Retrieving Old Bones
by William Sheldon

“The setting of the Great Plains permeates Sheldon’s writings. He is a westerner, born in Montana and bred mostly in Kansas. He continues to live in the central Kansas plains region. Like William Stafford and Willa Cather, he populates the grasslands with memorable characters and pithy insights. He understands the stems on the surface are just the beginning of a block of sod. Like twenty-five foot grass roots, the poems go deep underground into imaginative, unconscious layerings.”— Denise Low in Midwest Q.


“There is in many of these poems a sensibility performing its own memory of the collisions between selves, working toward a hopeful, wry, sometimes self-mocking synthesis of experiences, the kind of indigenous schizophrenia that in a category called ‘poets’ makes every mother’s son of us here a hybrid of modern literacy, plains-puritan pragmatism, and coyote cunning. In this sense, Bill Sheldon’s collection offers reassurance for the tentative native on a similar journey and insight for the literate outsider, for herein a true guide makes his record of true moments, fully realized through the actions of his art.” — from the Introduction by Steven Hind, author of In a Place with No Map and That Trick of Silence.


What I remember most
of the one time
I saw my father drunk
was the awful grace
of his falling
under the “Flying Dutchman”
through a sea of folding chairs
grabbing one chair-
back then another
to have each in succession
crawl away,
staying somehow,
between momentum and resistance,
almost afloat,
lips tight eyes wide until
he broke free,
breast against the bar.
And my strange pride
in the beauty of it.

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Retrieving Old Bones
by William Sheldon

5 ½” by 8 ½”
63 pages
perfect bound paperback



















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