Naming Rights by Gary Boelhower.....

14/05/2017 22:12

Embrace the Rainbow Book Promotions is pleased to be celebrating the release of Gary Boelhower’s collection of poems, Naming Rites.



WIN a copy of Naming Rites and Marrow, Muscle, Flight by Gary Boelhower






Title: Naming Rites

Author: Gary Boelhower

Release Date: May 16th 2017

Genre: Poetry



Gary Boelhower’s third collection of poems explores the ways we are named and branded with multiple identities, a clay vessel molded and imprinted from the inside and the outside by those who know us or think they do, by wounds, worries, stones, and nicknames, by place and absence, by teachers and traitors. Boelhower dares to name the body’s blows and pleasures and how they are celebrated in solitude and connection. His language soars with ecstasy and burrows into hidden places in the soul. His lyrics tell how the world’s pain lodges in the cells and how the fragrance of summer stars opens an aperture to healing. Boelhower is winner of the Foley Prize from America and the Midwest Book Award for his second collection Marrow, Muscle, Flight.



Naming Rites is such a generous collection it offers both blessings and confessions, dirt and bread, miracles and explosions, cruelty and mercy, great blue herons who resemble monks and blue jays clowning around, a lover's tender touch and the horrors of the nightly news. In second grade, Gary Boelhower admits, he won 'the glow-in-the-dark statue of Mary,' and his religious drive, now mature, is still alive in these poems. They aim for (and often achieve) not just a personal record but transubstantiation, transforming experience into wisdom, fear into freedom, language into song. Naming Rites is the autobiography of a soul, reaching out beyond the boundaries of the self. Bart Sutter, author of Cow Calls in Dalarna and Chester Creek Ravine: Haiku


Gary Boelhower's poems resist convention and confinement even as they speak deeply of and from history, family, and community. The persona names and narrates himself into being as he chronicles profound and tender encounters as well as 'tectonic shifts and betrayals.' Software engineers meditate, children go hungry, and faith is lost and reconfigured. 'Let me not forget to be what I have spoken,' Boelhower reminds himself and his readers. Naming Rites is an important and sustaining book for our times, with its 'cadence that calls us into the streets with voices/of protest and hope.' Julie Gard, author of Home Studies






footsteps crunch on the cold snow

heaven’s full of falling mercy

the big arms of the pine

spread in prayer shawled in white

the whole everyday machine muffled


if everyone could say their name

in such silence we might hear

each one might send their small swirl

of hopes and prayers

spiraling out like sufi robes

in the dervish dance

and we might all

hear each other’s hands rise up

and we would know the one world’s song


all our rituals are attempts at listening

all our songs a preparation

for emptiness when our words

have all fallen away because we know

we are all whirling together


wherever you are however you do it

notice how we are all whirling together

in the great round dance

on this tiny rock with fire in its soul

through the grand galaxies

spinning with mercy and wonder


Author Bio
Gary Boelhower’s poetry has been published in many anthologies and journals. His second collection of poems published in 2011, Marrow, Muscle, Flight won the Midwest Book Award. He was awarded the Foley Prize in poetry from America magazine in 2012 and a career development grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council in 2010. His recent nonfiction books include Choose Wisely: Practical Insights from Spiritual Traditions, and Mountain 10: Climbing the Labyrinth Within,(co-authored with Joe Miguez and Tricia Pearce). His third collection of poems, Naming Rites, was published in April by Holy Cow! Press. Gary teaches courses in spirituality, ethics and leadership at The College of St. Scholastica where he is a professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department.