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Gospel of Dust

I’m thrilled to say that my new book of poems, Gospel of Dust, will be available for pre-order shortly and will likely be released in mid-June, 2013. Main Street Rag Publisher M. Scott Douglas did a nice job with the cover. Through the help of the Library of Congress and the Birmingham Public Library, I found a photograph of a stained-glass window at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, taken the day the church was bombed on September 15, 1963. That window, with a full-body image of Christ, was left with the face of Christ blown out. Somehow, that’s a good cover image for this book.

Gospel of Dust is a collection of poems in four sections. Section 1, The Human Gospel, serves as a kind of litany of holy men and women. It includes poems about Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, David Kato, Matthew Shepard, St. Clare of Assisi and others. Section 2, The Pieta Gospel, gathers poems about mothers and sons, the feminine face of God. It includes a poem connecting to the book cover titled “Our Lady of Sorrows Comes to Birmingham,” as well as “If Mamie Till Was the Mother of God.” Section 3, The Written Gospel, take a sprint through the four written gospels with poems on specific gospel stories. The final Section 4, The Ritual Gospel includes poems about rituals and worship. It includes “The Upstairs Lounge,” a series of poems titled “If Tupac Shakur Was A Priest” and a series titled “If Cool Disco Dan Was A Priest.” It also contains a series of poems looking at riots as ritual with poems about the Egyptian Bread Riots, The Watts Riots, Stonewall Riots, and the Los Angeles Riot of 1992.

Although this collection’s images reach back into earlier times of my life, the poems are new, nearly all written in the last couple of years. I look forward to holding it in my hands, finally, and I’ll keep readers here informed as to when pre-orders can begin.

As always, thanks for your support and encouragement.

2 Responses to Gospel of Dust

  1. Rose February 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Joe–
    I LOVE this cover image. Perfect. I was at 16 St Baptist a few springs ago listening to Diane Nash and Bernard Lafayette talk about the Birmingham campaign. Walking through the Kelly Ingram park with John Lewis. Geez. Anyway, in the basement of the 16 St Baptist church there is this amazing 3 foot replica of a slave ship during the MIddle Passage. It’s like it was handmade by someone and all the bodies are separately carved and painted and laid side by side like cord wood. It’s very crude and took my breath away.
    Can’t wait to see the book. Sorry I didn’t make it to the DC PAW celebration last night. I was thawing out from having spent the day downtown for the climate rally.
    See you soon–
    Rose

    • Joseph Ross February 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

      Thanks Rose — I look forward to getting there myself one day. I missed you last night but you were doing a good work at the climate rally. Thanks!

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