The Dust by J. R. Solonche


The Dust, J.R. Solonche’s twenty-first book of poetry, is a worthy addition to his oeuvre. In poems like “Purple Crocus,” “Skunk Cabbage,” “Opossum,” “There Is an Insistent Green,” “Such a Noise in the Woods,” and many others, his eye for the natural detail is as keen as ever. And his celebrated wit has never been sharper than in “A Shotgun,” “The Beast and Beauty,” “The Attainment of Entertainment,” “Bad Botanical Garden,” “Fifty-Five Poems Starting with Lines by Emily Dickinson,” and “The Devil’s Villanelle,” which alone is worth the price of admission. Behind it all is Solonche’s humanity, grace, and good humor. True, you might have to pull back the curtain a little, but you’ll see him there all right, looking out at you, a twinkle in his cold eye.


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 118
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: February, 2021
  • ISBN 978-1-953252-18-0


The tone is established from the outset: wry, wise, sardonic and playful, drawing the reader irresistibly in. Solonche is revealed as a philosopher in the mould of Wittgenstein: aphoristic, charismatic, acerbic and oddly mystical. If you met this book in a bar, you would definitely want to take it home with you and every day thereafter congratulate yourself on how lucky you’ve been. But that is true of all his books. —David Mark Williams

The best feature of Solonche’s poetry is its diversity. Everyone who encounters this volume (including the postman who delivers it to you) will find something in it to understand and remember – and a great deal to enjoy. —Tony Beyer

Whitmanesque in their repetition and Dickinsonian in their concision, the poems in J.R. Solonche’s The Dust shift and refigure, the language falling back on itself like a wave, like a persistent echo, like a fugue. Each page feels like furious search, as though, if he were to find the right combination of words, the Capital T Truth would be revealed. In this verbal hunt, Solonche leaves no honeysuckle petal or shotgun shell unexplored, as over and over he discovers, “beauty where there was none before.” —Stephen Cramer



Her name was Veronica.
So I asked her if she had
heard of Archie Comics.
She was a kid so of course
she didn’t know what I was
talking about. Archie comic
books, I said. In the Archie
comic books, Archie has two
girl friends, Betty the blonde
and Veronica the brunette, like
you. They go to high school
like you. I go to college, she
said. I didn’t say anything.
She didn’t say anything. I paid
with my credit card. Sir, she
said. What’s a comic book?


J. R. SoloncheJ.R. Solonche has published poetry in more than 400 magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He is the author of Beautiful Day (Deerbrook Editions), Won’t Be Long (Deerbrook Editions),  Heart’s Content (Five Oaks Press), Invisible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Five Oaks Press), The Black Birch (Kelsay Books), I, Emily Dickinson & Other Found Poems (Deerbrook Editions), In Short Order (Kelsay Books), Tomorrow, Today and Yesterday (Deerbrook Editions), True Enough  (Dos Madres Press), The Jewish Dancing Master (Ravenna Press), If You Should See Me Walking on the Road (Kelsay Books), In a Public Place (Dos Madres Press), To Say the Least (Dos Madres Press), The Time of Your Life (Adelaide Books), The Porch Poems (Deerbrook Editions, 2020 Shelf Unbound Notable Indie Book), Enjoy Yourself  (Serving House Books), Piano Music (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Serving House Books),  For All I Know (Kelsay Books), A Guide of the Perplexed (Serving House Books), The Moon Is the Capital of the World (Word Tech Communications), Years Later (forthcoming in March from Adelaide Books), Selected Poems 2002 – 2021 with an Introduction by Grace Cavalieri, (forthcoming in April from Serving House Books), and coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in the Hudson Valley.

Additional information

Weight 7.8 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .375 in