Monday, March 4, 2019

Paul Willis*

Paul J. Willis has been a professor at Westmount College for thirty years, and is the former Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, California. He has had two recent experiences as an Artist-in-Residence in the North Cascade Mountains; these have been a significant influence on his two most-recent poetry collections — Deer at Twilight (2018, Stephen F. Austin State University Press) and Little Rhymes For Lowly Plants (2019, Kelsay Books).

As the title of his new book indicates, he has been recently drawn into formally-structured poetry, and has unpretentiously chosen to focus on what he’s found around his feet. There is also a section in this book about matters of faith — including five poems that previously appeared in my anthology Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.

He has now published six collections of poetry, including Say This Prayer Into The Past (2013, Poiema Poetry Series). The following poem is from Little Rhymes For Lowly Plants.

Here and There

-----(Platanus racemose)

The ivory of sycamore
in the winter morning sun
for just an hour. But what a shine.

We too stand up illuminated,
in the valley of the shadow,
losing leaves, and that’s a sign

our roots are meant for higher ground;
though we may grow as splendid oak,
bay, sycamore, we sigh and pine.

—Los Padres National Forest

*This is the fourth Kingdom Poets post about Paul Willis: first post second post, third post.

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.