by Lawrence Gregory.

Shanti Arts Publishing; 2023

ISBN: 978-1-956056-80-8

I first met the poet at a Steamboat Springs Writers Group workshop, maybe 10 years ago? I don’t remember the year but I remember his writing. That’s where I first heard Hutterite Strawberries, a poem he was working on for a collection that was eventually published in 2017 as Stretching Silver Through Blue Haze, an intimate collaboration of Lawrence’s spare words and Birgit Gutsche’s riveting photography. All these years and the memory of that one poem, Hutterite Strawberries, is still fresh in my mind, along with the shared thrill we writers all felt hearing it read aloud.

Lawrence and I keep in touch, mostly by email, sharing our works-in-progress and news of our publications. I had the pleasure of reading some of Phenomena while he was still working on this, his latest collection of poems. Phenomena manifests as reflections, observations, questions, koans and confessions to be read, felt, savored and shared. Multi-sensory, his poems are, yet with a sharp crystalline edge. Never bloated, they leave you with wanting more of this phenomenon we call Life, even when it hurts.

“At the speed of love” is a beat from one of Lawrence’s poems, included in PhenomenaA touch stone that has remained in my pocket since I first read it. I hold it close and ponder its possibilities…

I appreciate the cover and interior design of the book; its layout, with breathing space, is generous and inviting. Reading the haiku section is like following animal tracks through fresh snow. Props to the publisher, Shanti Arts, for the overall look of the book.

Phenomena and Stretching Silver Through Blue Haze can be ordered from the publisher Shanti Arts, or from your favorite bookstore.

Lawrence Gregory’s poems have appeared in literary reviews, journals, and other publications. His 2017 collection, Stretching Silver Through Blue Haze, a collaboration with his wife, the award-winning photographer Birgit Gutsche, was published by Shanti Arts in 2017.