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.

You’ll come to expect the unexpected, because leafing through this book is akin to walking through an exhibition, through a series of galleries wherein Morehead’s far-reaching imagination is released.full review on The Colorado Review

“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

Excerpts from The Plague Doctor

Reviews for “The Plague Doctor”

“Inspired by street art, desert ruins and many forms in between, the poems in The Plague Doctor move with an awareness of the collaboration between the observer and the maker. Paired with black and white images, Morehead’s poetics is colorful and auditory.” – full review on Tupelo Quarterly

“Where to begin with this exquisite little book? Its themes of time, identity, death? Its gorgeous prosody, haiku, sonnets, rhyme? Its incorporation of so many arts from music and poetry to painting, sculpture and drama to tell its story? Its organization as a sort of stage play? This ingenious collection proceeds like a play, complete with climax and dénouement” – full review in North of Oxford

“The strength of this new, engrossing collection lies in Morehead’s authenticity of feeling and the coherence of his poetic vision. These poems, despite their kaleidoscopic variety of form, communicate with one another through a deeply felt, carefully developed unifying theme: time, its deadly hold over us, and the refuge that is art.” – full review in the South Florida Poetry Journal

James Morehead reciting an excerpt from The Plague Doctor at the Patagonia Poet Laureate Celebration

Lisa Marie Simmons on The Plague Doctor

Praise for “The Plague Doctor (in three acts)”

“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

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