Staying Alive in a Clear-Cut Forest

Article excerpt

David Wagoner teaches at the University of Washington and edits Poetry Northwest. His poetry is noted for its attention to the culture and landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Some of his poems recast Native American mythologies into poetry, as in "The Songs of Only-One," a series of poems published in the Summer 1977 issue of Chicago Review. "Staying Alive in a Clear-cut Forest," included here, first appeared in the Spring 1980 issue; WAGONER recently commented on this poem:

I wrote "Staying Alive in a Clear-cut Forest" (and several others: "Report on a Forest Clear-cut by the Weyerhauser Company," "Stump Speech in a Forest Clear-cut by the Weyerhauser Company, "and "An Address to the Weyerhauser Company") about a forest in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains forty miles from Seattle. As you can gather from the titles, it was clear-cut, and l felt I needed to keep track of what had happened to that beautiful place in subsequent years. I'll be going back again this summer to check once more, but I may not have the heart to write anything more about it. This poem appeared in my book Through the Forest: New and Selected Poems, 1977-1987 (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987). …