“Bringing to mind the poetry of Mary Oliver, For the Next Earth fearlessly examines pain and suffering while using the angular beauty of creation to resurrect hope in what seems irreparably broken. Even amid the horrors of genocide and a pandemic, Melissa's poems embody surprising sanctuary and signs of grace in unexpected places. Chappell's poetry will appeal to those who search for expressions of the divine even amid loss and absence.”
—Frank G. Honeycutt, ELCA pastor and author of Sunday Comes Every Week
"In these carefully constructed verses, we are given a glimpse of a Transcendentalist ethos in alliance with theology of the Cross. We are reminded of how deep our humanity runs, even unto the evils we do to one another, and how God the Father restores order through his compassion. Chappell writes as if from a firsthand account of the glory of the Creator, who runs through us, and through these verses, coursing like a river in deep mystery."
—Dustin Pickering, founder of Transcendent Zero Press and author of Salt and Sorrow
“Although there may be no definitive explanation for why pain, sorrow, and brokenness exist, Melissa Chappell invites us on a journey to see with new eyes the reality of promise, hope, and joy. Melissa's writing is deeply spiritual and clearly Christian, enfolding the souls of those yearning for renewal.”
—Tony Everett, professor emeritus, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
“Melissa Chappell writes out of an incarnational faith rooted in nature, especially nature found in her home, the rural South. Her poetry expresses a Christianity born as much from nature as from the nave. Here you will find a cry for mercy undergirded by ultimate hope. These poems come from the heart of faith, the heart of nature, the heart of the earth.”
—David M. Seymour, retired ELCA pastor