Under the Influence of Lilacs
- Killer Storm
- Big Noise
- Dead Ahead
- Silent Words
- By Heart
- Jules on Schools
- Maggie's Mechanics
- Bound Together
Under the Influence of Lilacs
This collection includes thirty new poems as well as selections from each
of the author's four previously published chapbooks and from the
anthology The Moon Rolls Out of Our Mouths. The author describes the
crafting of poetry as a contemplative practice, an act that opens us to
insights and connections that might otherwise go unnoticed.
beginning to burn
a log in the fire will sing,
remembering the birds.
These are poems that make a person remember, remember things they have never even experienced. Cooper is a master of the small and perfect detail, of the nuance that puts the reader right into a felt experience, the detail that tells the whole story and brings it to life—to our life. She takes us through a full spectrum of living, from a love letter made of flower petals through the times when “…there is so little / left blooming…” “Through the darkest season / dreams of the river carry us.” In this collection we are carried skillfully through suffering and grace and redemption and humor. Cooper says we are just passing through these bones and I, for one, am grateful to pass through with this collection of poems in hand, with Cooper helping me remember what it is to be human in this world.
— Ellie Schoenfeld, poet, The Dark Honey: New & Used Poems
I have always been under the influence of Deborah Cooper’s amazing lyric poetry. Nature frames, sustains, and weaves together her poems—nature as both life giver and healer. She writes in “Instructions,” “Cast out your gaze like a net / and take everything in / every intricate detail / each small astonishment.” Deborah also celebrates the human family as we travel through love and loss, sorrow and joy. Her elegant writing, wisdom, and grace help us step across the boundaries between these states—and between each other—into the light.
— Jill Brenckenridge, poet, The Gravity of Flesh
To read Deborah Gordon Cooper’s Under the Influence of Lilacs is to realize that a poet really can revisit such old topics as nature and family and such old themes as love and loss—and make them new. “Because there is so little / left blooming, / each delinquent petal / seems to shine,” she writes. With a generous vision and gentle spirit combined with clear and penetrating language, she has given us many shining petals.
— Jim Heynen, author, The Boys House: New and Selected Stories
Under the Influence of Lilacs
by Deborah Gordon Cooper
Received honorable mention in the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards.
Now available in e-book format from all major vendors!
Digital version: ISBN: 978-0-9846570-3-2
In Ellie Schoenfeld’s poems, one finds a tenderness mixed with bewilderment, a feeling of awe at the great mystery of life, and a longing. She says, “I want death to be like England / you go there for awhile / but then you come back.” There is in the poems a deep affection for the earth, and this earthly life, which she expresses with lyricism and wit.
—Louis Jenkins, author of North of the Cities and European Shoes
If a voice of warm dry humor is possible in the chilly Midwest, it is in this collection. The Dark Honey sits quite well, thank you, amongst the great literary achievements of the North Coast, indeed, the headwaters of the Mississippi. Schoenfeld rocks with the best of them!
—Denise Sweet, author of Know By Heart and Songs for Discharming
Wisconsin Poet Laureate, 2004-2008
Ellie Schoenfeld's poetry acts as a charm against complacency. In The Dark Honey, desire always trumps satiation. The horizon, with its promising light and suggestive outlines, keeps calling the poet forward. Yet even before the "secret possible futures" arrive, the pilgrim in these poems is anticipating "the long quiet ahead." An elegiac quality therefore colors these pages, giving them a double poignancy of desire and loss. When tulip bulbs "whisper their voluptuous ideas" to Schoenfeld, we're persuaded, given the voluptuousness of her work itself, which is the kind that could bring back to poetry those who've given up on it.
—Philip Dacey, author of Vertebrae Rosaries
Digital version: ISBN: 978-0-9846570-4-9
Now available in e-book format from all major vendors.
Listen to Garrison Keillor reading "Patriotism" from The Dark Honey on "The Writer's Almanac" for August 5, 2009.
Read a review by poet Connie Wanek on MNartists.org.
Winner of a Northeastern Minnesota Book Award in the category of Poetry.
Killer Storm: A Jo Spence Mystery
Killer Storm features the adventures of Jo Spence, a forty-year-old, coffee-addicted, dog-loving lesbian whose desk job suddenly places her in the middle of a murder investigation and the escalating violence of a new gang in Duluth, Minnesota.
Set near the shores of Lake Superior close to the wilderness of the north woods, this story combines a description of the idyllic life led by the women of the Valley with an action-oriented plot involving raids and drug busts, a hostage situation, and the invasion of Jo’s home.
During this turbulent time in Jo’s life, her friends set her up with Zoey, a new faculty member at the local university. Their first date turns into a three-day stay at Zoey’s house during a record-setting snowstorm. Jo tries to resist the strong attraction she feels for Zoey, but she is drawn into the most intense affair of her life.
$14.95 © 2007
188 pages, paperback
Now available as an eBook on Kindle and from all other major vendors.
Digital version: ISBN 978-0-9794883-1-3
Big Noise: A Jo Spence Mystery
New lovers Jo and Zoey venture into the deep woods of northern Minnesota for a vacation away from their demanding jobs, but plans for a restful and romantic winter retreat are interrupted when Jo learns that a former probation client has gone missing in the area. Jo is torn between concern for the young man's disappearance and distress over the impact her work is having on her relationship. Will Jo pursue every lead to find the missing Rick, or will she play it safe and try to be the lover Zoey wants her to be? In the end, she must confront her own obsessions. A killer brings everything into perspective, and Jo and Zoey learn more about each other in this terrifying encounter than any private intimacy could ever reveal.
Big Noise is the sequel to Jen Wright’s exciting debut novel Killer Storm. Don’t miss this latest release from a talented new author.
Read a review in the Pride issue of Lavender Magazine.
$15.95 © 2009
204 pages, paperback
Digital version: ISBN: 978-0-9794883-7-5
Dead Ahead: A Jo Spence Mystery
For lesbian Probation Officer Jo Spence, spring in the northland means firing up her motorcycle and enjoying the speed and exhilaration of her favorite pastime. Though an unsettling dream warns of approaching death, she shakes off the premonition. Only after a stalker grows ever more bold and threatening does Jo understand the mounting danger to herself and to her lover Zoey. Which unsavory character from Jo’s work life is responsible, and will she give up her career to save the life she loves with Zoey and her friends? Jo finds herself on a collision course with crisis in Dead Ahead.
$14.95 © 2011
182 pages, paperback
Digital version: ISBN: 978-0-9846570-1-8
Winner of the Minnesota Book Award
Northeastern Minnesota Book Award, and
Midwest Book Achievement Award.
Finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Award
Atmospheric, meditative in tone, deeply wise in its exploration of the corrosive power of secrets and the tentacles of the past, this eloquent novel ranks with the best of our mystery fiction.—Katherine V. Forrest
With her mother’s last words still echoing in her ears, Tyler Jones, the San Francisco-based newspaper columnist and amateur sleuth introduced in The Other Side of Silence, journeys to the family home in northern Minnesota. Tyler, directed to “find the truth,” has no inkling what truth she is supposed to search for in this idyllic haven perched on the edge of Lake Superior. As Tyler attempts to fulfill her mother’s deathbed wish, she unearths layer after layer of half-truths, legends, and lies accumulated over the years and passed down through the generations, binding some members of this community to a conspiracy of silence. She explores the meaning of family in its many guises, the complexity of human nature regarding our notions of “good” and “bad,” and the lengths to which the living will go to protect their dead. There are bodies, of course, but the real mystery in Silent Words is about the secrets that hide and fester in family histories and hearts.
$14.95 © 1996, 2009
284 pages, paperback
A Mother's Story of Children and Learning at Home
By Heart shares one family’s surprising passage from public school to home-based learning—a journey that takes readers from Bethel, Alaska, to a Wisconsin farm, all the while exploring an educational choice that continues to grow at a phenomenal rate.
Parenting, place, education, and culture mingle in this literary narrative, as each compelling chapter delves into issues such as the home school decision, schedules and curricula, socialization, and the economics of co-parenting.
By Heart supports a child-centered approach to learning balanced within community. Entertaining, inspiring, and empowering, it is a delightful and provocative book for parents, educators, policy makers, and readers of memoir.
$14.95 © 2008
160 pages, paperback
Digital version: ISBN: 978-0-9794883-9-9. Available through all major vendors.
Jules on Schools
Teaching, Learning, and Everything in Between
A Midwest Book Award Finalist!
This timely collection of essays addresses the rewarding work of supporting schools and nurturing the learning of schoolchildren today. Author and educator Julia M. Williams is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she prepares tomorrow’s teachers.
In writing this caring, funny, and lyrical commentary, she draws from a deep well of professional knowledge as well as the personal experience of having raised six children as a mom and a stepmom.
Beginning with the idea that all of us are trying to do the right thing for kids, she shares with readers some of the wonders that are being discovered about how children learn, and she illuminates how schools and parents can use what the research is telling us. As Williams says in the book, “We all need to learn and grow and go forward in our roles, holding hands and reaching out to embrace the opportunity that surrounds us and the children we love.”
Dr. Williams recently received the 2013 Minnesota Excellence in Education Award. The award notes her unparalleled leadership in promoting and advancing excellence in education.
$18.95 © 2008
220 pages, paperback
4 illustrations, index