From the Author's Note: ""When I put a book of new poems together I go through the poems to determine whether their direction is consistent. Those that are out of line are left behind. The poems collected in Snows Gone By were written over a thirty-eight-year period, from 1964-2002. The older poems have in common the fact that they were left out of earlier books. They were, I thought then, inconsistent with what was going on in my life or work in those periods. Collected here, I realise, the poems together probably give a better idea of my total work than any of my other books have -- they present a life & work that has been what it's been, with little need for consistency."" The Francois Villon ballad that provided the title to this book (from his 'Greater Testament') is immediately preceded by lines that speak of the agonies of age & death. The ballad asks what has become of many famed & beautiful women already gone in Villon's time, & each stanza ends with the refrain, the answer to his question, asking where the snows of yesterday have gone. As Bill Brown once said, ""I knew he was dead, but I had to keep telling him the story, I had to keep talking to him.
In 1960 poet James Koller moved to the Bay Area from the Midwest. He was drawn to what has since become known as the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance and soon became friends with Joanne Kyger, Philip Whalen, Lew Welch, Gary Snyder, Bill Brown, and many others of the time. Since 1964 he has edited the seminal Coyote's Journal, one of the earliest publications advocating a poetics that would lead to the ecological movement. With Richard Brautigan, Koller was part of the Digger's Communication Company, distributing their free publications in Haight Ashbury. He has been a heavy traveller, criss-crossing North America and Europe, settling in Maine in 1972. Author of over forty books of poetry, fiction, and essays, his writing has been translated into Italian, French, German, Dutch, and Swedish. In recent years in Europe Koller has taught with German poet Stefan Hyner and Swedish poet Reidar Ekner on the Icelandic Sagas; and he has also worked with the Italian Bioregional movement. He lives in rural Maine.