Uncommon Book of Prayer by Sam Barbee
The Main Street Rag
Available from the publisher
"Sam Barbee’s Book of Uncommon Prayer is not just a beautifully descriptive travel journal, the heart-felt inklings of the-poet-on-tour; it’s a veritable love-letter to England, especially England’s historical south. Indeed, in a real sense, it’s a love-letter to ‘History’ herself. Without betraying his native country, and ever-conscious of England’s complicated past, Barbee sings a sweet psalm to the land of ancient time. From this Northern Irish poet-in-exile, no higher praise can come—Barbee makes me homesick for the islands that I still call home."
—Adrian Rice, author of The Clock Tower
"Barbee’s work is an intimate travel journal in exquisite verse. He deftly shines the light of England’s landscapes—pastoral and urban, contemporary and historical—to illuminate his own interior castles and ruins. In counterbalance, the collection reveals a father and husband as tender, playful, protective and passionate, reminding us family dynamics come with the trip. Barbee’s attention to detail enlivens every page, justifying his deep affection for the British Isles, his closing poem."
—Donna Love Wallace, author of Between the Stones
"Sam Barbee’s new collection, Uncommon Book of Prayer: A Journal of England is a travelogue, in verse, rather than the ostensible diary of a spiritual journey at which the title hints. But what’s most daring is the poet’s frank praise of family life threaded throughout these poems. One finds in Barbee’s stream-of-consciousness sketches celebrations of castles and churches, ruins with whispered ancient stories of England and her church, as well as mother tongue we speak."
—Janet Joyner, author of Waterborne, Wahee Neck, and Now Come Lilacs
Uncommon Book of Prayer is a journal of England begun when traveling with family many years ago. Not you usual travelogue, it overlays historical sights, ones with vast histories, with a family's reaction to them and they reveal about ourselves.
Sam Barbee poems have appeared Poetry South, The NC Literary Review, Crucible, Asheville Poetry Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina, Georgia Journal, Kakalak, and Pembroke Magazine, among others; plus on-line journals Vox Poetica, The Voices Project, Courtland Review, and The New Verse News.
He has a new book of verse, Uncommon Book of Prayer (2021, Main Street Rag). His previous poetry collection, That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), was a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best poetry collections of 2016. He was awarded an "Emerging Artist's Grant" from the Winston-Salem Arts Council to publish his first collection Changes of Venue (Mount Olive Press); has been a featured poet on the North Carolina Public Radio Station WFDD; received the 59th Poet Laureate Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society for his poem "The Blood Watch"; and is a Pushcart nominee.