Pacific Light

David Mason was born in Washington State, forty-odd degrees north latitude, and now lives on the Australian island of Tasmania, forty-odd degrees south latitude. That Pacific crossing is the work of a lifetime of devotion and change. The rich new poems of Pacific Light explore the implications of the light as well as peace and its opposing forces. What does it mean to be an immigrant and face the ultimate borders of our lives? How can we say the word home and mean it? These questions have obsessed Mason in his major narrative works, The Country I Remember and Ludlow, as well as his lyric and dramatic writing. Pacific Light is a culmination and a deepening of that work, a book of transformations, history and love, endurance and unfathomable beauty, by a poet “at the height of his powers.”


As a poet of America’s Pacific Northwest, David Mason has found its mirror reflection in Australia’s Southeast. Turned upside down by love, he has learned “to walk upright under the Southern Cross.” Generously, he extends his feeling of renewal to all of us and urges us “to let all discovery / teach us to love the globe, that troubled child.” In Pacific Light, David Mason, one of our indispensable poets, shares his discovery of a new world—and amazingly, it turns out to be this one.
—Mark Jarman, author of Dailiness and The Heronry

In the last stanza of the last poem in David Mason’s startling and soulful new book of poems, Pacific Light,the poet writes:

The effort of a life, the wasted hour,

the kind word given to a stranger’s child

are understood as kin and disappear.

Time to be grass again. Ongoing. Wild.

This stanza testifies to last things: the last journey, the last shape shifting, the last immigration in a book filled with such arrivals and departures. The formal rigor of the poems—handled with an easy and almost offhand poise—only accentuates the sense of almost constant movement, which is at the heart of the book. This book is the story of a life’s deepening and reconfiguration. As such, it both inspires and challenges the reader in ways that only poetry can do. What a pleasure to read a book of poems by a poet at the height of his powers, a poet whose life has been transformed and whose poems are the embodiment of that transformation. —Jim Moore, author of Underground: New and Selected Poems

A photographic image of an ocean wave at water level with a distant horizon line, with white text reading "Pacific Light, poems by David Mason"

David Mason

Publication Date: August 23, 2022

Genre/Imprint: Poetry

$17.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 9781636280578

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David Mason, author of PACIFIC LIGHT, featured in Australian Book Review!

American/Australian poet, David Mason, is also a verse novelist, librettist, and essayist. His latest collection of essays, Incarnation and Metamorphosis: Can literature change us?, is clearly the work of a man who enjoys literature as he finds it rather than as he is told to see it. He is not afraid to declare in his introduction […]

David Mason discusses PACIFIC LIGHT in Interview with the Colorado Poet

David Mason grew up in Bellingham, Washington, and has lived in many parts of the world, including Greece and Colorado, where he served as Colorado Poet Laureate for four years. He is the author of eight books of poetry including including The Country I Remember, Sea Salt, Davey McGravy, The Sound, Pacific Light (Red Hen Press) and Ludlow, which won the Colorado Book Award and was featured […]

David Mason, author of PACIFIC LIGHT, wrote for LARB!

A society is only as healthy as its teachers. Ours, you might say, is in trouble, partly because our teachers often feel underappreciated and unseen. Yet most of us can recall at least one teacher who had a powerful influence on our lives. From high school alone, I remember three: Marge Eggleston, a feisty fisherman’s […]


PACIFIC LIGHT by David Mason featured in Review 31

A strong poetic sensibility is combined with a successful conversational style in several insightful accounts of familiar situations, like seeing people in airports that one thinks one knows (‘Long Haul’), the art of learning ‘to do almost nothing’ after an incapacitation (‘Letter to my Right Foot’), and the way a holiday can open one’s eyes […]

Červená Barva Press reviews David Mason’s PACIFIC LIGHT!

In Pacific Light, his newest volume of poems, David Mason proves again that he is a poet whose roots are deep in the mountains and oceans and the time—present, past, and future—they contain. Many of these poems find a way to know a day placed solidly in the present, only to then remember, again, there is […]

PACIFIC LIGHT by David Mason Reviewed in Literary Matters!

In Pacific Light, David Mason returns to a familiar theme: his conflicting desires to go places and to stay put. This master of the narrative poem, and a well-established voice in American letters, has, after building a reputation as a writer of the American West, moved to Tasmania.

North of Oxford reviews David Mason’s PACIFIC LIGHT

Mason is a poet defined by place, if it is Southeast Asia on the Pacific Rim or Northwest America, his poems breathe life of the people around him as well as the nature he observes and partakes in. Careful observation and craft abounds in these poems.

David Mason’s PACIFIC LIGHT Reviewed in LA Review of Books!

A POET KNOWN for his narratives, like Ludlow, the acclaimed historical-novel-in-verse turned opera, David Mason curates the archipelago of intensely satisfying lyric poems in Pacific Light with the skill of a consummate storyteller. His imaginative sweep is evident in “The Air in Tasmania,” set in his adopted home of Australia, where “the land / takes flying lessons from […]

David Mason’s PACIFIC LIGHT reviewed in the Australian Book Review!

Poet, essayist, and librettist David Mason grew up in Washington State, worked for many years in Colorado (where he became the state’s poet laureate) and a couple of years ago moved to Tasmania. Pacific Light, his new collection, is largely about that transition and his getting to know the landscapes and cultures of his new country. […]