Many good poets live and have lived in the West, and the literary world can benefit from extended discussions of writers whose lives and work were formed west of the hundredth meridian.
A consistent theme in this poetry is that the West, as a land of imposing geography, has a spirit of its own. Sensitive souls raised in or transplanted to places like the New Mexico desert, the Alaskan wilderness, or the Pacific shore absorb those spirits as part of their identities, and then the place’s essence—now integral to the poet’s self—inevitably becomes part of the work that flows from the poet’s creativity. Alaskan poet John Haines says, “I believe that there is a spirit of place, a presence asking to be expressed; and sometimes when we are lucky as writers, and quiet in a way few of us want to be anymore, a voice enters our own, becomes mingled with it, and we speak with a force and clarity not otherwise heard.”
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Published by Texas Christian University Press