The High Shelf is here!!!

The High Shelf is here! 1

This is a special moment—and a bit surreal.

So much work goes into making any book, and I can say this book in particular has been such a labor of love—and time. As many of you know, this book has been over a decade in the making, and it represents a whole world that I carefully sculpted.

Working the book into a coherent whole, I’ve pored over every word in this book countless times. My hope is that each poem will grow in relation to every other poem in the book, so it’s really wonderful to see the poems assembled into something I can hold in my hand.

This book comes into the world at a time when there is so much else happening—all around us people are suffering; our nation is in crisis; the climate is in crisis; babies are being born; people are falling in love; the leaves are turning brilliant orange—

So much is happening, but what holds our attention? And how can we put it all together? In part, that is what this book itself is about: how we pay attention and how we put it all together.

The book won’t be officially available on Amazon until early in the new year, but you can order it now through Small Press Distribution or through your local bookstore to get a hard copy!

Here is some praise for the book from those who’ve read it already:

“This is a book that will reward both readers of poetry and those seeking insight into suffering and resilience. An exhilarating read.” —Chase Twichell, author of Thing As It Is

“What a tender book! What an example of how to maintain tenderness while telling the truth!”—Jericho Brown, author of The Tradition

“Throughout Colburn’s stunning debut…the task of the self, in a landscape that is dangerous and endangered, is to come to terms with body and spirit, and Colburn is a trustworthy guide”.—Andrea Baker, author of Each Thing Unburied is Broken

The book, I hope, speaks for itself, but I’ve also wanted to round out your reading experience, and I’ve created a special package of free supplemental material to go with the book when you order the book this month. The package includes: *questions to guide your reading; *an audio recording of me reading ten of the poems; *a meditation and writing session inspired by the book; *and a packet of ten very different kinds of poems that represent my newer work.

You can see more, order the book, and get the free supplemental materials here:

And if you’re local, I want to invite you to my book launch party on Thursday, October 24 in Inman Square, Cambridge at 7:30-9:30 (Lilypad Inman 1353 Cambridge St, Cambridge MA 02139). We’ll be celebrating together! There will be some free snacks and desserts, a cash bar, a wonderful community, and I’ll give a short reading from the book, which will be for sale. I’d love to see you there!

Finally, here are two poems from the book:

This first poem, “Namelessness,” is about the experience after trauma: what do we do when we can’t quite make sense of what has happened to us, how do we store that information in the body?


In the box I put the body. There were no words
for what had happened.

Outside, all the other boxes. In some, no movement
at all. In some, dancing.

The color like a deep blue lake reflecting the color
of sky:        who could say which was original, which the interior,
which the exterior.

Or like the color of the sky at dusk opposite the setting sun:
all silver and the lake beneath all silver: as if something were
about to happen
or had only just occurred.

This second poem is about the way we find ourselves through the act of attention.

The World’s Mirror

Nearby long,
cold days; sky
like water; earth like trees.

Yellow berries the bear
walks by. Deer still
uninjured, still unafraid.

The mind imagines itself gone:
steps back, comes closer:


up high, one last leaf
as if of its own

I’m so excited this book is in the world, and I hope to get to share it with you. Again, you can see more about it, order it, and get the free supplemental materials here.

And as always, it makes me happy to hear from you, so please reach out with any thoughts, questions, insights.

with love,

To read more of my poems go here:

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