SONGS FROM THE BONE CLOSET
Poetry and Short
By Martha Everhart Braniff
Foreword by Christopher Woods
on cover by Cheryl Rubenstein
Cover design by Kellye Sanford
Published by Stone River Press
- 6x9 Paperback
with Perfect Binding
- 128 Pages
In this, her first collection of
poetry and prose, Martha Braniff embraces
the healing power of shamans, holy
poets and miracle workers. Her instinct
for both the real and the magical
leads us into the closet surreal,
where Lavinia turns into a cat and
Egg and Raven meet at happy hour.
When you're in the mood, you can march
with Joan of Arc, soar with John of
the Cross, and rendezvous with the
Rabbi in Siena. In Holy Places, listen
to the prostitute's plaintive tale
about a chapel made of bones and watch
a five-year-old boy paint his teepee,
leaving behind three turquoise spots.
Laugh and cry, but most of all, stretch
your reality and plunge into imagination.
LINES FROM "JUICE"
My friend Juana, she'd do anything.
We hang out near Señior Varga's
grocery store, where fat, tempting
pears snuggle in a basket behind the
glass. I imagine what cooks inside
those pears baking in the sun. Sweet
juice flows from hidden black seeds
into white meat and makes so much
pressure the bruised pears want to
burst from pain. I can already taste
the sweet sap that will dribble from
my lips the minute I slice the skin
with my front teeth that grew into
my mouth last summer. Suddenly, I
look at Juana and dare her. Steal
WHAT OTHERS SAY:
"Martha Braniff's concerns are
perfectly captured by the metaphor
of bone, for her writing explores
the paradoxes of human strength and
vulnerability, life and death, what's
hidden within each individual and
yet common to us all."
Editor of Image: A Journal of the
Arts and Religion
"These poems and brief fiction
pieces vibrate with electric wit and
feeling. Streaked with magical realism,
the book is a radiant chorus of voices
that unite into a redemptive whole
through Braniff's insight and talent
for imagery--mythic and bright."
STOREY, Author of The Lord's Motel
and God's Country Club
"An enticing and haunting read,
this book is a masterful, spirited
and engaging collection--its impact
will linger long after the book is
closed. Braniff's characters are as
rich, entertaining and diverse as
her own wealth of life experiences."
ROTH, Editor of We used to be Wives:
Divorce Unveiled Through Poetry
Through dreams and imagination
I delve into the realm of magical
realism where I combine reality with
elements of the supernatural, surreal
and mystical. In this endeavor, I
hope to lead readers down new paths
where they can view the world through
more tolerant eyes.
My characters usually inhabit the
fringes of society with little going
for them except their imaginations,
personal histories and soulful longings--their
bone closets so to speak. But in the
face of dire circumstances, an almost
naïve optimism shines through.
Frequently, I enter my own closet,
clack around with the bones, embrace
secrets, joys and fears and create
a path of self-rejuvenation.
Songs from the Bone Closet depicts
my journey of exploration into the
lives of seekers who believe in humanity's
power to renew and to be renewed.
MARTHA EVERHART BRANIFF
lives and writes from her Houston,
Texas home, and has been a tireless
and lifelong champion of the underprivileged.
For years, she worked as a nurse at
Ripley House in a community health
program serving a mostly Hispanic
neighborhood. After creating the first
art program at the Harris County Juvenile
Detention Center, in 1984 she founded
Child Advocates, a non-profit organization
serving abused children. Her field
of work has given her a special empathy
for "saints and sinners"
that is reflected in her poems and
stories which have received national
and egional recognition. Articles
about children caught on the dark
side of the juvenile justice system
have been published in several important
journals and newspapers.
The following are only a few of the
many community awards Braniff has
received: Special Commendation Award,
Texas Association for Marriage and
Family Therapy; The Good Samaritan
Award from the Samaritan Center; Entrepreneur
of the Year, Social Responsibility,
awarded by Inc. Magazine; Kappa Alpha
Theta National CASA Executive Director
of the Year; Houston Bar Association,
Houston Young Lawyer's Liberty Bell
Award, Texas department of Human Services
Outstanding Professional Service;
City of Houston Mayor's Award for
volunteer service to children.
Literary awards include Featured
Poet in Muse Squared 2004; Juried
Poet for the 2003 Houston Poetry Fest;
a short story was nominated for the
2002 Pushcart Prize; won the 2002
Santa Fe Actor's Choice Award for
a screenplay and placed in the finals
of the 2001 Texas Film Institute.
Her suspense novel "Beds of Broken
Glass" was a finalist for the
2000 Bellwether Prize.
Published stories, poems and articles
include Houston Woman Magazine, Santa
Fe Poetry Broadside, Muse Squared,
New Texas 2000, New Texas 2003, The
Houston Chronicle, The Oracular Tree,
Happy, Turbula, Sojourn, Curbside
Review, 2002, 2003, 2004 Texas Poetry
Calendar, Suddenly III, IV and V,
2003 Wivla Flip Side Anthology, Seeds
of Healing WIVLA Anthology, We Used
to Be Wives: Divorce Unveiled Through
Poetry, and many others.