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Front Cover | Back Cover

Turning Turf: Poems and Photographs from Ireland

by Christian Reifsteck

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In Turning Turf, poet and photographer Christian Reifsteck considers themes of decay, rupture, and sacrilege, suturing, healing, and grace within the framework of the Irish practice of harvesting turf. In Ireland, harvesting turf has traditionally involved cutting sod from the bog, laying it out to dry and turning it periodically, and then burning it for fuel. The poems and photographs in this impassioned collection guide the reader into the depths of life and soul to cut, turn, dry, and eventually burn the turf contained deep within us.

POETRY / General
PHOTOGRAPHY / Subjects & Themes - Travel - General

ISBN: 978-1-941830-29-1 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
ISBN: 978-1-941830-30-7 (digital)

LCCN: 2016932779

84 pages

Author Biography

Christian Reifsteck’s work has appeared in numerous journals both online and in print. He holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Vermont and teaches in Massachusetts. Turning Turf is his first book.


"These are the damp hung poems of a land, Ireland, deeply regarded by a traveler’s eye; poems excavated from observation and a keen listening to the wind.  I urge you to speak the poems of Christian Reifsteck aloud, to feel the cut and shape of the words in your mouth as you speak them. You will find a tight turn of word that resonates with the cutting of turf, of story.  The ancient land spoken of and from holds history like a holy water and Reifsteck crafts his poems by dipping into and drinking from that source.  These poems thrive on a sense of story and place, the rock, turf, and soil, the water, of well and sea, and the slate muted sky of Ireland."
— Karla Van Vliet, artist, poet, author of From the Book of Remembrance

"Turning Turf is a feast for the eye, the ear, and the soul. In these beautifully incantatory poems, the past is as present as one’s feet upon the crumbling cobblestones of rural Ireland. Reading these lyrical poems, viewing these exquisite photographs, one is convinced there is no place that is not sacred—no square foot of land or trickle of spring—that each is inhabited by stories that never stop telling themselves."
— Judith Sornberger, teacher, writer, poet, author of The Accidental Pilgrim: Finding God and His Mother in Tuscany


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