New Book Releases – Week of 13 November 2023 – David Dark, more…

Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to each of the new book releases …)

See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.

Snakedoctor: Poems

Maurice Manning

( Copper Canyon Press )

From church barn to apple orchard, from snow-covered pasture to secret moonshine cabin, Manning’s Snakedoctor reinvigorates the Kentucky pastoral through poems that find light in shadow, good in evil, love in a father’s stinging blow.

Maurice Manning returns to the Kentucky countryside in his eighth collection, Snakedoctor. Existing between haunting memory and pastoral dreamscape, this quiet collection showcases Manning’s storytelling at its finest. Simple, four-beat lines hold epiphanies—“the barn is just an empty church”— and announce visits from seven-foot strangers named Mr. True. Here, God is reimagined as a “serious banjo player” who calls the world to sing. And sing Manning does. Through rhyme, blues, and haiku, Snakedoctor trains our ears to hear music in the mundane, to find beauty all around us: in the annotated margins of a well-read book, the flight of a father’s shadow puppet, the yellow centers of daisies. Punctuated by rain’s pitter-patter on a tin wash tub, and the “ring of lonely” in a farmer’s voice as he calls his cattle home, Snakedoctor is a collection that will leave you wanting to dog-ear its pages. From childhood to fatherhood, church barn to apple orchard, moonshine to moonbeam, we leave these poems understanding Manning’s wish: “I wanted to make a prayer and I did, / in half-sleep after the dream.”

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

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Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith

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