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HORSETAIL, Woodley Memorial Press, 2000, 69 pp.

$7.00 $5.00

Horsetail is a collection of poems culled from Levering’s experiences working in a grain elevator in Kansas and as a groundskeeper in Oregon. It is as much about plants, “whose shadows swing the day around,” as the people who tend and harvest them, which come together in a love poem at the county fair. The poems go underground, to the where roots “plumb/ the archives of mountain duff and stardust”; they go up on a ladder with an orchard pruner, whose eye is much on clearing the language as snipping off water shoots. The poems follow in the wake of a rose gardener, from whose wheelbarrow, “streams of old rose petals/flow down the ravine/like molten metal.” Also included are an ode to the great greenhouse poet Theodore Roethke, a lament for a clearcut forest, and visions of harvests of Kansas wheat and Arizona cotton.

Donald Levering writes of the borderland, the land between the wilderness and civilization, that special province of great American writers…His writing, like that of Henry David Thoreau, abounds in physical details, and he uses them, like Thoreau, as stepping stones to the spiritual life…

From the forward by Victor Contoski

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Horsetail is a collection of poems culled from Levering’s experiences working in a grain elevator in Kansas and as a groundskeeper in Oregon. It is as much about plants, “whose shadows swing the day around,” as the people who tend and harvest them, which come together in a love poem at the county fair. The poems go underground, to the where roots “plumb/ the archives of mountain duff and stardust”; they go up on a ladder with an orchard pruner, whose eye is much on clearing the language as snipping off water shoots. The poems follow in the wake of a rose gardener, from whose wheelbarrow, “streams of old rose petals/flow down the ravine/like molten metal.” Also included are an ode to the great greenhouse poet Theodore Roethke, a lament for a clearcut forest, and visions of harvests of Kansas wheat and Arizona cotton.

Donald Levering writes of the borderland, the land between the wilderness and civilization, that special province of great American writers…His writing, like that of Henry David Thoreau, abounds in physical details, and he uses them, like Thoreau, as stepping stones to the spiritual life…

From the forward by Victor Contoski