Review from Literary Titan
“Turbulence & Fluids” by Karla K Morton is a wonderfully unique collection of poetry. The author’s almost spiritual connection to the surrounding world is evident in every poem. The opening poems give voice to the water, a captivating turn that starts a journey full of introspection and connection. Morton’s lived experiences, especially her Texas upbringing, are a pervasive influence in the collection, tying together hazy childhood memories with a passion for the Earth and the relationship between it and humans. Morton’s gratitude and reverence for the environment are palpable, and many lines showcase her ability to infuse even the simplest moments with a profound sense of wonder. The strength of Morton’s voice resonates throughout, layered with a spectrum of emotions that invite readers to embrace life’s complexities. The poem’s core encourages embracing life fully, even amid challenges, and Morton calls readers to find beauty and resilience in difficult circumstances. The poems reflect a deep sense of community, echoing familial ties and the companionship of pets. These themes are underpinned by an unobtrusive spiritual thread, providing a broader perspective without imposing.
This collection is not broken into sections, so if you’re a fan of more organized books, this might not be your favorite. However, the absence of those section breaks contributes to a seamless flow, mirroring the continuous passage of time and the interconnectedness of life’s experiences. Through poems like “Shine Shine Shine” and “Washita River,” Morton draws parallels between ancestral waters and the river of human existence. This approach effectively highlights the shared journey of history and the individual.
“Turbulence & Fluids” is a poetic expedition guiding readers through the depths of emotion, history, and connection. Morton’s evocative language and relatable themes create a tapestry of human experience, offering moments of both solace and inspiration. This collection is a reminder that, despite life’s challenges and losses, our stories continue to flow, and we find meaning by embracing them.
Thomas Anderson, Editor-in-Chief
Turbulence & Fluids
by Karla K. Morton
Turbulence & Fluids, published by Madville Publishing, is a full-length poetry collection that teaches us to celebrate life as only Karla K. Morton can. There is a flow to this collection, through life’s inevitable moments, all infused with the characteristic passion, exuberance and love that only Karla has.
From the Publisher:
“We have loved Karla K. Morton’s work for years, so it brings us great pleasure to share this new collection of hers. In it, you will find wit and wisdom with a Southwestern flair. And she might make you look at things in a new way, maybe a kinder way, but make no mistake, she’s speaking for the earth here, and the earth is not happy!
“Immediately in Karla’s poetry collection, Turbulence & Fluids, the tables are turned as the waters of the Earth speak first. Not only do they speak in their power and vulnerability, but in relationship to the humans that use and so often abuse them. This tells us the speaker of these poems is in close relationship to the natural world, especially water’s lifegiving necessity in the dry Texas of the poet’s childhood.
Equally powerful in these poems is the force of the speaker’s voice, which pulses with color, range, passion, and ironic humor. This voice dares us to live fully, to crack open our hearts, to chance it all …
It’s fitting that the book flows poem to poem, with no section breaks to interrupt the movement as the speaker recounts not only the geographical but ancestral waters from which she rises, as in ‘Shine Shine Shine’ and ‘Washita River.’
‘What magic breaks a river / through earth and flint and time; / what makes our lives eternal / but each legend of bloodline.’ We each have this river of time and history and blood within us and, despite being drenched in grief as our losses mount, we – and these poems – travel and sing with it and in it.
~ Linda Parsons, author of Candescent and This Shaky Earth
A Foreword Reviews INDIES GOLD AWARD WINNER
An Eric Hoffer Award Finalist
Readers Favorite Book Review
“A fabulous collection of pictures, poems, and facts about the National Parks of America … This book will no doubt be re-read and also used to plan trips to any one of these National Parks.”
The U.S. Review of Books
“The photographs are incredible, and the scope of the work is an endeavor beyond measure for most … This project is a guidebook, photo essay, and book of poems all in one … After reading this visually stunning and incredibly inspiring book, readers won’t be asking themselves which park to visit but where to go first.”
THE NATIONAL PARKS
A Century of Grace
By Karla K. Morton & Alan Birkelbach
Poets Karla K. Morton and Alan Birkelbach began this journey to celebrate our National Parks’ one hundredth anniversary, but for these two poets the sojourns quickly became something greater than that. In their words, “As humans we have this tendency to look at a piece of land and see real estate. [But] when concrete covers all our natural spaces, not only do we lose earth’s creatures, we also lose the great teacher of our souls. You cannot sit beneath trees taller than the Statue of Liberty, or gaze upon vistas untouched since their creation, without feeling the awe and wonder of what the natural world has to offer. You cannot experience such beauty without being wholly changed. Our great-great-great-grandchildren deserve these untouched gifts.”
This journey, illustrated with gorgeous color photos of all of America’s grand National Parks, is a feast for the eyes and heart. In the end, it is a plea for us to save these wonders for all future generations.
With the foreword written by Michael Martin Murphey, The National Parks: A Century of Grace is a poetry and photography journey through all 62 U.S. National Parks. It’s perfect for anyone who treasures our country’s natural spaces, wants to be inspired as they make their own National Park plans or wants a beautiful armchair travel portal during these unusual times.
“This journey, illustrated with gorgeous color photos of all of America’s grand national parks, is a feast for the eyes and heart. In the end, it is a plea for us to save these wonders for all future generations.” ~ TCU Press
“As humans we have this tendency to look at a piece of land and see real estate. [But] when concrete covers all our natural spaces, not only do we lose earth’s creatures, we also lose the great teacher of our souls. You cannot sit beneath trees taller than the Statue of Liberty, or gaze upon vistas untouched since their creation, without feeling the awe and wonder of what the natural world has to offer. You cannot experience such beauty without being wholly changed. Our great-great-great-grandchildren deserve these untouched gifts.”
– Karla K. Morton and Alan Birkelbach
A Spur Award Winner for Best Western Poem (Cimarron Herd)
A Firebird Book Award Winner, London Book Festival Poetry Runner Up, Rubbery Book Award Shortlist
POLITICS OF THE MINOTAUR | Poems
by Karla K. Morton
Published by Texas Review Press, Politics of the Minotaur is a collection of original poems that celebrates the unpredictable, defining moments of life.
An observer of the natural world, Morton does not believe in coincidences. She created Politics of the Minotaur to explore how every word, step and observation leads us to new revelations.
“Morton’s poetry guides us through the unpredictable changes in life. Politics of the Minotaur takes us on a journey into our soul where we can see how all the changes in our life have impacted us. It leaves us feeling grateful and in awe of the world around us”
~ Texas Review Press
A Western Heritage Award Winner
(The “Wrangler Award”)
~ Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel
By Karla K. Morton
Wooden Lions is the ultimate animal-lovers’ book, with each poem in this amazing collection cradling the soul of a creature. Morton’s poetry winds through our connection with the animal spirit, breathlessly binding us forever in their wisdom; their endless lifting up of humankind. This is a celebration of all beasts, reminding us to cherish all those who nurture us. A percentage of these book sales will be donated to animal shelters and facilities across the country.
A SPECIAL DEDICATION:
Morton dedicates Wooden Lions to all the animal companions who have walked with her thus far in life … and to all of those she has yet to know. “These are the souls who have saved me,” says Morton. Karla also gives special thanks in one of the book’s poems to Operation Kindness in Carrolton, Texas, where she found her sweet Pontus, who has been by her side through so much, including 2 victorious battles against cancer.
Partnering to Raise Funds and Awareness for Animal Nonprofits:
With this book, Karla intends to partner with international, national and regional nonprofit organizations that serve, protect and rehabilitate animals, such as animal shelters, rescue centers, wildlife refuges and humane societies, to help them raise funds and awareness. She is available as a keynote or guest speaker for fundraising events and will donate a portion of her book’s net proceeds as part of these events or partner efforts
Contact Karla if: If you are interested in booking Karla to speak at your event or discussing other partnership ideas.
~ W.K. Stratton, author of Ranchero Ford/Dying in Red Dirt Country and Chasing the Rodeo
“This rich, compelling, and highly accessible selection of poems presents Karla K. Morton as a poet of irrepressible exuberance, sensuousness, optimism, and faith. Here is a poet who finds life itself intoxicating, notwithstanding her own battle with cancer. Read around in _Accidental Origami_ when you need to be assured that love prevails, that death is not tragic, and that there is a God. And read these poems when you seek a poet who offers an unapologetic celebration of traditional notions of masculinity and femininity. Morton is capable of dwelling in pain—e.g., ‘Teenage, Burning,’ ‘Walking Out,’ ‘Good Saturday’—but affirmation is this Texas Poet Laureate’s characteristic and most memorable mood.”
~ Dr. Stephen Souris, Professor of English, Texas Woman’s University
By Karla K. Morton
This book features Morton’s best work to date from her ten collections. While her poems range in style, topic and region, they capture each universal emotion, delving into our desire to know our place in this world; the reason for our very being. Her words are comfort and wonder and hope. She writes: This is a book of poems to swallow, to seep in your bloodstream/ and pound open the chamber doors/ of your own heart, reminding us of our huge capacity for love, guiding us through each tiny fold of synchronicity to discover the big picture–what it means to truly be alive.
“In Karla K. Morton’s ‘Accidental Origami,’ she writes charmingly about sex, but always in the context of love. She refers often to God, but usually in relation to her awe about Nature and humanity. ‘Symmetry’ exemplifies this perspective. ‘Ours is a God fond of symmetry;/the way you have one of that/and two of those;/the way I have two of these/and one of this;//the way my cheek fits/in the soft bowl of your palm;/the way our destinies merge — /as smooth in purpose/as a button into cloth.’ This book by the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate has 157 poems, revealing her as a contemporary Romantic. ‘What Really Makes the Stars Shine’ proves this: ‘He’s learning me well,/plotting my freckles and moles/like Galileo./The stars glare down, jealous of/my hot skin; his cool fingers.’ Morton writes entirely open, accessible poetry.
~ San Antonio Express News
Available online as an Audio Book at:
US Review of Books
The poet’s simple and direct, free verse draws the reader into every aspect of her life with concrete images that vibrate with emotion… read the full review.
“A masterpiece by a poet you will soon not forget, Constant State of Leaping will leave you wanting to live life to its fullest.”
~ David Bowles, author of Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry.
Constant State of Leaping
By Karla K. Morton
Constant State of Leaping, is about delving into risk…and unfettered joy. Published by Texas Review Press.
Using a combination of quotes, mythological images and exquisite metaphors from nature, Morton delivers poems that describe the absolute urgency of giving one’s heart over to life, the burning drive to have faith in the world and the insistence that everything, in its own way, is holy. This book is unfettered joy. Cover art by Donna Howell-Sickles, a renowned artist and inductee into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Winner of the 2015 Eric Hoffer Award (1st Runner Up in poetry), a Montaigne Medal finalist and a North Texas Book Festival Award Winner (1st place in poetry category).
“These poems are thoughtful, witty and deeply graceful.” ~ Kevin Prufer, author of National Anthem and In a Beautiful Country
Hometown, Texas: Young Poets and Artists Celebrate Their Roots
By Karla K. Morton
Karla K. Morton’s Hometown, Texas is a collection of beautiful poems and artwork, created by high school and middle school students of small towns all over Texas and by Morton herself, making the collection very unique and intriguing. Each poem brings to life another piece of Texas that can easily be overlooked by those who do not quite understand why Texans are so passionate about their state.
Published by TCU, Hometown, Texas is the culmination of Karla’s 18-month, 80,000-mile Little Town, Texas Tour, which includes poetry, photography and artwork from Karla and students across Texas.
During the tour, she visited 32 secondary schools. Along the way, she also spoke at universities, conferences, civic organizations, bookstores, libraries and cancer support groups, visiting a total of 42 towns for more than 70 speaking engagements
Twenty-four Texas towns are featured in the book: Amarillo, Arlington, Bastrop, Beaumont, Brenham, Bonham, Bowie, Comfort, Cleburne, Denton, Euless, Granbury, Hardin, Justin, Kyle, Krum, Laredo, Mansfield, Marfa, Mesquite, Port Aransas, Round Rock, Salado and Texarkana. Each poem and piece of art was inspired, in some way, by the student’s hometown
8 Voices: Contemporary Poetry from the American Southwest
8 Voices is a collaborative work written by 8 prominent contemporary poets:
- Alan Birkelbach, 2005 Texas Poet Laureate
- Dr. Nathan Brown, 2013 Oklahoma Poet Laureate
- Dr. Jeffry Delotto
- Tony Mares
- Ronald E. Moore
- Karla K. morton, 2010 Texas Poet Laureate
- Elizabeth Raby
- Dr. Gary Swaim
The wide open spaces and freedom of the American Southwest can breed a different sort of mindset. ‘8 Voices: Contemporary Poetry from the American Southwest’ seeks to demonstrate the best of the Southwestern poetry flavor and brings many poems from eight poets who have been exemplified in representing the region. ‘8 Voices’ is a strongly recommended addition to American poetry collections.”
~ James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review
“This volume of poetry challenges the common expectations of many readers, as it demonstrates definitively that there is more to Southwestern poetry than wild horses, branding irons, arrowheads, and creaking windmills. I feel privileged to have read and lived with these poems during this process. I have gained much. And I believe that anyone who picks up the volume will feel the same.”
~ Dan Williams, editor of 8 Voices in his introduction
Passion, Art, Community: Denton, Texas in Word and Image
Poems by Karla K. Morton
Art by artists from the Denton community
Passion, Art, Community is the history of Denton, Texas told in poems. It is a 2013 North Texas Book Festival winner in the category of adult non-fiction and was selected as an award finalist in the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards. book will no doubt be re-read and also used to plan trips to any one of these National Parks.”
Karla was commissioned by The City of Denton Public Art Committee and The Greater Denton Arts Council to write the history of Denton in poetry. After it was written, artists from the Denton community were commissioned to create art inspired by her poems. A book was created and launched at an accompanying exhibit at Meadows Gallery at the Patterson-Appleton Center for the Visual Art that featured the original works in the book (paintings, photographs, stained glass, prints and collages), accompanied by the poem that inspired it.
“Karla K. Morton’s photographs are as sharp-edged as some of the tree branches and animal bones they depict. They are carefully composed and at the same time luminous. Each of Alan Birkelbach’s poems takes its cue from a Morton picture… This combination of photograph-and-poem is highly satisfying. The two art forms are a perfect fit.”~ Richard Sale, Editor, The Trilobite Press
No End of Vision: Texas As Seen by Two Laureates
by Karla K. Morton and Alan Birkelbach
“No End of Vision is a collection of poetry and images that are subtly but inextricably connected. The book is well done and is a fascinating read!
~ Wyman Meinzer, State Photographer of Texas
The book’s photos and poems are also part of a touring photography and poetry exhibit, shown at museums and art galleries across Texas. Learn more or book the exhibit here.
See how art gives us fresh perspectives on what we already know, reminds us of what’s really important, of what should persist in our lives. This collection is a love letter to Texas from two exceptionally talented poets.”
~ H. Palmer Hall, author of Foreign and Domestic and Into the Thicket
Names We’ve Never Known
by Karla K. Morton
Names We’ve Never Known, published by Texas Review Press, explores life, love and the rebirth of spirit in every living thing.”This is poetry that opens us back up, to rediscover the beauty that lies in wait all around us. It gives us permission to feel emotions that run deep and real and tangible, whether we name them or not,” says Morton
“There is a subtext that runs through Karla’s work, an in-the-moment hunger, a realization that yes, all life is fleeting – but look how glorious and rich it can be. She knows how to give the most common items a special magic and meaning. She takes images we all know and understand and, in her hands, they are transformed into something deeper, something that transcends the moment. That is what good poetry is supposed to do. And Karla’s poems do it – again and again and again.”
~ Alan Birkelbach, 2005 Texas Poet Laureate
Karla K. Morton: New and Selected Poems
by Karla K. Morton
Published by Texas Christian University Press as part of its Texas Poets Laureate Series, and with an introduction by Billy Bob Hill, Karla K. Morton: New and Selected Poems includes new poetry as well as selected favorites written by Morton. From the Introduction by Billy Bob Hill… “As the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate, Karla K. Morton believes that poetry is everyone’s art, and has carved her place in Texas Letters with this stunning collection.
With well-loved titles such as: For Love and Michelangelo, The Closer, Why God Needs a Shotgun, Alamo Coastline, Woman in the Pipe Shop and When Texas No Longer Fits in the Glove Box
“… Morton’s poetry will take you on a journey; her flowing style sparks memories and stirs emotions… It’s no wonder she has been called ”one of the more adventurous voices in American poetry.”
~ Billy Bob Hill
“Her work often sparkles, at turns clever, amusing, sensual and sad, but always deeply perceptive of human nature, of the webs that bind us and keep us apart. Accessible and imagery-rich, Morton’s poems have an appreciable emotional heft.”
~ David Bowles, author of Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec: Aztec and Mayan Poetry
by Karla K. Morton
Karla K. Morton’s poetry knows no limits in its form or subject matter. In Stirring Goldfish, she expresses and explores every human emotion through her original Sufi poetry collection.
“Meditational gems – hold these poems as invitations inside your skin, your spirit – to grow calmer. To float.” ~ Naomi Shihab Nye
Sufi poetry, now popular in western cultures, is an ancient form of poetry that originated in the Middle East. The Sufis believe that love is the greatest thing in the world — greater than education, greater than religion, and that love is the only thing we take with us into the next world. These poems embody the love between humans and humans and God — a mix of the sensual and the spiritual; the earthly and the eternal.
Every emotion from passion to grief is treated with the same exquisite reverence and skill… leaves the reader feeling he or she has experienced a revelation.” ~ Sue Ranglack
“We have never seen a book like this for those going through cancer or those with loved ones in the fight. The poems are powerful, playful and genuine. Anyone who knows Karla will immediately recognize her outgoing personality shining through the words, even in the darkest poems; those who don’t know her will sense that ‘survivor’ is not strong enough to describe her. Try ‘warrior’ instead.”~ Scott Wiggerman, lead editor for Dos Gatos Press
“Imbuing her poems with the intimacy, candor, and unfiltered emotional honesty of a diary, Morton clasps her reader’s hand and walks her through all five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.”~ Larry Thomas, 2008 Texas State Poet Laureate
by Karla K. Morton
Redefining Beauty, now in its third printing, is a unique, award-winning poetry collection written during Karla K. Morton’s diagnosis, treatment and survival of breast cancer. In a series of passionate and powerful poems, accompanied by photographer Walter Eagleton’s black and white images, Redefining Beauty offers readers hope and comfort through its intimate candor, good-humored defiance and unfiltered honesty.
A lifelong poet, as well as a wife and mother of two, Morton was diagnosed with breast cancer in May, 2008. In search of information to help her fight the disease, Morton turned to books. She found facts and statistics. She found self-help books.
“But I needed more,” she says. “I needed some grit, a leather strap between my teeth. And when I couldn’t find what I needed, I simply wrote my way through it.”
Morton wrote her way through diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatments and the PET scan that showed her to be cancer-free. She wrote her way through the loss of her hair, bone-crushing pain, insensitive sentiments, bald fashion statements and a fierce determination to live. Redefining Beauty is the winner of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the Women’s Issues category.
“Morton’s Redefining Beauty presents a fresh perspective on cancer. In effect, it is a redefining of more than just what is beautiful concerning our bodies, relationships, and poetry; it’s a redefining of cancer in those spaces as well. Her ability to combine beauty and ugliness, sickness and sweetness, and humor and fright makes her collection an intriguing and entertaining one.” full review
~ ‘Stung Like a Bee’ Laura E. Decker, Texas Books in Review
“Redefining Beauty declares a universal manifesto for the rage to live.”~ Michael Price, arts editor for the Fort Worth Business Press
“Together, the music and verse are surprisingly visual. Mr. Baer has a light touch, adding just a throb of drums to suspenseful verses and dipping into murkier tone colors when the action turns dark. He uses bagpipes, strings, percussion and even accordion to shroud the story in mist, soak it with rain or let in the light.”
~ Dallas Morning News, July 19, 2007
“Listen to this piece just once, and I’m sure that you will listen to it again and again.”
~ Carl Peterson, Scottish Folksinger
“I love it! It tells such a story. It takes the listener on such a voyage. It is supremely evocative.”
~ David Greenberg, Author
“Wonderful work like this just doesn’t come along that often.”
~ Gary Pattison, Owner, The Old Hastings Gallery, Ontario, Canada
Wee Cowrin’ Timorous Beastie
by Karla K. Morton
Wee Cowrin’ Timorous Beastie is an original Scottish epic story written by Karla and produced as a book/CD project with Canadian composer Howard Baer. Baer, who has produced hundreds of CDs, written numerous TV themes and scores, and worked on several IMAX films, read Morton’s story and was inspired to compose a musical score to accompany her work — including performances by some of the finest Celtic musicians in the world. The result is a unique and beautiful mix of poetry, story and music.
Wee Cowrin’ Timorous Beastie is a Scottish epic story written in rhyme about a 17th century Scottish pirate named John Murray and his love, Vashti. It’s an exciting story about longing and love and the mystery of the beautiful foggy dew of Scotland.
The musical underscore to Morton’s Wee Cowrin’ Timorous Beastie was created by Canadian composer Howard Baer and includes performances by some of the world’s finest Celtic musicians. Other music by Howard Baer is heard regularly on network television across Canada, used in schools throughout the USA, England, Germany, China, Malaysia and Korea, and has been played in the UK, Australia, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and Japan. During his career Mr. Baer has had over 7000 of his arrangements recorded, has received a total of 7 JUNO nominations for album production including a win in 1999, has composed and conducted numerous scores for TV and film, and has written and produced extensively for children.
“The epic poetry of Karla Morton… the exquisite music of Howard Baer and the haunting photography of Walter Eagleton are combined into a lush, romantic experience. This is a work you will want to listen to all in one sitting. The story, the words, the music will carry you to a place that is all too rare in this world of over-analyzed and non-accessible poetry. This is magic and sensual fog and eternal yearning in the style of Shelley and Byron.”
~ Alan Birkelbach, 2005 Texas Poet Laureate
“There are no words to describe how powerful this is! It’s a veritable happening that sweeps you away and holds you in its clutches until it’s finished with you, and at the end you shed some real tears … it’s that powerful. What a tribute to culture and poetry worldwide.”
~ Gerald Hausman, Award-Winning Author and Storyteller