Page last updated: June 10, 2019

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Poems by Gary Lee Entsminger

Without pretense, with the clarity of William Stafford, these poems embrace a wide-ranging reach in subject matter expressed lyrically with original juxtapositions of ideas and words. The voice in these poems pays homage to the past, the present.

—Michael Miller, author of Waking in the Dark


In Four Ravens, Gary Lee Entsminger shares poems about his youth in Virginia, his journeys, and his present life in the mountains of southwestern Colorado. And as a record of significant memories, these poems attest to the author’s awareness of the fleeting nature of experience.

Summer of ’74 he traveled with the band

wore tee shirt and blue jeans like the other guys

climbed scaffold to place speakers in the Wall of Sound

happy for the job yet already beginning to understand

 none of this would happen again

Time moves in only one direction. Yet, from an early memory of looking down on

the small town

tucked below /

steepled and shimmering

with all you didn’t know

in the distance

to an obviously more recent one where men

in the evening sat on the porch /

once it was cool enough

and watched the breeze and shade

easing summer heat with conversation

the poems in Four Ravens offer a sense of having come full circle—from experience to memory to all we can know of a life.

—Neil Harrison, author of Where the Waters Take You


If you’re tired of guessing poets’ minds, you’ll welcome these clearly marked, deeply anchored poems. Like a good guide, Entsminger is never more than a few steps ahead, making sure you don’t fall from the stones across the flowage, the currents of which sometimes threaten to topple you. You’ll stop to look the way you’ve come, like the woman in “Before Crossing,” to reorient and prepare for what’s ahead. Another poem has it exactly right: “Stories that determine us.” And as in another favorite poet’s, Nancy Willard’s, work, questions are asked, the answers to which surprise, delight, and help to “develop a soul.” And always, always, accompanied by masterly musical diction, so the words’ tunes embed. Not surprising, given that Entsminger has for many a year made and played music on a variety of instruments.

So much else to say (e.g. everyone should have an Aunt Jean!); so much I’d like to quote (e.g. “it was always the two of us / under the grand piano I was never alone / Mom was always playing” – Rilke must be smiling, too: see his “Memories of a Childhood”!). A last regret: Frost, who is said to have put a gun on the kitchen table between his kids and told them to choose between their mom and him, won’t read “Counter Intuitive,” a poem that should be framed on many a kitchen wall for many a family…

               —Stuart Friebert, author of Decanting: Selected & New Poems


Remembering the Parables  (2010): Using the ancient Art of Memory to remember the parables of Jesus. (7.5"x9.25" paperback, black and white paintings, 160 pages, $18.00).

Making the Most of WriteItNow 4  (2010): A guide to using WriteItNow writing software. (7.5"x9.25" paperback, 134 instructive figures, 112 pages, $16.00).

Ophelia’s Ghost (2008): A novel exploring the Anasazi, Ancient Cultures, the Art of Memory, Shakespeare, UFOs, and the Moon. (6"x9" paperback, 292 pages, $15.00).


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Gary Lee Entsminger is a writer, naturalist, and computer programmer. He has written nine programming books; over 100 scientific and technical articles; and computer software that helps scientists understand patterns of biodiversity and biogeography. His books written with Susan Elliott Entsminger—Fall of ’33, Ophelia’s Ghost, and Remembering the Parablesintertwine fiction, philosophy, history, poetry, and art. Four Ravens follows his first book of poetry, Two Miles West.

Fall of ’33 (2013): A sequel to Ophelia's Ghost, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1933. (6"x9" paperback, 214 pages, $17.00).

Two Miles West (2015) Poems (6"x9" paperback, 112 pages, $16.00).

Page last updated: June 10, 2019

All pages copyright © 2019 by Pinyon Publishing