Book Notes: No Samaritan


Author Sean Gunning shares the news of his new book of poetry and the unique nonprofit organization that benefits from the book’s sales. I encourage you to read the powerful title poem on Sean’s website; scroll down to the last one on the page. –Barb
Book Notes 720 x 340 medium blue outline and medium blue pen _ Notes light blue (2)

48 poems about loss and longing, remembrance and letting go, gratitude, homelessness, war (not pro-war, not anti-war), love, the struggle to be true, the creative process, and humor and laughter. I suppose, in one way or another they’re all love poems—in all its glory and brokenness. And they’re accessible, not pretentious or indecipherable. But not dumbed down either. In my view, the best poems reach inside and dissolve slowly. What I mean by that is a poem should tell a story that excites an unexpected emotion; maybe a quiet joy that builds as the poem builds, a gentle pleasure in the musicality of the words, a pang of regret or nostalgia, or a spontaneous burst of laughter.

I like to write poems that don’t always end up where they seemed to be heading at the beginning, because that’s how life is. And, please, screenagers, not every poem has to be about your unique angst and relationship woes. You’re drowning me in your narcissism, and quite frankly, it’s all starting to sound the same. Okay, I can be a bit judgmental at times, but I’m trying to find a more loving heart. I’m trying to be more like Jesus. I really am.

No Samaritan

“Sean Gunning, in his debut book No Samaritan, is a poet who is wrestling with the big questions of devotion, ethics, and good works in our post-modern world.  Virtually all of the poems in this book deal with some aspect of the poet’s quest for meaning and direction, and Gunning often takes himself to task for not measuring up to his own ideals.  Gunning is courageous in our current milieu, for he takes on matters of faith in a time when it is not popular, while avoiding dogma and cliché.  […] Readers and seekers alike will find much to admire and much to ponder in this ambitious and successful first collection.” — Frank X. Gaspar

“It’s a rare poet who can calmly admit, without any false modesty, that he is living the poem he cannot write. Let not any reader be deceived, however; Sean Gunning has written more than enough poems worthy of close, repeated attention. With a plethora of subtle detail, these meditations on the daily paradoxes of urban life create an intimate theatrical space of self-revelation. At the end of your day, leave a small, strong lamp on and sit down with this book. You’ll be grateful to encounter No Samaritan. These poems will bind your wounds.” — Bill Mohr

“Sean Gunning writes with verve, wit, and audacious energy.  I applaud these poems.” — Charles Harper Webb

Order NO SAMARITAN here for only $10 (includes shipping & handling).

I’m delighted to be published by Tebot Bach (“little teapot” in Welsh), a wonderful non-profit in Orange County, CA, dedicated to the support and promotion of strong community, literacy, and personal growth through poetry workshops and publications. Although known regionally and nationally as the publisher of Spillway, a twice-yearly journal containing poetry, essays on the craft of poetry, and book reviews; an annual anthology featuring the work of poets affiliated with California; two to three books of poetry by individual authors each year; and two web journals, Poetix and Speechless; Tebot Bach is also widely admired for bringing the healing art of poetry to venues for underserved populations, such as homeless shelters, battered women’s shelters, nursing homes, senior citizen daycare centers, hospitals, AIDS hospices, and correctional facilities. For more information or to schedule a workshop, please contact Mifanwy Kaiser at Tebot Bach.

Copyright 2016 Sean Gunning

About the author: Sean Gunning was born and raised in London in the 60s, 70s, and 80s by Irish-Catholic parents, then moved to L.A. to marry an American girl in ’89. It hasn’t always been easy, but they’re still together, still driving each other nuts, still laughing, still walking to Mass together on Sundays, and still very much in love.


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