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As the resident poet at EcoHealth, my verse finds inspiration these days in the spectre of global pandemics. At LMU Munich's Amerika-Institut, where I tutor composition and poetics, I'm anatomizing the sonnets of E. A. Robinson for my dissertation. I also teach at Münchner Volkshochschule and Amerikahaus.


Above Pate Valley

by Gary Snyder

We finished clearing the last   
Section of trail by noon, 
High on the ridge-side 
Two thousand feet above the creek   
Reached the pass, went on 
Beyond the white pine groves,   
Granite shoulders, to a small 
Green meadow watered by the snow,   
Edged with Aspen—sun 
Straight high and blazing 
But the air was cool. 
Ate a cold fried trout in the   
Trembling shadows. I spied 
A glitter, and found a flake 
Black volcanic glass—obsidian— 
By a flower. Hands and knees   
Pushing the Bear grass, thousands   
Of arrowhead leavings over a   
Hundred yards. Not one good   
Head, just razor flakes 
On a hill snowed all but summer,   
A land of fat summer deer, 
They came to camp. On their   
Own trails. I followed my own   
Trail here. Picked up the cold-drill,   
Pick, singlejack, and sack 
Of dynamite. 
Ten thousand years.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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