cover image Stars, the Snow, the Fire

Stars, the Snow, the Fire

John Haines. Graywolf Press, $17.95 (200pp) ISBN 978-1-55597-117-5

In these essays Haines, a poet, offers impressions garnered during his years as a homesteader in the Alaskan wilderness. He builds a cabin, makes trails, learns to trap and quietly observes the animals he kills, the snow and the ice, the changes of the seasons and his fellow hunters and trappers, who endure long winters alone. Such men are capable of spending months without human companionship. When they meet, Haines relates, they pass through one another's lives like shadows that quickly retreat into the silent, frozen world. If a man disappears, his absence may be barely noticed. Haines, perfectly content with the solitary life, is not sentimental about any detail of it. His dream-like meditations are as stark and beautiful as winter itself. (May)