DescriptionDavid Mason was born in Washington State, forty-odd degrees north latitude, and now lives on the Australian island of Tasmania, forty-odd degrees south latitude. That Pacific crossing is the work of a lifetime of devotion and change. The rich new poems of Pacific Light explore the implications of the light as well as peace and its opposing forces. What does it mean to be an immigrant and face the ultimate borders of our lives? How can we say the word home and mean it? These questions have obsessed Mason in his major narrative works, The Country I Remember and Ludlow, as well as his lyric and dramatic writing. Pacific Light is a culmination and a deepening of that work, a book of transformations, history and love, endurance and unfathomable beauty, by a poet "at the height of his powers."
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About the Author
David Mason grew up in Bellingham, Washington and has lived in many parts of the world, including Greece and Colorado, where he served as poet laureate for four years. His books of poems began with The Buried Houses, The Country I Remember, and Arrivals. His verse novel, Ludlow, was named best poetry book of the year by the Contemporary Poetry Review and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. It was also featured on the PBS NewsHour. He has written a memoir and four collections of essays. His poetry, prose, and translations have appeared in such periodicals as the New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The Nation, The New Republic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, and the Hudson Review. Anthologies include Best American Poetry, The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, and others. He has also written libretti for operas by Lori Laitman and Tom Cipullo, all available on CD from Naxos. In 2015 Mason published two poetry collections: Sea Salt: Poems of a Decade and Davey McGravy: Tales to Be Read Aloud to Children and Adult Children. The Sound: New and Selected Poems and Voices, Places: Essays appeared in 2018. Incarnation and Metamorphosis: Can Literature Change Us? appeared in 2022. He lives with his wife Chrissy (poet Cally Conan-Davies) in Tasmania on the edge of the Southern Ocean.
"Mason is a poet defined by place, if it is Southeast Asia on the Pacific Rim or Northwest America, his poems breathe life of the people around him as well as the nature he observes and partakes in." --g emil reutter, North of Oxford
"With narrative clarity, . . . the poet manages to convey the tremulous geologic mystery of the whole world, and the smallness of our place within it. . . . Pacific Light is saturated with a lifetime's worth of reflection, and mature and complex in its expression."--Kjerstin Kauffman, Literary Matters
The sonic pleasures of David Mason's Pacific Light carried me swiftly through this stunningly crafted collection. Each poem is at its best read aloud, the accomplished rhythms emerging as a lilt and ease, a physical pleasure of the human mouth and lungs. These stories, meditations, monologues, and love songs slowly develop an expansive vision of the natural world in which the speaker is observer and participant, a brushstroke in the painting, forever in relationship to memory, to history, and to the Earth. What emerges across these poems is a full life lived in communion; what emerges across these poems is wisdom.
--Jason Schneiderman, author of Hold Me Tight As a poet of America's Pacific Northwest, David Mason has found its mirror reflection in Australia's Southeast. Turned upside down by love, he has learned "to walk upright under the Southern Cross." Generously, he extends his feeling of renewal to all of us and urges us "to let all discovery / teach us to love the globe, that troubled child." In Pacific Light, David Mason, one of our indispensable poets, shares his discovery of a new world--and amazingly, it turns out to be this one.
--Mark Jarman, author of Dailiness and The Heronry In the last stanza of the last poem in David Mason's startling and soulful new book of poems, Pacific Light, the poet writes:
The effort of a life, the wasted hour,
the kind word given to a stranger's child
are understood as kin and disappear.
Time to be grass again. Ongoing. Wild.
This stanza testifies to last things: the last journey, the last shape shifting, the last immigration in a book filled with such arrivals and departures. The formal rigor of the poems--handled with an easy and almost offhand poise--only accentuates the sense of almost constant movement, which is at the heart of the book. This book is the story of a life's deepening and reconfiguration. As such, it both inspires and challenges the reader in ways that only poetry can do. What a pleasure to read a book of poems by a poet at the height of his powers, a poet whose life has been transformed and whose poems are the embodiment of that transformation.
--Jim Moore, author of Underground: New and Selected Poems
"It's not a simple book celebrating his new home; nor is it a book of nostalgia. Pacific Light encompasses the full reach of a life well lived, by any definition."
--Geoff Page, Australian Book Review
David Mason wrote for LARB
David Mason wrote forThe Woven Table