Poetry revering waters and forests by former resident Kirk Westphal – Thursday

by beth on October 1, 2018

Kirk Westphal author night flyer

(click to enlarge)

Kirk Westphal will be back at the Southborough Library this week for another Author Night. This time, he will be reading from his book of poetry.

The reading will take place upstairs at the Library this Thursday night, October 4th at 7:00 pm.

If Westphal’s name is familiar, it may be because of his last book, “No Ordinary Game”. The former resident wrote about great sports moments in the lives of ordinary people – with some Southborough connections. (You can read more about that from my 2016 story.)

Since then, Westphal relocated to Stow, where he lives between an orchard and a lake. That ties in to his newly released book – a collection of poetry titled “Bodies of Wood and Water”.

His publisher’s author page explains:

Kirk Westphal’s poetry reflects his life’s work and his reverence for waters and the forests that protect them. He is an environmental consultant who advises government agencies around the world on water management, and who is also currently building a timber frame cabin on a remote trout stream in the hills of Western Massachusetts.

He has won national awards for professional journal articles on water management and is working on another book on the restoration of a small patch of forest. He is a frequent contributor to Dunes Review, and his poems have also appeared in The Road Not Taken and Albatross. He was a winner of the Plein Air Poetry Contest sponsored by the Fruitlands Museum in Massachusetts in 2012 and has read a comic poem about his boyhood idols, the Chicago Cubs, on National Public Radio.

The publisher link does allow you to purchase the book. But, I’d advise holding off until Thursday. Westphal tells me copies he’ll be selling at the Library will benefit Water for People. The charity’s website touts:

2.1 billion people around the world don’t have access to safe water and 4.5 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. Women and children spend more than four hours walking for water each day, and more than 840,000 people die each year from water-related diseases.

Water For People exists to promote the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, accessible to all, and sustained by strong communities, businesses, and governments. We’re working to reach Everyone Forever.

As for the poems, the author shared some reviews:

Kirk Westphal’s collection Bodies of Wood and Water takes a paradoxically solid and fluid place in the canon of American transcendental literature. These poems transcend observational distance and merge an intellectually soulful sensibility with all that it experiences. We become not only one with the world, but also startlingly one with our inexplicable selves. The persona of the humbly assumed “Day’s Work,” sings, “I unfurl into the billow of air/then water then Dark/then me.” Whitman would applaud.

—Jack Ridl, author of Practicing to Walk Like a Heron and Co-recipient of the year’s gold medal for poetry from ForeWord Reviews.

Kirk Westphal’s Bodies of Wood and Water sings one and many meditations. In poem after poem tenderly, exactly, metaphorically, and directly made from the forests, lakes, and rivers of his life, he guides his reader into deeper and deeper layers of wisdom and wonder. Pluck a passage from absolutely any page in the book—“I am the Mobius curve / of a meadowlark’s song / if she whispered it outside / your open window at sunrise”—and that reader will hear a soothing and pitch-perfect music deftly composed of hard-earned experience and indefatigable contemplation.

—D. R. James, author of If god were gentle and Split-Level

Quivering at the sight of a dew-covered blossom, prepare to be undone until your new green shoots become a moss-covered tree. Feel the grain as Westphal woos the nearby stream, dancing with her …

––Mark Daniel Seiler, author of Sighing Woman Tea and River’s Child

The event is free to the public, no registration required.

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