Terry Minchow-Proffitt

Now Available: Sweetiebetter (2019)

"Inventive and introspective, the poems in Terry Minchow-Proffitt’s Sweetiebetter hint at Gerard Manly Hopkins’ ecstatic love of language and the Divine. Beginning with the signal poem “Map,” these poems journey from the speaker’s memories of growing up in the South, through his many years as a pastor, and into explorations of his everyday interactions with people—a philosophical mechanic, the friendly cashiers he meets at 7-11 and CVS, and many others. Though in “Just As I Am,” the speaker describes himself as “a jackleg pastor alone/on Monday’s pew,” the deep understanding of human nature and biblical truth evidenced in these poems,informs readers of the lifetime of study and close attention to the world that went into their making. Like the people who lived in the Chrysler plant town in “He Remembers the K Car in High Ridge, MO,” these poems “live at the corner of Fury and Valiant.""

—Daye Phillippo’s poems have appeared in numerous journals. She is recently retired from teaching English at Purdue University.


"In Terry Minchow-Proffitt’s Sweetiebetter, you’re likely to meet William Carlos Williams, In the American Grain, and another William, Wordsworth, keeping a reader “in the company of flesh and blood.” And you’ll hear some Johnny Cash,Springsteen, and John Prine. But you’ll also meet Rosie and Booker, Billy Boyce, Brother Vincent and a kitten named Brother Vinny. This book of poems is travelin’ music, up and down the central parts of the county—walking, running, driving—and Terry is your fellow traveler, and he loves to talk. You’re wiser if you listen. Although this music isn’t jazz, it’s still “the sound of surprise.” An almost-joyful noise."

—Wayne Zade recently retired as Professor of English at Westminster College in Fulton,Missouri. He is an accomplished poet who loves jazz, sports, and barbecue at Mojo’s.


"Terry Minchow-Proffitt’s newest collection, Sweetiebetter, is a map. It’s a map of the world and it’s a map of the heart. If you want to get to Tunica, Mississippi, read these poems. If you want to find yourself “along route 250/between Belington and Philippi,” read these poems. If you are looking to get into the mysterious space between apocalyptic pandemonium and mercy, dive into this collection under the stars. Read this book while you are walking, resting, watching the sun bow over the horizon as the Union Pacific chugs east, or just resting your head on the headboard of your bed while your beloved sighs quiet into the night. These are poems of the land and of the human spirit and condition. They will lift you from the soil and, at the same time, make sure that you can still feel the weight of the earth on the balls of your feet. Minchow-Proffitt’s gift is that he illuminates direction on what is sweet and what is better and no GPS is needed. Just the beacon of his vision."

—Matthew Lippman is an author of six collections of poetry. His most recent book, Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful, is the winner of the 2018 Levis Prize and will be published by Four Way Books in 2020.