This chapbook (long out of print) gathers a dozen poems from the first phase of my writing. Some of these pieces—reworked when I, later, began writing again with a different sense of how and why poems might work—appear in their later guise in Fault Lines.
The chapbook’s title is not a reference to the Lake Country of Wordsworth in England, but to the Lake County in California, a region in the foothills north of San Francisco where cinnabar, the ore from which Mercury is smelted, was once mined.
Nor is the Lake County variously recalled, recorded, and imagined in these poem the Lake County one would be apt to notice today—now that tracts of retirement homes have overwritten the ranches and farms, the sparkling lights of the Indian casino star the night, and the new resorts along the lake, all glass and polished redwood, have replaced the rustic (and empty) tourist cabins with trendy elegance.
Just think of the line “When the dying was no longer slow enough.” The metaphysical shudder binds with an odd psychological perspective—in a domain Hunt makes powerfully his own. This is a poetry fit to name the world in all its crudeness, but also insistent on the strange twists of sensibility that keep a mind fully alive within the destructive repetitions of that crudeness. Without a theater of sensitivity Hunt puts feelings where it is hard to imagine even perceptions taking hold. – Charles Altieri
Tim Hunt’s poetry evokes the used up places we leave, the arduous and bitter journeyings we make, and something of what we find when weary. Loss, uprootedness, impermanence—Hunt finds beauty and passion, even familial roots, in the drift of our lives. These poems stand in the big wind– John Clellon Holmes
Tim Hunt writes so lovingly and exactingly of one part of Northern California that it comes to be the reader’s part of the world, too, both strange and familiar enough to seem, in his rendering of it, a possible home. – William Matthews
In Tim Hunt’s poems the land is a living history: of family, of mineral, of culture and the processes of dying, of broken machinery become new earth again. Like his master Jeffers, he sees a harsh world of stone and desert light, and sees the beauty in its crystal and erosions. “On the road” in America, he reverses and repeats the journey his homesteading ancestors made to the West, and discovers a new region of poems memorably crafted, vivid as a desert noon, and entirely his own. – Robert Morgan