James Richardson

Winner of the The Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award in 2007

Northwest Passage


That faint line in the dark
might be the shore
of some heretofore unknown
small hour.

This fir-scent on the wind
must be the forests
of the rumored month
between July and August.


line

Matthea Harvey on James Richardson

"Northwest Passage" seems to set out as a simple act of looking ("That faint line in the dark / might be the shore") but quickly swerves into impossible sights and sensings. We learn that hours have shores and months have forests, and that there are more of both categories (hours and months) than we may have thought before. In this modest-seeming poem, James Richardson shatters the known so deftly and delicately we barely notice the dismantling. That sounds Dickensonian to me.

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