A DENALI NARRATIVE
by Daryl Farmer
I thought running could save me.
Prints—moose, lynx, fox—set in mud by the stream.
I thought dreams revealed history.
Poems should not be written of ravens.
I thought whiskey was my savior.
A pica bone found in an abandoned eagle’s nest.
I thought love was about memory.
The bus stops for tourists to photograph bear scat on the road.
I thought winter was a mystery.
Her boots stood empty against the cabin wall.
Daryl Farmer’s first book, Bicycling beyond the Divide, received a
Barnes and Noble Discover Award. His recent work has appeared
in The Whitefish Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Gingerbread
House. A collection of stories, We All Fall Down, will be published
in 2016. Farmer is an assistant professor at the University of Alaska
Fairbanks, where he teaches creative writing and literature.
On “A Denali Narrative”:
The idea for this poem came from a “call and response” exercise
given by the poet Jeanne Clark at the Fairbanks Summer Arts
Festival in Fairbanks, Alaska. A week after that festival, I was
part of a group of artists invited to spend time together in Denali
National Park developing an art project around the idea of trophic
cascades. As we spent the week together, we passed around an
“Exquisite Corpse” sketch book, taking turns responding through
our own medium to each other’s work. The image I was given was
a sketch of a single pair of empty hiking boots. Denali is a vast
wilderness, with both mountains and wide open space. The
combination of exterior beauty and reflection-inducing solitude the
park inspires seemed the perfect space for Jeanne’s exercise. The
poem seeks to balance interior abstractions with single images
where resonance rather than logic is the connective tissue. More
information about the Trophic Cascades project can be found here.
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 10, Number 1
Copyright © 2015
by Leah Browning, Editor.
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Valley Review are retained
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