Back Cut Paperback / softback
by Ann Spiers
Paperback / softback
The poems in Back Cut are set in the Pacific Northwest, particularly Washington State.
The time is immediately after WWII, when the heyday of logging and harvesting razor clams has passed and people eke out a living on what is left of these natural resources.
Back Cut is a love story. Through alternating monologues, husband and wife reveal themselves.
He is a veteran who fought in Europe and now battles addiction.
She has largely withdrawn from family and community.
The narrative contrasts the romantic view of the fabled rain forest and mythic ocean with the reality of being human in the Northwest grays and rains.
Solitary humans have little power in the face of dominant nature.
In these poems husband and wife are dedicated to an abiding love lived out on a fretwork of personal disquiet.
The couple's inner thoughts and feelings and the physical environment are detailed with both woe and humor.
The poems describe living in a cabin, lighting a wood stove, jarring clams, digging potatoes, helping neighbors, cutting floral greens, sitting in a tavern, and touching each other.
To the husband and wife, each sensual detail can be a prick or a joy.