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The Follower's Tale

Stephen Roger Powers

ISBN: 978-1-907056-20-8

Page Count: 100

Publication Date: Thursday, October 01, 2009

Cover Artwork: Maura Harmon

Click to play audio Stephen Roger Powers reads "After Her Parade" from... play
Click to play audio Stephen Roger Powers reads "Drive My Urn to Dollyw... play

About this Book

Dear Stephen,
I was so touched that I still have tears,
and a few dropped on your poems. 
I will always love you,
                             Dolly Parton

Like nothing else in Tennessee or anywhere else, Stephen Roger Powers' The Follower's Tale explores the lovestorms, hardships and delights long yarned and yodeled in country songs, but this whirlwind of a collection at once ironizes, subverts and deepens the miseries and joys of yearning without ever taking its eyes off the miraculous Dolly Parton.  As the narrator observes, fantasizes and even channels the Pigeon Forge nightingale, he discovers that her down-to-earth royal kitsch provides the key to life's most elusive mysteries.  By the time Powers has worked his magic, even the slovenly wilderness will want to wig up and warble a chorus of "Jolene."

R.T. Smith

Zecchinos, rickshaws, Gitanes, the Dollywood Express, gunshots, crack, Lorine Niedecker, and the Chasing Rainbows Museum are all woven together in these large-languaged, visioned, spiritual, sensual poems.  These poems are smart, energetic, and surprising.  They look at America and beyond to universal desires & appetites, all through the microcosm of Dollywood & its rhinestone founder.

Susan Firer

Dolly Parton once said that what she wants to do as a performer is make them laugh a little, make them cry a little, scare the hell out of them and go home.  Stephen Roger Powers has taken this to heart and written a book of poems that gives us America through the lens of one of our greatest unnatural resources.  Read it and weep, and laugh and cover your eyes.  This is Dollywood.

Dorianne Laux

The poetry of Stephen Roger Powers has remarkable qualities of provocation and social investigation; its ambivalence is usually comic.  Powers combines insight and delight in Americana with a fervent and ancient sense of worship.

James Liddy

Author Biography

Stephen Roger Powers was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and grew up in the cornfields of nearby Sun Prairie.  While working on his PhD in English he wrote a stand-up act about his hearing impairment and performed for several years in comedy clubs and casinos around the American Midwest.  Today he splits his time between Milwaukee and Georgia, where he teaches at Gordon College and enjoys the beaches of Tybee Island.  The Follower's Tale is his first book.

Read a sample from this book

Only $2 to See the World's Largest Model Railroad Display!

    Chattanooga, Tennessee

Go there.  You'll see
little houses, little hills,
little cars, little redbud trees,
little bears, little wash
lines.  The little plastic               
people look like they'll burst
alive in Halloos and Howdys
and Nice-to-see-yas
and clog dancing.
If you peek really close, down
in the corner, near the end
of the World's Largest Model
Railroad Display, you'll even see a little
person (maybe she's a little
girl and her name is Wanda
Parlapiano) diving into a little
swimming pool, little legs sticking out
of the little glassy fake water
like the ends of broken hairpins.
There I decided on my new
hobby - model Dollywooding.
I will build the World's
Largest Model Dollywood
Display, complete with working
steam train, parking lot,
trash collection service,
bluegrass theater, backporch
ham & beans restaurant with
pie tins, fruit jars, and picnic tables,
lye soap stand, kiddie tree house,
homemade candle store, sausages
frying, little ducks quacking
in spring rain puddles, season
pass photo booth, and maybe
even a tiny little miniature Dolly
Parton on a buggy that putts
through the miniature park
as she waves to all the little fans
that are too small to paint faces on.


24th November 2009:  Read an interview by David Duhr with Stephen Roger Powers on the Fringe Magazine Blog >>

April 2010 - Review in Midwest Book Review's Wisconsin Bookwatch:

Just because you aren't leading the way doesn't mean you don't have your own story. The Follower's Tale is a collection of poetry from Stephen Roger Powers in his first anthology of poetry. Aiming to tell an offbeat and original story, he brings readers a unique brand of poetry that hasn't been seen much before. "The Follower's Tale" is a choice pick for poetry lovers, highly recommended. "The Night Before Dolly's Parade": I watched an old man watch his son on stage/in Master Harold. I ignored the play/and traced his laughs, his lips, his nose, the way/his eyebrows flew up when his son engaged/the audience in something humorous./After the show I drove all night through states/too flat for companionship. No complaints,/no one to make me feel ridiculous/when I cranked up Dolly's dulcimers down/through cincy on my way to Dollywood./I named my future son, sang along, looked/behind while I drove up hills south of town./My eyes coffeed open to watch for deer/as the rhinestone skyline sank out of my mirror.

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