a poetry collection from

Robert Stewart 

now available from

Press Americana | The Poetry Press 

Buy here



Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
April 2023

The Poetry Press of Press Americana
ISBN  9781735360164

105 pages
6 x 9


The poems in HIGHER are at once direct and resonant, celebratory of the natural world and of spiritual aspirations. Rising from a working-class, blue-collar sensibility, these pieces range from a short work about using a sledge hammer on a street crew to a multi-part longer work about animals in changing nature. These lyric poems include subtle metrics and enough narrative to drive events, often with elegiac references to a military vet friend, a brother, a Sicilian grandmother, and literary heroes. Their focus ultimately returns to hope and care for children, often with no small amount of humor. This collection – from the winner of a National Magazine Award and Prize Americana – attests to our ability to pay attention, to detail what we see and what we hear, and, as such, aspire to joy.



“Robert Stewart’s HIGHER is a treasure: witty, spare, emotionally generous, it offers the reader companionship in troubled times. No syllable wasted. The poems are delicious and invitee us to read and reread, to taste and take in, into the heart, “where you can see / all things as one. How can a book be humble, idiomatic, and lefty at once? Open this literary treasure chest where the heart beats and the lines sing and begin to find out!”
                                        —Marilyn Kallet, author of Even When We Sleep 


“Bob Stewart is a superb poet and essayist. His keen eye and supple imagination are among his most remarkable gifts.”
                —Conger Beasley Jr., author of We Are a People in This World  



Robert Stewart was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, served in the U.S. Navy, worked as an apprentice plumber, ditch digger and sewer worker, attended numerous colleges, and wound up with a career as an editor, writer, and sometimes teacher. His previous books include Working Class: Poems (Stephen F. Austin State University, 2018), The Narrow Gate: Writing, Art, & Values (essays, Serving House Books, 2014); Outside Language: Essays (Helicon Nine Editions, finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Awards, 2004, and winner of the Thorpe Menn Award); Plumbers (poems, BkMk Press, revised second edition, 2017), and others. Chapbooks and monographs include the extended essay On Swerving: The Way of William Stafford (Literary House Press, 2007) and Chickenhood (seven poems about chickens, 2015). 

He won a National Magazine Award for editing, from the American Society of Magazine Editors, the magazine industry’s highest honor, for his work as editor of New Letters magazine, which he edited for eighteen years, until March 2020. He is the former director of New Letters on the Air, a nationally syndicated public-radio series, and BkMk Press, both formerly at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He founded Midwest Poets Series in 1983 and directed the reading series for thirty-six years, on behalf of Rockhurst University in Kansas City. 

His poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, Image Journal, Poetry Northwest, I-70 Review, Prairie Schooner, Salt, Stand, Literary Review, and other magazines. Anthology editorships include Spud Songs: An Anthology of Potato Poems, Voices from the Interior: Missouri Poets, New American Essays, and Decade: Modern American Poets. Robert Stewart’s essays have appeared in The Missouri Review, North American Review, Montreal Review, Italian Americana, KCStudio, and elsewhere. Feature articles have appeared in Ingram’s, The Kansas City Star, The New Art Examiner, and others.



The Poetry Press of Press Americana










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