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