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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
Late at Night in the Rowboat  
  Donald Junkins

ISBN 978-0-9717265-8-1     $16  /  $20 (Canada)     5.5 x 8.5       

120 pp      
PUB DATE: 2005       Poetry


In these new poems, Donald Junkins again gives his readers the remarkable constructs of precision and voice and craft they have come to expect from him. His formal poise and meditative music convey the reader through highly particularized places and times to numinous Place and Time, always lingering at the crossroads of landscape and inscape. Retracing paths of memory, Junkins leads his readers toward the harbor of true placidity where, through the larger motions of the heart, we stand a chance of loving well the world.

In these poems there may be “homesickness”—or mal du pays, for many homes, many places, many countries, many times, but they will have no truck with mere nostalgia, that sentimental drive to surrender the present to the past. What the poet creates brilliantly here is the essential poetic archeology, sifting the ruins of the past to make sense of the present, and thus an imaginable future.

Readers will discover in these landscapes that are at once achingly real and hauntingly magical, both loss and grace, and renewals that redeem remorse and regret. With something very much like prayerful reverence for exactitude and truth, these poems do what Bergson says art must do—they bring us into our own presence.

—H.R.Stoneback, author of Cafe Millennium and Other Poems


I admire the affection these poems display for the place on Earth in which they occur, and the way in which they constantly refresh that affection.

—Albert Goldbarth


Late at Night in a Rowboat invites the reader into a succession of vivid landscapes, and not incidentally, proves that there’s still life in the sonnet form. Technically, Donald Junkins seems able to do anything. His new collection is a stand-out, one that deserves cherishing.

—X.J. Kennedy, author of The Lords of Mis-Rule


I want to thank you for the gift of your handsome new book. I find your craft often so sure that there is utterly no need to draw the reader’s attention to it. The voice is quiet and serious, the voice of someone speaking to a friend late at night after the rumors of the day have passed. I’m thinking of a poem like “Swan’s Island: Red Point: June 30” and the amazing Duke Ellington poem and the poem about leaving Chico. (Did you ever live in Chico? I get the sense you know that part of the West.) I was very moved by the poem to Roland Winslow Junkins who I assumed was likely your older brother. Such poems are so hard to write without falling into . . . the place you don’t want to fall.

American poetry has in the last fifteen or twenty years veered so far into stagecraft, grand opera, pure nonsense, deliberate obscurity passing for profundity that it was incredibly refreshing to read poems sculpted out of life, memory, and language, poems that could simply stop when what they had to say had been said. I hope this collection gets the attention it deserves.

—Philip Levine

About the Author

Donald Junkins

Donald Junkins is a winner of the New Letters poetry award, and has been the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants. His poems have appeared in nine anthologies including American Anthology/2 (selected by Anne Sexton) and The New Yorker Book of Poems. Major reviews of his poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Sewanee Review, and The New York Times Book Review. Junkins’ translation of Euripides’ Andromache appears in the Penn Greek Drama Series, and he translated with Amiya Chakravarty, A Tagore Reader. His own poems have been translated into French, Ukrainian, and Chinese. He lives in Deerfield, Massachusetts with his wife, Kaimei Zheng, with whom he has translated a volume of Li Bai’s (Li Po) poems. His sixteen line definition of a New Englander appears in John Murray’s A Gentleman Publisher’s Commonplace Book. Junkins is the poetry editor of the North Dakota Quarterly.


Finalist for ForeWord Magazine's 2006 Poetry Book of the Year


I caught alewives
with my hands
in the concrete troughs
easing Lily Pond down

to the Saugus River,
and spread them
on the grass like knives
glistening in the sun

glistening in the kitchen light
on Saturday night
spread headless on the Lynn Item
bones and soft-flesh

in the photograph,
knuckles on the trough slime
finger touch, the brush
of tail, the rush

of shadows gone.

©2005 Donald Junkins