Books by Patrick Overton

Rebuilding the Front Porch of America: Essays on the Art of Community Making
Patrick Overton, Author

Rebuilding the Front Porch of America    In hearing and reading Patrick Overton, one's reactions alternate between "Eureka! A fresh insight!" or "This guy just put into words what I've been brooding about!"

   Patrick Overton recognizes that our communities are filled with storytellers and good stories. I like his work best when Patrick tells stories about the life-changing, community-making process of art. The stories of Greg, the Conrad Birdie of Boonville, and the Memorial Day event in Huntsville have the spirit of Frederick Buechner or Wendell Berry in their telling. I admire Patrick's ability to capture the wise phrase (the "Uncivil War"), create a revealing metaphor ("art is the unconditional grace of the imagination"), or share an insightful image (the replacement of the public front porch by the private back deck).

   Patrick also is not afraid to engage in controversy. The segment in this book from his testimony before Congress on the National Endowment for the Arts should be widely disseminated. As one who has navigated the turbulent waters of the arts and political life for the past decade, I know that it is good to have Patrick Overton's voice and experience cutting away the rhetorical underbrush of extremism, and calling us each step of the way to the common ground and positive shared values of community.

   From the Foreword by Harvey Stower, 1997
   Mayor, Amery, Wisconsin

Grassroots & Mountain Wings
Patrick Overton, Editor

   I have had the privilege of working with people involved in arts development in rural and small communities for eight years. This is when I became aware of the enormous energy and commitment of the individuals who work in community arts development. I have watched, with fascination and excitement, the tremendous growth of this newly emerging field and have become convinced of its importance for the future of rural and small communities.

   As facilitator for the Grassroots and Mountain Wings Symposium, at which the articles in this book were first presented, I can testify firsthand to the vitality and vision of the individuals who contributed to this publication. The articles in this book offer a collective statement about the role and value of the arts as a source of renewal and revitalization for rural and small communities

   From the Foreword by Lee J. Cary, 1992
   Founding President, Community Development Society of America

The Leaning Tree
Patrick Overton, Author

   "Poets are never young, in one sense. Their delicate ear hears the far-off whisper of eternity." This observation of Oliver W. Holmes describes my experience of reading The Leaning Tree.

   With insight and sensitivity which transcend his youth, Patrick Overton has pointed us to the ageless dimensions of human experience. The sequence of "separation, decision, life as, death, and resurrection" embraces much of what it means to experience life in both its depths and heights. The finitude, pathos, challenge, and triumph of human experience are all here. The are recognized, described, affirmed, and held together in a comprehensive view. The "Far-off whisper of eternity" has been heard and echoed.

   These poems not only attract and hold the reader - they have a "lingering quality" that persists beyond the final line. . .The heart and mind are opened to a Reality that calls one, persistently, to reach out to what lies beyond, to search for what lies beneath and to become that "someone that he could never have been alone." Depths are stirred that will not be the same again

   From the Foreword by Thomas J. Liggett, 1975
   Former President, Christian Theological Seminary

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