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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
What Next, Old Knife?  
  David Axelrod

ISBN 978-0-9839975-6-6     $16.95  /  $18 (Canada)     5.5 x 8.5       

96 pp      
PUB DATE: Spring 2012       Poetry


David Axelrod’s work is deeply informed by history, religion, and culture, but it never loses the music and magic of true poetry. What Next, Old Knife? has an Old World depth and elegance, but also a fresh currency that is wry, often ironic and vividly surprising in the way it discovers new territory. Learned and lyrical, sensuous and cerebral, speaking as sharply, usefully and dangerously as a trusted knife, this is a great book of poetry.

—Henry Hughes, author of Moisture Meridian

[Axelrod’s poems are] a moving journey into a landscape where we are all pilgrims making our way down dark roads in search of some transcendent moment that may never occur, yet the will to keep traveling impels us ever forward until we reach a kind of solace and release.

—Ai, author of Dread


About the Author

David Axelrod

David Axelrod has published five collections of poems, The Jerusalem of Grass (Ahsahta), two limited-editions of long poems, The Kingdom at Hand and The Chronicles of the Withering State (Ice River), Departing by a Broken Gate (Wordcraft of Oregon), and The Cartographer’s Melancholy (Eastern Washington University Press), which won the Spokane Prize and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. He also has published a collection of cultural and environmental essays about the rural Northwest, Troubled Intimacies (Oregon State University Press). His poems and essays appear regularly in literary magazines, including New Letters, Boulevard, Alaska Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, Quarterly West, River Styx, Tampa Review, Hubbub, Willow Springs, Mississippi Review, Malahat Review, The Prose Poem, among others. Along with his wife, Jodi Varon, he edits basalt: a journal of fine & literary arts. He has lived in La Grande, Oregon since 1988, where he teaches literature and creative writing at Eastern Oregon University.



VIDEO TRAILER OF What Next, Old Knife?


Stuffed inside the boot
of a sedan with faulty exhaust
and gassed by fumes,

I crawled out an hour later
a little overripe. Lost my senses.
Allowed them to shove me around

the little circle they formed,
slapping me with turnip greens
yanked up from a field.

In the door of the barn
the farmer watched,
but what concern was it of his

if they locked me inside a sty
full of sickly-looking fowl?
I just crumpled into goose shit.

“Jack,” I pleaded,
to the one who rode shotgun,
but Jack shrugged. After all,

didn’t they bring me to the border?
Hadn’t we agreed?
What did I expect, a discount?