Terry Minchow-Proffitt is a retired pastor who lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He was raised in the Mississippi Delta of eastern Arkansas, and continues to be inspired by his native land and its people. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Arkansas Review, Big Muddy, Christian Century, decomP magazine, Deep South Magazine, Desert Call, Freshwater, Hash, Mud Season Review, OVS Magazine, Oxford Magazine, Penwood Review, Pisgah Review, Prick of the Spindle, St. Ann’s Review, Tower Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Wild Violet, Words and Images Journal and The Write Room.
Minchow-Proffitt received degrees in Philosophy from Arkansas State University and Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has done further graduate study in English at the University of Mississippi and in Christian Spirituality at Washington Theological Union. He received certification in Spiritual Direction from The Haden Institute.
Seven Last Words is his debut collection of poems. His poem “III” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
To contact, he can be reached on Facebook or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit his website at Terryproffitt.jimdo.com.
MIDDLE ISLAND PRESS TITLES BY TERRY MINCHOW-PROFFITT:
By Terry Minchow-Proffitt
Designed by Hannah Proffitt-Allee
Paperback; 114 pages. $18.
(Available at Amazon.)
Inventive and introspective, the poems in Terry Minchow-Proffitt’s Sweetiebetter hint at Gerard Manly Hopkins’ ecstatic love of language and the Divine. Beginning with the signal poem “Map,” these poems journey from the speaker’s memories of growing up in the South, through his many years as a pastor, and into explorations of his everyday interactions with people—a philosophical mechanic, the friendly cashiers he meets at 7-11 and CVS, and many others. Though in “Just As I Am,” the speaker describes himself as “a jack leg pastor alone/on Monday’s pew,” the deep understanding of human nature and biblical truth evidenced in these poems,informs readers of the lifetime of study and close attention to the world that went into their making. Like the people who lived in the Chrysler plant town in “He Remembers the K Car in High Ridge, MO,” these poems “live at the corner of Fury and Valiant.”
—Daye Phillippo’s poems have appeared in numerous journals. She is recently retired from teaching English at Purdue University.
In Terry Minchow-Proffitt’s Sweetiebetter, you’re likely to meet William Carlos Williams, In the American Grain, and another William, Wordsworth, keeping a reader “in the company of flesh and blood.” And you’ll hear some Johnny Cash,Springsteen, and John Prine. But you’ll also meet Rosie and Booker, Billy Boyce,Brother Vincent and a kitten named Brother Vinny. This book of poems is travelin’ music, up and down the central parts of the county—walking, running, driving—and Terry is your fellow traveler, and he loves to talk. You’re wiser if you listen.Although this music isn’t jazz, it’s still “the sound of surprise.” An almost-joyful noise.—Wayne Zade recently retired as Professor of English at Westminster College in Fulton,Missouri. He is an accomplished poet who loves jazz, sports, and barbecue at Mojo’s.
Terry Minchow-Proffitt’s newest collection, Sweetiebetter, is a map. It’s a map of the world and it’s a map of the heart. If you want to get to Tunica, Mississippi, read these poems. If you want to find yourself “along route 250/between Belington and Philippi,” read these poems. If you are looking to get into the mysterious space between apocalyptic pandemonium and mercy, dive into this collection under the stars. Read this book while you are walking, resting, watching the sun bow over the horizon as the Union Pacific chugs east, or just resting your head on the headboard of your bed while your beloved sighs quiet into the night. These are poems of the land and of the human spirit and condition. They will lift you from the soil and, at the same time, make sure that you can still feel the weight of the earth on the balls of your feet. Minchow-Proffitt’s gift is that he illuminates direction on what is sweet and what is better and no GPS is needed. Just the beacon of his vision.
—Matthew Lippman is an author of six collections of poetry. His most recent book, Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful, is the winner of the 2018 Levis Prize and will be published by Four Way Books in 2020.
“Why we like or dislike almost all forms of creative expression is a mystery. It’s not exactly technical. You can like someone’s drawing or painting without knowing anything about art. This is even more true about music. You can be tone deaf and still appreciate someone’s singing or songwriting. Poetry is a form of creative expression that I have appreciated nearly all of my life. When done well, like a fingerprint, or more accurately, a finger painting, whether erudite or sloppy as a five-year-old discovering the joy of the color blue, a poem written well and from the heart is as personal and universal as any and all human connection.
Terry Minchow-Proffitt’s collection of poems is a testament to that simple truth. Each poem is part of a greater story, a string of memories, images, and people, but mainly a strong and stirring collection of places–places on the map, places in the mind, places in the lost and mysterious thing we call the past, places from which we couldn’t wait to leave, and places to which we only wish we could return. Read these poems as you would signs along the highway, some quickly, some slowly, it doesn’t matter. Each one will spark your imagination or wake a forgotten memory, and suggest a direction, backward or forward, but always toward a destiny, a destination . . . a place you will recognize.”
Christ’s final words from the cross—the seven sayings from the Gospels—have a compelling resonance. They have been pondered anew throughout the millennia by Christians and non-Christians alike the world over. Forged within the crucible of suffering, they have the capacity to awaken, to transform our way of beholding God and one another. In Seven Last Words, poet and pastor Terry Minchow-Proffitt gives us seven poems based on these sayings, along with an in-depth interview with Mud Season Review. With brevity that begs to be savored, Seven Last Words renders a powerful portal into the love that continues to radiate during the darkest of times.
“These are some of the most profoundly meaningful poems I have read in a long time—as a Jew, as a poet, as a citizen of the planet—because of the way in which they meet, head-on, the conflict between devotion and rebellion when it comes to Christ.”
~From the Foreword by poet Matthew Lippman (The New Year of Yellow, Monkey Bars, American Chew, Salami Jew)
“There is no generic language for grief, anger, or hope. That’s what is so refreshing about this collection of poems. It takes us back to the cross . . .”
~From the Afterword by theologian Belden Lane (The Solace of Fierce Landscapes, Landscapes of the Sacred, Ravished by Beauty, Backpacking with the Saints)
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