NC Literary Hall of Fame











The Way the Rain Works by Ralph Earle

Sable Books
$10.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9913564-5-4
April, 2015
Available through the publisher

Winner of the 2015 Sable Books February Chapbook Contest!

"This is a deeply felt book about a family in crisis that lives inside you and lends itself to multiple readings. Sad, but not without its small, yet sustaining, redemptions: 'In the evening, overflowing with secret love,/ I dangle my feet above the receding/ spillway and listen: ripples. The moon’s/ reflection rides them like a blessing.'"
—Richard Krawiec, Women Who Loved Me Despite and She Hands Me The Razor (Press 53)

"'We pray our life will turn out right.'" This collection houses a kind of family gallery—portraits, landscapes, still lifes—and like good paintings, the poems contain not only the people, scenes, or objects being considered, but the dark shading beneath: here is a family breaking apart. Ralph Earle well knows that to husband is to manage prudently, sparingly—'If this is an emergency/I will manage'—until this husband can no longer do so. Despite broken branches, clumsy home repairs, a despairing wife, and unanswered prayers, the poet finds some solace in nature and solitude, showing us glimpses of fragile beauty: 'On the edge of the precipice, ice plants,/like clumsy fingers, encircle wildflowers.'"
—Debra Kaufman, Delicate Thefts and The Next Moment (Jacar Press)

When the Sun Reinvents Itself

My story was different from yours:
she withdrew to a nest feathered
with unread magazines, mail
cemented together by spilled tea.

I launched a personal conspiracy
to believe she was well, as if
constrained by a mask of myself,
as if the grace of our children

growing were not enough, or the safe
haven of our house in the forest.
We are not alone. It has been this way
for a long interlude of husbands,

a continent of fathers. There is no word
for the way that water clings to leaves
when the sun reinvents itself
out of the broken storm.

Ralph Earle holds a doctorate in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and for twenty-five years has worked as a technical communicator for a large software company, doing everything from editing to managing to designing complex information systems. He has taught poetry at UNC-Chapel Hill and the ArtsCenter of Carrboro, NC, and currently teaches evening poetry classes at Central Carolina Community College. He was a founding member of the North Carolina Writers' Network.

He draws much of his inspiration and imagery from long walks in the woodlands of rural Chatham County, North Carolina, where he makes his home.

His poems have appeared in many publications, including The Sun, Sufi Magazine, Tar River Poetry, Carolina Quarterly, Cairn, Wild Goose Poetry Review, and Redheaded Stepchild, as well as numerous anthologies.

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