My fourth collection of poetry, Thieve, is here! Big thanks to Chris Howell and everyone at Lynx House Press for bringing this one into the world! Here’s a bit more about it:
Joe Wilkins, winner of the Oregon Book Award and the High Plains Book Award, returns with his fourth book of poetry, Thieve, his most ambitious collection yet.
Thieve is a pointed, political book, though the politics here are local, particular, physically felt. The central sequence―all subtitled “Poem against the Crumbling of the Republic”―was written in direct response to the Wilkins’s own transition from rural poverty in eastern Montana to coastal liberal comfort in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, as well as the presidential election of 2016, which brought to the national consciousness the grave division in American society between urban and rural people. Thieve is Wilkins’s poetic attempt, as someone who knows/has known both worlds, to speak across that chasm.
Thieve also interrogates chasms and barriers between the human and the natural, the present and the past, the parent and the child, between what we earn and what by grace is given.
Joe Wilkins’s poems, several of which are aptly subtitled “Poem Against the Crumbling of the Republic,” connect us by fragile threads to a past, a Western past that’s a stand in for our larger American past: the hardscrabble and hardworking, a grace and gratitude for what came before, and for what needs further reckoning, or mercy.-Nance Van Winckel, author of Our Foreigner and Book of No Ledge
So pleased to be part of the amazing Readings at the Nick at Linfield College. And now they’re streaming readings live and archiving them! You can check it out here.
This summer, while traveling all over Oregon, Washington, and Montana to read from When We Were Birds, I got the chance to speak with The Write Question about poetry and life and making sense of life through poetry. The Write Question, hosted by Cherie Newman, is a really fabulous NPR show and podcast; if you don’t listen or subscribe, you should!
Looking for a summer writing conference? It doesn’t get much better than Fishtrap. Mountains, beautiful waters, and loads of talented, generous writers, including Justin Hocking, Laura Pritchett, Marjorie Sandor, Erika L. Sanchez, Robert Michael Pyle, and more. I’ll be teaching a poetry craft class/workshop this summer at Fishtrap, The Landscape of the Poem: From Eden to Frontier, and I’d love to have you!
Really pleased to have two poems in one of the best online poetry venues out there, Diode.
So pleased to be sharing the news of my latest collection of poetry, Leviathan, which won the 2014 Iron Horse Single-Author Contest. The chapbook will be out in just over two weeks, but you can pre-order now for just $4! You can get a sneak peek at the title poem here, and here’s what Carrie Jerrell, contest judge, and Laurie Kutchins, Pulitzer Prize finalist, have to say about the manuscript:
“Leviathan is a collection both celebratory and elegiac. Wilkins moves deftly from the natural landscapes of rivers and forests, to the domestic landscapes of garage sales and truck stops, to the emotional landscapes of terror and wonder brought on by fatherhood. He captures each of them in language and imagery as rich as the heart itself. Though the waters and people who populate these poems are often bracing, Wilkins never loses hope for long.” -Carrie Jerrell, author of After the Revival
“There’s alchemy in Joe Wilkins’s poems. Colic, junk, gutted factories, and rotten tomatoes become gold; castaway, castoff things at garage sales become luminous lists of all the things that keep us human. Some of these poems take us into birth-country; others, into the clutches of parenthood, into both literal and metaphorical floods. We think a chapbook is a little book, but no such thing with Leviathan. True to its title, this is a giant of a book with big-soul poems. This is no chamber quartet, but rather a full symphony of sonic energy and fierce, percussive love.” -Laurie Kutchins, Pulitzer-Prize finalist for The Night Path
This May 5th I’ll be reading, along with wonderful poets Traci Brimhall and Joe Hall, in the Younger American Poets Readings Series at Beaverdale Books in Des Moines. Here’s their Facebook for more.
My poems “Anniversary” and “Oblivion” have won the Issue 6 Grand Prize at Memior (and). They’ll be in the print and online magazine, and I’ve got $500 coming my way!