Cloudshade—Poems of the High Plains
In every season, life on America’s high plains is at once harsh and beautiful, liberating and isolated, welcoming and unforgiving. Cloudshade poems give you that experience. The poems of Cloudshade take us through those seasons, swinging wide a glassless window to life in the West—to antelope flowing seamless over dirt roads, boom and bust ghost towns, deep, glacial lakes ringed with glowing aspen trees, ice fishing by the Northern Lights, and as in “High Plains Solstice,” live music on summer nights that
carves hot petals
through our bodies
in its ritual of tides
licks us open
from the inside
until we are night-blooming jasmine
seduced by the moon.
Cloudshade is a book for everyone, from poetry lovers to those who don’t usually read poems. If you’ve ever waited through five or six months of winter for the first signs of spring, stood outside to feel the first, long-awaited summer rains, caught the wood-smoke and cottonwood scent of fall, or stood on a frozen lake, listening to winter rumbling and heaving through the ice, these poems will carry you back to what is elemental and haunting about life on the high plains, as in “On the Ice,” where
We wait, silent, hearing with our feet
the seething of ultramarine blood,
the twitching of bones,
rumbles of omens
and restless spirits.
The ice stretches and heaves,
cracking like gunshot,
and beneath that, glints and gleamings
of sound, like whales
calling across the darkness.
In the poetic tradition of James Wright and B.H. Fairchild, these poems are rooted in the mercies of daily life, illuminating the intersections between our own internal landscapes and those that surround us. Howe offers a fleeting portrait of that intersection in the poem, “En Route to My Father’s Funeral”
At a pale crossroads,
in an open shop two floors up,
a welder works into the night.
His arc is lonesome in the cool air,
gobbets of fire
like unformed angels
Whether you live on the high plains or it lives in your memory, the poems of Cloudshade, like the first summer rain, bring the sounds, scents, and the vividness of life back to us, whole.
Order Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains
Purchase directly from Sastrugi press
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Valley Bookstore, Jackson, WY
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University of Wyoming Bookstore
Digital eBook edition
• Classic CD
• MP3 on USB Thumb Drive
• Direct Digital Download
(see below for audiobook options)
Retailer purchase links:
Audiobook Editions of Cloudshade
Sastrugi Press offers three audiobook versions of Cloudshade:
Direct Digital Download:
If you want your copy of Cloudshade on MP3 right now, click the digital download button. In moments, you’ll have all of the poems of Cloudshade on your device.
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MP3 on USB Thumb Drive:
Purchase this version of Cloudshade and receive Hi-Fidelity MP3 files on a (free!) USB Thumb drive. These MP3 files are ready to be loaded onto your favorite device or computer. You can burn an MP3 CD with them, too.
Plus, once you copy off the MP3 audio files, you can recycle the USB Thumb drive and use it for whatever you want. It’s yours to keep. Learn more about the advantages of the USB-MP3 audiobook here.
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(20% off the $18.95 retail)
Classic Audiobook on CD
These CDs are archival. Even if you lose your phone or your computer dies, you’ll have the CD.
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(20% off the $18.95 retail)
Sample track of Cloudshade:
En Route to my Father’s Funeral
Author Signing Events
Meet Lori Howe in person at the following events. She will be reading selections of her poetry, sharing writing stories, and autographing Cloudshade poems, her newly released title.
Monday, June 13, Workshop at the Natrona County Library in Casper, WY: 5:30-8pm.
Tuesday, June 14, Workshop at the Sheridan County Library in Sheridan, 6-8:30pm.
Wednesday, June 15, I’ll read from and sign both Cloudshade and Voices at Twilight at the Sheridan Stationery Books and Gallery from 5:30-7pm.
Thursday, June 16, Workshop at the Big Horn County Library in Basin, WY, 6-8:30pm.
Friday, June 17, book signing at Legends Bookstore in Cody, WY, 1-3pm.
Saturday, June 18, Workshop at the Park County Public Library in Cody, WY, 1-4pm.
Sunday: free day. Kayak and write.
Monday, June 20, reading/signing at Storyteller Books in Thermopolis, WY, 5:30-7pm
Tuesday, June 21, Workshop at the Hot Springs County Library in Thermopolis, WY, 5:30-7:30pm.
June 22-26, Jackson Hole Writers Conference. Staying in Wilson.
Monday, June 27, Workshop at the Rock Springs Branch Library in Rock Springs, WY 6-8pm
Tuesday, June 28, Workshop at the Sweetwater County Library in Green River, WY, 6-8pm
Wednesday, June 29, Workshop at the Sublette County Library in Pinedale, WY 5:30-8pm
Thursday, June 30, Workshop at the Centennial Library in Centennial, WY, 11am-2pm.
End of tour: back in Laramie by 4pm on Thursday, June 30.
“As we crossed the high plains, I had been wondering what it would feel like to live there. On a break from driving, we got drinks at a bookstore/cafe and happened to sit next to the shelf of ‘local authors’. Once I picked up Cloudshade, I didn’t put it down.”
—Cheryl Caister, www.holistic-resource.net
Cloudshade Poems in the media
Lori Howe was featured on the Open Spaces show on Wyoming Public Radio on Nov 6 & 7, 2015. Bob Beck’s interview of Lori included several poetry readings. Cloudshade poems received its first media attention. You can listen to her segment of the show in the below audio.
Audio courtesy of Wyoming Public Radio.
Lori Howe was featured on 89.1 KHOL, Jackson, WY, on Dec 3, 2015. Cassandra Lee interviewed Lori about Cloudshade. Enjoy the interview here:
Audio courtesy of 89.1 KHOL.
Cloudshade has been nominated for a PushCart award.
Praise for Cloudshade Poems
In Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains, Lori Howe gives song to landscapes abandoned and unadorned, places where “wind has erased its hieroglyphs.” Whether shadowed by ghosts, weather, or the fragility of love, Howe staves off loss with precise and vivid language. Her voice is “mineral and granite” enriched by “a gracious plenty of color.” Her powerful poems are mercy and light.–Alyson Hagy, author of Snow, Ashes, Graveyard of the Atlantic, and Boleto: A Novel
In Lori Howe’s Cloudshade we are presented with the seasons of a Wyoming year beginning in an unusually dry June, the earth pulling in on itself. The year passes with the coyotes’ distant call, the dark of a prairie bar and its human inhabitants born “…neon blue/and feet first/into a field of summer/harmonicas.” Then there is the rain that falls from the clouds but dries before it hits the ground, the empty houses and towns, the railroad sidings abandoned and rotting, everything that is lost and–by most people—forgotten. And no matter the season there’s always a storm brewing somewhere not far away. With the return of spring in the collection’s last section, the rain finally arrives and the pronghorn antelope graze on the green grasslands but it’s a brief time of plenty in a land that we learn was never meant for humans, “never meant to host a softness/of bodies.” –David Romtvedt, author of Wyoming Fence Lines, Some Church, and Certainty
Early in Cloudshade, the speaker in “Far Between Towns” declares that “Only the wind and its music / remember this place.” But that makes Lori Howe’s poems like the wind’s music, because they remember to the reader this place, the high plains, in all its many voices: the voices of those “wild prophets,” the coyotes; the voice of rain after a long dry spell pouring off roofs onto “ground / cracked and brittle as an old boot”; the voice of ice “cracking like gunshot”…. These are poems set “to fill our mouths / with the earth’s own tongue.” –H. L. Hix
Lori Howe is the author of Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains (Sastrugi Press, 2015), Voices at Twilight: A Poet’s Guide to Wyoming Ghost Towns (Sastrugi Press, 2016), and Stories from Earth: Millennials, Literature, and Teaching Writing that Matters.
Her poems, short fiction, and non-fiction appear in numerous journals, anthologies, and books such as The Meadow, Pilgrimage, Northern Lights, Red Hook, Open Window Review, Frontiers Magazine, and the Owen Wister Review. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in English and Spanish, as well as an M.F.A. in poetry.
Visit Lori Howe’s author website at: http://lorihoweauthor.com/