Click here for a review by Jayne Marek at Cider Press Review
Click here for a review by Kathy Nelson at Valparaiso Review
Click here for a review by Erica Goss at Sticks & Stones
GOOD NEWS: Horse Not Zebra received Honorable Mention in the North
Carolina Poetry Society's Brockman-Campbell Book Award competition for
books published in 2022. Here are the judge's comments:
"Whether having at the center of the narrative or as subject of reflection a bear,
a dog, an old couple, a campfire, or a bar of soap, these poems unfold with such
conversational elegance, wit, self-deprecating humor, and tenderness, it’s hard
not to fall in love with them. I admire Nelson’s memorable approaches to
human fallibility and vulnerability, the delight and craft with which he honors
the ordinary, the intimate sense of place he creates with a few brushstrokes, the
warmth of his tonal inflections." Mihaela Moscaliuc, Judge
MORE GOOD NEWS: Horse Not Zebra received two awards in the 2023
Eric Hoffer Book Awards competition. It won the da Vinci Eye Award
for outstanding cover art and design, and it received Honorable
Mention in the Poetry category.
The cover art of Horse Not Zebra features the amazing painting
"Shake the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart" by
Laura Berendsen Hughes, cover design by Diane Lockward
of Terrapin Books.
Horse Not Zebra is available from indie bookstores such as Malaprop's in
Horse Not Zebra
When med students are learning
how to diagnose symptoms, they’re told
think horse, not zebra—the common, not the exotic.
Which is good advice even if you’re not a doctor.
Like when your phone rings at 3:00 in the morning,
think wrong number, not who died?
Or if your love is over an hour late
for dinner and hasn’t called to explain, think
gridlock, not head-on; dead zone, not dead.
When the guy in the truck doesn’t slow down
much less stop when you step into the crosswalk,
think distracted, not son-of-a-bitch. Recall the time
your mind was still at work, how shocked you were
to see in your rear-view a woman in the crosswalk
flipping you off with both hands.
And if you’re steaming in a mile long back-up
because protesters have blocked the bridge again,
don’t think where are the damn cops
when you need them, think how,
when popping sounds wake you at night,
you think firecracker, not gun.