AND OTHER POEMS
Nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the
premier Kentucky Literary Award for
Poetry in 2003
After a childhood spent in England and
several locations around the United
States, Sheila Bucy Potter has lived
most of her adult life in Kentucky. She
has degrees in English and History from
Murray State University; an MA in
Medieval Literature from Southern
Illinois University; and post-graduate
work in English Literature at the
University of Kentucky. Her work has
appeared in the Journal of Kentucky
Studies, Heartland Review, Pegasus,
and in Bigger than They Appear:
Anthology of Very Short Poems
(Accents Publishing, 2011).
Sheila is an Associate Editor and the
lead reader for Broadstone Books. She
lives in Frankfort, Kentucky.
In her first book-length collection of poetry, Kentucky writer Sheila Bucy Potter breathes
new life into traditional narrative form with her verse cycle, “Home Place.” The title work
is a dialogue between a farmer and a woman who buys the adjoining farm because, she says,
I’ve lived in my cage a very long timeAs his initial doubts about her give way to hard-won respect and eventual love, these two
And I wanted some spaces around.
people, both damaged by life, find a new chance through her trials and small triumphs.
Praised by former Kentucky Poet Laureate Richard Taylor as “Frost with less irony and
more heart,” these poems celebrate the ageless redemptive power of nature, the unexpected
possibility of love, and, in unabashed and unadorned terms, virtue.
The balance of poems in the collection are by turns confessional and reflective, ranging
over themes personal and mythic, concluding with the powerfully drawn “Reflection of
1968,” a cry of a generation still yearning for form within formlessness, meaning out of
randomness, a desire that ultimately informs and gives context to all of the poems gathered
"When Potter breathes through her pen,
nature sings through her poetry."
Broadstone Books congratulates our author
and Associate Editor Sheila Bucy Potter
on the release of her chapbook from Finishing
Line Press, and we are pleased to make it
available here on her behalf.
SHEILA BUCY POTTER
|Publication Date: April 1, 2017
Paperback Chapbook, 40 pages
Booksellers: Available exclusively
from the publisher
In the opening poem in Sheila Bucy Potter’s chapbook of “random memories of a military
dependent,” her mother observes “Real people don’t like this.” Working out the logic of this,
Potter concludes that she must be invisible, which explains
…why I had no friends,
Why no one ever talked to me,
And why I was never called on in class.
Later, in one of her imagined dialogues with her older brother, she reveals that she knows
things about their parents because
I’m little and no one pays any attention
To me. It’s like I’m deaf.
But Potter was not deaf, and if she felt invisible it only served to make her a more perfect
observer. What she heard and saw and lived through as an “Air Force brat” in the middle of
the Cold War fills these poems, and the child she was still inhabits the memories of the
woman she grew into through these experiences.
Some are humorous, as in the story of an encounter with a hammerhead shark while fishing –
not a man-eater, her father assures the family, prompting her mother to ask “How do you
think he feels about / Women and small children?” Many are poignant, particularly
recollections from her time in England and especially “The Brownie’s Sang ‘Waltzing
Matilda’” where memories of a schooldays skit prompt a meditation on the end of empire.
Others reflect the fatalism of the age that left a legacy of cynicism, as she and her brother
recall the “Alerts” on their father’s airbase and the rules that ensured “Our mothers would
know where to find our bodies.”
Most of all, these poems tell of a child forced into early responsibility:
Service kid, trained in cultural relativism
Before it was even popular,
I was a diplomat I was told, more than once,
A little one, true, but a symbol nonetheless.
They tell of rootlessness, of saying goodbyes to places, and of eventually coming “home” to
a place where she felt “More like ET.” No doubt the poet’s fellow military “brats” will read
these poems with more than a few smiles and nods of recognition. But it is even more
important for the rest of us to read them, as a reminder of the demands we make on the
families of those in uniform. They don’t get medals for their service, but we ought to salute
them all the same.
JUST ACT LIKE EVERYTHING
IS PERFECTLY NORMAL:
Random Memories of a Military
YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR
A poetry chapbook by
Sheila Bucy Potter
from Finishing Line Press
|Publication Date: 2013
Paperback Chapbook, 36 pages
|Publication Date: 2003
Perfectbound, 144 pages