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English Prof Publishes Poetry Collection

September 09, 2016

Dr. Chris Ellery of the Angelo State University English faculty has published a new book of original poems titled “Elder Tree” through Lamar University Literary Press.

Dr. Chris ElleryDr. Chris ElleryThrough the various voices and personae of the individual poems, the collection is broadly autobiographical, generally moving from reminiscences of childhood to a poetically-imagined old age. 

“‘Elder Tree’ is unapologetically romantic in its subjects, imagery, themes and tone,” Ellery said. “Influenced by William Wordsworth and the early William Butler Yeats, ‘Elder Tree’ is saturated with mysticism of many traditions, especially Celtic Christianity.” 

“According to the Celtic tree calendar,” he added, “I was born in the month of oak. But because my surname, Ellery, is perhaps a corruption of the phrase ‘elder tree,’ I have taken the elder as my spiritual sign. Celtic tree lore, in particular the myth of the elder and its associations with magic and the Triple Goddess, provides the book’s controlling metaphor and structure.” 

“Elder Tree” is Ellery’s fourth published poetry collection, following “The Big Mosque of Mercy” (2010), “All This Light We Live In” (2006) and “Quarry” (2005). He has received The Dora and Alexander Raynes Prize for Poetry and the Betsy Colquitt Award for Poetry. “The Big Mosque of Mercy” is based on his experiences in the Middle East when he was a Fulbright professor at the University of Aleppo in Syria. 

Ellery’s memoir, “A Boy of Bethany,” also won the X.J. Kennedy Award for Creative Nonfiction in 2015. 

A professor of English at ASU, Ellery teaches poetry writing, American literature and film criticism. He is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers and American Humor Studies Association. He earned his doctorate from Texas A&M University. 

“Elder Tree” is available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and several other online retail sites.