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January 29, 2013
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v2.1 Reference

Four Swans


These are mature poems, meditative, curious about the world of wild mountains and streams, about death and blessing, about the resonant past that is with us yet. And they are about a kind of stillness that has become rare in modern life, the stillness of a man who actually inhabits his senses.

from "Some Guardian Spirit"

Freezing fog, visibility maybe a hundred yards.

Frost builds up on the pine needles,

the yellow grass, the leafless cottonwoods

and the sound of hammers, saws,

a compressor kicking on and off

in that other world somewhere across

the pasture. Not a bird or a squirrel or a horse

in sight. A rooster and a lone dog

send their voices out into the fog that seems

to be closing in, growing denser, a cloud

barge drifting down the valley spiriting us away.

About the Author

Greg Pape has published eight books of poems. For is work he has received a Discover/The Nation Award, a Pushcart Prize, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives with his family in the Bitterroot Valley and teaches literature and writing at the University of Montana.


"I have been a fan of Greg Pape's poetry at least since 1978, when his first book Border Crossings appeared—clarity, concision, a deep yet accessible human subject were its hallmarks. In Four Swans, those virtues are doubled in a subtle and fully mature voice. Candid, modest, yet confident, a delicate almost spiritual attention is paid to his surroundings and the birds and animals with whom we share the planet. Four Swans confronts mortality by enunciating the muted and emblematic transformations that most of us would miss were it not for such keen sensibilities as Pape's. James Wright, Richard Hugo, and the great Chinese poets sit over his shoulder as he connects us to the luminous actual world in which we live and die."—Christopher Buckley, Christopher Buckley
Lynx House Press

9780899241272 : four-swans-pape
Paperback / softback
80 Pages
$15.95 USD

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