Kelly Lenox: The Brightest Rock

Cover: The Brightest Rock

Cover: The Brightest Rock

Kelly Lenox
Word Tech Editions, March 2017, $19.00
ISBN-10: 1625492243: ISBN-13: 978-1625492241

Lenox writes:

The Brightest Rock is the realization of a 20-year dream. I’ve always written poetry, and while I studied it in college, I never took it seriously. Rather, it was icing on the cake as I studied environmental science, which I loved. After college, I worked in the field, for the Environmental Protection Agency. Currently, I edit Environmental Factor, the monthly newsletter of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Kelly Lenox

Kelly Lenox

At age 40, I began graduate school in creative writing. All along, my poems have been influenced by geology, drawing on images of tunnels, mines, mountain ranges, caves, and, of course, rocks. Trees, plants, and water in all its forms also provide touchstones for the journeys of the poems.

Debut collections of poetry are typically published by university or small literary presses. First book contests fund publication through contest fees. I spent five years submitting to contests; each rejection led to more revision of the manuscript. I finally received an offer from Word Tech Communications, a small commercial publisher of poetry that relies on authors to sell books. That makes sense from a business standpoint, because nobody makes money from poetry. And yet, in this genre, self-publishing is the kiss of death. Bookstores, reading series, reviewers all want the imprimatur of an editor’s having selected the manuscript.

I owned an encaustic painting by an artist friend, Susan Skrzycki of Raleigh, NC, and thought something of hers might work for the cover. When I asked to see more of her work, she asked for the manuscript instead. Susan completed three paintings on paper in response to the poems. The book designer and I chose the one you see.

For my second book, now in process, I hope to find a different publisher. I’m a passionate supporter of bookstores, and Word Tech’s distribution through Ingram was an important factor. Yet, my author discount and bookstore commissions mean that I break even on bookstore sales when I give readings. Don’t let that stop you from ordering through your neighborhood bookstore or that online place: publishers’ decisions are influenced by total sales of previous works. You can order a signed copy through my website,

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