Friday, July 12, 2013

Why Athletes Prefer Cheerleaders

Why Athletes Prefer Cheerleaders

H. R. Stoneback

Praise for Why Athletes Prefer Cheerleaders:

"H. R. Stoneback's newest collection, Why Athletes Prefer Cheerleaders, is a singular experience. Every one of these poems epitomizes Pound's old modernist maxim--that poetry should be at least as well written as prose. 
     Drawn together from over fifty years of writing, the book is not only a great gathering of poems about sport; it's a deep sampling of Stoneback's voice. Basketball, baseball, zellball, swimming, diving, walking, fishing, boules--sure, you will find all these sports (and more) invoked. But there's something else going on here too:
            Down the great winds at work over the roofs of the land
            Down the singing maze of the horror of living
            Down the wringing wrists of the honor of living
            Down the winding abyss... ("Fast Break")
     These are poems rapt by the mysteries of courtside chants and yellowing scorecards, the glories of place and travel. From "In Those Same Sad Old Churches in Camden" and "Marrowbone Creek: Sunday Noon" (written in the early 1960s) to the strange twenty-first-century country of Australia, New Zealand, and Tahiti, you will hear one man's voice telling the holy and broken story of what it has meant to live in the body, in place, in time. There is nothing like it."
--Alex Shakespeare, poet and scholar, Skidmore College

"Stoneback’s sport poems are earth poems, land art, tracing the way flesh moves in the world, the way the soul makes a fast break down court, across the map and over the abyss into moments of grace and glory."
 --Matthew Nickel, poet and scholar, author of Hemingway’s Dark Night, Misericordia University 

If you are interested in ordering a copy a Why Athletes Prefer Cheerleaders, please contact 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Voices from Venice

Voices from Venice

H. R. Stoneback

New from Des Hymnagistes Press:

Signed limited edition of poems by H. R. Stoneback, bilingual edition, with facing page translations by six Italian writers and translators (Rosella Mamoli Zorzi, A. DeMarchi, Elisabetta Mezzani, Virginia Pignagnoli, Sofia Ricotilli, and C. Tinnelli). To inquire regarding limited availability, please email Des Hymnagistes Press at

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Save the P.O.etry

Save the P.O.etry—

A National Crusade to save the Post Office through poetry. As everyone knows from recent headlines in the news, the Post Office is in serious trouble, and many Post Offices are threatened with closure or radical cutbacks in hours and service. The Post Office has long been a center of the sense of place and community in American towns and villages. One of the primary factors in the current Post Office crisis is identified as the drastic decline in the use of First Class Mail due to the overwhelming use of e-mail.
         What you can do to help save the P.O.—1) send at least ten people a copy of a poem through the real mail, using actual stamps purchased at an actual Post Office; 2) ask at least ten people to snail-mail a poem to at least ten other people. Act now to save the P.O.—do the math: if you send 10 copies of your favorite poem (or maybe one you’ve written to help save the P.O.) and all the people you send the poem to also do the same, the numbers spiral, and soon through many individual purchases of less than $5 worth of stamps, millions of dollars will pour into the P.O. treasury.

“Poetry makes nothing happen.”—W. H. Auden

          But another poet has written:

“Poetry can make things happen.”—H. R. Stoneback

          We encourage teachers at all levels to invite the participation of their students in this campaign. Post this announcement in libraries. Visit a Post Office, buy some stamps, and mail a poem and a copy of this information sheet to 10 (or 50!) people.
          This nationwide crusade to save the Post Office through mailing poems is based in New Paltz, New York. The campaign will receive national attention at the American Literature Association Conference in New Orleans in October 2012 and at the SAMLA Convention in Durham, NC in November 2012.
          If you would like to report on your role in the SAVE the P.O.etry Crusade, you may e-mail us at: or visit us at

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stoneback (and other hymnagistes) in Paris

165 boulevard du Montparnasse
Paris 6e

H. R. Stoneback, author (or editor) of 30 books, will read from his recent volumes  VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING and HEMINGWAY'S PARIS: OUR PARIS? at the Swan Bar on Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 9:30 pm. The event begins with readings by the opening poets Jessica Conti and Matthew Nickel before the featured performance—Stoneback will read from 10:00-11:00.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kentucky: Poets of Place

Kentucky: Poets of Place, a new anthology published by The Elizabeth Madox Roberts Society, edited by Matthew Nickel, and including poems by famous Kentucky writers like Wendell Berry, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Robert Penn Warren, H. R. Stoneback, and others (Dave Smith, Matthew Haughton, Ricardo Nazario y Colon, Ron Smith, Vivian Shipley, Jessica Conti, Gregg Neikirk, Shawn Rubenfeld, Chris Paolini, Chris Lawrence, Matthew Nickel, etc.), will be premiered during Kentucky Writers Day at Penn's Store in Gravel Switch, KY, Sunday April 22, between 3-4 pm. 
 If you would like to purchase Kentucky: Poets of Place, please send an email to

Thursday, September 29, 2011

From Codhill Press, H. R. Stoneback's VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING

Des Hymnagistes poet H. R. Stoneback has recently published VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING (Codhill Press). Please visit their website for more information or to order, please visit


--"VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING is a funny, tragic, wonderful book . . . Stoneback writes always with good humor and great passion--about Paris, about love, about grief and joy, about the gains and losses of more than half a century gone."
Alex Andriesse Shakespeare, writer, Boston College

--"A virtuosic synthesis of disparate forms and haunting formulations, VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING is 'life-writing' of a wholly new and overwhelming kind, 'written' in the fullest sense and born of a life lived with passionate intensity."
William Bedford Clark, poet-critic, Texas A&M University

--"H. R. Stoneback's VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING . . . [is] an epic account of roots and sources, and it's close to the bone, intimate beyond words, stirring. Love is at the center of this book: romantic love, love of music, and love as a driving (and saving) force."
William Boyle, writer, University of Mississippi

--"There are only a few voices I can listen to and feel the way I ought to feel in church. H. R. Stoneback's VOICES OF WOMEN SINGING captures some of those voices . . . These are sacred songs; these are eternal poems. Listen slowly with infinite love and compassion."
Matthew Nickel, poet-editor, University of Louisiana

And, from the back cover of VOICES, among a host of laudatory comments from leading writers about Stoneback's recent volumes of poetry, a few excerpts:

--"[Stoneback's CAFE MILLENNIUM] performs an act of verbal hypnosis on its reader."
Billy Collins, Poet Laureate

--"These poems [SINGING THE SPRINGS] spring and sing right out of the earth . . .I hug these songs to my heart."
Catherine Aldington, French poet-translator, Imagist

--"The poem [HOMAGE: A LETTER TO ROBERT PENN WARREN] is a delight, a great read, a rumble of energy all the way through . . . the rhythmic roll and strut."

Dave Smith, poet, editor THE SOUTHERN REVIEW, Coleman Professor of Poetry, Johns Hopkins

--"What I love about Stoneback's poetry is that it makes you love poetry . . . He's a bard, celebratory and rhythmical, with an unmistakable voice and he gets and begets the numinous nature of poiesis."
Allen Josephs, writer, University of West Florida

--[Stoneback is a] Postmodern modernist extraordinaire!"
John R. O. Gery, poet, Director Ezra Pound Center for Literature


--"Stoneback's lyrical prose takes the reader inside the soul of Hemingway's Paris to reveal tantalizing secrets."
A.E. Hotchner, writer, Hemingway colleague, author of the classic PAPA HEMINGWAY

--"Stoneback's evocation of Hemingway's Paris is as close as I have come to reliving those Paris days in the company of Ernest Hemingway."
Valerie Hemingway, writer

Thursday, March 10, 2011

From Penn's Store to the World

From Penn’s Store to the World: An Anthology of Poems

98 pp.
Edited by H. R. Stoneback
with Amanda Boyle and Brad McDuffie
Des Hymnagistes Press 2011

In the spring of 2010 a great flood inundated Penn’s Store, which is located near Gravel Switch, Kentucky. The old country store is situated at the edge of the tobacco and corn bottomlands, and to the uninformed eye of the casual passerby the store might appear to be just another ramshackle structure in a dying agrarian community. But this store is a historic landmark, said to be America’s oldest country store run by the same family—since at least the 1840s. The Penn family that still runs the store is related to the great Kentucky writer, Robert Penn Warren. It has since become a place for poetry and song gatherings, and for over a decade the location of the annual Kentucky Writers Day celebration every April. This is an important landmark of Song and Story, Ballad and Poetry, in a numinous place redolent with a sense of the past.

Because of the flood, H. R. Stoneback organized a Benefit in November 2010 to raise money to help the damaged store. A direct result of the Benefit was the publication of a substantial volume entitled From Penn’s Store to the World: An Anthology of Poems. All funds raised by the benefit went directly to Penn’s Store as a gift. (And any profits made by the book will also go to benefit the Store.) This book contains 50 poems—some written by well-known poets of national reputation, some by previously unknown poets who wanted to help the cause. And the poets are not just from Kentucky, but from numerous states and countries. It is the hope of all poets who participated that Penn’s Store will survive.

W. H. Auden was not the first or the last to say that poetry makes nothing happen. We beg to differ: poetry can make things happen, especially when words are anchored in the spirit of human community and deeds of concrete compassion. In this crusade to save Penn’s Store words were deeds, poems were cash.

If you would like to purchase a copy of From Penn’s Store to the World: An Anthology of Poems and help Penn’s Store, please write to Des Hymnagistes at for ordering information.