Woodhall Press Announces
the Publication of

‘Black Snowflakes Smothering a Torch
or how to talk to your veteran – a primer’


‘Beautiful, brutal, and moving, Ryan Stovall’s Black Snowflakes is critical reading from a perspective
that is almost never articulated with such astonishing raw honesty.’

— Phil Klay, National Book Award winning author of ‘Redeployment’




Publisher: Woodhall Press

ISBN 9781954907270 (Trade Paper)

$14.95/112 pages




‘Black Snowflakes’ is a primer serving to facilitate dialogue between those who have experienced the crushing arms of war and those who have not. At its foundation, this collection presupposes that many issues veterans face when reintegrating come not from the veteran’s traumas but from the hypocrisies inherent to American civilian culture itself. As such, ‘Black Snowflakes’ represents an invaluable starting point, one that will serve as both a reference for civilians seeking to understand and as a voice for veterans hoping to explain.

The book will be published in November 2022 with Woodhall Press, and is available for pre-order in the UK through Blackwell’s.


Additional Praise for Black Snowflakes Falling on a Torch:

”To raise the imaginative stakes so that they pierce the rhetorical stakes in America’s recent, literally far-fetched wars takes an emotional determination that if not off-the-charts is pushing very, very hard. That would be Ryan Stovall’s “primer,” a book of poems leaving no room for the poet to hide nor the reader who undertakes these powerful, relentless, troubling yet enthralling pages. The title poem is a flat-out tour-de-force, a voice that will be heard and will not let go, that aims to cut through the sanctimony, hypocrisy, indifference and bluster that deny the reality of going-to-war and returning-from-war and that testifies to one man’s dedication to write well and truly and go on, aware that “going on” is one more euphemism. This “primer” is epic in its awareness of all the complicity that war requires.’

—Baron Wormser, author of Tom o’ Vietnam Ryan


‘Ryan Stovall’s debut collection is both confession and accusation. Joke and sometimes bitter punch line. While the poems set out to educate the lay reader on how to talk to their veteran, they also service cathartic self-excavation. When Stovall writes, “So trembling I begin my work at this new cure / knowing no more of singing / than a leaf knows of frost” he marks a route for veterans learning to speak to themselves again.’

—Graham Barnhart, author of The War Makes Everyone Lonely



Ryan Stovall is a former adventurer, world traveller, and Green Beret twice decorated for valour and awarded two Purple Hearts. Since returning from Pakistan in 2016 he has found writing to be a therapeutic outlet for coping with PTSD. His poetry won the 2018 Wright Award from Line of Advance and has appeared in Rosebud, The Cape Rock, Here Comes Everyone, and other journals and anthologies. Ryan writes and lives with his family in Western Maine.