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Best of the Best 2020 in Poetry according to Bookworm Reviews

Including “Humblest Apologies,” nominated for a Pushcart Prize, 2020

Published by Kelsay Books:

Witness Tree mockup 01

Memoirs of a Witness Tree

A collection of poems by Randal A. Burd, Jr.


Here is some advance praise for Memoirs of a Witness Tree:

“Randal Burd has produced what is easily one of the top five poetry books (in fact one of the top five English language books) of the year. He offers up a treasure trove of exquisitely crafted jewels unearthed from the vacuous wasteland of modern life. Each poem glistens perfectly with accessible language, sumptuous rhymes, and enchanting meter. The jewels are varied, coming in a variety of meaningful and relatable topics, from the Civil War to human rights in China to getting lost in a forest to being a father. The intricately inlaid and gilded, yet never gaudy, chest that brings them all together is a sincere grasp of beauty and a refreshing sense of decency that make this a work of perennial value. Bravo, Mr. Burd!”

Evan Mantyk, President of The Society of Classical Poets

“Memoirs of a Witness Tree is emotionally resonant in its quiet simplicity. It is evocative, revealing the best of yearning, despair, acceptance, deep love of family and nostalgia. It asks righteous questions. It delves into metaphysical issues of death, conscience, heart and the meaning of life. It deals with death in its imminence and life in its eminence. Beautifully written: Burd has a strong sense of rhythm, a witty manner of rhyming and an innate sense of what is required of the sonnet form – he modernizes, yet remains classical, a high achievement and an excellent read.”

Hayley Ann Solomon, author of Celestial Promise and Wishbinder

“In this impressive collection, Formalist poet Randal A. Burd Jr. presents poems that speak to an array of emotional experiences and to every taste. Of course, what touches one will not touch another; what matters to one will be a triviality to the next. The poet only begins the poem; the reader, with his reading, finishes it. Among my personal favorites are “Out of Mind,” “A Mended Heart,” “Echoes of Yesterday,” and “Reflection.” I recommend this collection.”

Harvey Stanbrough, founding editor of The Raintown Review

Here are some reviews:

Diane Elayne Dees, The Poetry Cafe Online: “Memoirs of a Witness Tree by Randal A. Burd, Jr.”

Andrew Benson Brown, The Society of Classical Poets: “Ekphrastic Economy: A Review of Memoirs of a Witness Tree by Randal A. Burd, Jr.”

Julie Sara Porter, Bookworm Reviews: “New Book Alert: Memoirs of a Witness Tree: Poems by Randal A. Burd Jr.; Concrete Descriptive Poems About Life, Love, and Family”

Michael R. Burch, The HyperTexts: “A Book Review: Randal A. Burd, Jr.’s Memoirs of a Witness Tree

Review this book on Goodreads!

Other Media Mentions

Alumni bookshelf: Fall 2021,” Show Me Mizzou, August 19, 2021, accessed February 8, 2022

“Randal Burd’s ‘Armed With Imagination’ and ‘Overthrown’ and ‘We Siblings Three’ are #229, #230, and #231 in the never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM,” Chris Rice Cooper Blog, January 10, 2021, accessed March 5, 2021

Nine Cool Things on a TuesdayJama’s Alphabet Soup, March 2, 2021, accessed March 5, 2021