Seasons in the Ravine, 2017, By PJ Laska



Seasons in the Ravine adds to the assembly of classical Chinese and Japanese imagery adopted, adapted, and elaborated by contemporary American poets, like Gary Snyder and–some would argue by Appalachian poets especially compellingly. A master of the poetic conventions assoicated with this body of work, Laska uses and refuses the conventions with ease. His pastoral log cabin is set in the middle of town, and he writes from a ravine, rather than the romantic heights of a mountain. His landscape is up-close, filled with leaves, trees, wind, sun, and rain, along with the clutter of trash tossed over the hillside. Punctuating his own passages with ‘wall poems’ by Basho and others, Laska critiques and, in a sense, overcomes the dualism of ugliness and beauty, encouraging us to love them fully, enjoying and protesting, no matter how heavy the odds.”

                                                                                           –Edwina Pendarvis