Arthurian Things: Coming to a Bookseller Near You!

Hello, and Happy New Year!

I started my 2020 out with page proofs for my first collection of poems, Arthurian Things:

This book won the Open Contract challenge hosted by Jayzomon/Dark Myth Publications, and I am so delighted to be able to announce that it will soon be available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online sellers. Here is the back cover description:

The legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table are among the most beloved stories of all time. This poetry collection, the first of its kind, approaches the Arthurian world through the various lenses of its nonhuman creatures and things, presented alongside glimpses into the thoughts of some of its major characters. The poems in this book range in tone from lightly humorous to darkly meditative, and small things–cats, ants, flies, bees, an ingot in the treasury, a flower on the table, a cup, a lyre, a sword–explore big themes: relationships, mortality, gender issues, violence, and identity. These poems fracture the overarching legend, piercing its smooth veneer of unquestioned noble and valiant chivalry to reveal cracks that are by turns vulnerable, cynical, gentle, and uncertain. At every turn, they ask the reader to consider what we know and how the perspective through which we view a subject influences how we perceive it and what we think it means. This unique and original book offers fresh insights into (some of!) the inner worlds and unconsidered corners of the Arthurian legend, breathing new life into the ancient stories and bringing the myth into a modern idiom.

I am very much looking forward to seeing this book in print, to thanking the many, many people who helped me along the way, and to sharing these poems with readers. And, like all authors, I hope those of you who pick up my little book find something in it that charms or amuses you, that makes you think or feel something meaningful, that resonates, and that entertains you!

Here’s a sneak preview of one of the poems from this collection:


The Pigeon on the Parapet

From up here Arthur’s knights look fine:
Noble, chivalrous, ready to wage battle
with his enemies, keep his name burnished
in the books you so love to read, put their
bodies on the line again (armor’s grand
until you find yourself in hand-to-hand
combat, falling in mud, in blood
slipping on somebody else’s insides,
drowning in a puddle on a field
where you were knocked over face-first
by a horse, piled three and four men deep.)
Yes, from this bird’s-eye view
Arthur’s knights are bright in the sun,
their chainmail shines untested, untried.
You can’t see them shaking with fear.
You can’t hear them begging their ladies
for just one kiss, just one
as they march off once more into
someone else’s pride-driven war.


About Melissa Ridley Elmes

Professor and writer; Unrepentant nerd; chaotic good. Author of Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems. PhD, MFA. She/hers. Views my own.
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