Review of Notes from the Journey Westward

cropped-nftjw-box-1.jpgBig thanks to Montana Poet Laureate Tami Haaland for this careful, perceptive review of Notes from the Journey Westward. You couldn’t ask for a better review than this:

This book is visionary. It is admirably consistent and meditative, relentlessly honest in its rejection of any romantic version of the West, and reverent before stars and morning, before the earth and the people who have survived on it. Joe Wilkins honors them by telling their stories.

Review of Notes from the Journey Westward


Thanks to Kathleen Kirk for this amazing review, up now at Escape Into Life, of my second book of poems, Notes from the Journey Westward. A few of my favorite lines:

Notes from the Journey Westward, by Joe Wilkins, reads like wisdom to me. “There’s nothing to be done / about hope,” he writes, in “Hardscrabble Prairie Triptych,” about cracking open mussel shells in search of pearls, and I feel directly addressed, required to examine the persistence and hopelessness of hope in myself, in us all, in the human animal: “We crack them open / anyway, shells bright as a boy’s eyes, / scoop out each stinking handful of meat.” The willingness to shift from “I” to “we” here is a clue to the risk and power of these poems, the great claim that one story can, like a covered wagon, carry many, and that history is somehow alive in the present moment.







Notes from the Journey Westward a High Plains Book Award finalist



Very pleased to see that my second collection of poems, Notes from the Journey Westward, has just been named a finalist for the 2013 High Plains Book Award. Lots of big names up for the High Plains Awards this year, including Richard Ford, Louise Erdrich, David Abrams, Alan Kesselheim, and Emily Danforth.