28 poems by poet, artist, and fisherman Scott T. Starbuck. The poems reflect
his deep connection to place, his interest in culture and history, and his
versatility with language and poetic form. The book was designed by Jonathan
Greene and features work by artist Jennifer Williams on the cover.
“A true bioregional
fisher-of-salmon-and-of-men in the tradition of Snyder and Jeffers, his stories
and cultural memories are as good as it gets. His relationship to the rivers
and the river people of the northwest coast is profound.” –Thomas Rain Crowe
“To add to the inherent poetics of fishing and the natural
world seems an impractical task, yet that is precisely what Scott Starbuck has
accomplished in this collection.” –David Joy
Poems from River
“Rowing Pamela up the Siletz River”
‘I don’t love you,’ she reports
in the same tone
as pointing out a heron or river otter.
‘I’m in love with a dentist in Montana.”
Her teeth are perfect.
I keep rowing and imagining
I have an answer to this problem,
having spent all week fiberglassing
an old wooden rowboat
for my attractive pen pal
the one my deckhand Tattoo has called
a rare and beautiful bird
I should keep.
Suddenly the rivers speaks
so I don’t have to.
‘Did you notice we’ve sprung a leak
and water is filling our boat?’
‘Yes,’ I answer. ‘And?’ she questions.
‘And I think it is good
we both know how to swim.’
out of a crack
wade a river
muscle and color.
parts are weathered
away, a harmonica
a fading ice age
View some of Scott’s claywork, see:
River Walker review by Anita Sullivan.
When I was 7, I saw two free spirits
making love in The Clackamas River above Barton Park, Oregon, and I thought a
lucky fisherman caught a mermaid. It was late August 1970, when tens of
thousands of anti-Vietnam War protestors gathered upriver at Milo McIver State
Park to enjoy a week of free food, music, nudity, yoga, and celebration on a
crystal river with snowy peaked Mt. Hood in the background. Life was
Being a natural recluse, I had
wandered away from my family to catch trout and hear the old men’s
Forty years later, after fishing from
the Rogue River in southern Oregon to the Tanana River in Alaska, I compiled my
adventures and misadventures in the book River Walker. I hope you laugh
at the characters, celebrate the fish and river experiences, and reflect on the
many jeweled watery gifts of the Pacific Northwest. Many of these poems began,
and still begin, as riverside scribblings while
resting on boulders or fallen logs above emerald pools of hovering salmon,
trout, and steelhead.
Currently, I work as a Creative
Writing Coordinator at San Diego Mesa College and frequently travel to the
Pacific Northwest to visit old friends and fish.
Before teaching, I was captain of the
fishing vessel Starfisher in Depoe Bay, Oregon,
charter fishing and commercial trolling for salmon. Later, I was a writer in
residence at The Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on Cascade Head just inshore
from where I fished off the mouth of the Salmon River.
My next project is a collection of
fishing essays, poems, and short stories called Water Magic that will soon be
seeking a publisher.
During my last sabbatical in 2006, I
volunteered in the William Stafford Archives, and taught a creative nonfiction
class for Write Around Portland. I will spend my next sabbatical in 2013
taking fiction classes at Pacific University's low-residency program in
Seaside, and working on short stories on Whidbey Island.
As a complement to my fishing poems,
I do claywork, some of which is online at The Trumpeter Journal of Ecosophy
at Athabasca University,
and Untitled Country Review.
My clayworkwas recently in Columbia River Gallery in Troutdale, White Wolf Sanctuary,
and won a Green Art Contest in Knock Literary Journal at
Antioch University in Seattle.