Durable Goods contains six thoughtful and insightful essays
by Erik Muller in which he explores the work of six Oregon poets: Richard
Dankleff, Barbara Drake, Kenneth O. Hanson, Paulann Petersen, Clemens Starck, and
Lex Runciman. A photo of the poet, a folio of the poet’s poems, and a
bibliography of the poet’s work accompany each essay. Read individually, the
essays provide an in-depth look into the work of their respective authors. Read
together, the essays add to the existing knowledge of Oregon poetry, providing
a richer understanding of the writing in the Pacific Northwest region.
The book is beautifully designed by the award-winning Jonathan Greene.
Praise for Durable Goods:
“No other writer has done more to further the discourse of
Oregon poetry than Erik Muller. In Durable Goods, Muller extends his
hallmark generosity deep into the work of six of our region’s unique voices.
This collection reads as such a book should—like an old friend come back from a
lifetime of travel, sitting across the table from you, connecting the stars
into their myriad constellations. The adventure here, of course, is to turn a
mirror onto the region, to go deep and local, to see how such connections—and
disparities—create their meanings and mythologies. In some ways poets are
borderless creatures, and in many ways they are harnessed to their times and geographies.
Durable Goods exists in the hinterland between the global and regional,
and such a big-hearted and sincere assessment of our literature deserves to be celebrated
long into the night.”
“If you’ve never felt the delicious shock of discovering in
the work of an unsung poet a small masterpiece, this book is for you. In Durable
Goods Erik Muller looks deeply into the writing of six marvelous Oregon
poets, placing their work in a regional context. He calls his essays
“appreciations.” Durable Goods will be savored not only by readers of
poetry but by all who love the Northwest.”
Erik Muller has lived in
Oregon most of his life. Born in New York City and educated at Williams
College, he traveled west with his wife in 1962, earning an MA in English at
the University of Oregon in 1965. After some teaching and further graduate
study away from the Northwest, he began a career of teaching in Oregon
community colleges, Southwestern (1969-1986) and Lane (1986-2000).
His interest in Oregon poetry
was first stimulated by reading William Stafford in 1963. At the University of
Oregon and in Coos Bay respectively, he edited a student magazine and a
chapbook series. Later, he was one of three who founded Fireweed: Poetry of
Western Oregon and then edited Traprock Books, poetry titles by Oregon
poets. In 2001, Literary Arts awarded him the Stewart H. Holbrook Award for
service to Oregon’s literary community. He began writing Durable Goods
with an appreciative essay about Richard Dankleff.
His own poetry has developed
from college days to the present. Confluence, a 1992 poetry
collaboration with Peter Jensen and David Johnson, was nominated for the Oregon
Book Award. His numerous self-published chapbooks include To the Corner and
Back, Green Tractors, For All I Know, A Boy’s Eyes, Shadowing.