All In: A Novel of Love in Poetry is a brilliant and seamless look at the way two lives become one. Written like a novel in two voices the book eventually blends until the voices are one voice telling a story about time, survival and love. In a very real way we see how these people reconnect and overcome trauma that had kept them apart. This is a real look at the small but oh so important moments that make a relationship last and a love grow deeper over time. As a sailor who deployed in 2020 to Manhattan to work in a make-shift hospital, I found the Covid experience shared here rang true and the details important and very real. Also as a man married for 27 years, I believe I know real love when I see it. I rooted for Sarah and Norman from the start and I felt each small beautiful thing that happened to both of them!!
--Matthew Borczon, retired Navy Hospital Corpsman, author of 19 books of poetry, including Post Deployment.
All In, written by Pris Campbell and Scott Owens, is a sequel to their book Shadows Trail Them Home, featuring Sara and Norman who reunite so many years later. Like other readers enraptured by the original story, I have waited for another collaboration. These well-crafted poems exemplify all the honed skills you’d expect from these talented poets, with a call-and-response feel between the two main characters’ poems and a compelling narrative that had me turning pages to see what happened next. Even the Afterwords is brilliant and offers a glimpse of their writing process, their alter egos, and their long-lasting friendship.This was the book I didn’t know I needed to read. Norman says in one of the poems, “he has fallen in love with happy endings,” to which I must respond, “Me, too, Norman. Me, too.”
--Malaika King Albrecht, Heart of Pamlico Poet Laureate
I’ve long been a fan of Pris Campbell’s work and am delighted to have discovered her collaborating with the wonderfully talented Scott Owens in this book. These two make quite a pair. Their poetic acumen is matched in this book by their depth of empathy for their characters, Norman and Sara, a neat trick indeed. The poems combine into a seamless narrative as remarkable as the story they tell. This is a book of great power with its deep dive into the territories of love, lust, sickness, loss and redemption. The reader becomes a voyeur to the stripped bare needs – both the beautiful and the mundane -- of these all-too-human characters. Prepare yourself for an intimate journey that will leave you sometimes breathless, sometimes broken, always engaged, always wanting more.
--Jeff Weddle, author of Driving the Lost Highway.
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