Methodist University's Longleaf Press Releases First Novel

Longleaf Press has released its first novel, The Catalog of Crooked Thoughts by Robert McKean. McKean’s novel was the winner of the 2016 Longleaf Press Novel Contest.

Recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant for his fiction, McLean has published in The Kenyon Review, The Chicago Review, Dublin Quarterly, Armchair/Shotgun, 34th Parallel, and many other journals. His short story collection was a finalist in the Flannery O'Connor Award, and the Mary McCarthy Prize competitions.

“Robert McKean’s The Catalog of Crooked Thoughts offers a moving depiction of grief’s unraveling of the self and relationships after the death of an only child,” said Dr. Michael Potts, who reviewed the book. “This profound and beautifully written work deserves a place in the canon of contemporary literature.”

Poetry Chapbooks

Individual chapbooks are available for $10 each, including shipping and handling. Two or more chapbooks are available for the reduced rate of $7.50 each, including shipping and handling. Two full-length poetry collections, Four Gentlemen and their Footmen and Premature Elegy by Firelight are available for $14.50 each, including shipping and handling.

Make checks payable to Longleaf Press, and send orders to:

Longleaf Press
Methodist University
5400 Ramsey Street
Fayetteville, NC 28311

The Innocence of Education
Earl Carlton Huband
2018 Contest Winner
  Naming the Scars
Marty Silverthorne
2017 Contest Winner

Standing at the front, Im conducting
the fourth grade, the first year of English.
Twenty Arab boys, eager to learn.

I teach Old MacDonald Had A Farm:
E I E I O we sing and sing
as we make all the animal sounds,
a cluck-cluck here and a cluck-cluck there.


I could not count myself to sleep.
Chessie sang a trembling music,
entered my body like a kiln.
Engine red with heat pulled
out of the depot with the freight
of a fractured life, rocked
deeper into the past, rolled
by my liver swollen like a stone.

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Laying the Past in the Light
Anne Maren-Hogan
2016 Contest Winner
  Blossom and Loss
Jeanne Julian
2015 Contest Winner

The dirt road runs the border, always waiting.
Small granite gems sparkle from the dust,
corn too dry to wave as I pass, each with a single ear
darkening. The creek abandoned, willows stripped
from its banks, black loam sliding in, long grasses
in slow murky water.


That winter, acute cold worked
its legerdemain, and we left earth
without flying, sustained
by ice thick as a loaf, cloudless as vodka.
Your careful skating etched
a figure eight, a lorgnette
shaped like infinity, disclosing
each stone (hidden in the river’s sleeve
in other, furtive seasons) arrayed
below our blades, distinctly.

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Finley Bullard Evans
2014 Contest Winner
  Running Music
Crystal Simone Smith

When I kissed you good-bye
in the hospital (the day they gave you six months),
it was clumsy and quick,
a spitfire exit on the way to the next thing.
I think we both knew we would not
see each other again. There was a little flash
not of fear or terror in your eyes,


From the dark tunnel of me
he breech birthed, feet
like skis, long and ready
The blur of crawling
to the whir of brown legs
barreling down narrow
grocery aisles, vibrating
shelves of glass condiments.

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Four Gentlemen and Their Footman
Roger Weingarten
  Blood Creek
Shannon Camlin Ward

I Not her backward somersault on a moon so orange
you could juice it. Not the snow goose

among a flying V over the moonscape

who dropped a bayonet

shaped quill into her shoulder basket
of bitter papaya and tree fungus not

meant for the brother he didn't
find tunneling toward



How could he have ever been satisfied—
the sharp steel pressed to the pink

skin of the pig's throat—one quick slit,
and then the shrill squeals' screeching halt?

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Rope Lesson
Ken Autrey
2013 Contest Winner
Ellen Saunders

I am the man whose mind
will not forget, who calls forth
whole tableaus from all
the past, remembers every line
I've ever read. The days
reel back in photographic
density, each stippled sign
a gateway to bright stretches
that will not elude me.


If you're looking for truth, it lingers
in the past with little girls twirling
in princess dresses, boys in cowboy
suits riding plastic horses; honesty,
even in costume, will be recognized.
Soon we don the grown-up disguises
left to us, join the great masquerade,
dancing, falling until our facades wither,
the waltz ends, and innocence reappears
in our unmasked eyes.

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The Dichotomy Paradox
Brad Johnson
2012 Contest Winner
  Mouths Dry with Hatred
Dan Sociu

You said I was a genius who wrote beautiful poetry
but you were from Florida and never read Auden
or Stevens or Larkin. Then you said I was the best
you ever had but you'd only slept with two before me
and one was from Tallahassee and the other ended up
being gay. Before I had a chance to forget your face,
I met a woman who would talk over me; interrupt
my daydreaming with demands for money; refuse
to read anything I, or anyone else, wrote.


staring out of the window
on the eighth floor
the beaten woman
staring out of the window
on the first floor:

the former is pitied
only by lost,
hungry seagulls.

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What Remains
Nausheen Eusuf
2011 Contest Winner
  Everyday Chica
Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés
2010 Chapbook Contest Winner

I watch the strobe lights blink in silence
above impervious clouds, eleven time zones,
and mountains like crumpled paper in the distance.
I wonder about the lives of passing towns.
And as we approach home, the land I love,
its deep-veined rivers and emerald plains,
I think of things we try but can't let go of,
of time and change and what remains.


Back when I was a quinceañera
I had my name
written in flowers
on a altar where I was queen

As a quinceañera, I ruled the night
everybody paid attention and homage to me

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Sleep and What Precedes It
Jasmine V. Bailey
2009 Contest Winner
  Advice from Household Gods
Amy Knox Brown

Because I want to know how many ways there are
for you to name my hair, because I want to see if I
can see it growing through your fingers, because it was
a dogwood whose petals and red seeds and gray leaves
and voice of my grandmother brought the first poetry
to me, and because the only thing I believe in is that
there is a place where those poems still exist, and we
can walk there, we can take my life like a bridge there,
and the words will come back to me with the noir films
of our finished evenings, ...


In Roman times, the household gods kept watch,
dispensed advice to those who'd paid with sacrifice
of scattered crumbs, daily prayers of thanks. Penates
touched the bread to make it rise,
they kept Vulcan's fires alive inside the hearth
and whispered in the ears of the devout:
Hide your gold. It's going to storm.
Hold your tongue and wait.

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Fire Seed & Rain
Steven Lautermilch
2008 Contest Winner
  The Catalan Within
Radu Andriescu

Long before dawn, solitary,
you were working the water,
casting the net of your reflection,

hauling in the river until,
come evening, even the sun
is spooked and hides, wary

as a speckled trout or shy flounder,
slippery hermit of the wandering eye,
under the whiskey milk of the bay.


the girl with her hands in the margarine
was singing a sweet and empty song
slowly the night streamed through the vent
and froze the breath
of the girl with her hands in the margarine

smiling almost frozen, the girl watched with empty eyes
the chattering midnight flock
in the dead of every night—
the flock which would slice the night into downy
and black pieces
like a sour cherry pie

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Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin
2007 Contest Winner
  Premature Elegy by Firelight
Roger Weingarten

He strode from student
to student smashing down
imperfect cylinders they'd pleaded
upward out of mud.

Think of this in yoga class, aching up
into the seven-hundredth downward-
facing dog, still comprehending only clumsiness.


I never had the time to write
about the loneliness of waking
at 4 a.m. to the certainty of my own
early demise in my father's eye

that wrote me off like a painless
new surgery for cataracts. I never
had a minute until my brother's cat
that ate the canary grin drove all day

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American Journey
Stephen Benz
2006 Contest Winner
  Vigils for the Dead
Sally Logan

This frozen rain has made
the highway slick.
We're stalled in traffic outside Corpus Christi,
accident ahead.

Ice blinds the road signs
and swells the pools along the verge.
Styrofoam cups bob like geese heads
in drainage ditch slush.

  Awake, I hear night sounds I can't identify.
I interpret the whippoorwill's song
as signals from the dead,
magnify the hard-shelled beetle's thump
against the house into awkward phantoms
lurking in the yard.
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Paradise Motel
Earl McMurray
2005 Contest Winner
  The Ice-Carver
David T. Manning
2004 Contest Winner
All too familiar,
the house cites
the discomfort of its years
in a floorboard,
frets about drafts
through a spokesman of curtains,
throws a tantrum of light
on the linoleum.

On the Bangkok sidewalk, it pecks
a pink gum-smear.
If it has a soul, it's a crapshoot
its karmic trip is going
up or down. If souls go down,
they may get very small or
have no size at all,
unthinkable as the primordial
zero universe which we
believe, but can't conceive

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That Echo
Deborah H. Doolittle
2003 Contest Winner
  Los Hijos
Barbara Presnell

even if I lose myself.
I want to be part of that view
I've come to recognize
as you. I want to be
the soft shadow that clings
to the underside of trees. The dew
on the violets
thriving there. The secret
sent from leaf to leaf
to leaf on a summer morning.


Sharon, who keeps toddlers in her home in America,
discovers the eggs on children's heads
after finding them on her own. While the rest of us
haul supplies to San Pablo, she stays back
to wash them with Rid from the mercado.
Lice, she tells us later, circle
down the sinks like black sand.

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Red Land, Black Land
Tina Barr
2002 Contest Winner
  Logic of the Lost
Kenneth Chamlee
2001 Contest Winner

Inside archways inscribed on metal,
gorgon heads or scorpions dangle; letters in arabic
crawl the rims of shallow bowls made to hold
water into which keys have bled their rust all night.
Drink in the morning to be cured of terror.


Whipping the kitchen door shut,
he kicks through the garage and rips
the power mower into a roar. Shoving it
down the driveway's edge, he turns and scrapes curb
to the neighbor's boxwood hedge, spinning the mower there
as if swinging a rifle into a crowd of wives.

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Junkanoo: A Christmas Pageant
Keith Cartwright
  Birth Mother
Joanna Catherine Scott
2000 Contest Winner

Let cowbells, sterno-heated goombay drums,
conch shells, trumpets, and trombones
regale past dawn, immortal one.
The birth of god be now our song, no sober doctrines of demure decorum,
but white rum, the undone
business of shaking all shame from the seat
in a few days' leisure from service.


It happens at a crowded corner, waiting for a light
or in traffic so dense it stops us:
a face presses to my window, a scruffy child,
boy or girl, difficult to tell.
Roel clears his throat, looking at me
in the rear view mirror, and I see
disapproval moving In his shoulders.

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Judas Riley Martinez
  Lost Languages
Johnathan Minton
1999 Contest Winner

In a strange cemetery, I wander among the lambs
and random carvings of tulips that never fade.
It is spring here, the grassy hill beyond the shade
alive with wildflowers and insects though on the coast
where it is winter, the small stream near
our house is frozen silence.


Just off the road to Snowbird, North Carolina
a Dodge truck is rusting in a field of green onion weed.
The hood is open like a mouth in the rain.
A tuft of dry day-lilies has blossomed from the windshield.

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The Tarbaby on the Soapbox
Carole Boston Weatherford
1998 Contest Winner
Barbara Presnell
1997 Contest Winner

"Snowy white," the tar baby promised;
her eyelet pinafore immaculate—beaming
on the soapbox, beckoning believers
When no one was looking, she seemed to wink
at the washerwoman. They knew it never snowed
in July. The washerwoman shoveled detergent
like a grave digger, buried under soil
of other people's sweat. Squeezing lemon juice
and rubbing salt into a stain, she snarled
beneath her breath, "Rich folk sure is filthy."


On a bleacher at Robbins Field,
July sun dropping
like a high fly to left field
she thinks
it's just one more baseball game:
in the outfield a boy
picks grass off his glove,
waves to his grandma who's
leaning on the fence.

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©2019 Longleaf Press at Methodist University | Fayetteville, NC