|Don Thompson is perhaps Kern County's leading living poet. Although not published until later in life, his work has garnered regional and national praise. The following is an excerpt from a front page 2010 L.A. Times profile:
"Thompson's poems tend to be lyrically charged, highly personal meditations based on a lifelong immersion in Central California's agricultural landscape -- "flatlands with no skyline / except a few silos" and "furrows, straight and narrow," grapevines "snarled in their own freedom" and hawks "at ease in the emptiness."
If such phrases suggest the natural innocence of a warm-climate Robert Frost, Thompson is no more a sage of the simple life than -- well, Frost himself, or William Stafford, whose penetrating eye for country places led Thompson to write, as he says, "about how the landscape lives.""
NOTE: Although the following Don Thompson chapbooks are not available online, we do have copies on-hand at our office. Call us at 661-665-4686 to order.
1. Keeping and Eye on the Stones (2014) $12
2. St. Egret (2013) $5.00
3. Where We Live (2009) $10.00
4. Turning Sixty (2008) $9.00
5. Been There, Done That (2002) $9.00
If there was an official poet laureate of the West, Don Thompson would be my choice. For four decades he has reminded us what it means to be alive out here, coping with a world we do not fully understand. In Local Color, he employs an original format to present, as usual, wonderful word-pictures.
In Everything Barren will be Blessed the images are immediate and memorable, of hot Southern California valleys and desert populated with wild and civilized life-coyotes, hawks, egrets, pistachio and almond groves, humans: "Crows never make excuses, / unlike us-but like us / complain bitterly about their blessings." These poems remind us of the significance of water, the importance of our relation