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Chopping Wood in the Moonlight

May 8, 2021



“When most of us retreated from the outside world in 2020, we had time to step back, to contemplate, to mourn, and to hope. Ken Letko’s poems explore the range of this experience, filtering the external world through interior contemplation. From the candor of loneliness in “My Shield of Shadows”: “…without/disappointments/some days I’d have/no appointments at all,” to the celebration of a solitary moment in the forest, “the deer/become ferns/next to red alders,” (“Bright Angel”), these poems encourage us to look deeper into our everyday experiences of the world, to move into a space of hopefulness, and breathe again.” —Kris Bigalk, Minneapolis, Minnesota



“These lively, imaginative poems make for easy reading. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes profound, but always unpunctuated, they range in reference from Norman Rockwell to Carl Jung and celebrate what one poem’s title calls “Mundane Excitement.” Not all wood-choppers are connoisseurs of firewood, but Ken Letko is.” —Clemens Starck, Dallas, Oregon



“Ken Letko’s poetry occupies the cold places: the Wisconsin woods and California’s Northern Coast. Reading Ken’s words is a walk through nature reminiscent of Gary Snyder. At that same time, Ken’s good humor and unconventional take on what he sees—a deer and an alder tree merge in one line of verse—make this accessible to readers no matter what the temperature is where they enjoy his poems.” —John Bell, Sacramento, California


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Ken Letko

Ken Letko teaches at the College of the Redwoods. He grew up on the seasonal rhythms of Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay. Travel in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, Ecuador, and China globalized his awareness of the natural world and diverse cultures. For the last 25 years, he has lived in the magical intersection of ocean, redwoods, and mountains in Del Norte County on California’s far Northern coast. He spent part of last summer as a fire lookout on Red Mountain in the Siskiyou Range. Ken’s poems have appeared in five chapbooks and numerous small-press journals and anthologies.