Selected Poems [Norman Macleod]
When Ahsahta Press published its first book in 1975, the poet selected by press founder and editor Tom Trusky to kick off the list was Norman Macleod. Macleod, born in 1906, had been published in some of the leading periodicals of his day and also produced several novels. After fifty years of writing, teaching, and publishing, his poetry had become largely unknown to contemporary readers. The editors of Ahsahta Press sought out a representative body of Macleod’s work and presented Selected Poems as the inaugural publication of the then-burgeoning press. More than a quarter-century later, contemporary readers still have the opportunity to read and appreciate Norman Macleod for his writing, his contributions to the literature of the western United States, and for his place in Ahsahta Press history.
The full text of Norman Macleod’s Selected Poems is stored at Albertson LIbrary at Boise State University, and can be downloaded here. The book is out of print.
Evening Above the Snake
At Weiser our sweaters were a sunset for the evening
As we leaned against the railings of the bridge
Over the Snake River. The park on the island
Was a wanness of electric lights, and the bushes
Were a distillation of love. We were tired
Of shooting bee-bee guns and were too young to drink.
We smoked cigarettes as a gesture of manhood
And bolstered the breast with our breath,
Proud of our prowess in athletics. It must have been risky
To pass the blaze of our sweaters at dark.
Copyright © 1975 by Norman Wicklund Macleod
This biographical material is from the book's preface by Tom Trusky.
Norman Wicklund Macleod was born in Salem, Oregon, in 1906. Today, nearly seventy years later, he resides on the other side of the continent, in Pembroke, North Carolina, where he teaches at Pembroke State University and edits Pembroke Magazine.
For over fifty years, Macleod's contributions to literature have been noteworthy. His poetry has been published in the most important periodicals here and abroad; he has founded and/or edited some of the leading "Little Maqazines" of the century in America and Europe; he has published several novels; and he has encouraged numerous literary hopefuls as founder of the New York City Poetry Center and as a teacher at a number of schools and universities.
Although Macleod's published volumes of verse are available from Xerox University Microfilms, these volumes do not contain all of the poems Macleod has published in periodicals or in anthologies. And, many of the poems in these volumes have been revised in Macleod's unpublished collection of old and new verse entitled Adam's Off Ox.
From his published volumes and his verse contained in periodicals and anthologies, as well as the works in his unpublished manuscript, the poet has graciously allowed the Ahsahta Press to select the 33 poems which comprise this collection. With few exceptions, the editor has chosen to print the most recent version of a given poem, i.e., that found in Adam's Off Ox. These selected poems have been synthetically grouped in order to correspond with the poet's life, specifically, his domiciles in the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, Europe, and the East Coast. This method of grouping, of course, often provides only a superficial coherence, for it does not always indicate precisely when a particular poem was composed. For example, the last poem, "The Coffin of Print," was written in the 1930's, while most of the other poems in Section IV were written in Washington, D.C.,
However, until we have the volume we really need, the Collected Poems of Norman Macleod, it is our hope that the Selected Poems will allow readers to appreciate, at least to some degree, the unique talents and accomplishments of this poet from the West.
Boise State University