About the author: Arthur Powers went to Brazil in 1969 and lived most his adult life there. From 1985 to 1997, he and his wife served with the Franciscan Friars in the Amazon, doing pastoral work and organizing subsistence farmers and rural workers' unions in a region of violent land conflicts. The Powers currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Arthur received a Fellowship in Fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, three annual awards for short fiction from the Catholic Press Association, and 2nd place in the 2008 Tom Howard Fiction Contest. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in many magazines and anthologies. He is the author of A Hero For The People: Stories From The Brazilian Backlands (Press 53, 2013) - winner of the 2014 Catholic Arts and Literature Award - and of The Book of Jotham (Tuscany Press, 2013) - winner of the 2012 Tuscany Novella Prize. He is Judge of the 2014-2016 Tom Howard/John Reid Short Fiction and Essay Contests, and of the 2015 Dappled Things J.F. Powers Short Story Contest. He serves on the Board of The Raleigh Review and on the educational committee of The Justice Theater Project.
"Who is the mysterious woman on the cover of Powers latest book? Her eyes are piercing, her lips tightened in a knowing smirk. She seems to stare - stare right into your soul as you hold the volume. It is as if she is trying to tell you something, as if she knows something that you must discover for yourself. She appears pleased, yet unable or unwilling to find the words to tell you why. I pondered her face as I held the book that had just arrived on my doorstep. I couldn't unravel the message of her face. I didn't understand the meaning of amused light in her eyes. If she could speak and tell me, I fear I still wouldn't understand. The woman on the cover is like a traveler, back from the journey of a lifetime, who cannot share with the old acquaintance left behind the glories she has seen. Try as she might the traveler is unable to find the language to describe the sights she has beheld, or the passion she feels. She can only encourage her friend to take the same trip, to experience the same journey.
Some wanderings can only be experienced alone. So it is with the sojourn into this volume. The poetry written by Arthur Powers can only by experienced alone - in your easy chair by a roaring fire, or perhaps while sitting on a log in the twilight of a deserted pine forest. It doesn't matter where you are when you start. You will not end up in the same place. For you will wander to places and meet people unknown. In lines such as "Christ's eyes pierced emptiness as the iced wind bounced against him like a joke," you will meet the forgotten bag lady. In the verses of his poem Parochial School, you will meet the joy of school boys who know the comfort of snowballs and faith. Turning the pages you will travel to the Missouri that created Mark Twain and the Boston roads that wind to Harvard. You will lose yourself in lines like - the cold heart sky, the wind's sting, the gull rising on the shattered wing of winter. The poets afraid to sing.
And as you read the last line on the last page of Power's volume, you will finally understand. As your heart absorbs the tender meaning of the line - A mother in an old, rambling house listening for a baby's distant cry - it will come to you. You have taken a sacred journey. The journey has changed you. You have seen and experienced things that have touched your soul. And yet you have never left your comfy chair, nor risen from your log in the forest. In closing the book and looking at the mysterious woman on the cover it will occur to you that you have the same piercing look in your own eyes and the same gleam of knowing shines. And it would surprise me greatly if that same tight-lipped grin of satisfaction didn't grace your face. She was trying to tell you all along - take the journey - see the ordinary through the eyes of an extraordinary soul." Review by Karen Kelly Boyce