Manchester Poetry - with an Introductory Essay

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Read Books, Apr 1, 2011 - 224 pages
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About the author (2011)

James Wheeler (1971- ) was born and raised in rural Arkansas. He grew up in an area surrounded by National Forest, on land his family had lived on and eventually homesteaded more than a hundred years before his birth. As a youth, he spent much time climbing Arkansas-sized mountains, or going wading in the creek, looking for crawdads. He lived down a dirt road - the last house before the forest consumed everything. From his house, in the evening, you could look west, down the valley, toward the setting sun. Those sunsets, the old farm, and the family all still live within. He went to bed in the hot summertime evenings listening to locusts (so called by his Dad, but more modernly referred to as cicadas), buzzing late in to the night. He would collect the empty shells they left behind on the elm tree in the side yard, and line them up into great "bug armies" and play with them till bored... then smash them to dust and start over again. He used to love hearing springtime's first whip-poor-will, so near the house, yet never seen; chasing lightning bugs in the lazy evening, or long walks down the dirt road holding his Momma's hand, getting away from those "bad guys" on the television set. In the still quiet of the early night, sometimes he'd hear the call of wild coyotes - sounding like dozens, but probably only a couple at a time. There was magic in those moments spent riding down the country road and watching the billowing dust clouds rising behind and the road runners racing the car and jumping onto a fence in front of the car. He always wanted to capture the moment that will never be here again - to preserve it somehow. As a result, he has become something of a camera buff, enjoying the ability to capture, at least two-dimensionally, the moments of the world around him. He has often sat on the back porch, on a warm, humid morning, smelling the fragrant farm fields, feeling the damp air, listening to the birds sing, and the only mediums he had to capture the scene were his camera and his pen, each of which can capture only a tiny portion of the whole. Yet for every photograph, and even every memory recalled without film, there is a story to tell.

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