NC Literary Hall of Fame



Holy Ghosts of Whiskey by Marty Silverthorne

Sable Books
$10.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9968036-2-5
January, 2016
Available from the publisher

“Marty Silverthorne shows us how memory and the past concretely inform each other: all that happens—the handed-down stories, the unimprisoned present—live as witnesses for the stalwarts, the listeners and readers who stand for generations to find out and to hear what Marty Silverthorne sees and hears. Holy Ghosts of Whiskey works like that. The pleasure of his words warm like good whiskey.”
—Shelby Stephenson, North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee and North Carolina Poet Laureate (2015-2017)

Holy Ghost of Whiskey is a beautiful commitment to the god-force of memory. Marty Silverthorne reminds us over and over again how poetry strengthens our root. These deep evocations of language and ghosts create pathways that charm us into honky tonk heavens. From beginning to end these poems offer a haunted awareness of the joys, sacrifices, and sorrows that are singing in the hinges of three room shot gun shacks. These poems lift up the roots and reveal well-crafted tenderness and emphatic imagination that bears witness to the longings and challenges we all have confronting our angels, our ghosts, loves, and losses. Holy Ghost of Whiskey makes us dream about the rapture of what it means to be eat up with music.”
—Jaki Shelton Green, North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee

“Some academics use the term 'regionalist' as a slight. It’s true that, in lesser hands, regionalism sometimes devolves into local color nostalgia and sentimentality, into romanticism, but Marty Silverthorne’s Holy Ghosts of Whiskey is a tumbling, musical urgency of 'smoke ring eulogies,' 'voices singing through the hinges,' bruises shining through worn blouses, cold, cold hearts and 'buzzards high in the Tuscarora pines.' It’s a regional collection in the best sense of the term. These vibrant poems are distilled from 'the poverty of fatback and biscuits,' they’re spiriting hymns worming their way to us from an eastern North Carolina landscape that isn’t quite dead yet, rising from the coiled copper of liquor stills, from kerosene lamps and radio gospel. These poems will take you there so that you remember it.”
—John Hoppenthaler, author of Domestic Garden, Anticipate the Coming Reservoir, Lives of Water

Marty Silverthorne lives in Greenville, NC, where he earned a M.S. from East Carolina University. He received the Sam Ragan Fine Arts Award in 1993 and has been awarded several grants from the NC Arts Council. His poems have appeared in The St. Andrews Review, Carolina Literary Companion, Tar River Poetry, Chattahoochee, and others. He has published two chapbooks: Dry-Skin Messiah and Pot Liquor Promises.

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