Orchard Street Press

The Orchard Street Press is pleased to announce the publication of Joe Cheslock’s second book, If You Follow a Crooked River, poems of Cleveland and other sacred places.

In these fifty poems, Cheslock takes the reader through his experiences in Cleveland, Bedford, and other locations where a young man grew to become a skilled and reflective writer, a speaker who tells of the places and the people that shaped a life. His work touches on memories that are indelibly etched on a thoughtful mind: “Astor Theatre,” “The Ice Man,” “Bus Rides,” “Vietnam,” “Little Italy,” and always, the connecting thread of the ‘crooked river’ in pieces like “Saguin River,” “The River,” “Fishing at Sterling Run,” and “The Towpath.’

Joanne Lehman, an award-winning poet from Wooster who has published two highly successful collections of poetry, observes that “like the city of Cleveland itself, Joe Cheslock’s poems rise phoenix-like out of the once fiery ‘crooked river,’” to create a “ poetic memoir about growing up in a different era…a paean to oil, dirt, toxic gunk…and Dad’s ’55 Buick covered in chrome.”

Lou Jacquet, retired newspaper editor, says If You Follow a Crooked River: “captures experience in a spare, direct, and insightful style.” He goes on to say that Cheslock “has a way of capturing with masterful detail aspects of his past that resonate with anyone who has grown up in the gritty reality of the Greater Cleveland area;” and further, “Cheslock senses that no aspect of our past is unimportant in making us who we are today.” This is, Jacquet says, “a volume to be read and reread with interest and appreciation.”

Joe Cheslock is also the author of 14 Lines, a collection of sonnets published in 2014. His poems have appeared in small journals in Ohio, Illinois, and Maryland, and in reviews with other students at The University of Akron Wayne College. He has written award-winning essays for The Coming Together Project and other local publications and has also received several top prizes in various writing competitions.

We are sure you will enjoy this new book. As Mr. Jacquet observes, “reading these poems, we feel as if we are there with the poet in the moment.”

If You Follow a Crooked River, poems of Cleveland and other sacred places is available for $12 (which includes mailing and handling costs) from The Orchard Street Press; P.O. Box 280; Gates Mills, Ohio 44040.

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