|About the Book|
Met Joe at a reading we did in Des Moines. This brought me back to the kind of poetry that let me into poetry--Phil Levine, man-y, work stuff. What turned me away from these kinds of poems was that post-Levine lyric narrative about work mostly became grandpa on a hill poems, where the writer is looking for significance in family lore, romanticizing the physical labor of previous generations, etc. Or simply gazing at the contemporary laborer and saying how hard and bright and clear everything is. Wilkins comes from a place of visceral engagement--where the work and landscape are not simply known of, but occupied by the writer--and it often shows in those poems about the familial sheep ranch, distinguishes them. Just the kind of thing to encounter in Des Moines.