"Out of the Woods" by Thomas Bolt

Out of the Woods Thomas Bolt

Yale Series of Younger Poets
Publication date:
10 Sep 1989
Yale University Press
80 pages: 229 x 140mm

The winning volume in the 1988 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition is Out of the Woods by Thomas Bolt. As James Merrill, distinguished poet and judge of the competition, has said: "Here is an up-to-date pastoral: wrecked cars, glades of debris, polluted streams, all gravely held in Thomas Bolt's unflinching gaze. 'I had found,' he writes, 'the secret center of America.' Given this wealth of evidence, its bleakness and sparkle, we can almost bring ourselves to believe him." 
A Hill in Virginia
In this rude world
Memory pertains
In bald things,
Of promises skipped over, violence
Or accidents of kissing.
Read within the deep patina
Of the old stump
Of a shainsawed black walnut
Its circular
History from sex to ruin;
Look where
Cracked and spattered chunks of cold quartz
Stuck in mud
Glitter up from a dull hill.
Downhill, the wrecked car:
A punched in windshield
Sags whole,
An afterimage of collision,
Brilliant with sky.

"Bolt writes with a deadly, stiletto-sharp focus and with a passion that is not only believable, but enticing and contagious."?Booklist

"A distinguished addition to a most distinguished series."?Library Journal

"Bolt handles his subject matter with admirable attention to detail and precision of language; he ranges easily from adjective-replete accounts to stark, minimalist statements."?Publishers Weekly

"The poetry of Thomas Bolt strikes an evocative note for those who consider the economic achievements of science to be of uncertain benefit."?Roger Fussa, University Journal

"[This] is a startlingly evocative pastoral, but one of a throw-away America. . . . From the cover photo's ribbony railroad ties still hanging after a trestle collapse in the Cascades Bolt sets his tone, supports it magnificently, eloquently, as a modern day Frost stopping by an apocalyptic woods."?J. T. H., Kliatt

"It's quite apparent . . . that Bolt brings entire sincerity to each of these poems."?Poetry