Patsy Asuncion, author of Cut on the Bias:
"Mooncalf is a fitting wanderer through this imaginative landscape from honeymoon, kings, sea turtle, and woodpecker to cowboy, Ice King, Homburg Hat and Starman. The poetry, however, is all but foolhardy as the book title, Mooncalf, might suggest. Poet J. Thomas Brown skillfully covers a wide range of topics from human greed, environmental crises, global politics, to minority neighborhood demolition and serial murder:
“Conversations with a Coat” offers powerful existential lines…names are the invisible shadows with which others clothe us and we them the sheaths of the souls within they are entries in the phone book.
“Complicated” jumps to the New World Order with smart rhyme and repetitions.
“Fulton Bottom” uncovers the human outcry after the neighborhood was erased.
“Summer Drive” language puts the reader there, in the car…Dog day cicadas buzz; the air is alive with invisibles… the tires are wings and you float over the road, held aloft by the whine… as they spin you to oblivion.”
I have kudos for each poem in this collection because J. Thomas Brown has used unusual word choice, tight rhyme, clever line breaks and effective repetitions. His broad subject matter in one collection is also to be commended because it works well under this theme."
Joanna S. Lee, author of Dissections:
"Mooncalf, J. Thomas Brown’s debut poetry collection, skillfully weaves storytelling and structure into poems that make us re-examine the way we see our world. From the journey of new-born sea turtles to the drive-by death of a beloved cow, Brown is our myth-teller and guide through a universe that is both devastating and full of wonder, where politicians resemble villains of old, and poets (the keepers of hidden things) read their rhymes amid the grinding of coffee beans and meet their dooms in Viking halls. And still there is hope—that despite war and environmental catastrophe and every other foul human invention—in our ability to see the magic around us, to tell its story, and to find that place, literally and figuratively, “where there are no wrong notes.”
It makes me think we should all spend a little more time gazing at the moon."