Start Reading Pawleys Island by John Stupp…

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Sewickley resident John Stupp is the 2017 winner of the Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest held annually by publishing house Main Street Rag in Charlotte, NC. His winning chapbook Summer Job will be published in 2018. John is the author of the full length poetry collections Advice from the Bed of a Friend (also published by Main Street Rag) and the just published Pawleys Island (Finishing Line Press).

Book Launch

Don’t miss out: John Stupp will be launching Pawleys Island at the White Whale Bookstore in Bloomfield on Friday, September 15th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm (with readings by Stupp, Jan Beatty, Deena November, Kayla Sargeson, Bob Walicki and Michael Wurster). Plus food and drink!



All morning
I held my reel open
with a cork float
the line unraveling
in oyster beds and sandbars
disappearing in the mud
where herons stood
in their wet trousers
the sun came out later
croakers and spots ran by the jetty
as the ocean was in a hurry
and pushed everything into the marsh—
it was like driving an old car
in the mountains of North Carolina
the curvature of the earth
on the horizon ahead of us and trucks
and big rigs pushing everything from behind
we could never go fast enough
the car all crazy floating on the tide
like a girl in a cotton dress with the windows down

Another Poem about Fishing

My wife
is pulling
into our boat
faster than
I can bait lines
her rod bends
over and over again
in the shallow water
a quick glimmer
in the tide’s circle
and these fish
want us
to eat them
in pancake batter
per the local custom
not like
some stranger

Croaker Story

I saw
a croaker
beside a road
in Garden City
first thing
Saturday morning
I pulled over
his fins smelled
like turpentine
he looked worn out
he said
thanks for picking me up
the sun rose
over the town
like a lit cigarette
we drove for a while
toward the sound of the ocean
he looked at me
I’ve been on a drinking jag
he said—
I was thinking
I never heard
anyone say that before
I had to put it
in a poem

After a Hurricane

A black
cloud of wind
sucked waves out
like a leach
it was low tide
all the way
to the horizon
at the end of the pier
lines went plunk in the sand
like screenwire
pilings groaned
you couldn’t find water
yet the ocean
was there
sleeping it off
beneath the surface
of starfish
schools of menhaden
red drum
in all directions—
but not us

Excerpted from Pawleys Island by John Stupp. Printed here with permission of the author.


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