Gathered here are twelve original works from essayists, poets, and novelists, both natives and newcomers to the northwest edge of America. These essays and poems, which are autobiographical in nature, invite one to explore the inner and outer landscapes that all writers confront, in the case of the Pacific Northwest, wind-swept coasts, lonely timber towns, and vast, arid deserts. One can range from salt water coasts, to the highest mountains and the driest deserts found anywhere in America.
Shaun T. Griffin is one of Nevada's finest poets. He has published seven books of poetry, three poetry anthologies, and one translation. For many years he has taught a poetry workshop at Northern Nevada Correctional Center and published an annual journal of their work, Razor Wire. In 1995 he received the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and in 2006 was awarded the Rosemary McMillan Lifetime Achievement in Art Award from Sierra Arts Foundation. Humanist, activist, and educator, Shaun Griffin has spent a lifetime building bridges where there were none for all members of the human community. He is the co-founder and director of Community Chest, a non-profit agency serving children and families in northwestern Nevada since 1991, and the former founding director of the state's homeless education office.
Like the Nevada deserts and mountains that shape and inform his sensibility, Shaun Griffin writes poems that are spare and direct, uncluttered by literary flourish or inflated self-regard. His is a struggle not merely to tell the truth, but to embody it. --Sam Hamill
"His poems have the rhythm of the desert wind, searing and cold ... a Nevada loved in its heartbreaking desolation," my daughter Monique said. Shaun Griffin with his long-boned face and wild black hair reminds me of a Celtic barbarian. But there is nothing primitive about the images he provokes ... blond hair, wavering steps and a father's unspoken love for a child son-a setting of clapboard shacks, mine tail- ings, sagebrush and piñon that go together to make my Virginia City, too. --Robert Laxalt
The first thing that strikes me about Shaun Griffin's poems is his choice of words. Again and again, hundreds of times in his new book, the unexpected but exactly right word falls into place, giving the poems both strength of timbre and stability of structure. Then beyond this, and deeper, is his passionate regard for the desert and the mountains and the people who live among them, people close to him. These poems are authentic in every sense of the word, and I believe many readers will be well served by them. --Hayden Carruth