Sunny Top of
“The poems in The Sunny Top of California are virtually all from the long, high, almost invisible from outside, California Sierra Nevada. Many of them show the influence of classical Chinese poetry and a bit of Han Shan, the “Cold Mountain” poet. Even so they all have Schaefer’s own stamp. They are physical, muscular, gritty, and full of fresh air. I know of nobody else who catches the feel of the high country rocks, trails, and winds, with the immediacy that Norman does. Some are at night, cold, and hungry, but they are always quietly joyful.”
Norman Schaefer’s The Sunny Top of California: Sierra Nevada Poems & A Story (La Alameda Press, Albuquerque, 2010). It’s beautifully designed by master bookmaker JB Bryan, has an Obata woodblock on the cover and lively poems (and a story) that will charm lovers of mountains and verse in the same way that Chinese poets memorialized the mountains of their land.
ON THE BLACK DIVIDE
Wind and melting snow,
Norman Schaefer has been walking and backpacking the Sierra Nevada for over four decades. He has hiked from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite National
Written from 1994–2009, these wry, but wise, poems feel part of an ancient mountaineering tradition that connects wilderness to the landscape of the spirit. Rarely does one encounter poetry which seems so vividly distilled from this practice of wandering and inquiry.
Norman Schaefer lives in Port Townsend, Washington.