A selection from the 2014 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize The Uncallused Hand by Walker Abel. Recently named a Finalist in the Foreword Review Book of the Year Awards.




She said the moon once
slid through her hair
and she knew then what it was like
to be mouthed by the mother of things

a wet tongue cleaning all dust
and brittle accumulations
till she walked slick as a pebble—

and this in the desert
no river, no ocean—

she walked till the tongue in its wisdom
disappeared over mountains
and the morning star rising
in what was barely twilight

lit with a sheen
something she could only suppose
must be her own borderless skin



Walker Abel_smAbout the Author: Walker Abel lives in a remote home in the Yolla Bolly Mountains of northern California. As an undergraduate at University of California, Santa Cruz, in the mid-70’s, he participated in an environmental studies field program called Sierra Institute. Twelve years later, after completing a graduate program with ecopsychology pioneer Robert Greenway, he came back to teach for Sierra Institute, which he has done now for 26 years, while also taking on the role of director since 2003. Most of his poetry has been written in field journals while out on these academic programs, which are 9 weeks long and are entirely taught during a series of backpacking trips. It has not been unusual for Walker to teach three programs a year, amounting to a total of up to 6 months in the backcountry. One of his greatest joys is watching each new group of students open over time to the transformative influence of wilderness immersion. Walker has a 33 year old son (Stuart), who is also an ecopsychologist, backpacker, and nature-connection educator.




The Uncallused Hand 

Poems by Walker Abel

Winner of the 2014 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize!

Release Date: September 29, 2014

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About the Book: This is poetry kindled by weeks in wilderness. Its muse is nature, which encompasses both the wild beauty of earth and the mystery of self and its sometimes erotic, sometimes mystical, relationship with the other. The poems are lyrical, tonal, evocative–enamored in a sensual way of being, but also drawn at times toward the counterpart of non-being. The palpable world of natural detail is brought forth, yet the poems also echo with nuance, innuendo, archetype, and both meditative as well as enraptured levels of realization.