Poetry grounded in place

Paul Willis's poems reveals epiphanies in the midst of everyday life.

Not surprisingly, this book of poems by outdoorsman Paul Willis encourages us to dive deeply into nature. However, it is—even more so—a book about getting somewhere: getting to the lake, getting past obstacles and excuses, getting through day-to-day obligations to where we most want to be. Or not getting there, not arriving yet at that other world that calls us to “the incantation of incense cedar and sugar pine,” to “more there / than you have ever been in your life . . .  / To join them, to take root.”

The opening section, “Gatherings,” focuses on epiphany. In the gatherings of this world, the narrator exclaims after watching a softball game from the sidelines, “I could have played . . . . There is room for me in this world.” In the poet’s memories of childhood and young loves and in his hikes across mountains and the rough terrain of aging, there is space for each reader to ponder, explore, and say: “Me, too. There is room for me.”

Other epiphanies combine the spiritual and the physical: