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In Memory of a Banyan Tree: Poems of the Outside World: 1985 to 2022
Three Wooden Trunks
The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems
  Robert Michael Pyle

ISBN 978-0-9968584-0-3     $18.00  /  $21.00 (Canada)     5.5 x 8.5       

94 pp      
PUB DATE: April 2016       Poetry


CHINOOK AND CHANTERELLE is Robert Michael Pyle’s second full-length book of poetry. Rich in natural images, stories, and indelible episodes from the whole world around us, Pyle’s poems also track the territory of loss and grief as it rises into the higher ground of rediscovery, redemption, and re-enchantment. They exalt the ordinary even as they find the extraordinary in physical details that we too often look right through.


Robert Michael Pyle’s new poems are exquisitely shaped by his learned, joyful, avid consideration of the natural world and its cycles of life, death, and rebirth. Grief for his late wife, “she who made sense of the world,” is balanced by all they had and did together, and what comes next. At the heart of this marvelous book is the saving grace of close observation, the life-affirming depth of feeling and engagement and understanding of birds, butterflies, fish, critters, the rich flora all around us. Pyle savors and praises, seeing what joins us to our environment and what it can show us of ourselves, lifting his and our spirits. His richly descriptive language embeds in his readers’ minds such wonders as the way “the papery vanes” of butterfly wings “make hope/from nothing more than nectar and dust.”

—Floyd Skloot

From Pangaea to pledge drives, “Pedestrains on Roadway” signs to a platypus’ silky pelt, these poems cover terrain, species, and moments too often overlooked. Thankfully, Robert Michael Pyle’s life work as a naturalist means he doesn’t miss much, and his keen observations of the natural and human world are fully in evidence in this fine collection. Here, the reader will find poems ranging from the pleasure of pencil shavings to moving poems written for the poet’s late wife Thea. Pyle’s delight in language and lively wit sound clearly throughout, whether describing a Yuletide smorgasbord or his neighbors: “the Douglases, fir and squirrel; the Townsends, vole and mole.” In the words of the title poem: “What gifts these are.”

—Holly Hughes


About the Author

Robert Michael Pyle

ROBERT MICHAEL PYLE writes essay, poetry, and fiction from an old Swedish farmstead along a tributary of the Lower Columbia River in southwestern Washington. His twenty books include Wintergreen and The Tangled Bank. A Guggenheim Fellow, he has received the John Burroughs Medal and several other writing awards. Pyle’s poems have appeared in magazines including the North American Review, and in a chapbook, Letting the Flies Out. Evolution of the Genus Iris was his first full-length book of poems; Chinook & Chanterelle is his second collection from Lost Horse Press.


Deprivation is to me as daffodils were to Wordsworth.
—Philip Larkin, interview with the London Observer, 1967

That spring we sought the daffodils—
the indigenous little English ones,
restricted now to the Forest of Dean
and a few other spots. The sprouts field
had been plowed before the rain,
and the Bedfordshire clay clung
so thick that we arrived in the wood
several inches taller than we’d begun,
only to find that someone had picked
all the daffodils.

Next spring, big continental daffodils
by the thousands bloomed at Beaulieu,
like solar flares shooting out of Dorset.
Larkin has a point, I guess, that what’s left out
can move the heart as much or more
as what’s left in. But when it comes
to daffodils and love, I stand with Will:
I’ll take surfeit over deprivation every time.