The Mother at the Salon She was at the salon hours after another mother sat in the same seat: a victim’s mother, she a perpetrator’s. Yet it wasn’t warmer or more desolate to sit where her seeming opposite had sat, both readying for a funeral or both seeking what only old habit could give. Both were covered in the same […]
Infatuation She’d be nearing middle age by now, the girl all over Dylan’s journal whose name the books all black out, the girl no girl wants to be, loved by him, the boy she would never write about herself unless she loved nervousness and decay or was taken in by weakness and doubt, her head anxious to fantasy by the […]
Nero & His Mother I arranged to have her murdered at sea but she just swam to shore as the boat sank; I can see her doing that, unsurprised at the attempt but determined to live even the worst life. When the assassins showed up she screamed to put the sword lower, lower, thinking of her months of heaviness with […]
If forced to choose a favorite short poem of mine, one that brings together nearly everything I’m interested in, it would have to be this one: Fire Houses All the old stories have their fire houses: hostels, banqueting halls, stopping places, some leading to the Otherworld, some made of iron, and all of them set afire, mansions made into ovens, […]
The Sun Sets into the Sea The sun sets into the sea with a hiss and rises with the sound of a driven wheel, the creak of speaking stone, metal and wood. The sun sets into the sea to simmer and rises with the sound of stretched leather and the song of the horse’s chain and bit. The […]
Originally published at Isacoustic When On High, When I Also Saw the Deep I. When I also saw the deep From earliest days I dug in the ground with no need for gloves, with a love of mud in my fingernails and filling the lines of my palms, the smack of sloppy wet earth and the heave of heavy tough […]
Missing Child The sound of them woke me in the morning, feet kicking up careful spirals of leaves and lean, low voices under my window. All the way to the woods there’s a line of them, a missing boy overnight their care won’t solve: the world is too small to search all of it. I find one to say about […]
Daedalus & Icarus The old craftsman came to Cumae after a long life of art and flight, love and theft, came alone to the Sibyl’s Italian shore wasted with age and reputation to the one who knew every alphabet, the seeress who saw the future in driven leaves: and warped with the same old age as him, she asked that […]
A Disciple of Pythagoras Wins a Chariot Race Some oil there in the dirt, some spices gathered into the shape of a scented ox and lit into a rising cloud for the gods: this is better victory than flesh, better glory for my name and my town than the meat of someone I may have known, the body of one […]
Odin & Baldr The High One heard the lowest prophecy: already riddled with the worst of dreams, his boy Baldr would be killed by his brother. And worse: another brother would avenge him, family hacking down family. And worse: these murders would lead to the end, to three winters of war and three more years of only winter, and all […]
Kafka’s Sisters With thanks I was tubercular and dead by early summer nineteen twenty-four, long in the grave with my intensity before those three sisters rose to follow, Ellie and Ottla and Valli dragged through the cattle-car years down to forty-five. Ellie and Ottla and Valli I sing, deported to Poland, deported to Łódź or all of them dead in […]
Unfinished Michelangelo The impossible bodies of apostles, messiahs and slaves, statues that couldn’t have stood had he finished them, faces half buried in membranes of marble that threaten to swallow and take them back; bodies climbing without hands or feet or legs out of the mineral morass in the great struggle for birth: a nearly headless body, torso only, drowning […]
Robert Oppenheimer Now I come to write in light and fire in a language of power we all know, beyond every letter and poetry and all the dithering of philosophy, all the prevarication of politics. The physicists have known sin, it’s true, but also the brilliance of a burden overcome in the ageless mountains, a foul display that was beyond […]
Thanks to the editors of The Wisdom Daily for publishing my essay on the Isidore of Seville, the seventh century Church Father, polymath, and compiler of an ur-Wikipedia. You can read it here.
I began this blog in earnest almost six years now, with a post called “Silence in London,” which offered a handful of photos from a recent trip to England. I only made that post, though, because during the trip I left a long comment on a poetry blog, and found that it made me want to write more about poetry […]
CAULDRON & DRINK They love their honey and they love the vine, the wine and beer they engender with fire and the altered world each takes them to. They name their vessels like newborns, they name their goblets and flagons and mixing bowls and give titles to their cauldrons, those cornucopias of bronze or clay or silver, a few or […]
With June finally done and the rush of bringing out two books behind me, let me thank everyone who has purchased copies. There are still a few of each book left from my initial batch; if anyone is interested, I’m selling them myself much cheaper than Amazon etc., & they will be signed. If you would like a review copy […]
Here’s a roll call for all the books & scholars I gained so much from, in writing the poems in Bone Antler Stone. For some reason a handful are wildly expensive now, so I’ve put an asterisk before those that are still reasonably priced. Although as I discovered in collecting them all (sometimes only being able to photocopy them), handfuls […]
“Our prehistory now has its poet laureate.” – Barry Cunliffe, Oxford University Download readings from the book below, or read an essay about the book. US readers can order copies directly from me here: UK and worldwide readers, order directly from The High Window Press here Passing through more than thirty thousand years of history, the changing spiritual and material […]
My poetry collection Bone Antler Stone—a panorama of ancient Europe from the painted caves of Lascaux to contact with Greece and Rome—comes out on Thursday. You can order it here. Below are readings of three of those poems, inspired by a tidal island, a museum, and a Viking cathedral on the island of Orkney, all combined with photos and videos […]
My poetry collection Bone Antler Stone—a panorama of ancient Europe from the painted caves of Lascaux to contact with Greece and Rome—comes out on Thursday. You can order it here. Here’s an essay on how it came to be written: The poems of Bone Antler Stone go way back, as a book about ancient history probably should. My way in […]
From Bearing the Names of Many/The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old, just as illness and war are spreading: People are committing suicide all over the place. I am enjoying this in part because the people killing themselves were the type, only a year ago, most likely to condemn suicides as evil, as cowards, as cruel to themselves and to their […]
Back when I used to do a lot of readings, I would start out by sharing somebody else’s work, and I realize that I should do the equivalent of that with the release of my book of stories, The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old. The person that comes to mind is the late William Trevor, whose Last Stories was […]
I usually don’t feel like I’m a dirty liberal at all while reading The New Criterion, a conservative version of those magazines that seem to see themselves as the preserver of what might be called “high” culture, curating it almost as if for a future age that will care about it a little more. Recently I’ve found a reappraisal of […]
Here are only some of the songs and pieces of music that meant the most to me when writing the stories for The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old: While I only saw it after many of the stories were finished, the documentary Kurt Cobain: About a Son captures what I hoped to do with my lonely people: Kurt Cobain […]
My book of short stories, The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old, is now available. My essay on the book is here. Order it directly from the publisher, Square, Small Press Distribution, and Amazon. Ebook links here. Please consider ordering directly from the publisher or Square. Each of the twelve stories is told by an unnamed narrator, among them a […]
There are a lot of lonely people out there, and with my collection of stories The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old coming out on Monday (you can order it directly from the publisher, Square, Small Press Distribution, and Amazon), I want to write for a moment about why I devoted an entire book to them. Each of the twelve […]
Check out the poet Tom Laichas’s review, here, of my 2011 book Hymns and Lamentations, a collection poems on the unsolvable religious problems of suffering and joy. It’s an immensely generous and thorough look at the book, probably the best it’s gotten so far. You can still order the book here.
Back when my long Civil War poem To the House of the Sun first came out in 2015, I sent a copy to somebody that’s pretty well-known in the field—if a field it is—of those who popularize mythology, on TV and elsewhere. (If I say much more somebody might figure out who I mean, and that’s not what I mean […]
Originally posted on Amethyst Review:
Two Gods I. Esus with an Axe As if he were winter itself Esus goes at the willow tree, goes to prune it back for a time, promising a spring without blades. And as if they were winter itself, the egrets in the willow tree consider how the cold must come, consider where all souls must go, and surrender the willow to fly. And as if it were winter itself the marsh beside the willow tree cools and freezes and hides beneath ice, beneath the cracking axe of Esus, beneath the iron sun, iron clouds, beside the low willow in winter. II. Sucellus: The Wine God Every now and then, why not, give your time to the drunk old man – the hammer he holds struck winter out of the earth after all, and gave us the grapes that got him all groggy, the barrel overflowing and the jar overturned, the amphorae running over. He’s not the most graceful god, not in spring, but remember that his hammer is thunder, that his hammer is the reliable wheel and his body is covered in the serious signs that the dark of deep winter were made for – so join him while his hammer is on the ground and while, stumbling, he gives a smile over at you. ? Tim Miller writes about religion, history and poetry at http://www.wordandsilence.com. These poems are from a larger collection on…
Voices behind the words : An interview series with writers (Interview #12, Jonah Finn of Crime Poetry)
Originally posted on Real Free - Flowing Words:
Welcome readers to another entry on “Voices behind the words: An interview series with words. This is the 2nd time I’ve had a trifecta of writer interviews on this series. The other time was in February. I digress, this time around I spoke with the poet Tim Miller, who has begun writing…
Originally posted on Amethyst Review:
RISKING THE SACRED Many years ago now, while living in California, I was sitting in a mostly-empty university library, surprised to find a literary manifesto in a fairly prominent US magazine. Seeing almost immediately that it was just a lot of posturing and attitude, I gave up. Turning, I saw that behind me on a shelf was a set of books, Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, an area of history whose religion and mythology—from Egypt to Mesopotamia and early Judaism—had always held my interest. I gladly pulled the first volume off the shelf, and put the magazine aside. Up until now, hindsight always made this the moment when I chose an interest in “the sacred in literature” over the much larger net of “literature” itself. But just as the order and meaning derived from religion is often used to oppose the random cruelty of everyday life, I’ve spent more than a decade writing a short book that seeks to deny this characterization and unite the religion and everyday life. I’ve also never bought the argument that science and religion are necessarily opposed to one another. So why would I have continued so long loving the rift (for lack of a better phrase) between sacred and secular literature? The first answer is because it was helpful. Any bold attempt to carve out an identity or a boundary for oneself, even if it is not technically…
Ahead of the publication of my book of stories (The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old) in June, the Seattle Book Review just published this essay of mine, on “generous chance encounters in publishing…”
Many thanks to Sarah Law over at Amethyst, a journal focusing on poetry and the sacred, for publishing my poem on the sanctuaries of the Gauls in ancient France. You can read it here.
Many thanks as always to David Cooke over at The High Window, who just published four new poems of mine in their spring issue, and are the last batch before The High Window Press brings out my entire collection of poems from ancient Europe, Bone Antler Stone. Please also consider following them on WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook, that’s how all the cool […]
autographed copies of To the House of the Sun are always available directly from the publisher at 40% off (includes shipping), by clicking here SELRES_1bdcfa3c-300a-48ef-b10e-893100acd61SELRES_1bdcfa3c-300a-48ef-b10e-893100acd& the mountain I ascended came from heaven: & the rock I walked on broke away once long ago from the vault of heaven— & so as I walked, I was walking on heaven: & […]
Many thanks to Tom Zimmerman and the editors of the Big Windows Review, who just published my poem “The Seeress of Vix” on the website. It will also appear in issue 11 of BWR, and you can find subscription info on their page. For more information on the c. 480 BC French burial and archaeological site the poem was inspired by, this […]
Many thanks to David Cooke at The High Window, who has published four of my poems here. I‘m also pleased to note that the post officially announces that the High Window Press will be publishing my full collection of poems from ancient Europe, Bone Antler Stone, later this year. The four poems posted today come from the end of that collection (and […]
& once in Chattanooga, a vision comes: & he sits there stunned among them: & he watches as families eat & drink or just laugh, as if life lasts forever—& then half drop off & disappear: he sees two men in front of a store, & then only one: two women at laundry or two slaves in the street or […]
Immense thanks to Barton Smock, who just published three of my poems at Isacoustic. You can read them here. They are among my favorites from the past few years, and so it’s wonderful to see them all together; whatever it is I’ve been trying to say with history and mythology, landscape and autobiography, are all there. Thanks also and obviously and […]
Many thanks to the editors of the Cider Press Review, who just published my poem “Old Man’s Shed.” You can read it here
Many thanks to the editors of Crannóg, who published my poem “Cauldron & Drink” in their most recent issue. It’s one of my favorites from my upcoming book of poems from old Europe. For readers outside of Ireland and the UK, I’ve pasted an image from the journal below, although I would encourage everyone to subscribe.
Great news from Pelekinesis Books: next June they will publish my story collection, The Lonely Young and the Lonely Old. You can read more about the book here, as well as sign up for further updates as the release date nears.
Many thanks to the editors of the Cumberland River Review, who just published two of my poems from old Europe, on burials in ancient Sweden and Russia. You can read them here. The full collection of these poems will be published next year by the High Window Press in the UK, under the title Bone Antler Stone. You can read more of […]
Many thanks to the editors of the Cider Press Review, who just published my poem “Missing Child.” You can read it here.
Originally posted on Underfoot Poetry:
LAST MEAL Their stomachs a bestiary only of grain during a time of feasting and boasting and meat, bellies a mush with the barely digested gruel of barley and rye and buttercup, goosefoot and hawksbeard, linseed and clover and knotweed, with spelt and yarrow all a last gnarl or bit of weight above the waist,…
After receiving an email from a reader interested in the mythology surrounding bears, I remembered my own obsession with the boar. This was written some time ago, and one day will hopefully be expanded for a small illustrated book. Forgive the in-line citations, which may be an eyesore, but it would take too long to turn them into footnotes. The […]
Many thanks to Richard Smyth, editor of Albatross, for including two of my poems from Old Europe in Albatross #27. You can download a .pdf of the entire issue here.
Many thanks again to Chris Murray for featuring four new poems of mine over at Poethead: Song to Nehalennia (Netherlands, AD 200) Looking for Nerthus (AD 100) Song to Sequana (Burgundy, 100 BC) Song to Sulis (Bath, 100 BC)
Many thanks to the editors of The Basil O’Flaherty, who just published four new poems of mine: Unfinished Michelangelo Kafka’s Sisters (1945) The Painted Caves: Chauvet, Lascaux, Altamira A Disciple of Pythagoras Wins a Chariot Race (496 BC) Special thanks too to Daniel Paul Marshall, who offered his enthusiasm and suggestions for early drafts of these poems.
The historian, medievalist, and poet Jeff Sypeck has just published the most thorough review yet of my long poem, To the House of the Sun. The highlights are pasted below, but I encourage anyone to read the entire review here. And while you’re there, check out the rest of his blog, where he writes about other long poems, and all things medieval. Autographed copies of the book are still available here at a steep discount; simply choose the seller S4N Books. *** […] Tim Miller has joined a select group of quirky poets who feel called to contend with a neglected form, the book-length narrative poem, and what he does with it is brilliant. […] To the House of the Sun evokes millennia of faith, storytelling, and scholarship simply by committing to its orthography: from its first lines, it looks like the typed-up notes of a young scholar seized by inspiration as he transcribes and translates a cryptic inscription. Look closer, though, to see the designs of a careful poet: these lines mark where the singer’s words intersect time; alliteration evokes a sense of place (“the sands of Savannah facing the sea”); and psalmic repetition gives them incantatory power, affirming poetry’s roots in enchantment. This could be Gilgamesh, King David, or Hildegard of Bingen, and Miller honors that ageless mysticism here. To the House of the Sun sounds and feels like an ancient text, layered with fragments of sources and traditions, a […]
Many thanks to Sam Smith, editor of the Welsh magazine The Journal (formerly Of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry), for publishing three of my poems from Old Europe. Those outside the UK cannot subscribe, so I include a screenshot of my page below, but I would UK readers to check out the print edition. Other poems from this collection can be found […]
Buy the book here Visit the publisher’s website here Signed copies are now available at a steep discount, directly from the publisher—only $14.95. Order them from Amazon here, and choose S4N Books as the seller. December 16 The poet and historian Jeff Sypeck participated in Via Negativa’s year-end Favorite Poetry Book survey, and kindly wrote this about To the House of the Sun: The best poetry book I read this year was To the House of the Sun (S4N Books, 2015), Tim Miller’s epic poem about the travels of an Irish-born Georgian seeking revenge against his own father during the Civil War. Miller contacted me back in the spring because he found me online and thought I might like his work. He was right: To the House of the Sun is a sprawling, strange, deeply moving poem inspired by the the world’s great religious texts and definitely in conversation with them. It’s a difficult, harrowing, inspiring, incantatory book, and I’ve never read anything like it. September 28 The poet Daniel Paul Marshall had these good words to say about To the House of the Sun: Tim is the author of the American Civil War epic poem To the House of the Sun, which I have been fortunate enough to read. It isn’t just a work of literary pulchritude, but in addition, a work of scholarly dedication to a variety of traditions, myths, histories, traditions, of literature & the humanities generally. […]
Many thanks to the editors of Concho River Review, who just published my poem “Neighborhood” in their Fall, 2016 issue. You can see the table of contents, and subscribe to the magazine here. (They previously published by essay “Blindness, War & History” in their Fall, 2014 issue) Since it is not available online, a screenshot of the poem is below […]
Many thanks to the editors of The High Window, who just published three new poems of mine. They are part of a larger sequence on the mythology, history, and archaeology of old Europe. You can read them here. For those interested in further info behind the poems, these are good starting places: Star Carr: Starr Carr – the official site […]
Many thanks to Chris Murray, editor at Poethead, for featuring six of my poems here. They include four poems from Orkney: Skara Brae Horses on Orkney Bone, Antler, Stone – Museum Pieces Cuween Chambered Cairn – (where the author photo comes from) And two other personal favorites I’ve been looking forward to seeing published: Robert Oppenheimer Daedalus and Icarus
Many thanks to the editors at Literary Juice, who just published my poem “Odin & Baldr”.
Following yesterday, here is Book 31 from To the House of the Sun, and my version of the Underworld journey. In Books 29 and 30, Conrad has spent the winter of 1865 communing with the ghosts of the Donner Party at Donner Lake; but upon seeing his starved body suddenly rejuvenating, they flee, and he begins to sink through the […]
Many thanks to the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, who published my poem “Winter Crash” as a part of their Saturday Poem series.
Many thanks to Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, poetry editor at Londongrip, who just published two new poems of mine. They are from a larger sequence on prehistoric burials in ancient Europe. The poems can be found here. For those interested in more info on the burials, these are both good starting places: Vedbaek Finds Amesbury Archer
Many thanks to the editors of Living Orkney, who published a small essay on our trip to Orkney last year. Since few people outside of Orkney have access to the magazine, the article is pasted below. Each day there solidified everything I hold sacred about history, religion, poetry, and so much else, and I doubt I’ll ever exhaust the well […]
Here is an astonishing walk from mainland Orkney to that tidal island, the Brough of Birsay, and the Pictish, Viking and Christian monastic ruins there. Certainly there are longer and more exhausting walks, and perhaps there are more beautiful places to end up, but I’ve never had such a total experience, a combination of effort and beauty, than what we […]
Here are some favorite photos from the Neolithic stone circles of England and Orkney, visited in the last few years: Stonehenge, in Wiltshire Castlerigg Stone Circle, in Cumbria, the Lakes District The Ring of Brodgar, in Orkney As the archaeologists will tell you, these circles of standing stones were intentionally placed in an already sacred landscape, hence the photos of […]
Many thanks to the editors at Juked, who just published my story, “One Time People.” The story is from a collection, slowly emerging online and hopefully someday in print, called The Lonely Young and the Lonely Old. Other stories from the collection are here.
Many thanks to the editors of Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, who will be publishing my short story, “Adult Conversation,” in their next issue. An update will be posted when the issue is available. The story is part of a larger collection on the neglected and easily forgotten, The Lonely Young and the Lonely Old.
Many thanks to the editors of Foliate Oak, who published my short story, “The Lake,” in their December Issue. The story is part of a larger collection on the neglected and easily forgotten, The Lonely Young and the Lonely Old. An .mp3 of my reading of it is available here. A YouTube page of that reading is below:
Many thanks to the editors of The Bitter Oleander, who published my short story, “Flew Away for Number Three,” in their Spring, 2014 issue. The story is part of a larger collection on the neglected and easily forgotten, The Lonely Young and the Lonely Old.
Just back from London, where the hugeness of space and history were hard to ignore. But the experience was always deepest in the smallest space, where something sacred, or just something simply old, could be apprehended intimately, in silence. So that it was not Westminster Abbey, despite its beauty as a space and the unnerving realization that one is walking by the actual tombs of early kings and queens, including Elizabeth I. It was not this, but Westminster’s cloister: And it was Westminster’s Chapter House, with its original 13th-century tile, 14th-century paintings on the wall, and nearby the oldest door in England, supposedly used by Edward the Confessor, c. 1050: And it was, most of all, Westminster’s Pyx Chamber, also dating to shortly after 1066. It is hard to say why this room struck me, but I could have stayed there for days: It was also not the Tower of London, the only time where the idea of royalty truly stank of excess and arrogance and blood, especially at the exhibit of the crown jewels. It was not here, but nearby, at the church of All Hallows by the Tower, a place gutted during the Blitz, the damage revealing a c. 775 Saxon Arch from the earliest version of the church, as well as c. 200 Roman pavement in the crypt below, and of course, crypt chapels for silence: And it wasn’t even London, really, so much as it was a side-trip to Salisbury, […]