Dave Manning

                                                           WHAT READERS SAY


                                                  POETS ANONYMOUS  

                    “Manning’s style is cryptic, his language charged, his tone playfully serious.
           We meet memorable characters—dumpster-diving physicists, whiskey-drinking
           Baptists, and sky-divers falling “all uninsured” toward their picnicking families.
           We enter real and unreal worlds—high school football stadiums, desert backroads,
           motel breezeways—and are richer for the time we spend there in the company
           of such a wise and witty guide.”
           --Rebecca McClanahan, author of Naked as Eve


                                          THE ICE-CARVER; Winner, 2004 Longleaf Chapbook Competition

                           “Here is freshness, wholeness, newness, and an inexhaustibly attractive way of looking all about 
                  the world and finding it both familiar and strange. We might say to any of these poems what the poet    
                  says to us: ‘Think/ of yourself as news/ from a far country.’ And the most apt description of this poet? 
                  David Manning is sage.”
                  --Fred Chappell, author of Shadow box

                            "In this deeply spiritual collection, David Manning explores that mysterious interval between the
                   inquiring mind and the believing heart. Laced with subtly humorous self-knowledge, these poems soar
                   like a church organ and ring with the distances of outer space. The Ice-Carver is rich with the wisdom
                   of considered faith."
                   --Joanna Catherine Scott, author of Night Huntress

                                                THE FLOWER SERMON
                   “Two of my favorite (poems) are collected in his book-length The Flower Sermon.
           In almost every poem a mystery hovers at the edges. The lines between waking and dreams,                                                   .          between chemistry and physics and the spirit realm, between existence and the everafter, all these    .          lines are blurred and merging. From the poem Mysteries:

            How can light so absolute be gone--
            no lesson to learn, no explanation?
            Only a wall where a door
            once opened. A mystery
            like death
            or where fire goes
            when it goes out.

                   A poem like a Zen koan, more question than answer. The answer comes after I’ve
            finished the last line; its silence reverberates, its hushed clamor. And the last two
            stanzas of Mallards in Winter, which cries to be read when spring is still a thing to be hoped for but         .           mostly unseen:

                                                                               Their peace is so profound I cannot
                                                                               disturb them. Their house is icebound,
                                                                               but its attic is the sky. In the tearing storm
                                                                               I invite them to take refuge in my dreams.
                                                                               At the canvas edge, where the seasons
                                                                               change, they escape into springtime.
                    "So many of Dave's poems intimate that where there seems to be no escape--from ice, from winter, from death--
                     the mystery of hope abides."                  
                                                                               --Bill Griffin, author of Changing Woman
              "...this collection is strongly bonded together by themes that join, combine and recombine
    in constellations of bright thought and profound emotion--and the whole is charged with a delighted
    wonderment. Here is one of the most engaging volumes of poetry I have ever come across."
    --Fred Chappell

              "David Treadway Manning's poems in The Flower Sermon show us a poet deeply rooted in this
     world, equally at home with its sorrows and its joys, its losses and the abundance of its promise. With
     him we recall a brief stillness when for a moment nothing died and the winds / lost their ways. With him
     too, we understand how every waking moment is goodbye. These are poems to savor in quiet, in all
     their evocative moods."
     --Phebe Davidson, author of Twelve Leagues In

              "Poetry that invited me to reflect and ponder at the wonder of our lives."
     --Jane Penland Hoover

               "The Flower Sermon affected me as few books do. The range and intelligence move me at
       a very profound level."
      --Priscilla Webster-Williams

                                                CONTINENTS OF LIGHT 

           In Opus Anonymous, Manning wonderfully captures the romantic hope of poets to get something…so right that the thing lives on in the words of the poem: Perhaps she escaped from his dreams / and fell between stanzas into / the white spaces of his poems. And for Manning, this desire to memorialize becomes something even more. As suggested in Duende, it becomes duty: I cannot turn my face away. / God has found me and I have / no place to hide.

            The flip side of great love, however, is great loss…The reader shares this understanding in poems like Too Old for Vicky: I have lost the color / of her eyes….// Vicky has been taken // beyond all nights and assignations. / Taken to the bosom of one / much too old for us all. Perhaps it is even stronger in Coastal: I feel you waiting / where I cannot find you. / I follow you / from empty room to empty room.

            The emotional undercurrent of these poems, the longing for connection or reconnection, is so strong that it carries the reader away. This is, perhaps, clearest in Skipping Stones

            …their voices startled me
            from far across the lake. I hope
            my thoughts reach you this way
                                                                               distracting you in mid-breath,
                                                                               soft as the touch of a stranger
                                                                               in a crowd, buried in chaos,
                                                                               my signature for you….                    
                                                                            …If only
                                                                               there were this lake
                                                                               and nothing else between us
                                                                               I could skip my words
                                                                               across to you like stones.

                                                               …the poem succeeds regardless of who the ‘you’ becomes to the reader—the world, 
                                                               God, or my favorite, the reader, such that this becomes...Manning's 'Letter to the World' "                                                   
                                                               —Scott Owens, Wild Goose Poetry Review

                                                                               "Continents of Light is a beautiful collection of love poems, not about a specific relationship or 
                                                                  a particular woman, but about love itself, how it enters our life when we are young and stays with us,
                                                                  haunting us when we are old."

                                                                --Anthony S. Abbott, author of The Man Who

                                                                               "A collection of lyrical love poems sung in a tender, yearning voice that makes you want to
                                                                  read them out loud. The rapturous imagery shines from a universe of youthful hope where lost loves
                                                                  reunite in a transcendent future. These poems are beautiful epiphanies of emotion. David T. Manning
                                                                  journeys to starry places of the past and offers the reader his message of brilliance."
                                                                --Bruce Lader, author of Landscapes of Longing

                 "Continents of Light is a collection of poems to the elusive beloved, to love unconsummated. 

        These lost loves have many faces. There is the woman of the late night stroll on the beach by the amusement park.

                   Now, by the silent Ferris wheel, we stroll barefoot,
                   too light to sink in hourglass sand. South of Carmel
                   we walk on moon mirrors where the surf runs
                   --"Moonstone Beach, Oregon, to Punta Arenas, 3:15 a.m."

        the woman on the sailboat,

                   bright water off Carmel
                   into your azure latitudes,
                   my hand on the tiller, yours
                   on the sail.
                   --"Pier and Ocean"

       the woman from the ninth grade,

                   In the ninth grade Lenore
                   looked twenty, beautiful sophisticate
                   and with a name like French perfume
                   --"Lenore Boucher"

      then there is the woman in the bar,

                   ...She bends for Bushmills
                   and my nitroglygerine heart
                   signals danger.

     Continents of Light is a collection of poems in which the still waters run deep. 

     You will find much to relish in this chapbook.
     --Sherry Chandler, author of Dance the Black-Eyed Girl

                       "Halfway through Continents of Light I felt too full to continue reading. Had to stop,...entangled in love's silken net (The Orb Weaver);
     I stood with the author at the kitchen door, a child who invited the angel in (Angel)....Re-reading this book of evanescent images is an aid to learning
    'how did he do that ?!' It is no small matter for a man to set aside his worldly accomplishments and invite us to share in his wonderment. David
    Manning is astonishingly able to reveal his innocence."
    --Julia M. Jewett,
Jungian Psychoanalyst


                                   OUT AFTER DARK

     “David T. Manning’s notable chapbook, Out After Dark (Pudding House, 2003), 
encompasses the relationships of the living to their ancestors, the pleasures of now 
and their passing into the past as each generation lives its own time. As the title 
would suggest, many of the poems focus on manifestations of night. These are 
well-crafted poems and a very readable book.”  
--The Comstock Review



                                    NEGOTIATING PHYSICS

            “David Manning, a keen observer of nature in the manner of
 Archibald Rutledge, writes of willow oak leaves, ‘fingerlings afloat / in
the flowing sky of summer,’ and a deer that ‘paints me with his gaze.’
A musician and a poet, he uses both rhythms and melodies to give
depth to his message.”
--Marie Gilbert, author of Connexions

                                                                                                     PINE MISSILES

                                                                                Who has seen                but in the dawn
                                                                                pine needles fall             I find them
                                                                                like elfin missiles           where they fly.
                                                                                from the sky                  Of this phenomenon
                                                                                to pierce the fat              I ask, "how?" I ask
                                                                                magnolia leaves?           is there    a why?"
                                                                                                        No one...


                                           YODELING FUNGUS

            “Yodeling Fungus is delivered with a typographically straight face but he 
nevertheless acknowledges its primary guide and inspiration in this way: 'This book 
is in celebration of Guzman De Pietro, the muse giving rise to much of this text. 
Dr. De Pietro, eminent phenomenologist and critic of ideas, was Founding Editor 
of Black Fungus Outreach Press and for many years air quality consultant for the 
Richwood, West Virginia, Ramp Festival…De Pietro’s poems can be found in such 
journals as Green Lung Oyster, Saints of Saltpeter, and The American Welder….'
Purportedly his 'latest effort to pacify Guzman De Pietro,' Yodeling Fungus betrays 
Dr. Manning’s affection for this playfully outrageous force of his own nature, as 
difficult and unnecessary to suppress as it is difficult to “retaliate” in any definitive 
way against 'The thesis committee / that almost flunked me; / the workshop leader 
who mocked / my poems before a class of giggling fools; / the computer repair guy / 
who infected me with his ‘virus du jour’—all of them are dead…' (See the poem 
Malice beyond) Cheerfully not dead is the spirit of play and poetry that animates 
Yodeling Fungus."
--Virginia McKinley, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café

            “This is the book I had to write so that I could move on to higher literary 
endeavors." (David Manning).
             I came to Malaprop’s Books and Café expecting to be cracked up. 
Which is to say, I came to listen to Dave read from his latest book, Yodeling Fungus.
After the introductory statement above, I knew I would not be disappointed. I’ve been
listening to David Manning read his poetry all across NC for the past ten years, nature 
poetry, love poetry, spiritual visions, politics, and I am always captivated by his ability 
to imagine fresh images. He speaks truth from the heart. And then…every once 
in a while he’ll startle me with a poem that is so sly, acerbic and right on downright 
damn funny I’ll just about strangle. He confesses that these are the result of a genetic 
misfire from his muse, Guzman: “Guzman de Pietro is a benevolent demon inhabiting 
the Manning bloodline for generations as a genetic hitchhiker, imparted into the genome 
to teachnits hosts humility and the restorative virtues of Merlot and bathtub naval
strategy. A form of male duende, Guzman erupts from time to time in newspapers 
and poems in outrageous and occasionally embarrassing public behavior.”
--Bill Griffin, author of Little Mouse

                                      LOW MILEAGE WIDOW  
                         (Guitar, play G)
                                                            A Californian’s tribute to NASCAR

                        Low mileage widow, come take a ride with me,
                        Low mileage widow, they say yr ‘lovin is free.
                        Yr former owner, he died of ecstasy.

                                    Did she use gas? & Did she use oil?
                                    Did she satisfy where the rubber meets the road?

                                    Did she move fast when a man was slow,
                                    & did she lend a hand in ‘haulin his load?

                        Low mileage widow, let’s go somewhere and jive.
                        Low mileage widow I’ve never felt so alive.
                        & I can’t leave you, my stick’s in overdrive.

                        Low mileage widow, the pit crew’s ‘callin for more.
                        Low mileage widow I’ll make your Smitties roar.
                        We’ll have a good time, we got four on the floor.

                                    Yr rear end’s ‘hangin & ‘showin some wear
                                    But if you can take me I’m your man.
                                    If I blow a header do ya carry a spare?
                                    I want to ride ya, baby, as far as I can!

                        Low mileage widow, yr piston domes are handcraft.
                        Low mileage widow, come up behind me & draft.
                        The midnight stroker is gonna let out shaft.

                        Low mileage widow I’m ‘goin through the floor.
                        Low mileage widow, I can’t afford you no more.
                        Another driver will make yr engine roar,
                        Another driver will make yr engine roar!

                                                       “ALWAYS ON FRIDAY”
           Since 1978 poets and listeners have gathered at noon with the Friday Noon Poets of Chapel Hill to take turns around a table for informal reading of, or listening to, poems of their choice. In 2004 Elizabeth (“Betty”) Bolton, the group’s long-time shepherd, appointed Dave Manning as  the current convener, and interested persons are encouraged to contact him with any questions. We meet at noon in Room 2 of Amity United Methodist Church, corner of Estes Drive and Martin Luther King Boulevard, and read from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. There is ample free parking.
            In 2006, Dave, along with Doug Stuber, coedited
Always on Friday (Katherine James Press), a collection of 102 poems from 54 of the poets over the years. Many of these contributors are pictured on the book’s back cover (below). On Fridays the group, typically four to fourteen, gathers to read, sometimes including returning  “alumni” from New York, South Carolina, and as far away as China and South Korea. All are welcome.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 David T. Manning