Peggy ShumakerBooks









Gnawed Bones

Cairn (poems)
Red Hen Press, 2018
Casebound, 400 pages
ISBN: 9781597096119
List Price: $28.95

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"Brilliant book! Note how often Peggy Shumaker, profoundly wise and tender poet, writes 'in honor' of something or someone else - has there ever been a more generous soul?  These poems of many decades invoke so many rich worlds of being...her elegant spirit and voice turn us all back into the more lyrical people we might be. It is her ongoing gift, and our treasure."
—Naomi Shihab Nye

"Early on in Cairn, Peggy Shumaker asks: Who are we without language? And I respond: Who are we without this poet’s language, a tongue that often seems to be oracle, speaking to us from a parallel world? In this treasure trove of poetry and short prose that spans decades of her writing life, Shumaker re-shapes our perception of how we move through our lives and the lives of others. As an added bonus, we’re allowed behind the scenes of her collaboration with the painter Kesler Woodard, complete with the gorgeous paintings that emerged from this conversation between two consummate artists. In all her work, Shumaker grounds us in the present moment, while also allowing us to look up and see: 'The view/vast/beyond us.'"
—Brenda Miller

"If you read only a single volume of poetry this year, may it be Peggy Shumaker’s transcendent and luminous Cairn: New & Selected Poems.  Traversing more than thirty years of the poet’s life in letters, Cairn offers readers a panoply of lyric inner and outer journeys—from Arizona’s deserts to Hawaii and Costa Rica’s tropics to Alaska’s frozen expanses and beyond. Simultaneously, Shumaker charts hauntingly resonant losses, both communal and personal, wisdom rooted in her love of nature, and myriad joys arising from the bonds of friendship and love.

With a clarity and sparseness rivaling Dickinson’s, the resilience and poetic mastery of Kumin, and the lucidity, honesty, and dignity of Szymborska, Shumaker proves herself to be one of this generation’s most distinctive poetic voices. Treasure this urgently beautiful and necessary book, for it expresses the complexity of our lives with virtuosic skill, intimacy, and enlightenment."
—Maurya Simon



Cloud Forest Trail

Whirring frenzy—chitter
as if they mean to probe
my ears for nectar—
motley humming flock
whips up misty air.
Band-tailed barbthroat,
rufous tail, long-billed
hermit, wood nymph,

green-breasted, violet-crowned,
sabrewing, fierce purple-green
Jacobin. Slick flick of hummingbirds'
tongues. Guainambí.
Emerald, ruby, starthroat.
desire given wing.



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