Hermit Thrush by Amy Minato reconnects us to the lives of animals and the movement of nature around us. Her poetry is infused with a raw passion and a deep sensuousness. From “Textural”, “Of course a moose/relishes the ooze of mud/in the tender center/of her hoof.//” and “Maybe to a snake/the slide of slick grass/over smooth scales feels/like a careful kiss.//” demonstrates the silky lines of Minato as she sets the poem’s foundation. The images are tactile and easy to imagine, and when reader’s reach the end of the poem, they become as breathless as the narrator waiting for the touch of a lover on their arm.
One of the most erotic poems, “Estuary,” caresses the reader with its language, teasing out the desire for connection from the reader as Minato’s lines weave an image of a new spring sprouting and curling with life, reaching for the mouth of the river in a kiss. It’s beautiful, simply beautiful. Even as love and connection can be lovely and desired, it also can be transient, being snuffed out in a “rain of fire” like those of the “Persieds”.
Even as love and passion turn to sadness and despair, Minato shows us the beauty of loss. From “Lament,” “while salmon lay eggs/on gravel beds in the slow/currents along the shore/and then turn over/onto the glass plate/of water to die.//” Life continues even after we have loved and lost and left generations behind us. It is that moment in which we create that our beauty is revealed to the outside world. Minato has raised the curtain on the seductive fern and the determined spirit of the creative spider, as well as many others in this collection.
There are six sections named after various birds — Sandhill Crane, Mourning Dove, Winter Wren, Scarlet Tanager, Great Horned Owl, and Cedar Waxwing — in Hermit Thrush by Amy Minato. Grab your binoculars and let Minato show you the truth inherent in nature — its beauty, its vices, its creativity, and its exquisite deaths. Each moment is to be savored and to be held in homage.
About the Poet:
Amy Klauke Minato is author of a poetry collection, The Wider Lens, published in 2004 by Ice River Press and a creative nonfiction book, Siesta Lane, published in January 2009 by Skyhorse Press. She holds both an MFA in Creative Writing and an MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon. Her poetry has been recognized with a 2003 Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship and her prose with a Walden Fellowship. Minato’s writing has been published in Wilderness Magazine, Poetry East, Windfall, Cottonwood, Cimarron Review and Oregonian Poetry Corner, among others, and in several anthologies including From Here We Speak: An Anthology of Oregon Poetry and Deer Drink the Moon: Poems of Oregon.
Amy teaches writing in schools through Literary Arts and Community of Writers, and in writing workshops throughout the Pacific Northwest. Amy reviews children’s picture books and young adult novels for Publishers Weekly. She also acts as a private writing coach and tutor. She hails from Chicago, although she and her husband, Joe, and her children Mateo (age 14) and Ruby (age 10) currently split their time between Portland, Oregon and the Wallowa mountains of eastern Oregon.