Toucan Nest

What happens when we enter unfamiliar realms, when we open ourselves to the unknown? Sometimes that not-knowing makes art possible. In Toucan Nest, the eighth book by Alaska State Writer Laureate Peggy Shumaker, her first vivid encounters with the rainforests of Costa Rica–with its basilisk lizards, bats, and bromeliads, its crocodiles, sloths, and strangler figs–refresh and renew our world in a work of startlingly beautiful mindfulness and imagination.


“This is a book of burnished, lapidary attention. Its poems—vibrant with seeing, quickened with soundwork, subtled by insight—peel open landscapes both outer and inner. The costs of our human presence and extractions are in these pages, but also the radiant return of human awareness. Toucan Nest is a unique account of encounter, imaginative inquiry, and expansion.”—Jane Hirshfield, author of After and Given Sugar, Given Salt

“Shumaker’s vivid Toucan Nest is about learning to see—Costa Rica serving as the textbook. Between the parentheses of arrival and departure, the pages burst with lessons—rich, beautiful, and sometimes terrifying. For us, looking over her shoulder, it is education by proxy. So iridescent is Shumaker’s language, we are there, floating downriver with the crocodiles, watching panicky iguanas hustling from a fire, the basilisk lizard “zipping / zigzag on hind legs,” a flash of green and ruby eyes, and oh, did you hear it? the love cry of the jaguar and the cry of the quetzal whose morning song brings the whole blessed world to life. A dazzle of a book.”—Alice Friman, author of VinculumThe Book of the Rotten Daughter, and
Inverted Fire

Peggy Shumaker ( Author Website )

Publication Date: March 1, 2013

Genre/Imprint: Poetry, Red Hen Press

$17.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-263-0

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