Universe at Your Door - The Slabsides Poets

Universe at Your Door - The Slabsides Poets


Frank Boyer, Dave Holden, Bobbi Katz, Alison Koffler, Will Nixon, Richard Parisio, Kathryn Paulsen, Jo Pitkin, Gretchen Primack, Bertha Rogers, Annajon Russ, Victoria Sullivan and Dayl Wise

Sample Poem

Slabsides: John Burroughs’ Cabin, 
One Hundred Years Later

Drops of snowmelt rattle
from the steep porch roof,
its props of barkless cedar trunks
engraved by beetles,
marked as signposts: something
has passed, something
has not.  The celery patch you drained, cleared,
planted, black muck garden,
now grows red maples, young elms, yellow
birches where your spade struck
deep.  The spring where you drew
living water, clear source, rock-
lipped oracle, is stopped up.  Today
you would be pleased
to see your bark slab-
sided cabin with its fieldstone
chimney still here, perched
on its outcrop.  Peering
in you’d catch
the gleam of sun on yellow birch
walls in the gloom, all the shining
trunks bronze as the day you cut them.
Ashes of your last fire
brood in the stone urn
of the fireplace, its mantel
log vine-carved into spirals.  Tree wart
doorknob waits your open
hand.  Sun lays down new
light, melts old snow at your doorstep.
Today’s a visitor
who finds you home.

Rich Parisio

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This collection of contemporary nature poems, inspired by both the rolling and craggy regions of the Catskill Mountains as well as the rural haunt of John Burroughs, is a faithful remembrance of the 19th century naturalist. The authors of this varied collection all met regularly on or near Burroughs’ front porch deep in the Catskills to enjoy each other’s company and hone their poetic tools – clear language, love of the poetic tradition, and sharp and penetrating observation. While many of the poems offer testaments to the beauty and inspiration found in nature, there are also numerous poems that register an awareness of mortality. This is a wonderful book to carry along on a leisurely hike into the woods – sit down on a comfortable stone and spend an hour reading; if you are in the city, sit in a park or café with these poems and let the celebrations and laments regarding green leaves and bare branches naturize your setting. —Barry Wallenstein is the author of five collections of poetry. Most recent collection of poetry is At the Surprise Hotel and Other Poems, Ridgeway Press, 2016.