Introducing the first installment in the Beggar Poet Series:
The Art of Mercy: New and Selected Poems
by Robert L. Penick
Robert L. Penick’s short, masterful poems have been showing up in small press magazines since the early 1990s. The Art of Mercy, his first full-length collection, contains excerpts from four chapbooks as well as fifty-seven new and previously uncollected poems, representing the best of a long, quiet career in the poetry trenches.
“Penick is gritty. Like the photographer who finds beauty in abandoned houses and cracked surfaces, his work makes the reader appreciate the sweat, dust, and failure we brush against, then turn our minds from. He is the tour guide of the ignored. He demands a broadening of our humanity and he does so with hope, precision, and humility.
The Beggar Poet Series is produced by Shō Poetry Journal in partnership with our parent publisher, Hohm Press. It is named for seekers across world traditions who set out on the spiritual path with nothing but a begging bowl in hand and a driving thirst for the unnameable. Some of those beggars become poets. Just as some poets, in their sacred vocation, become beggars, standing empty before the muse and writing what is given.