Publication date: 2003
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“Memory’s deposit is my only asset now,” says the narrator of Miles Wilson’s wrenching poetry collection. These are fiercely honest poems about how a man’s life can meander through pain and indiscretion, anger and bitterness; how it can express itself in rage and pungent wit and find a kind of healing in the natural world of mountains and trout streams.
Wilson’s meditations range from the virile perils of a firefighter’s life in the forests of the West to the domestic agonies of a marriage gone wrong; to the resonances between wild nature and the flawed, searching human spirit and the wisdom to be found in the restorative powers of ravaged forests and in the promises that life imposes on us. His language is powerful, his images rich and varied, and the layered connections between personal experience and moral complexity completely engaging.
And, in the end, the poet reminds us,
“What can we know?
Only what the world exacts
and our contersong,
“The language here is so muscular, the metaphors so sharply and freshly drawn, the insights so unsentimental, that I was won over to the breadth and depth of the work, the new facets of masculinity revealed by a writer who insists on telling the blunt and rocky truth about what it has meant to him to be a man.”
—Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Writing the Sacred into the Real
“In his highly re-readable compressions of a difficult lifetime, Wilson’s depth and craft give lessons in the force of few words, the unsaid as a presence.”
—Reg Saner, author of Climbing into the Roots
“This is some of the most powerful contemporary American poetry I’ve read.”
—Gregory L. Candela, Southwest BookViews
Winner of the 2003 Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Poetry Book.