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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
The Book of Shadows  
  Carlos Reyes

ISBN 978-0-9800289-6-6     $21  /  $26 (Canada)     5.5 x 8.5       

260 pp      
PUB DATE: Fall 2009       Poetry


Over the years Carlos Reyes has written poems of the highest order and it’s a pleasure to see so many of them gathered together in The Book of Shadows. This is a necessary book that clearly shows the author’s deep humanity and his sophisticated skill; like all first-rate work it returns our lives to us. In poem after poem readers are given those quick shocks of recognition which make them say, Yes, this is the way it is! Such an important contribution to our literature deserves to be recognized and honored by everyone who cares about the art of poetry.

—Vern Rutsala


Mr. Reyes is one of our local and national treasures. His poetry is as clear and strong as his social conscience. One is always struck by his sensual and sensory qualities: the touch, taste, feel, color of things, and his ability to capture a mood, a world, in a handful of lines.

—Carolyn Kizer, judge’s comments from A Suitcase Full of Crows (1995); Finalist for 1996 Oregon Book Awards (1996)


Of the many strange, tangy things that happen in the Northwest, Carlos Reyes is a connoisseur. He saves up glimpses and smells like little cameos and jewels for his poems. Entering his book is like beginning a tour of the country, a walk through the woods, a trip along aromatic trails; the smell of cedar and the drip of water are with you. Far scenes are brought in with a zoom lens, and the Reyes flavor of living and recollecting is laced gracefully through page after page of surprise and recognition blended into insight.

—William Stafford, from The Shingle Weaver’s Journal (1980)

About the Author

Carlos Reyes

Poet and translator Carlos Reyes lives and writes in Portland, Oregon when he is not traveling. He travels a lot, and whether he journeys to Panama, Spain, Alaska or Ireland, those experiences inspire and inform his poetry. In 2007 he was honored with a Heinrich Böll Fellowship, which gave him two weeks to write on Achill Island, Ireland. He has had fellowships to Yaddo and the Fundación Valparaíso (Mojåcar, Spain). He was poet-in-residence in 2009 at the Lost Horse Ranger Station in the Joshua Tree National Park.


The wages were low
I didn’t work there long

Between jobs
as a construction laborer

My union was out on strike
so rather than scab

I scoured the want ads:
the job was only one of two

I ever found in the paper

Each morning I came in
after the free roaming Dobermans

were put back in their kennels
and swept up their leavings

Mixed in with cedar shavings
I likened the aroma to sacrificial incense

so I never crossed the transom
into the other room

never looked a coffin in the eye



Until wine spills over the silver rim of sky’s bowl,
Until our eyes are red as night’s foolish ink,

Until the wind’s music will have no more of song,
As we fight to keep our sea legs, until Polaris dances.