Stronger Than the Current is scheduled to be published by The Poetry Box
in February of 2021. This chapbook is a sequel to Mark Thalman's first book
Catching the Limit. The cover is painted by the author.
Mark Thalman sets us working in the wet woods of Oregon. We feel the bark, smell the smoke, hear the saws, and watch as “rain glistens like salmon scales / on the tip of an eagle’s beak.” These vignettes of the 1920s through 60s relive the beauty and passing of a wilder heritage. I was moved and haunted by “Arlington, Oregon, 1956,” where a boy imagines the Columbia rising behind John Day Dam, his mother telling him, “everything will be under water / like the castle in your fishbowl.” And I worried, smiled and cheered for Helen McCready of “Mapleton.” Though she loses her prize tulips to the surging Siuslaw, she ties a rowboat to the porch, remains “stronger than the current” and casts for salmon. These well-crafted poems embody the simple, indestructible beauty of Oregon and its people.
Winner of the Oregon Book Award
These sturdy, brief, plainspoken poems have a distinctive Made-in-Oregon stamp to them. There are logging poems and landscape poems—weather and landscape figure prominently in them—and poems of Oregon history. The Tillamook Burn and Celilo Falls . . . and “Finley’s Pasture” where “four Belgians, ebony titans, long retired, / graze the green pasture.” Modest, quiet poems, unassuming, but rich in substance and detail, like a good meal they stick with you.
Winner of the Oregon Book Award and author of Cathedrals & Parking Lots