Skip to content

Calling the Garden from the Grave

Calling the Garden from the Grave won 2nd place among books of verse in the 2021 National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest.

Calling the Garden from the Grave explores our restless human yearnings and spiritual endurance. Poems in this collection have won awards from the National Federation of Press Women, The Poetry Society of Texas, Press Women of Texas, and the Houston Poetry Fest. Settings as vast as the West Texas desert and intimate as a one-bedroom apartment in the trees invite the reader to both adventure and contemplation. 

In these pages, the reader meets trailblazers and homebodies, mothers and daughters, lovers and loners, the famed and the obscure. Each wrestles in some way with a God-given calling. Each struggles to bloom in soil made dry by quotidian loss or past transgressions. 

Clinton offers a sacramental view of the world informed by her Catholic faith. No small grace goes unseen in these poems; each tiny sacrifice and moment of growth is honored. This collection brings God’s numinous, intangible space of fortitude and renewal into the abundant, greening poetry garden. 

“This slender volume utilizes language to uniquely stamp this writer’s vocation, her multi-faceted “calling.”  Reading these poems becomes a joyful reminder of St. John Paul II’s Letter to Artists (1999) as he acknowledged the sacred tasks of artists “as [they] are led all the more to see themselves and the whole of creation with eyes able to contemplate and give thanks, and to raise to God a hymn of praise.” With poet Lesley Clinton, let us “Lie in wait for the spark to land, / and tense for the bright reply.”

Sarah Cortez
President and Founder, Catholic Literary Arts

“Reading Lesley Clinton’s exquisite first chapbook, I was struck by the breadth of her vision–the feeling of scope and magnitude radiating from her poems, but even more by the simultaneous intimate intensity of her focus. And I was reminded of two of the 20th century’s finest poets: Elizabeth Bishop and Jane Kenyon.  Clinton clearly walks a similar path[…]”

from Herman Sutter’s review for The Poetry Cafe

Calling the Garden from the Grave, Lesley Clinton’s new chapbook […] is a collection of well-balanced tensions — rooted in place, yet unafraid to travel; modern in tone, yet grounded in tradition. Clinton has crafted these poems with care. The result is a chapbook deserving of careful readers.”

from J. D. Graham’s review

Subscribe here to be notified about upcoming readings and publication information.