The Departure of Wolf brings together all the poems contained in ten of the eleven chapbooks in my Sun Series, spanning the period between January 2016 and January 2018. Each section of this compilation corresponds to a chapbook. Only Sun Series #5, “Four Sides of the Sun,” has been omitted. The four, seven-part poems in that work are closely integrated with illustrations by Molly Nagel in a fashion that doesn’t lend itself to the present format.
The inception of the Sun Series occurred at a time in my life that was filled with joyous love and a wonderful new home in New Mexico adorned with many representations of the Sun. At that point, my relationship with the Wolf Spirit was strong. But as the seasons progressed, relationships in my life changed with some key people close to me, with my declining confidence in our political system, and with the Wolf Spirit itself. A darker tone became more prominent in the poems that emerged, to the degree that after Sun Series #11, the next chapbook I created: “Is This the Stuff of the Fourth Dream?” initiated my new Moon Series.
I also finally realized that the Wolf Spirit was no longer a major presence in my life, a shift that had likely been underway for quite some time. That recognition was the inspiration behind the book’s namesake poem, which can be found in Sun Series #11.
As has been true since the poems of “This Wildest Year,” almost all of the poems herein came together in a nearly spontaneous fashion. One exception that I’d like to mention has to do with my fascination with abecedaria. These alphabetical word puzzles are fun to play with and take time to assemble. Over the years, all but one of mine have been 23 words long, beginning with an A-word and ending with a W-word. However, inspired by the fine poems of D.G. Jones, I crafted “All 26,” my only 26-word abecedarium to date. You can find it in Sun Series #6.
Another small group of poems that deserve a brief note are my “Mixed Messages.” They are a form of blackout poetry where all the words are found on advertising signs in CyRide buses, and the order of lines is dictated by the physical arrangement of those signs.
Moving from the words to the interspersed images, I’ve included twelve images of pine bark. For much of my life, I didn’t give pines their due respect, but, in my retirement, I’ve spent considerable time hiking through western pine forests and have gained a new appreciation. Their trunks are often beautiful and can tell many silent stories. I’ve chosen some of my favorite pine-bark photos to serve as meditative breaks, allowing you some extra space and time for contemplation between poems.
I sincerely hope that some of the insights that emerged through these changes in my life will resonate with you.