by James C. Morehead (Poet Laureate – Dublin, California)
Take an unforgettable journey from Cold War USSR to Savery, Wyoming, from the mountains of Tuscany to the peak of Yosemite’s Half Dome, from the Canadian wilderness to the beaches of Normandy, in this acclaimed collection of memoir poems.
“The vulnerability and humanity expressed in these poems is moving.” – Angie Trudell Vasquez, Poet Laureate – Madison, WI
“The rhythmic control is impeccable. The centerpiece of this collection, a long series of poems that chronicle a trip through the former Soviet Union, is a fast moving, impressionistic feast of imagery.” – Carmine Di Biase, Distinguished Professor of English, Emeritus – Jacksonville State University
“Stunning in execution without devolving into saccharine platitudes, look out especially for the titular ‘portraits of red and gray’ about the poet’s trip to Soviet Russia in 1983, the wry humor and heart of ‘into the heart of Temagami’, and the warmth of ‘Torta di Riso’.” – Excerpt from a review by author Jennifer deBie
Excerpts from “portraits of red and gray: memoir poems”
Praise for “portraits of red and gray: memoir poems”
“James C. Morehead’s ‘portraits of red and gray’ may be composed of “memoir poems,” but don’t let that fool you into thinking there’s any less art here. This is a kind of Bildungsroman—an education not necessarily of spirit, here, but of sight. “It was a field, not a lawn,” a young speaker corrects himself. In another poem, a boy and his father “connect the dots of ancient figures” in the night sky. In a long sequence detailing a school trip to Russia, the new landscape unsettles any previous way of looking: “i cannot look i cannot look away.” Morehead replays his adolescence not for sentiment, it seems, but for precision. It’s a precision that can teach anyone to look a little closer.” – Corey Van Landingham, Poet and Author of “Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens”
“In this second collection of poems, 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. The centerpiece of this collection, a long series of poems that chronicle a trip through the former Soviet Union, is a fast moving, impressionistic feast of imagery. Sunglasses, denim shirts, vodka debauches, dollars, rubles, steely-eyed Russian authorities ever on the lookout for forbidden deals – all of it is transparent and engaging.” – Carmine Di Biase, Distinguished Professor of English, Emeritus – Jacksonville State University
“In ‘portraits of red and gray’ by James C. Morehead we travel with him through boyhood and manhood: camping with his dad, working in his high school years far away from home every summer, his time as a teen in Russia traveling during spring break with his school. The vulnerability and humanity expressed in these poems is moving. Morehead writes, ‘…I had to wait / for my tears to dry before dropping in quarters to call home.’” – Angie Trudell Vasquez, Author and Madison, WI Poet Laureate
“James Morehead’s collection, ‘portraits of red and gray’ resonates with the adventurer in all of us, magnifying the beauty and dynamism of the human condition while navigating life’s most fragile and poignant moments.” – Jessica Sabo, poet and author of “A Body of Impulse“
“James Morehead’s talent for evoking the reader’s memories through his own is astonishing. ‘portraits of red and gray’, the follow-up to his acclaimed debut “canvas”, is deeply evocative of each of the memories and locations he invites the reader to visit and the perfect antidote to a world intent on divisiveness. His keen observations are coupled with melancholy, in other poems punctuated with humor, always revealing of his inner landscape and all we humans share. The poems comprising Four Summers in Florida and portraits of red and gray are intriguing snapshots from Morehead’s life that convey his thoughtful nature with great artistry and originality. Morehead has written with a thought-provoking layering throughout that will keep the reader returning time and again to the beauty of its pages.” – Lisa Marie Simmons, Ropeadope Records artist, essayist, and poet
“James Morehead takes you on a trip to hidden corners of the world through ‘portraits of red and gray’. Reading these poems feels like walking through the streets of Moscow with Morehead, taking everything in with a watchful and tender eye. This book is your passport to an epic adventure.” – Morgan Liphart, poet and author of Barefoot & Running
About the author
James Morehead is Poet Laureate of Dublin, California. “portraits of red and gray: memoir poems” joins “canvas: poems”, 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 Beyond Words Magazine, Wingless Dreamer and Prometheus Dreaming.
The Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast explores the art of poetry, and the business of publishing, through interviews with poets and artists, and special features. Season 1 features interviews with poets including A.E. Stallings and Olivia Gatwood, artists including Kari Byron and animator/director Gaia Alari, and more.
“portraits of red and gray: memoir poems” is also available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and independent booksellers.