James Engelhardt lived for five years in Fairbanks, Alaska with his wife and daughter. He was active in the poetry community there. His poetry has appeared in North American Review, Natural Bridge, Terrain.org, Ice Floe, and many other journals. His critical work has appeared in the Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association and Mid-America Review. He is an acquisitions editor at the University of Illinois Press.
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
In the Alaska-based poems of BONE WILLOWS, the wheel of the year spins faster than in the Lower forty-eight: “Arctic spring bicycles down a bookcase.” And the frantic course of time affects everything from non-human nature to the ways a couple with a small child make their way in the world. Here, animals “glow with no light,” friends remind each other that “it will break again, the push will come and it will all break again,” and home is “a secret held against hard dark.” In this debut collection, James Engelhardt gives readers the hidden Alaska—not of glaciers and brown bears and tourist stops—but of expressways and families and dinner parties.
“James Engelhardt’s outstanding first collection explores the tensions as well as the wonderment of a family adjusting to life in the Far North. As seasons shift and the deep cold moves in, the details of change are observed with grace and precision. These poems work together beautifully, offering the reader a striking picture of a harsh and fascinating land.”
—John Morgan, author of SPEAR-FINISHING ON THE CHATANIKA
“James Engelhardt has written a spectacular book of poetry set in Alaska where he tries ‘to root if I can . . . In this place of extremes, poems push against barriers—between lovers, ‘the exquisite earth’ and its ice, forest and mountain, to unfold wings and survive winter. . . Buy this wise book, read it, and travel.”
—Hilda Raz, author of TRANS AND WHAT HAPPENS