Beth follows up her award-winning poetry book Ladder To The Light with Believe The Bird, a collection of forthright, shimmering poems inspired by the John James Audubon quote, “When the bird and the book disagree, believe the bird.” What if we examine the stories we tell ourselves to see if they resonate with who we are now? What if we allow our inherent wisdom to override messages that no longer serve us? When is a story good and when is it harmful? What if we get to decide what narratives work for us? Believe The Bird is a book full of questions in the form of poems, pointing to the wisdom of the bird in hand. Believe The Bird is the winner of the 2021 San Francisco Book Festival poetry award.
“Aim high, this book says–look up, go to the water when you are broken, bob to the surface, bury your demons, cherish your oddness, tell some things utterly, but keep others in reserve. Be invisible, this book says–so you can keep the riffraff in the dark while you lead your electric life. Deft lines and crisp silences make these poems almost become songs–almost, but then they keep their reticence. Like spells, they make things happen you didn’t know they could. How did that open me? Well–though prone to bruising, this book says, the heart has “always a tiny rustle of / something living within.” These poems will wake you to a feeling like a headline only you can decipher, survival news of your fierce interior life.” —Kim Stafford – Oregon Poet Laureate 2018 – 2020
Author of Wild Honey, Tough Salt
In Ladder to the Light, the follow-up to her debut poetry collection Kazoo Symphonies, BW explores deeper and more complex emotional territory. Inspired by an image from a Jane Hirshfield poem ‘Mule Heart’ in which grief and joy are carried in “two waiting baskets,” Wood seeks to find balance again and regain footing after heartbreaking loss. Ladder to the Light chronicles her journey from grief to gratitude to believing in love again—poetry as a ladder toward the light. Ladder to the Light was chosen as a finalist for the 2019 Oregon Book Awards – Stafford/Hall prize for poetry and is the winner of the 2019 Oregon Book Awards Readers’ Choice Award.
“In the elegant architecture of these poems , we are given exquisite possibilities for language and life, ultimately gifting us with a sense that even in darkness there sings the promise of hope. A moving and utterly perceptive collection!” — Aimee Nezhukumatathil – award-winning poet and educator
“Beth Wood is a courageous witness, careful perceptive noticer, graceful word swimmer, and honest chronicler of soul-wrenching nights and unfathomable bliss. These poems are about how things and people echo off of other things and people, and why it matters so deeply. You will remember and recognize your own moments in her moments, and will also be taken to places you’ve never been. These constellations of words are gifts born of careful, raw, vulnerable attention to beauty, but also born of living a real life, in which things happen that we don’t choose, that tear us open and dare us to survive.” –David Lamotte, Award-winning singer-songwriter, international speaker, author of Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness
Kazoo Symphonies is BW’s first book of poetry, a long-held dream finally realized. Kazoo Symphonies, with chapters on nature, life, love, and growing up, is, simply put, great storytelling.
“I have long loved Beth Wood the lyricist and award-winning folk musician. She is a solid songwriter with a powerful voice. Now she brings her voice and the magic of her lyricism to poetry. No matter what form or genre she employs, Beth’s gift of storytelling shines through. Kazoo Symphonies is simply this: great storytelling. And it’s worth every page.” –Nathan Brown, Poet Laureate of Oklahoma 2013/14
face•palm /fayspaw(l)m/ n 1. that moment when the ridiculousness of your post-show situation becomes unbearable and you make a mental note to write it down so you can tell your mom and have a good laugh because I mean come on, who would actually say that?
After twenty plus years on the road, singer-songwriter Beth Wood offers a collection of amusing vignettes and awkward conversations she has had at the product table after her shows. While most audience members are kind, appreciative, and often generous, there is always someone who delivers a true facepalm moment.
One night after a mind-blowingly awkward and boundary-stomping encounter at the merch table (the place where she sells CDs after a show), singer-songwriter Beth Wood decided to write down what happened and share it on social media. The response was overwhelming and made it easier to laugh at these crazy situations she found herself in. It made her feel so…not alone.
Finally, she has compiled some of the “winners” into one comical batch that offers a behind-the-scenes window into the world of a traveling musician. With whimsical illustrations by Austin artist Jen Blair, you will laugh and palm your face in your hands right alongside Wood the whole way.