Gary Short's new collection is the work of a mature poet at the peak of his powers, confident of his ability to move us without histrionics, to speak of human betrayal and the fragility of all life without bitterness or cheap sentiment, to find poignancy and beauty in loss and exaltation in the outwardly mundane. His voice is lyrical, tough, honest, and capable of touching us profoundly. Short knows Nevada's austere and daunting landscape, its ephemeral beauty, and its stoic people as few writers in any genre do. He also understands the complexities of the human soul and the contradictions of love. So he tells of how his mother, dying of cancer after a life marked by cruelty and disapointment, revisits a day thirty years in the past when her sons trapped a trout and kept it in their father's horse trough and how now, in her mind's eye, she carries the boxed-in fish to the stream to release it, ""a moment/ of having not loss."" And of how the feathers of a dead owl in a long-dead oak tree have blown loose,"" caught and leafed out/ from each talloned twig and limb...each feather/a separate flight, shining to live."" This is rich and wondrous poetry, eminently readable, deeply moving, unforgettable.
Gary Short is the author of Theory of Twiligh and Flying Over Sonny Liston, the latter winning the Western States Book Award for Poetry in 1996. He has been a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Centre in Provincetown and a Stegner Fellow at Stanford. Short has taught at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and at Old Dominion University in Virginia. He currently divides his time between Virginia City, Nevada, and Panajachel, Guatemala.