Bainbridge Island poet and Island Treasure Award recipient John Willson’s debut full-length collection of poems, Call This Room a Station, has been published by MoonPath Press of Tillamook, Oregon, which is dedicated to publishing the best in poetry from Pacific Northwest poets.
John will be giving a poetry reading on behalf of the book on April 2nd, Thursday, at 7pm at Eagle Harbor Book Company on Bainbridge (now postponed), where he has been employed as a bookseller for the past 29 years. He also works for the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District, teaching the Poetry Writing Workshop since 1992.
Call This Room a Station is truly Island-grown, with a mixed-media cover image by Bainbridge visual artist Patty Rogers. The acknowledgements pages of the book include a good handful of citations crediting past incarnations of what is now Arts and Humanities Bainbridge for previous “publication” of some of the poems in various forms, including in a ceramic mural at the Ray Williamson Pool, a jazz requiem that was performed on the BPA stage in which one of the poems was set to music, and a series of bookmarks by Patty Rogers.
The poems in Call This Room a Station were written over many years and are largely biographical. Their topics include the death of a father, a wife’s battle with breast cancer, and experiences from a one and a half year stay in Japan. Counting Theodore Roethke and Gary Snyder as primary influences, John considers himself a poet of nature whose work reflects lyric and narrative modes. Themes emerging in his work revolve around man, nature, religion, technology, art, love, memory, and death. A Bainbridge resident for thirty-five years, John is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize and awards from the Academy of American Poets, The Artist Trust of Washington, and the King County Arts Commission. In addition to a jpeg of the cover and his author photo, please find a link to the MoonPath Press website that contains a more extensive bio and a sample poem. Also attached is a YouTube link to a thirteen-minute bio that Steve Stolee created, which was shown at the Island Treasure Awards in 2014.
“John Willson’s poems are guides for wanderers. Such great tenderness and delicacy live in these lines, a softness of presence/absence in the rich fabric of birds, skies, highly attuned relationships woven through time. Mysterious maps of ancestral legacy vibrate as a low hum—people who birthed us, poets who birthed our souls, and the infinite winding roads—with so many meaningful points on the compass, so many homes.” ~ Naomi Shihab Nye