Vertebrae Poems: Poems, 1978-1994

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Here is an account of life on an island, close to earth and sea and the things and creatures of a specific place, uttered as declaration or dialogue or meditation, with the soul and sense of a remarkably gifted poet enriching every line, every page. Linked as sequence or by subject to make the patterns of backbones, the poems relate the day-to-day affairs of one who has chosen, with his wife and neighbors for company, to live where the elemental takes on the flesh of meaning in particular, closely observed ways. ...
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Cheney: EWU, 1994. 61 pages. 1st edition. Trade paperback. Very Good. Some light wear but over all book is clean and tight. ISBN: 0910055173.

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Overview

Here is an account of life on an island, close to earth and sea and the things and creatures of a specific place, uttered as declaration or dialogue or meditation, with the soul and sense of a remarkably gifted poet enriching every line, every page. Linked as sequence or by subject to make the patterns of backbones, the poems relate the day-to-day affairs of one who has chosen, with his wife and neighbors for company, to live where the elemental takes on the flesh of meaning in particular, closely observed ways. Every experience is thus as charged and natural and profoundly moving as the sound of the human voice, carried across water from the trees and rocks of the shoreline. Through these poems we hear the voice of one who cherishes language as the vital force connecting us to each other - one who knows how vital the poetic resources of language are to express our deepest feelings, fear, anger, joy, love. And everywhere we encounter, and are refreshed by, Sam Green's acceptance of the poet's status in the world he wakes and works and makes love and sleeps in. Strength and tenderness are here as assuredly as the woodsman's grip on his ax handle, and the player's fingers over the strings of his guitar.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780910055178
  • Publisher: Eastern Washington University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2008
  • Pages: 61
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Green is a native of Washington and resides on remote Waldron Island. In December 2007 he was named Washington State's first Poet Laureate. A distinguished poet and author of ten poetry collections, his work has appeared in numerous publications. He has been visiting poet and poetry teacher at Seattle University for several years and has been active with the Skagit River Poetry Festivals.
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Table of Contents

Grandmother, Milking 1
Grandfather, Hauling in the Nets 3
Mussel Eating: Third Beach 4
Meditation at the Hoh River Mouth 6
Vertebrae 8
Finding the Hanged Chinaman's Grave, South Bend 9
Wind: Four Letters to Melinda Mueller 10
Mending the Instruments 15
Shaving Lesson 16
Mint Harvest, South Fork of the Nooksack 17
Sheep Turning 18
Gathering the Fruit 19
Pruning 20
Covenant: Saying Hello to the Land We Will Live With 22
Blessing 23
My Father Sang to Himself 24
Exemplar 25
Hands Learning to Work 26
Working Crosscut 27
Red Snapper 28
On Hearing Our Plans for Homesteading My Grandmother Said It Would Ruin Your Hands 29
Poem to Accompany the Gift of an Amish Rug 30
Geese in Rain 31
You Ask Me About Birds and I Tell You 32
Sitting on the Bluff above a Bay Near Home Watching a Woodpecker Working a Dead Snag 33
Fiddle Trees 34
Nearing Solstice 35
Killing the Ground Wasps 38
Rowing Against the Wind, Against the Tide 39
Northeaster 40
"What Are We All Headed for Besides a Cold Grave?" 41
At the Seafarer's Memorial, Anacortes 42
There Were Deer Once 43
Mallards, Morning 45
Storm Warnings 46
David Takes His 200th Foreskin 47
In a Borrowed House on the Mainland after the Blizzard 48
Bird Watching 49
Late Snow Melting, First Sign of Flowers, Gathering Eggs after Thinking I'd Lost You 50
Solstice, Again 52
Part of the Music 54
Ars Poetica 56
Communion 58
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