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Cow Mire Songs

Cow Mire Songs

By Shelby Dean StephensonPublisher: Cushing PublisherISBN: 9798988957546Genre: PoetryPrice: $21.99
Available from: Cushing Publishing

In Shelby Dean Stephenson’s latest collection of poetry from the farm, listen to the characters of Paul’s Hill sing in the verses. Cow Mire Songs is a delightful blend of words and rhymes that only Shelby could produce.

SHELBY STEPHENSON was the eighth Poet Laureate of North Carolina serving from 2015-2018. He lives on the small farm where he was born near Benson, in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. “Most of my poems come out of that background,” he says, “where memory and imagination play on one another.” Educated at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he is professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke and served as editor of the international literary journal Pembroke Magazine from 1979 until his retirement in 2010. His awards include the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Memorial Award, North Carolina Network Chapbook Prize, Bright Hill Press Chapbook Award, and the Brockman-Campbell Poetry Prize. He has published a poetic documentary Plankhouse (with photographs by Roger Manley), plus many chapbooks. Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize, and the 2009 Oscar Arnold Young Award. The state of North Carolina presented Shelby with the 2001 North Carolina Award in Literature, and in 2014 he was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.


At a time in life when most poets have abandoned the plow and are content to clean their fingernails and lull in the autumn sun, Shelby Stephenson turns a furrow deep and true as ever. He has yet to resign himself to the sweatless path accepted by most of his contemporaries. His roots remain forever deep in his native speech, his home soil, and his historical notions of the world. We’re blessed to have him with us.


Stephen E. Smith, Author of Beguiled by the Frailties of Those Who Proceed Us
Former NC Poet Laureate and NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Shelby Stephenson’s most recent book Cow Mire Songs calls forth a living past, an abiding longing, and love with its inevitable twin, loss. He writes:
Stars make us feel infinitely small.
That is wonder, don’t you think? All
The ways to stare at the sky and count
Your blessings instead of sheep.
This is poetry that sings its way off the page and into the very air, sung with Stephenson’s unique voice and accompanied by the chorus of Paul’s Hill: human, animal and even the land itself. I can’t help but sing along.
Malaika King Albrecht, Heart of Pamlico Poet Laureate and Author

Cow Mire Songs is a wonderful collection of verse of familiar things from Paul’s Hill. A book to be read time and time again.

R. Cushing, Maintenance Manager, Smithfield