About the Book
The poems from this book are closely tied to my work as a decoy carver. Without those carvings there likely would have been no poetry. It began in the Iowa State University Library when, while neglecting my Fisheries and Wildlife studies, I randomly picked up the book Decoys and Decoy Carvers Of Illinois and was immediately taken by a black duck done by an unknown carver. My ever supporting wife, Karen, having been told of the incident, secretly purchased a fine white pine board and with an old draw knife carving began.
On the bottom of a decoy is a blank space which is often used for the maker’s name and address, and as my decoys after a time took on, for me, a spiritual aspect, I began burning in snippets of gospel hymns as well. “Yes, we’ll gather at the river”, “Oh, come angel band”, “I’ll fly away”, etc. Also quotations or bits of poems from Albert Einstein, Walt Whitman, Thoreau or William Cullen Bryant etc.
I had written several poems decades earlier but after seeing a rhyming ad on TV for Ford trucks I thought “I can do that” and, as a way of gaining an audience, replaced the words of others with my own. The first poems were of actual hunting events. With the apparent rediscovery of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (IBW) in 2006, a new avenue of carving and poetry opened up. It did not have to be ducks, geese, and hunting poetry forever. What a revelation!
Eventually, I carved and gave away (among many others) over sixty IBWs, and they are in National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, National Preserves, universities, welcome centers, libraries, and private hands in many states. After volunteering at the Leopold Landscape Alliance, a local organization which owns the two childhood homes of Aldo Leopold and promotes the study of his legacy and environmental education, still more opportunities for new work were presented. So there has been a journey of sorts for both carving and poetry; from a narrow path to a broader one, from hunting to environmental concerns. Here it is.
Price: US $ 11.95
Publisher: Zanzara Press (July 22, 2021)
Paperback: 68 pages
Item Weight: 5.9 ounces
Dimensions: 7 x 0.14 x 10 inches