, and yet so penetrating. Her poems are the kind we share with special friends, and this new volume is so full of gems I’ll have plenty of gifts to go around for years to come." 
— Theodore Wiprud, composer and Director of Education, New York Philharmonic

"A Lake of Light and Clouds reaffirms that Terri Kirby Erickson has a Poet's Soul and it makes us see everyday things with new eyes and gratitude that beauty is not the exception but the rule of Life."
— Jill Conner Browne, THE Sweet Potato Queen, author of Fat Is the New 30: The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Coping with (The Crappy Parts of) Life

"Terri Kirby Erickson, to adapt a phrase from the epigraph by Sharon Randall in A Lake of Light and Clouds, reflects the light she has been given. A skillful poet with a compassionate heart, she is not stingy with this light. She shines it on people she sees, people like Frank and Alice or "The Man Who Cuts His Grass with Nail Scissors"; gifts from the natural world, including birds and orchids; places as varied as a Waffle House and Västerås, Sweden; material objects, including red tractors and ice cream trucks; and experiences with urologists, hospitals, and family members or friends. T.S. Eliot would call what she does mastering the objective correlative. I call it incarnating light. As Erickson shares images and experiences in her richly textured poems, she invites her readers into her own psyche, a place where we are all likely to feel accepted and warm." 
Felicia Mitchell, author of The Cleft of the Rock


Just before you reach the Triple B Country 
Sausage sign, there’s an old red tractor 
hunkering down beside the road. 

You can hear the heavy sighs as it nestles 
into the leaves, loosening its belt 
and letting its chassis hang low. Blink 

and you’ll miss it twitch like a sleeping dog—
the rise and fall of its rust-covered ribs 
when it rolls at last, into a dream of wheat.​

(​from A Lake of Light and Clouds)

Listen to Garrison Keillor read "Ice Cream Truck" on The Writer's Almanac

New for Spring 2017!
Becoming the Blue Heron
by Terri Kirby Erickson

ISBN 978-1-941209-53-0
9 x 6 paperback
118 pages
Buy this
Praise for Becoming the Blue Heron
Open Terri Kirby Erickson’s book, Becoming the Blue Heron, and enter a world of light. You will encounter the warmth of loving parents, a granny dragged by a cow, the intimacy of nature, and the shock of unimaginable loss. Beauty and brokenness nestle side by side in this lovely collection. Each moment glimmers even more brightly against the shadow of sorrow, and the poet never loses sight of a realm where everyone is whole. We begin to believe, as she does, that “here, there/is only goodness and mercy, the light of a million stars . . .”
— Ann Campanella, author of Motherhood: Lost and Found

Come fly with me, Sinatra invited. I invite readers to soar with Terri Kirby Erickson through her remarkable book, Becoming the Blue Heron. Erickson’s poems take us to the mysteries of the natural world and the world of family and friends with magical sureness. The language is almost biblical in its intensity and rhythms. Whether dancing to zydeco on “floorboards glowing like embers” or playing the slots in a casino where “loss howls from the hills,” we are swept along by Erickson’s masterful use of movement and mood. She is just as adept with simile and metaphor in her portraits of wildlife, and the wild side of the people in this collection. Her great grandmother who was dragged by a cow, “mouth open as an unlatched gate,” is rendered with great humor and tenderness. As are close family, especially her brother, lost too soon. Love graces these family poems with a beautiful and deep understanding of human frailty. She inhabits the creatures she writes about, the horses “so perfect clouds formed in their shape,” barn owls “the final Valentine for rodents,” vultures with “heads like chain mail hoods,” and the heron she ultimately becomes, lifting this reader with the author on those “great blue wings.”
— Diana Pinckney, author of The Beast and The Innocent

“Terri has the rare gift of seeing with her heart and speaking with her soul. Her poems give voice to those nebulous feelings that for most of us, words all-too-often can't describe. She has a sensibility that both warms the inner self and invites deeper thought. Open yourself to the enchantments of this book, and let her take you to places only a master poet can reach.”
— Arthur Brice, Executive Editor, CNN

After the Explosion
     –for Tommy, 1959 – 1980

My brother, splayed on the concrete like a bearskin 
rug, body broken, eyes filmy, died in a river of red 
that flowed as if the summer air were a vampire 
crazed with hunger. It ran in rivulets down the drive-
way, into a street lined with neighbors upon whose 
retinas the image of his death was burned. Perhaps 
his spirit lingered for a while, leery of its new and 
borderless dimensions—entered a tool lying on the 
garage floor, marveling at the chill of his cold, metal
skin. Next, the bee flying over the heads of paramedics 
frantically working, the buzz like nothing he ever felt, 
a rumbling deep in his chest, the clap of wings much 
softer than hands. And after that, a few more stops—
the cement statue of the shy girl our mother bought 
for the garden, the dog next door that wouldn’t stop
barking, the taste of its pink tongue strange and wild 
in a mouth that opened wider than any door. And out 
of that dog’s mouth my brother shot into the sky like 
a bottle rocket, though none of us looked up. How I 
wish we could have seen his swift ascent, the pressures 
of his life: go to school, get a job, conform, conform, 
conform—lift like a piano from his chest, his soul 
rising weightless, without impediment, until he reached 
the stars from which we all are made and zoomed by 
them, faster than any plane he dreamed as a boy, to fly.

(from Becoming the Blue Heron)

"After the Explosion" won the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize