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Spear-Fishing on the Chatanika: New & Selected Poems

Spear-Fishing on the Chatanika: New & Selected Poems

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Spear-Fishing on the Chatanika: New and Selected Poems is the culmination of over forty years of writing by the distinguished Alaskan poet, John Morgan.

It opens with a gathering of recent work, ranging from poems of family and travel to explorations of landscape, dream and history. Generous selection from Morgan's three previous books (each of which was chosen for publication in a national competition in the U.S.) follow, and the collection concludes with a moving sequence dealing with his son Ben's near-fatal coma due to encephalitis and the long term consequences of that illness.

"These poems are strong and full of carefully controlled feeling. They are tender and precise evocations of the moral and sensory life of man."
Annie Dillard

"Morgan demonstrates that he understands the complexity and the enormous possibilities of the free-verse line. These poems are exposed, rich with affirmation, and always genuine."
Bruce Weigl, Choice

"Morgan uses ordinary surfaces to reveal depth. His language and images are precise, his pace seductive. In its movement from ruminations on death toward ruminations on love, Walking Past Midnight is a sad and joyful book, and a comforting one."
Lynn Domina, The Northwest Review

"Morgan is capable of a stunning combination of delicacy and scalpel wielding."
The Anchorage Times

"These are swirling poems that leave one slightly dizzy, but asking for more." James Cervantes, Porch

"Most of the poems in Walking Past Midnight are set in Alaska; most are illuminated by a light and a vision made strange and beautiful by geography. It is no wonder that the big themes—stasis and flux, history, personality, and knowledge—should find expression in the imagery such geography provides. Morgan is a first-rate poet; he is also what many poets should be—a very good writer."
Thomas Rabbitt

Born in New York City, John Morgan studied with Robert Lowell at Harvard, where he won the Hatch Prize for Lyric Poetry. At the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, he was awarded the Academy of American Poets' Prize. In 1976, he moved with his family to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he built a home overlooking the Tanana River, with a long view south to the Alaska Range. Morgan has won the Discovery Award of the New York Poetry Center (92nd Street Y), held a John Atherton Scholarship at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and was a fellow at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, and many other magazines, as well as in more than twenty anthologies. He recently served as the first writer-in-residence at Denali National Park in Alaska.