Fawn Bones

By (author): Richard Sommer

For Richard Sommer the business of a poem is not to persuade to the truth of an idea or to generalize on experience, but to play with the facts of experience and to play one idea against another. An evocative collection, these are poems that offer, in a variety of emotional ranges, a deep sense of the connections between inter human experience, artistic expression, and the natural world. Sommer serves as a volunteer game warden in the Eastern Townships of Quebec during poaching season, a dangerous, but for him, necessary, undertaking. Fawn Bones is, in part, the result of a poet standing between nature and lawlessness.


Richard Sommer

Richard Sommer taught poetry writing at Montreal?s Concordia University for many years, served for three decades as a volunteer game warden in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, and led a citizens? environmental group in a seven-year battle, ultimately successful, to save the Townships? Pinnacle Mountain from developers. Sommer?s previous books of poetry include Homage to Mr. Macmullin, Blue Sky Notebook, left hand mind, Milarepa, The Other Side of Games, Selected and New Poems, Fawn Bones, and The Shadow Sonnets. In 2004 Sommer was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and the verse journal, Cancer Songs, has been an important part of his response to this challenge. He lives on a dirt road outside Frelighsburg with his wife of more than forty years, dance improvisationalist, teacher, and artist Victoria Tansey. They have three grown children, three grandchildren, and currently three cats.


“Sommer’s poems often yoke disparate ideas together in ways that are subtle and elusive. He is most effective when firmly rooted in flesh and blood. In one poem he suggests commemorating the highway deaths of animals by putting up little cardboard signs stating “ANIMAL DEATH HERE,” until the highways are littered with them. In another poem the speaker and a woman examine their bodies and converse intimately, not sexually; an epiphany links flesh to earth in a fashion reminiscent of the Metaphysical poets: I have smelled your skin in the sun itself striking earth and entering. Our conversation ended itself this way, in natural grace and deep sensing. And, of course, never ends.” —Canadian Literature


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Excerpts & Samples ×
Early morning grey mountain fog thickens down over November field grass out past a white and brown clump of stillness aging men, four of us, trudge towards. Our boots soak. This is our job. Slim neck, long head stretch out among the last green blades she came to graze upon. Last night they got her with car, light, gun, left her here under fine rain its tiny drops now glowing poised at each hair’s end. From the curve of her soft nape, a little blood Her eyes are still brown and wide fixed on nothing. I stand facing her belly’s cream fur whorled around four pink nipples fawns have sucked. I grip one ankle We drag her across meadow, grunting swing her up into a muddy pickup bed, wherein two wardens shall convey her, lift her off onto a stack of other does, a hundred, maybe. Back on patrol, Stan beside me behind steamed glasses thinks his own. Now my hands are on cold steering wheel, my breath admits in a catch of pain what I still carry away, still feel: through wet glove tendons and the bones exact shape, exact sensation in palm and fingers as the slim ankle of a lean young girl, a touch lingering for days (and nights) as if love left it there, in my right hand, this hand, here.

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74 Pages
9in * 6in * .26in


August 01, 1986


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Book Subjects:

POETRY / Canadian

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