Product Description

a poetry novel by

Tim Peeler

ISBN: 978-1-59948-634-5, ~92 pages, $14

Release Date: July 25, 2017

About The Author

TPeeler_Px_BkStA past winner of the Jim Harrison Award for contributions to baseball literature, Tim Peeler has also twice been a (baseball book of the year) and a finalist for the SIBA Award. He lives with his wife, Penny in Hickory, North Carolina, where he directs the academic assistance programs at Catawba Valley Community College. This is his sixteenth book.


Tim Peeler’s great poems in L2 concern unforgiving land hard on its inhabitants, though wanted by others; the hare-lipped, the confused, the stubborn and mean; fratricide. There’s a mean daddy, a mule, a Yamaha 125–and by god it’s about time someone wrote a poem that included a dirt bike. This is The Sound and the Fury meets the poems of Rodney Jones meets Cormac McCarthy meets everyone we drive by sitting on paint-needy front porches. I love and fear these poems. ~George Singleton, author of Calloustown

With lines drawn taut as razorwire, Peeler has picked the broken bottle glass from the gravel in order to show us a story piece by shattered piece. L2 is as guttural and beautiful a collection as I’ve ever read. ~David Joy, author of The Weight of This World

Tim Peeler signals from the off that we’ve moved from Rough Beast to “Rougher Beast” in his continuing, fundamentally harrowing, Appalachian ‘poetry novel’ about a family of foothills folk whose “dreams … are washed out by life”. Coming from a Scots-Irish working-class Belfast neighborhood, I recognize Peeler’s people, these hill-Billy-boys and their long-suffering women and children. Told in authentic speech, we’re down in the real red dirt with a character who matter-of-factly states, “It is nothing personal. I must annihilate my foes”, and whose son grows up to wonder “will his woman / Burn him alive” – a fate he would likely accept as justifiable. Indeed, for all of the dog-eat-dog of this Carolinian chronicle, for all the apparent murder and mayhem in this gene-haunted tale of the laying on of hand-me-down poverty and pride, it’s such glimmers of self-awareness that marks Peeler’s portraits as true: while nothing’s whitewashed, there are shards of humanity in the likes of Larry and Lester, little diamonds in the hearts of the rough beasts. They say poets only really become poets when they’ve found their own voices. Well, luckier is the poet who has found characters and material fit for their voice. In the book’s own baseball-speak, if poems were pitches, Peeler’s (long since) “no longer a prospect”, with poem after poem here “spank[ing] the mitt”. Like “the [Padre’s] boy” who ends L2, Tim Peeler deserves to be considered a big league poetry player. ~Adrian Rice


Rougher Beast


I took my training from daddy,
Drunken waking me at three am
With a belt buckle across my legs.
First three or four licks left red welts;
Then I numbed and hardened,
Never giving in when he screamed
Cry you little bastard, cry,
So’s I can stop, but he didn’t
And I gritted my teeth
And dug my knuckles
Into the bed roll
Till he fell into a coughing fit
Then began to cry hisself.




Burton took me in the gorge
To flush rabbits and hunt squirrels
And we’d hand crawl
Under the quick briars
Watching for places where
Old bob wire lurked under leaves
And I learned how to carry a rifle
On a hard climb
How to dig out a place
To set and wait
For the right time
How to smell and see
Even in the absence of light
How to hear my own heart
In the heart
Of what we hunted.





Lester pose when he smokes
James Dean Elvis Brando
Standing in the front yard
While family eats on the porch
Red Dobie walk head down
Eyes angled out to strike
Hardly feel the hard kiss
On his ball sack
Lester cool as the afternoon
Tell the boy
We get another one
The boy ride circles
For days looking
Behind the woodshed
Where Red Dobie
Hide from Lester
Doey, Doey,
He cries.






She work in the office
At Lester’s new garage
Answer the phone
Talk to the customers
While they wait in the carpeted lobby
Watching Fox News
Drinking Monster drinks
Army like to put his chin
In his hand and look
Across the six bays
Where graduates from the community
College automotive program
In red jumpsuits with Lester’s
In black flash on the back
Perform unnecessary work
For reasonable rates
And Lester scoots around
On a creeper stroking the unblemished
Cement with his fingerless leather gloves
Urging them on
Giving them all the if you work
Hard enough speeches
He can remember.

SKU: 978-1-59948-634-5 Category: Tag: