Forthcoming books



       One of America’s most revered nature poets, Robert Pack has won the acclaim of critics throughout his long career. This current collection reprises many of his best known poems, both lyric and narrative, comic and meditative. These poems dramatize and reflect upon Pack’s sense of mortality and loss, his cherishing of friends, family, and the natural world, and the power of poetic art to celebrate the pleasures that open to our senses and our imaginings.

Mark Strand has called Pack’s previous collection, LAUGHTER BEFORE SLEEP, “an extraordinary book suffused with a sense of loss sweetly and sometimes ruefully acknowledged. Pack’s close and beautiful observations of nature are displayed, as they have been throughout his career. One feels that his contemplation of nature is a form of salvation. As always, Pack exhibits a technical mastery that has all but disappeared from recent poetry. This is an exceptionally readable book, filled with great tenderness, charm, and wit.”

And Paul Mariani reviews Pack’s retrospective TO LOVE THAT WELL as a collection in which “One finds a poignancy and a sorrow, laced always with a profound sense of humor. A scent of late autumn drifts through the latest poems, which are by turns comic, tragic, lyrical and epical. In these rich, accessible, distinctive poems -- a harvest gathered against the encroaching dark -- Pack’s voice continues to be reassuringly resonant with a laughter born of his deep and abiding love for what he knows by nature cannot remain.

Robert Pack is Abernethy Professor of Literature and Creative Writing Emeritus at Middlebury College, where he taught for thirty-four years and also directed the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He has taught at the Honors College of the University of Montana for the past sixteen years.
---The Lost Horse Press

Unbidden, a green memory
sprang forth, so overwhelming
in its clarity, it leapt across
three quarters of a century
I stood before a counter-top
of jewelry, eye height, beside
my father who had brought me to
that “five and dime” store in the Bronx.
Among the many rings displayed,
one gleaming emerald shone there
surpassing all the rest, and, firmly set
within a silver band, it was on sale
just for one dollar that my father
told the saleslady I’d saved.
I bought the ring to give my mother
on their wedding anniversary;
I still can see her squeeze it on,
stretch her thin fingers out 
that glowing morning to display
how perfectly it fit. I marveled
at the smoothness of her hands.
I live now on a mountain-side,
the northern country of the evergreens --
spruce, cedar, ponderosa pines,
tall tamaracks reflecting in a lake
that quivers green and greener as
rough wind withdraws into the forest shade.
From my high room I look out far
at darkened green of winter firs
whose branches are bent down with  snow;
and I can see pale green in springtime when
the softer tips of boughs extend new growth;
even dense shadows as the sun descends
seem tinted with a greenish hue.
Despite accumulated years, I’m green
with inexperience; I’m green with envy
for the lives I won’t have time to live;
I’m green oh green-o in the melodies
I hum beneath the intake of my breath,
and when I contemplate the purple depths
of darkened sky with clouds outlining
migratory birds, I know at night
my heart will still be green, the green of emerald,
in the fine shimmer of its crystal light. ---From: TO LOVE THAT WELL