Stronger Than the Current
by Mark Thalman
Scheduled Release Date: Feb 16, 2021
In Stronger Than the Current, Mark Thalman describes the dangerous work of logging in the early 1900’s, and the hardships these Oregonians faced. Thalman then continues the historic journey with poems depicting important historical events: the drowning of Celilo Falls, the hurricane known as the Columbus Day Storm, and the Tillamook Forest Fire—powerful as a hydrogen bomb. Many of the poems reveal how residents are resilient to the weather. Helen McCready keeps a rowboat tied to her front porch because of winter floods. Another person watches goats and uses them as a barometer to predict the daily forecast. The Tillamook feast in their lodges while telling stories of the widow who cannot stop crying. These lyrical poems paint memorable landscapes, Sage grows low so wind can go where it wants—whistling through wire fences.
These sturdy, brief, plainspoken poems have a distinctive Made-in-Oregon stamp to them. There are logging poems and landscape poems—weather and landscape figure prominently in them—and poems of Oregon history. The Tillamook Burn and Celilo Falls . . . and “Finley’s Pasture” where “Four Belgians, ebony titans, long retired,/ graze the green pasture.” Modest, quiet poems, unassuming, but rich in substance and detail, like a good meal they stick with you.
—Clemens Starck, Oregon Book Award Winner and author of Cathedrals & Parking Lots
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