Tag Archives: idaho

wallace, idaho

Wallace Chapbook CoverGoodreads_icon_50x50

The centennial of the 1910 fire that consumed millions of acres across the Inland Northwest took me back to my gritty little starting point — Wallace, Idaho. My Bhutanese goddaughter, Tshering Hartman, kept me company. We attended lectures, took “mine” tours, hiked up to Ed Pulaski’s cave refuge from that holocaust. We walked backstreets where I saw ghosts: myself finishing second in a breaststroke competition from the bleachers by the now closed swimming pool. My father emerging from ASARCO’s office on his way home for dinner. A runaway packhorse trotting by my home one early fall morning.

Those memories and Wallace’s hidden history inundated me for months as I began to write the poems that would make it more comprehensible. The visit led me to read Timothy Egan’s The Big Burn, Elers Koch’s Forty Years a Forester, Gregg Olsen’s The Deep Dark and J. Anthony Lukas’ Big Trouble. My ignorance of Wallace’s history astounded me. That astonishment eventually culminated in a series of poems that incorporate my childhood into the area’s larger story, including memories like this from “Hook Houses”

every 12-year-old charged
with selling something to benefit anything
knew     like the Lord’s Prayer
the first steps you climbed led to brothel doors

The poems were published by World Enough Writers as a chapbook in November, 2012 and have been well received since. Copies can be ordered directly from me at lbeeman@whidbey.com.

Copyright 2012 Linda L. Beeman

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Poet Beginning

Talk about green. An inch-long Pacific Tree frog hides on a hydrangea leaf.

Talk about green. An inch-long Pacific Tree frog hides on a hydrangea leaf.

Thank you for stopping by my poetry site. I’m honored and delighted you are interested in my work.

I first began writing poetry in junior high school. It was thonking awful stuff. My first poem about Scotland went The Roman armies long ago/conquered most of the land/they could not conquer the northern part/because of barbarian bands. Several decades passed before I came back to the genre.

I woke up in 1994 with the lines to a second poem running in my mind. It was a prayer, really, written during a stressful marriage collapse. I longed for peace, solace and wrote Green:

Dripping, pendulous, saturated green,
luxuriant forest.
Enfold me in your caterpillar moss mysteries,
lull me with languid cicada sounds.
Make canopies of emerald,
            caverns of malachite,
            jade cascades.
Show me all your secret places
and anoint my sleep with Rousseau-like dreams
of green.

It actually won the Whidbey Island Writers’ Association Spirit of Writing prize for poetry. Overly encouraged, I began writing all sort of drivel about my new home in Puget Sound’s pewter world. Next local poet Lorraine Healy was good enough to include me in her Monday morning group, and I started to learn something about my craft.

Copyright 1994 Linda L. Beeman