Creative Writing Professor Publishes Debut Collection of Poems

By Dan Bowman Jr. Published: Dec 16, 2011

Daniel Bowman Jr., Assistant Professor of English at Taylor, is looking forward to the publication of his first collection of poems, forthcoming in early 2012 from Virtual Artists Collective (http://vacpoetry.org/a-plum-tree-in-leatherstocking-country/), a small independent poetry press in Chicago.

The book is entitled A Plum Tree in Leatherstocking Country. Many of the poems are set where the author grew up: the Mohawk River Valley of upstate New York, also known as Leatherstocking Country, a term that dates back to the works of one of the area’s most famous natives, James Fenimore Cooper. The publisher describes the poems this way: 

“Scott Russell Sanders has written, ‘How could our hearts be large enough for heaven if they are not large enough for earth? The only paradise I know is the one lit by our everyday sun, this land of difficult love, shot through with shadow. The place where we learn this love, if we learn it at all, shimmers behind every new place we inhabit.’
Daniel Bowman Jr.
In his first collection, Daniel Bowman, Jr. extends his heart and full lyric senses out from the Mohawk River Valley of his youth across the land, exploring the persistence of season and place, and their relationship to memory and identity. These deeply atmospheric poems transcend the geographic to emerge in a rich psychological and spiritual territory. The result is a poetry that is simultaneously mysterious and disorienting as well as lucid and revealing—reflecting who we thought we were, and who we might truly be.”

Several major poets have expressed their excitement for the book.

Emanuel di Pasquale
, translator and author of Writing Anew: New and Selected Poems (Bordighera Press, 2007), wrote, “Daniel Bowman Jr.’s poetry is as American as Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson and Chief Seattle blended in the prairies and lakes and mountains and the passion of the American spirit, from New York across the wide land. It is always human and it sings splendidly, rich in animistic mystery. I delight in these poems. Bowman has a great big heart and finds himself home in the lyrical brotherhood.”

Jeanne Murray Walker, author of New Tracks, Night Falling (William B. Eerdmans, 2009), and recent keynote speaker at the William Fry Making Literature Conference here at Taylor, said: “In his first collection of poems, Dan Bowman describes quotidian moments of ordinary life and before you know it, mystery enters and twists everything. One minute we’re walking by the canal with the perfectly reasonable goal of getting somewhere gettable, and the next minute the humdrum landscape turns bizarre and we can’t figure out where we are. The book is haunted by ancestors and cultural memories and premonitions and ghosts. It captures brilliantly the strangeness of being human. Let these poems stand as a warning and a promise. There’s no predicting what will happen: a plum tree is, yes, blossoming in Leatherstocking Country.”

A Plum Tree in Leatherstocking Country is now available for preorder from the publisher (http://vacpoetry.org/a-plum-tree-in-leatherstocking-country/), and will be available beginning in January at indiebound.org, Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, as well as select stores.

Professor Bowman is currently completing a revision of a novel, and hopes to begin compiling and editing a poetry anthology in the spring as well. Last summer, when his book was accepted for publication he described the experience on his blog (http://www.danielbowmanjr.com/blog/?p=274).