Selected and edited by Christopher Buckley and Gary Young, The Geography of Home brings together the worksof seventy-six important figures in contemporary California poetry,including Philip Levine, Peter Everwine, Mark Jarman, Adrienne Rich, Dennis Schmitz, Carolyn Kizer, Gary Soto, Al Young, Kim Addonizio, Charles Wright, Carol Muske, David St. John, Larry Levis, Robert Hass, Gary Snyder, William Everson, Luis Omar Salinas, Diane Wakoski, Garrett Hongo, Jane Hirshfield, and Brenda Hillman. Through the multiple selections for each poet, we can witness connections to California, visions of the place poets have at one time or other called home. Additionally, the poets have written introductory statements expressly for this anthology that will speak to their history in California, and to the influence of the state on their poetry.

Thoughts on The Geography of Home:

The editors have done an excellent job creating a concise, rich volume of poetry a reader can go to and explore a world seemingly without limits.”

A marvelously diverse pool of poets of many cultures
and writing styles. The audience for this collection is limitless.

A groundbreaking anthology of California poetry.


From the Introduction to The Geography of Home

The Geography of Home, like all geographies, is a landscape of place and of the heart. It is a constellation of sensation and emotion, of objects, scene and events, which find a place in the construct of our imagination and our lives, each one a discreet revelation. Memory is a function of geography. All landscape is a reminiscence of others we have witnessed, imagined or dreamed, and accrues in our consciousness and in the spirit of a place. We embrace the world and are dignified by the circumspection of objects when they take us to heart. Our relationship to the earth and its infinite parcels changes each moment and is rarefied by the nuances of an interrelatedness. The fields, the clouds, the very atmosphere about us metamorphose constantly through the course of each day and through the course of days. They create an algebra of being, and function within a fabric infinite in its diversity yet subject to circumference, which suggests a pattern. We find ourselves there.

The spirit of a landscape, whether a mountain range or a kitchen cabinet, penetrates and invigorates us. The spirit of a place, the spirit in a stone or in glass jars on a window ledge meet our own ineffable spirit and there comes an accord. We respond and deliver in kind the agent that enlivens all bodies, sentient and insentient, living and dead, and through our work pass on the essential force of being which nurtures us all.

From space the earth is a small globe, or a wafer glued to a fathomless black background. Even the stars come to us only hinting at their enormity. We construct boundaries to experience being without losing ourselves in infinity. We look within the boundaries of our work to discover the endless possibilities of our care.

A book is apprehended with the hands as well as the eyes. It insists we participate with our body and so becomes a tool—for instruction, fascination, but primarily for pleasure. Books are sexual, and leafing through them is like passing through a series of love affairs. The pages press one another in a conjugal embrace and we implicate ourselves in a certain violence by parting them, by insinuating ourselves and drinking in the private mysteries there. We vindicate ourselves by making love, by bringing our own spirit to that which has been exposed, and revealing ourselves. We turn the page. One affair is discreetly ended and another begins.

Copyright © 2013 Gary Young - All rights reserved.