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

Felicia Mitchell
Waltzing with Horses
by Felicia Mitchell

Publication Date: September 1

9 x 6 paperback, 108 pages
ISBN: 978-1-941209-08-0
"Reading Felicia Mitchell's stunning collection, Waltzing with Horses, is like spending a few life-changing hours with one of those wise women we read about in fairy tales. She knows the names of each plant and flower, and teaches us that every living thing, from the tiniest sparrow to a herd of wild horses, is sacred. And holiest of all, she whispers, is not only our connection to the earth, but to our deepest selves, and to every person we have ever loved."  
Terri Kirby Erickson, author of A Lake of Light and Clouds and In the Palms of

“This beautiful, magnificent book touched me almost beyond words. Felicia Mitchell is a poet whose voice matters, and here she enters a rare and healing place of art and grace. This volume, with its spare, moving words, will be with me for the rest of my days.” 
Philip Lee Williams, author of Elegies for the Water and The Flower Seeker: 
   An Epic Poem of William Bartram

“In a deceptively simple and sometimes whimsical voice, Felicia Mitchell's Waltzing with Horses leads us into the varied levels of a woman's life. As the narrator in ‘in the Realm of Grass’ says, ‘I know how to stand my ground,/ how to lay down the lawnmower,/ how to forget the scythe rusting in the shed,/ how to let grass lead me to quail and mice/ and violets that bloom between its margins/ like so many stellar thoughts.’ Stellar, indeed, these poems of a mother's love, the intricate balances life demands (a son to raise and teach, daughters she never birthed, to bemoan the absence of), the tender care of daughter to aging mother, the ever-present specter of death as the narrator herself struggles with breast cancer. Waltzing with Horses is a brave and amazing book—read it for its insights, stories, and wisdom, but most of all, read it for its heart.”
Jeff Daniel Marion, author of Ebbing & Flowing Springs and Father

Felicia Mitchell has the wonderful gift of seeing the world at a slant, or slightly off-center; her view takes in what others leave out. In poems of celebration and mourning, she shows us horses waltzing. "On a day without a poem," she writes, "there is no need for meter— / just the beat of a heart or two / for good measure." Many of these poems are playful. One poem shows us "the angel of death disguised as a park bench." Other poems rescue us from daily hardship, turning it into profoundest grace. This is a book everyone needs to read.
Kelly Cherry, former Poet Laureate of Virginia and author of The Life and Death 
   of Poetry: Poems

Praise for Waltzing with Horses
Felicia Mitchell was born in Sumter, South Carolina, in 1956, and moved with her parents and three brothers to North Carolina, where she spent her early childhood in Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. In 1966, she moved with her family to Columbia, South Carolina, where she attended the University of South Carolina (B.A., M.A.) after graduating from Booker T. Washington High School. She spent four years working in Athens, Georgia, before moving to Austin, Texas, to get a PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. In Austin, she became active as a poet and taught her first poetry workshops through the Texas Union Informal Classes program. Since 1987, Mitchell has made her home in rural Washington County, Virginia. She teaches English at Emory & Henry College, where she received the William Carrington Finch Award for Faculty Excellence in 2011 and the James A. Davis Faculty Award in 2013. In addition to publishing poetry and nonfiction in journals, anthologies, and chapbooks, she has written articles for journals such as College Composition and Communication, Mid-American Review, and Poets & Writers Magazine. Scholarly work includes Her Words. Diverse Voices in Contemporary Appalachian Women’s Poetry, which she compiled and edited for University of Tennessee Press (2002).
Cover artist Igor Svibilsky was born in Ukraine. Since childhood Igor was fascinated by the work of the famous Russian painters Ivan Aivazovsky, Ivan Shishkin, Isaac Levitan, and Valentin Serov. Their lyrical, sad, and poetic work played a significant role in the forming of Igor’s vision of surrounding nature. His journey into the world of photography started when he got his first camera at age of seven. Igor experimented with watercolor painting, but photography became his primary media of expression. He is a self-taught photographer, but many classic and contemporary photographers have influenced him over the years, empowering him to create his own style.

Igor has exhibited extensively. His website lists close to fifty venues, starting in 2004. His work has been featured in the magazines Black and White and Photo Art International (France), and can be found in numerous corporate and private collections.

Since 1998, Igor has lived in the quiet suburban town of Lawrenceville in central New Jersey with his wife Olga, who supports and shares his passion for photography.
" spending a few life-changing hours with one of those wise women we read about in fairy tales." 

        —Terri Kirby Erickson

On a day without a poem,
there is no need for meter—
just the beat of a heart or two
for good measure.
And instead of rhyme,
one bird can call after another.
On a day without a poem,
there is no imagery.
The sky is blue.
The clouds are clouds.
On a day without a poem,
there is no journey motif,
only a journey up and over rocks
and through woods and meadows.
Climbing to the top of a mountain
is no different from climbing
to the top of a mountain,
nothing like climbing Mount Purgatory
to catch a glimpse of Paradiso.
You are not a poet.
The man you are with is not a poet.
You are just two people on a hike.
Hobblebush flowers on a mossy ground
on the top of the mountain
are white like white flowers,
the moss as mossy as moss.
There is no symbolism.
When it is time to turn around, 
it is time to turn back and walk 
until you pause to waltz with wild horses,
without music, without rhythm,
in a field of wildflowers.
Perhaps words need stanzas
no more than horses need pens
or dancers need a dance floor.
On a day without a poem,
when there is a full moon waiting
at the end of the trail,
punctuation is superfluous.
This day does not need a title,
although it is as tempting to give it one
as it is to press a violet
or a whole mountain of a day
between the pages of a book.