By Jefferson Humphries
Voyageurs go back and forth to discover the palace of Kubilai Khan within the Quetico-Superior border nation. The menacing enamel of a northern pike remind us of the capability violence hidden in probably blameless lakes. A moose-"lumbering satyr"-expresses the bestial nature of existence within the woods. this can be the North nation as spoken throughout the voice of Jeff Humphries, who discovers unforeseen riches within the wasteland looming round his cabin. As interpreted by way of popular illustrator Betsy Bowen, the topics of the poems come to inhabit the pages of this quantity; her spare and wonderfully composed woodcuts show astounding points of Humphries' phrases. those poems hint the layers of invisible that means embedded within the northern lands-the inevitable passage from shallow to deep, civilized to wild-the new types of knowledge to be received in such an come upon. it's a booklet for and approximately all those that, failing to discover what they got here for, as a substitute discover a benediction and are by no means an analogous. Written close to Sigurd Olson's Listening aspect on Burntside Lake in northern Minnesota, those poems painting a land haunted by means of animal spirits, lengthy recognized to Ojibwe and Cree. In phrases and photographs Humphries and Bowen demonstrate the secrets and techniques and hidden lives of the creatures of the North Woods-loons, ruffed grouse, bears, wolves, timber, lakes, even stones-exploring the mysterious universal flooring among their languages and ours. Jeff Humphries is the writer of a number of books, together with A Bestiary (1995), a set of poems. His fiction has been released within the most sensible American brief tales sequence, and he's the recipient of an American Academy of Poets award. Humphries is professor of French, English, and comparative literature at Louisiana nation college, and spends summers at a relations cabin close to Ely, Minnesota. Betsy Bowen operates her tremendous artwork print store in Grand Marais, Minnesota, and is the writer and illustrator of collecting: A Northwoods Counting booklet (1995, 1999); Antler, undergo, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet 12 months (1991, 2002); and Tracks within the Wild (1993, 1998).
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When the dream wears off, he disappears into woods, or the lake, or this thin, pale water of words. This page intentionally left blank OSPREY On a rock island blooming from a pine snag like a huge, charred rose its nest of sticks deﬁes wind, assaults of eagles. In the name of lucent sky brown and white lightning snatches scaled tears from the lake’s cold eye. This page intentionally left blank JACK PINE Dead wood scoured white by winter snow and wind crown its Japanese countenance of green needles and ﬁssured bark on limbs frozen in shapes of extravagant and calm indifference to inclement elements.
Your shrill cry reverberates through northern woods without regard for the symbols or boundaries of any nation of men. This page intentionally left blank ALEXANDER MACKENZIE One of the partners of the North West Company, he inherited the lust to wander, offspring of emigrants who left New York for Montreal in their loyalty to King George and Great Britain. In Canada he was heir to the dream of a Passage by water to the Orient. It haunted him like a girl he could not have, and had never seen in the ﬂesh; whose body and face were the shape of perfection.
This page intentionally left blank FROGS In the shallows, halfsubmerged among reeds and stones, where there is a smooth, dark smell of moss and damp earth, they speak of water in a language of water, clear, brownish-red, green. The sound of an elastic band, plucked violently: the tones vary but tend to bass, and inﬂected by the phlegm of which frogs seem made. They speak to air of water, and to the lake of itself, only eating the occasional insect to survive, and living only to speak to depths of shallows, to shallows of glossy depths where lake trout loll and listen in their liquid caves to the vibrations of the frog’s phlegmatic throat, telling of water and air, of raindrops and wind, of loons and their downy young riding the membrane between, of the pike that suddenly pierce it to swallow a voice, the lake’s teeth saying nothing.