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Laying By

October 9, 2017


Vince Wixon paints America’s Midwest and Pacific Northwest “weightless.” We go with the poems’ airy, unobtrusive hand and eye—at times we slip in between the realm of ghosts and souls, mother in a coffin, father’s life near its end—juxtaposed with the kitchen table lit up in brilliance. Time and desire, the personal private and the open and infinite are sketched here with a magnificent seeing—a keen wisdom balanced between landscape, family, childhood and the always-oscillating present. Laying By is magnetic, a rare tenderness and a collection of scenes, portraits, and life-roads to be cherished—Bravo!
— Juan Felipe Herrera, United States Poet Laureate 2015-2017

Rich, dark loam figures in the poems that open and close this compelling collection, beginning with a plow turning up earth “oily and black as cinders,” and ending with the image of soil “black as coal.” In between, Vince Wixon’s Laying By offers fertile ground for reverie and epiphany: his meditative and elegiac work is rich with both sensory experience and striking insight.
— Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate 2010-2014


These solid, compact, workmanlike poems, often startling in their simplicity, are a pleasure to read. Ranging from boyhood memories of farm life in the Midwest to mature reflections and observations from a backyard in Oregon, they have both substance and credibility. There is often something mysterious lingering around their edges, like a wisp of smoke or a sudden long-forgotten fragrance.
— Clemens Starck, Oregon Book Award Winner for Poetry


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Vincent Wixon

Vincent Wixon’s previous collections include Blue Moon: Poems from Chinese Lines, The Square Grove, and Seed. For many years he was a scholar in the William Stafford Archives at Lewis & Clark College, and, with former Archives director Paul Merchant, has edited four books by Stafford. In 2014, Vincent and his wife Patty received the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award for contributions to the literary life of Oregon.