Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314

Clint McCown
Press Fifty-Three

560 N. Trade St, Ste 103
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Total Balance Farm
by Clint McCown

ISBN 978-1-941209-50-9
9 x 6 paperback, 96 pages

Clint McCown has published four novels (The Member-GuestWar MemorialsThe Weatherman, and Haints), and four previous volumes of poems (LabyrinthiadSidetracksWind Over Water, and Dead Languages). He has received the Midwest Book Award, the Society of Midland Authors Award, the S. Mariella Gable Prize, the Germaine Breé Book Award, an Academy of American Poets Prize, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers designation, and a Distinction in Literature citation from the Wisconsin Library Association. He is the only two-time recipient of the American Fiction Prize. In journalism, he received an Associated Press Award for Documentary Excellence for his investigations of organized crime. He has worked as a screenwriter for Warner Bros. and a Creative Consultant for HBO television. He is a former principal actor with the National Shakespeare Company, and several of his plays have been produced. He has edited a number of literary journals, including the Beloit Fiction Journal, which he founded in 1984. He teaches in the MFA program at Virginia Commonwealth University and in the low-residency MFA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Praise for Total Balance Farm

Clint McCown's meditative locale is a menagerie of hawks and hummingbirds, eagles and turtles, a wife's idle boot and the brown recluse who'll find uneasy home in it. Through philosophers Greek and ruralist, McCown finds terror in beauty and beauty in the terrified ones adrift in earth's vertiginous sway. The poet leaves us always a step removed from steady, hankering for balance. There, tethered in fear's "inmost cave," menace and penance preside—all our human "complaints" loom amid the uncertain gift of "feathers."

–Kevin Stein, Poet Laureate of Illinois and author of American Ghost Roses
In this marvelous collection of poems by one of our very best storytellers, time slows like the light does at the end of the day. Nature drives a hard bargain. We milk a dead cow to save her newborn calf. No matter how deep the fence posts were set, the soil loosens. "Experience speaks a language / all its own." Our mortality is everywhere. In contemplation, "we are the universe / asking itself a question." And it's a bitter truth, Clint McCown's wisdom, his sweet wisdom.

–Ralph Angel, author of Your Moon

Clint McCown's new book of poetry delves into the unruly world of nature, not as a guide or simply as scenery, but with the steady gaze of the late John Haines. Here nature, family, and selfhood are not just talked about but explored and questioned.

–Matthew Dickman, author of Mayakovsky’s Revolver

I read Total Balance Farm with real pleasure. This is a fine book steeped in hard work and even harder questions. Using precise depictions of the natural world and honest portrayals of human ambition, these poems perceptively consider our mysteries and our limitations. “Thinking is the only voice I own,” McCown writes, but he also sings with a rough and seasoned music; that ear, coupled with his rich narrative gifts and his keen wit, make for an engaging, artful, greatly rewarding experience.

–Mark Cox, author of Natural Causes

Cover artist Dawn Cooper has been working with photography of animals and landscapes for decades. With an excess of 30 years specializing in animal training and rehabilitation, she launched her holistic classes utilizing photography to instruct owners and professionals of dogs and horses on therapeutic rehabilitation.

Learn more at: www.totalbalancemethod.com
A Note to My Daughters, Far Away

The heat of the afternoon
has eased into the gray haze
of evening; the oak tree,
with its broad city of leaves,
stands still 
as the earth beneath it.

Time slows, 
as it always does
for the solitary watcher.
Were I not here,
time might falter altogether.
As it is, 
my faint shadow 
in the fading light 
will soon be gone.

O, my daughters: 
for you I wish nothing 
too steep, 
too far, 
too difficult to hold.

Given sad choices,
I would wish you doubt
before I would wish you pain.
I would wish you pain
before I would wish you 

I would never wish you fear—
that inmost cave 
where souls lose sight
of everything.
I’ve wandered there for 
more eternities 
than I can count,
yet still believe there is 
a lighted pathway back.

Longing is unavoidable,
so live with it
as best you can.
Let it be an ally— 
the hunger
that propels the hunt.

In every case, maintain 
a celebration.
Remember some bright pool,
some dance 
of light through leaves,
some spread of color
from a sinking sun.
The dark descends 
only to remind us:
was a long shot at best,
but luck was with us.
Let all complaints be feathers.