For the past thirty years David Lee has been writing narratives in the voices of the people of the rural southwest. In this new collection, he turns to odes and landscape meditations to explore and braid his theological, philosophical, and environmental beliefs. Set in the American southwest, the book is divided into four sections following the archetypal elements of earth, fire, water and air. Each section begins at dawn and works its way through the day using the motif of a walking journey. A book of elegiac geography, So Quietly the Earth opens and closes with requiems and explores the beauty, grace, and destruction of a planet pushed towards extinction.
Great stone walls shut out stars
to the east and west, loom and close
as night deepens. A breeze
stirs the willows. River.
Dark sandstone seems to breathe.
A thin new moon struggles
over the brooding cliffs
and glitters, askew
in the brimming water. Shadows lurk
in the cottonwoods. A night creature
slides into the clearing,
moves toward the river, seems to bend,
drink. It blends into sighing night,
the haunted canyon,
its warm wind,
crescent moon, shadows,
deep-throated song of water.
“This is [Lee’s] fifteenth book of poetry and the first to explore what has always been in the background of his work—the landscape of the American Southwest. This book is his effort to honor the heartbreaking beauty and despair for the destruction of his beloved homeland. The book is divided into four sections, or basic elements, consisting of earth, fire, water and air. Beginning at dawn and continuing through the day in a walking journey, the reader is treated to Lee’s theological, philosophical, and environmental meditations. The book opens and closes with a requiem and provides landscape portraits that reach far beyond the traditional regional poetry. Lee simply sees things ‘out there’ commonly missed by others.” —Tulsa World
“Even if the reader is expecting another David Lee that they find here, his creations are unmistakably bursting with life and meaning and are intensely provocative… The collection is compelling and lively. It personifies a newly matured David Lee, who writes with a cause but without losing the most memorable and most human aspects of his work.” —Deseret News
“In So Quietly the Earth, David Lee hears nature speaking through the landscape of the Southwest. It is a conversation that teases all the senses.” —Home News Tribune
“Lee’s poems portray the landscape through elemental earth, fire, water, air. Step into the rural, into the wilds through elegant, lucid images.” —Lovin’ Life After 50
“So Quietly the Earth is a nimble collection of poetry.” —Standard Examiner