Five Hearts of Aloneness by Walker Abel
To Be Released: November 1, 2019
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Always here you said behind touch of skin, beyond smell of sea every wave rinsing remembrance onto rock.The poems in this book, Walker Abel’s third collection, seem to spiral around some core yearning or intuition of beauty at the very center of life and experience. There is an ungraspable quality to this realization, a depth without end, but these poems swim, circle, and glimmer from within that water. Some reflect inclinations toward the unity and stillness of Buddhist/Taoist contemplation, while others reach out toward an embodied and passionate engagement with the particulars of life. This is accessible poetry. We feel common ground with the Wanderer: a core sense of self as it moves through interconnections with a multitude of other selves living among, and as, mountains, rivers, sea, desert.
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.