Author Linda Buckley’s collection of poetry celebrates life in Alaska
There aren’t too many hats that prolific local artist Linda Buckley hasn’t worn; from being a retired Juneau educator to an environmental activist and songwriter to a published author and world traveler. His most recent addition to the long list of accomplishments is a recently published book of poetry titled “Made of Rain: Words From the Wilds of Alaska”.
Perhaps best known for her two popular children’s books, ‘The Bear in the Blueberry’ and ‘The Humpback in the Herring’, this latest attempt sees Buckley deviate from educating children about science and interdependence. of nature and instead finds her dusting off and using poems she has been collecting for over 40 years.
“I have so many boxes full of so many stories and I’ve traveled all over the world, and I have travel journals, so I took a class during COVID called Manuscript Clan with a poet from Colorado named Judith Hill, she had met me about six years before at a writing conference, and she selected about 30 of us to help us get our poems out into the world,” Buckley said.
This book also marks the first time she has not been self-published, as Buckley explained, through her chance encounter with Hill, she found not only a publisher but also a publisher.
“Judith and my designer, Mary Mead, both started a publishing company called Wild Rising Press in Colorado and I’m the first book they published,” Buckley said. “Judith is one of those writers that makes you feel like a superstar. She’ll make those suggestions that always make the piece better. I’m a fast writer, so I hit a poem and want it to be right there, but then she’ll say, ‘yeah, it’s there…but it could be better, though.
Although having seen much of the world at the age of 75, you will not find poems about his adventures in India, West Africa, Myanmar in this particular collection because “Made of Rain” is purely an ode to Southeast Alaska, the place Buckley has lived for half a century. Told through the style of prose and storytelling rather than rhyme, Buckley said these pieces mostly came from small bits of yellow legal paper or even napkins scrawled in cafes; his poems often reflect not only experiences in Alaska, but also the lessons that come with them.
“There’s a whole track in there about shooting my first deer and then the track right after is called ‘Revenge of the Deer’ because my tooth fell out of a piece of venison stuck between my tooth and my gum,” Buckley said. “I found another piece I had written on a boat trip from Prince Rupert to Bellingham called ‘My Face is a Nautical Chart’. I completely forgot it existed, so I rewrote it and called it “Navigation”. It’s about how, as you get older, you wonder if there’s a safe passage to find it’s all written on your altered face.
Next, Buckley said that rather than returning to children’s books or more poetry, she planned to turn to a collection of travel essays or a memoir, something to capture her life’s worth of travels and many adventures.
“My son said that if you don’t write these books about the adventures you had with us kids, I’m going to write a book called ‘Journeys with Mom’ because it brought up the fact that most people don’t travel like we did.” Buckley said. “Riding a camel in the Sahara desert or in Costa Rica under a perched pelican tree getting covered in pelican poop or riding a horse and delivering babies in the desert. I really started hanging out with them around age 11 and they are, of course, adults now and world travelers themselves, so there are just a lot of great stories to explore.
know and go
What: “Made of Rain: Words from the Alaskan Wilderness.”
When: 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Friday, August 5
Where: Hearthside Books Merchants Wharf, 2 Marine Way.
• Contact journalist Jonson Kuhn at [email protected]