Loose in Far-away Places by Ann Herlong-Bodman

Loose in Far-away Places sm.jpg
Loose in Far-away Places sm.jpg

Loose in Far-away Places by Ann Herlong-Bodman


6 x 9 paperback, 86 pages

ISBN 978-1-941209-62-2

Cover image by Dawn Surratt

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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

About the Author

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.