“The Plague Doctor” by James Morehead Explores the Fleeting Nature of Existence and Friendship

The Plague Doctor, the third collection of poetry by James Morehead (Poet Laureate – Dublin, California) is a mesmerizing collection of eerie, image-rich poems that explore the fleeting nature of existence and friendship, inspired by the world of art and artists. The poetry is accompanied by hand drawn ink artwork by Natalia Ardus, art by Mark Kulas and Tony Rubino, and photography by the author. Poet and singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Simmons writes in her foreword to the collection, “I’ve read this collection three, four, then five times. In my office, in the tour van and the green room, after yoga, and once bundled up beneath an ancient olive tree. Despite those many deep dives, it never seems enough to complete this foreword. So I returned; six, seven, ten times. Each reading has me focusing on something new, and a year from now, I know more discoveries will be made as my perspective shifts with my own experiences.”

The Plague Doctor is available now in paperback, hardcover, ebook, and Audible editions globally via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and local booksellers. Signed copies are available in the Viewless Wings Store. The Plague Doctor is distributed by Ingram Content Group.

Lisa Marie Simmons on The Plague Doctor

Praise for The Plague Doctor

“James Morehead’s poetry pulses with vibrant detail. Whether it’s Jimmy Page strumming a mandolin or ruminations of a sourdough starter, Morehead’s speaker is equally intent on listening. In this new collection this poet has created a vivid document that captures what it means to be perpetually inspired by the world in all its facets.” – Tina Cane, Poet Laureate of Rhode Island and author of “Body of Work”  and “Year of the Murder Hornet” 

“The literary community has been waiting for a collection like this, which moves beyond simple ekphrasis, creating poetry that illuminates art as well as the reader’s understanding of what it means to be human.” – Kristina Marie Darling, Editor-in-Chief, Tupelo Press & Tupelo Quarterly 

“The poems ricochet off the visual images in unexpected ways, so that this book – where word and image converge – reminds me of a pinball machine. As in that song by The Who, Morehead is our ‘pinball wizard.’ Whether writing free verse, haikus, or ballad-like rhymes, he ‘sure plays a mean pinball.’ Morehead creates his own boisterous ‘cacophony of bells / that flash in reds, greens, and golds.’” – Donald Platt, author of Swansdown

“These poems showcase the ability of Morehead to turn his pen towards decidedly more ominous imagery with a deft manipulation of his singular talent: the skillful use of imagery coupled with his perceptive take on the subject matter.” – Lisa Marie Simmons, poet / singer / songwriter

“James Morehead’s The Plague Doctor begins and ends in the image one cannot shake from their sight. Each ekphrastic poem is accompanied by images which are sometimes lush, sometimes stark. What is most striking is how the poems mirror the pictures; each slowly comes into sharp and intelligent focus the longer one examines. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself delightfully ‘lost inside each verse until notes fall and in darkness disperse.’” – Kyle McCord, Author of Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult

Excerpts from The Plague Doctor

About the author

Photograph of James Morehead copyright Kristin Cofer
Photograph of James Morehead
copyright Kristin Cofer

James Morehead is Poet Laureate of Dublin, California. James has published three collections of poetry “canvas”, “portraits of red and gray” and “The Plague Doctor”, and he hosts the Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast. James’ poem “tethered” was transformed into an award-winning hand drawn animated short film, and his poems have appeared in NPR, SF Chronicle’s Total SF, Ignatian Literary Magazine, Cathexis Northwest Press, Beyond Words Magazine, Citron Review, Prometheus Dreaming, and others.

“James Morehead’s imagery is vivid, spare and elemental, and it is consistently chosen and arranged to achieve intensely poetic effects. The rhythmic control is impeccable.” – Carmine Di Biase, Distinguished Professor of English, Emeritus – Jacksonville State University

For booksellers: The Plague Doctor sell sheet.

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