Clanton’s collection of poetry spans decades of work and surveys a range of subject matter and emotion through pleasing images and flights of fancy.

The first poem, “Geometry of Clouds,” ends with the directive from its flight attendants “not to dare / to find patterns in what we cannot hold, and / not to fall in love with the transient air.” Clanton’s poems, and poetry in general, the work suggests, is meant precisely for that—to help its readers find those patterns, to help them fall in love with fleeting things. And therein lies poetry’s worth, as Clanton shows his reader again and again, in poems that express, through a compelling combination of transcendence and sensuality, underlying theme of both letting go and holding on.

From bedrooms to kitchens to big skies and city streets, these poems find narrators highly observant of the world around them and constantly seeking ways to connect that world to an inner life, as in the last notes of “Orange Julius, 1972”: “taut memory / poured like pulpy orange sweetness in our eyes.” Clanton’s book is rife with such unexpected and delightful rhetorical moves emboldened by a clear command of lyric and line.

—Kirkus Discoveries

“Poet William Blake wrote of a Golden String, which he instructs us to pick up and wind into a ball as we follow it along.  If we manage to hold on to that string, then it will lead in at Heaven’s Gate in Jerusalem’s Wall.  Upon reading the poetry of my friend and fellow writer Robert Alan Clanton, I believe I have found that golden string.  Conversations Overheard in a Restaurant is about the joy of life along that thread.  Through Mr. Clanton’s musings we are sure to find something of ourselves: times which have made us laugh, made us cry, and made us see how we are woven into the fabric of life.”

—Michael Sigler, author of My Life in a Frying Pan

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