On a trip to the Southwest Washington coast last spring, I got up at dawn to take photographs. Fog rolled in and “ruined” the light but with writing, just like photography, nothing is ever really ruined. You just have to be like a crow, picking up every shiny thing, turning it over and over for measure & finding the right place for it in your mosaic of treasures.
My new collection of poetry is a mosaic of treasures of sorts, representing a long period of exploring, thinking, collecting and writing. Every step in life, literally & figuratively, can lead to the creation of art.
An Unwavering Horizon is now available for pre-sales via Finishing Line Press. The book a big milestone for me. I’ve published poetry and other literary work for years, but this is my first collection. Learn more here & order a copy if you’re so inclined. Early sales help determine the final print run, so I’d be eternally grateful for your order.
I’m also sending everyone who orders between now and March 6, 2020, a limited edition broadside that I am creating myself. They’ll be signed, numbered & printed on fine art paper. Here’s a mock-up of the first one.
I try to create poetry is accessible with language that inspires rather than alienates and focuses on universal themes with a wanderer’s eye to details and events. Why poetry? Poetry gets to the heart of things. It’s a sharp tool. Precise. It can also be fun and playful and brings people together. And of course, words have power, as Pacific Northwest poet Christopher Luna so eloquently points out.
Poetry encourages empathy and compassion, and sparks the shifts in consciousness which can lead to healing, personal growth, and an interest in fighting for progressive social change.
-Christopher Luna, former Clark County, WA Poet Laureate & founder of Ghost Town Poetry Series
That spring morning at the coast, I walked along the Ilwaco Warf alone and took it all in. The following poem from that day is included in the new collection. Long Beach Peninsula a beautiful, peaceful, inspiring place full of all kinds of hi(story) from Native cultures & myths to early settlements, tall fishing tales, natural wonders, local characters & plenty of ghost stories.
Blue Hour at Ilwaco Wharf
Just before dawn,
flannel-shirted fishermen hustle
on the docks,
fill tanks with diesel and coffee.
An arctic loon ripples
glassy water with a silent dive.
like Tibetan chimes.
Fog blows in, erases the horizonâ€”
ghost boots knock thin rhythms
on swaying docks. Disembodied voices
curse in the drizzle-pocked din.
A rough-bearded man
in an orange watch cap
glides by, cruises upright
on a rusted bicycle with no seat.
â€œIf you take a photo of me, youâ€™ll
crack the lens,â€ he shouts,
flips a wheelie and disappears
behind the crab shackâ€”
his rough laughter spills
into the empty street
like spawning gravel.
Loneliness seeps into my socks.
I linger at the waterâ€™s edge,
with my camera, fishing
for ruined lightâ€”
a stranger to tides and old ways
as tie ropes are flung
and boats muscle toward deep water,
the hour of the pearl
slipping beneath the waves.
After this long & literary post, you might be a bit thirsty. My friends Erik and Michelle SvendsenÂ own award-winning North Jetty Brewing on the Peninsula in Seaview & have just the thing for poetry parchment. Take a break from reading & head on over to the Tap Room for some well-deserved quench. https://northjettybrew.com/home/ & https://www.facebook.com/northjettybrew/