Poetry. Paper, Perfect Bound. 48 pages
2019, ISBN: 978-1-936419-92-0 $14.95 + S&H
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How the narrator of Amateur Husbandry manages to maintain a sense of calmness and well-being as he deals with the rather unruly and chaotic “natural” world is remarkable. Married to a yellow horse of Xantippe-like qualities, he is nonetheless the go-to guy for fatherly and sane advice, whether dealing with an unneighborly woodchuck, a pan-handling bear, or one of his many fosterlings (like the goat that wants to dress up as a U.S. President), all the while maintaining a sense of humor and empathy.
Call them what you will—microfictions, prose poems, fables, field notes—these brief observations of nature (human and animal) are those of a backyard zoologist, anthropologist, mythologist, and literary executor—all amateurishly wise, playfully insightful, and often very funny.
Praise for Phillip Sterling’s work:
There is a heartbreaking vulnerability in Phillip Sterling’s strange, sly micro-fictions replete with talking animals. I can’t think of anyone since Russell Edson who so effectively uses the absurd and surreal to explore the complicated dynamics of family and interpersonal relationships. The pieces in Amateur Husbandry do what short-short stories do best—they push beyond their compression to create a fully realized world, putting both our foibles and our mercies on display. — Marc J. Sheehan
What a great read! From the playful title to the domestic dramas, Amateur Husbandry captures the absolute normalcy of life IF you are married to a horse and your world is populated by badgers and wolverines—among other creatures—all with the problems any household encounters. These stories of domestic life are elevated with wit, humor, and a stable of articulate and smart characters. — Elizabeth Kerlikowske
Phillip Sterling’s Amateur Husbandry is a sleek, sly, and occasionally silly collection of domestic fables and playful micro-fictions. An unexpected menagerie of delightful creatures, human and otherwise. — Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic & Desire
The Islands of the Blessed
The ruckus down the bike path turned out to be an old turtle getting his ears boxed by a small terrier mix. I chased the mutt to the far side of an invisible fence, then offered the turtle a cup of tea, beans fresh from the garden. We sat on the deck. His carapace showed signs of fresh caulking. Kids, I sighed, sympathetically. Not like they used to be. You can say that again, said the turtle. They hardly carry the world on their backs.
About Phillip Sterling
Phillip Sterling is the author of a collection of short fiction, In Which Brief Stories Are Told, two poetry collections, And Then Snow and Mutual Shores, and several chapbook-length series of poems. An associate poetry editor for Third Wednesday magazine, he lists among his awards a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Fulbright Lectureships (Belgium and Poland), and selection as artist-in-residence for both Isle Royale National Park and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He and his wife, Jane Wheeler, live on a bit of acreage near Lowell, Michigan, where they attend to an array of gardens and animals of questionable domesticity.