Late Fall Bucolics
by Anne Coray
Anne Coray, as a lifelong Alaskan, is keenly aware of the climate change. The 24 sonnets of Late Fall Bucolics explore global warming and examine the aftermath of fire through Greek myth as well as the history of match making, with its devastating effects on factory workers. With nods to DaVinci and Matisse, she weaves in themes of art with her idea that humans are painting (or remaking) our earthly landscape. Many of these poems were not only inspired by poets such as Blake, Neruda, and Plath, but also pay homage to today’s young activists, such as Greta Thunberg.
About the Author
Anne Coray is the author of the novel Lost Mountain (West Margin Press) as well as three poetry collections—Bone Strings, A Measure’s Hush, and Violet Transparent. She is also the coauthor of Crosscurrents North: Alaskans on the Environment.
The recipient of fellowships from the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Rasmuson Foundation, she divides her time between her birthplace on remote Lake Clark (Qizhjeh Vena) and the coastal town of Homer, Alaska.
Early Praise for Late Fall Bucolics:
I’ve been an admirer of Anne Coray’s tough, lively nature poems for many years. In Late Fall Bucolics the natural world again takes center stage, a planet especially raw, turbulent, and angry, as if lashing out in its own last defense. These poems chart an elemental storm of fire and ice, of seasons out of whack, a terrain under siege by human ignorance. “All will burn, but how magnificent the color.” Woven throughout is a complementary examination of landscape painting (by amateur and master alike)—the inadequacy of art’s mimicry offset by the compulsion to witness, to fix on canvas some testimony to the terrible beauty that is quickly and forever passing. Ms. Coray seems energized by the parameters and possibilities of the sonnet in this linked sequence, and despite her contention that it is “too late/ For remedy,” the consistent flashes of play here, the continual linguistic energy, and most centrally the poet’s enduring gaze—even at her own culpability—create a voice urgent and desirous, perhaps even hopeful, that “something remains of place.”
—Gaylord Brewer, author of Worship the Pig
Late Fall Bucolics ranges through space and time, looking out toward peaks and back toward industrial history, connecting wool mittens in the closet with the shaved heads of chimney sweeps to ever-quickening looms to the “modern blanket” of our warmed planet. Sonnets and bucolics are both satisfying forms: recognizable modes of making music that add another layer of resonance when a reader considers their origins in relation to contemporary use. What does Stratford-upon-Avon or Ancient Greece have in common with Western Alaska? Well… love, patterning, attunement to the cycles of the more-than-human world. In Anne Coray’s sonnets, loss of a known pattern of seasons is as heartbreaking as any other love lost. Late Fall Bucolics thrums with art, fire, warmth, the embers of autumn-upon-winter in the hearth and landscape—and how to grapple with our place in the Anthropocene.
—Elizabeth Bradfield, author of Toward Antarctica