From and About Many Trails to the Summit
Poems by Forty-Two Pacific Northwest Poets

Many Trails to the Summit "Editor David D. Horowitz has gathered together forty-two of the Northwest’s most gifted poets who find forty-two different ways to consider the geography and particularities of the people who live here. What a joy it is to read poems that are coherent, musical, funny, dramatic, surprising, and just plain beautiful. Many Trails to the Summit will live by the bedside table and the easy chair; it will travel from hand to hand; it will teach young poets how to write; and, most importantly, it will bear up under many re-readings, as all the best poetry does."
Sharon Cumberland
"This rich and varied collection of Northwest poets is unique in demonstrating how many of our best have written highly lyrical poems that embrace form and the beauties of rhyme. It helps complete the picture of poetry being written in this region, as a number of excellent poets represented here are not found in other significant anthologies, nor do those fine collections show the vitality of formal verse composed here."
James Bertolino


Sherman Alexie			David Mason
Elizabeth Austen		Eric McHenry
Lana Hechtman Ayers		Kristen McHenry
Robinson Bolkum			James Masao Mitsui
Diana Brement			Jed Myers
John Byrne			Dobbie Reese Norris
Susan Casey			Geoff M. Pope
Rick Clark			Nashira Priester
Lyn Coffin			Belle Randall
Nancy Dahlberg			J. Andrew Rodriguez
Oliver de la Paz		Amy Schrader
J. Glenn Evans			Randolph Douglas Schuder
Karen Finneyfrock		Derek Sheffield
Victoria Ford			Judith Skillman
Brenda I. Givens		Margaret D. Smith
Sharon Hashimoto		Michael Spence
Christopher J. Jarmick  	Joannie Kervran Stangeland
Donald Kentop			Joan Swift
William Kupinse			Richard Wakefield
Robert Lashley			Cody Walker
Jim Lutz			Michael Dylan Welch


That shooting star last night
inscribed its sudden arc,
an autograph of light,
and left a darker dark.
Men used to think such things
were signs of dawning ages,
perhaps the death of kings,
interpreted by sages.
But now we know it’s grit
ignited by descent,
no message borne in it,
no purpose, nothing meant.
And yet we long to think
that moment’s random fire
significant, to link
our lives with something higher.

Copyright © 2010 by Richard Wakefield


Light dazzles from the grass
over the carnal dune.
This too shall come to pass,
but will it happen soon?
A kite nods to its string.
A cloud is happening
above the tripping waves,
joined by another cloud.
They are a crowd that moves.
The sky becomes a shroud
cut by a blade of sun.
There’s nothing to be done.
The soul, if there’s a soul,
moves out to what it loves,
whatever makes it whole.
The sea stands still and moves,
denoting nothing new,
deliberating now.
The days are made of hours,
hours of instances,
and none of them are ours.
The sand blows through the fences.
Light darkens on the grass.
This too shall come to pass.

Copyright © 2010 by David Mason


although the block is hot, there is no light
young ones make moves, but seldom in the sun
no birds, but birdmen stalking all in sight
no needles, but to all, the damage done.
the young ones move among this trap bazaar
among a maddening crowd of chemical means
among rich and poor, the hopeless, the bizarre
leeches yearning to trip the dark obscene.
they move among these dens of toxic sprawl
commerce markets of pieces, weight, and heft
and those who give to no one, yet take all
‘til there’s absolutely nothing to take left.
speak of this block? you may, but speak it clear.
speak not of youth; there are no children here.

Copyright © 2010 by Robert Lashley


One morning I went out to see if any
strawberries had ripened to the core,
peeling back their green umbrellas. Many
times I’ve wished I had a bullet for
a slug, one for one. But guns
for slugs are not allowed in Portland. So
I stomped off to the store for beer, tons
of it, and set it out in tidy rows
of little cups, as a communion feast
for wormy things. Then waited. Saturday
I found the cups all empty, not the least
amount of slug within. Berries lay
in scattered splotches like a thatch,
and my old dog lay happy by the patch.

Copyright © 2010 by Margaret D. Smith


So strong the song, so slight the bird
who perches on my balcony. Bright
throat and back, it must be a male
warbling his eagerness to mate.
Every day he serenades the air,
but no females flutter to his side.
Now he flies to the pine tree
as if a change of venue will heighten
his advantage. He cocks his head,
looks left then right between trills.
I think he looks for happiness, wants
another of his kind to share his life.
I, too, would like companionship
but haven’t advertised. Unlike that sparrow,
I don’t sing for love and cheer
or whistle while out walking. I’m afraid
I’d just attract some old lost cause
who’d hear my siren song, stumble
out from a neighborhood tavern,
and follow me home, expecting to be fed.

Copyright © 2010 by Nancy Dahlberg


The coffee’s made, the banged-up metal chairs
unfolded in a circle. Still the room
looks stripped, a dancehall after hours: bare
hardwood floors, an old piano, a push-broom
in the corner, mirrors on the wall,
more a ballet studio than church—
and, above, fluorescent lights. My usual place,
my back to the mirrors, avoids the ghastly fall
of light, unkind to any age or face.
It always looks like rain from here. The high
basement windows look up to the street
through frosted panes that pixelate the passers-by,
and then they’re only visible from feet
to knees. Upstairs, a choir rehearses a hymn
that sifts through the floor, stirs reminiscences
of incense and candle wax; a churchy scent
imprinted never leaves the brain. I hum
along. I sang these songs, loved what they meant.
There’s stained glass just above the beams.
A rose window glows in the choir loft,
and dappled light sweeps the pews. It seemed
on fire once. The radiance gone soft
did God’s work, no doubt inspired awe,
as with the peasant when the cathedral at Chartres
was new. Twisting his cap, the poor wretch, starved
for beauty, looked up dumbstruck, slack-jawed.
I’ve imagined our slogans carved
in stone and gilded words, our stories told
like stations of the cross, or in colored glass,
nostalgic thoughts of icon, cope and stole,
a bit of liturgy, perhaps a Mass
to solemnize the goings-on. I feel
poor at times, but I have deeper needs
beyond such glory. Spareness works for me.
I’m best low to the ground, where I can kneel,
and even though I’ve never bent a knee
in prayer down here, I remember what to do.
First, keep out of trouble and don’t play God.
Then practice, practice, mostly, but who knew
not being Him would be a full-time job?
In this house all we do is rent
a room to share our common woundedness,
the very point of which allows the heart
to open, grace to enter. I once went…
Ah, the meeting is about to start.

Copyright © 2010 by Donald Kentop

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