Joshua Michael Stewart's first full-length collection of poetry, Break Every String, was published by Hedgerow Books in April 2016. His most recent full-length collection is The Bastard Children of Dharma Bums, published by Human Error Publishing in 2020. He has two chapbooks, Vintage Gray, published by Pudding House Publications in 2007, and Sink Your Teeth into the Light, published by Finishing Line Press in 2012. He's published poems in the Massachusetts Review, Rattle, Cold Mountain Review, Evansville Review, Brilliant Corners, and many others.
There’s a fearlessness in Joshua Michael Stewart's collection Break Every String.-- tough, tightly written narratives and monologues about living poor with broken people (some of whom are your closest relatives) in hard times. This heartfelt gritty work reminds me of the hardscrabble accounts of humanity in some of our best poets-- the work of Ai, Bruce Weigel, and Linda McCarriston's landmark book, Eva-Marie. Stewart exercises the courage of truth telling and takes the revenge of real poetic craft. As Bruce Weigel says "Say it clearly and you make it beautiful, no matter what." Or as Stewart says, "Poets are the battered spouses of hope." You can't help but respect the maker of these streamlined vehicles, for his guts and his unsentimental, vivid poems.
Photos by Patricia Crapo