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I Saw God Dancing
DreamSeeker Poetry Series 2

Poems by Cheryl Denise

Summary: The narrative poetry of Cheryl Denise gathers together her Canadian Mennonite roots, rural life and her attachment to the people and mountains of West Virginia. Her poetry is rich in concrete detail and many poems contain a storytelling quality. Subjects range from sheep farming to lusts and longings, biblical women, legs, old lovers and laundromats. Often humorous, she penetrates to the deep current of human relationship. Many people who don’t read poetry find themselves drawn to Cheryl’s truthful, clear style. For samlpes, see "They'll" (read by Garrison Keillor on "Writer's Almanac"), "White Oak Park," "Mother God."

"Cheryl Denise knows grief and laughter—and that true poetry requires both. Her lively, generous, just slightly impudent voice is a welcome addition to Mennonite writing. "
—Jeff Gundy, Bluffton University, Author, Walker in the Fog

"’My people don't understand your people, / but we'll feed you.’" says Cheryl Denise in one of her delightful, plain-spoken poems wrung from a Mennonite woman's experience. At best, her work articulates ineffable truths in blunt terms, human desire and spiritual longing infused with a love of life that can't resist touching, tasting, and naming the pleasures and pains of this world. But clarity alone can't account for the turns these poems take, their tender-hearted vision and frank faith.
--Julia Kasdorf, Associate Professor of English and Director of the graduate program in creative writing, Pennsylvania State University

"How often in adult life do we hear an unspoiled voice? Here is one that is playful, friendly, youthful, humble, wistful, gently ironic, humorous, local, tender, irreverently reverent. And, adds my no-nonsense wife Roma, ‘Honest. Get us a copy.’"
—John L. Ruth, Author, The Earth Is the Lord’s: A Narrative History of Lancaster Mennonite Conference

Market: Anyone open to poetry that through high craft weaves story, imagery, and inspiration from the concrete details of daily life, mundane ritual, or personal experience.

The Author: The writing of Cheryl Denise, Philippi, West Virginia, reflects vivid memories of Mennonite life in Elmira, Ontario. After nursing school she went to Colorado, where she worked as a public health nurse in a rural Hispanic community. Currently she and her husband, Mike Miller, are part of the Shepherds Field intentional community on a sheep farm in the hills near Philippi. She works as a nurse at the Barbour County Senior Center. She enjoys cross-country skiing and walking around the farm with Mike and their dog, Esau.

My people are quiet
and don’t always say
what they want
what they need.
They leave things off
for you to figure out.

They read bibles and think a lot
but would never tell you their thoughts
unless asked,
and even then
they would speak quietly
with a slow strong sense
of who God is.
They ask what you believe
and listen. . . .
Cheryl Denise, excerpted from the poem "My People"

Shelving: Poetry; Anabaptist-Mennonite literature. BISAC: Poetry; RTM: 640 Poetry.

Publisher: Cascadia Publishing House
Imprint: DreamSeeker Books
Copublisher: Herald Press, Scottdale, PA
Publication date: Spring 2005
Pages: 90
Format: 5.5 x 8.5 trade paper
Prices: $12.95 US, $18.95 Can.
ISBN: 1-931038-28-7





Copyright 2007 by Cascadia Publishing House