“…an ambitious and admirable trove of poems.”
Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita
Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita
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Advanced Praise for Ghost Town Odes:
“When I started reading Matt Schumacher’s poems, I had no idea I’d be getting a lesson in Pacific Northwest history. But what a lesson! From the farcical gold mine at Bourne, Oregon, in the 1800s, to the native villages clustered along the Columbia riverbank before enormous dams built during the last century flooded Celilo Falls, Matt writes with great sensitivity and knowledge of his subjects. Vivid images fuel the imagination with a longing for what once was. Matt knows his history and his poems reflect his research. The collection goes superbly on: There are “The Deep Creek Yuan Gui Speak their Grievance,” “Ballad of a Basque Sheepherder,” and many more, all poignant and delightful, not just for those who appreciate well-written poetry, but also for those who want to learn more about the region’s colorful—and too often tragic—history.”
—R. GREGORY NOKES, author of
Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon
and Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory
“In the tradition of Odas Elementales, the poems in Matt Schumacher’s Ghost Town Odes resonate with insight and a sensory exuberance that revels in natural complexity and this chance we have to live on Earth. Sandwiched between lively and visionary pieces grounded in Schumacher’s life, the ghost odes are a mythohistorical motherlode in which narrative lyricism serves as a medium for settlers and tribespeople whose presence can be said to still reside in the West (particularly Oregon). In the odes, places come to life, seen through eyes of former inhabitants who, conjured up, share perspectives and values they held to. Throughout this collection is an indomitable generosity of spirit accompanied by considerable associative facility that communicates intrinsic importance of human and ecological realities.”
—JAMES GRABILL, author of Sea Level Nerve (Book One)
and Sea Level Nerve (Book Two)
“With a title like Ghost Town Odes, a reader might expect Matt Schumacher’s latest poetry collection to be an extended consideration of loss: lost places, lost lives, lost stories and histories. To be sure, that sort of loss is tallied here. Cemeteries live on sans their antecedent towns, and even the postscripts are ghosts, forgotten or unwritten. But in all this necessary tallying, there’s more than straight-line elegy. There’s celebration, too, of the things we too often ignore. Here, the backdrops are brought into the foreground; the heretofore unheard voices of the Pacific Northwest’s so-called Manifest Destiny are heard. Most of all, the gray-green flora and fauna of lower Cascadia—where so many of these poems are set, where all this history happened, or was dreamed—shines in a lapidary, liquid light that puts all our newfangled neon to shame.”
—TJ BEITELMAN, author of Americana and Communion: Stories
“In this rich and remarkably inclusive collection, Matt Schumacher renders forgotten towns un-forgotten. With vivid imagery and music, he re-members, he re-embodies them onto pages of a poetic atlas. Here, a grateful reader also discovers tales about saloons and cemeteries, Great Plains buffalo and a pot-bellied pig, wild huckleberries and the bits of wedding cake fed to a deer. In one of the book’s four sections, Schumacher offers epistolary persona poems that give a panoply of candid and often wrenching histories, laments, confessions, and revelations. The chronological and geographical scope of this collection is impressive. Ghost Town Odes holds an ambitious and admirable trove of poems."
—PAULANN PETERSEN, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita
and author of The Voluptuary and Understory
About the Author
Matt Schumacher, a former graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, University of Maine Poetry and Poetics Program and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Ph.D. Program in English, serves as poetry editor for the journal Phantom Drift, and lives in Portland, Oregon. His other poetry collections include Spilling the Moon (Wordcraft of Oregon, 2008), The Fire Diaries (Wordcraft of Oregon, 2010), and favorite maritime drinking songs of the miraculous alcoholics (Finishing Line Press, 2015).