Patty Wixon’s collection The Great Hunt and Other Poems begins with a poem in which wildfire smoke dissolves/the sun…leaving the day black. In the final poem, a bright star flickers before sliding behind a lifting sunrise. Indeed, Wixon’s poems move back and forth freely from darkness to light, from past to present, from joy to sorrow, from catastrophe to blessings.
The title of Mark Thalman’s chapbook, Stronger Than the Current, emerges from the dominant character trait of Helen McCready, a native Oregonian. When the rising Siuslaw River drowns McCready’s prize tulips, she keeps her rowboat tied to the back porch from which she fishes for salmon. Her patience is stronger than the current (“Mapleton”). Not a patience of necessity for survival, not a patience of placid waiting for the fish to bite, hers is rather a steadfast mindful trust in and love of the remaining beauty, which surpasses necessity.