The seventy-four poems in Lucille Lang Day’s Birds of San Pancho and Other Poems of Place take the reader on a journey across continents, seas, and time itself. Charged with a lyricism that is at the same time tough and vulnerable, the poems recreate and preserve images of a beauty that is on the verge of disappearing or has already disappeared. Sometimes it is the beauty of the rain forests of Costa Rica or the birds of the Galápagos or that of cities like Athens, San Miguel de Allende, or Venice in flood. Sometimes it is a beauty that exists only in a single word such as “Oregon, …from wauregan, an Algonquian word for ‘beautiful river.’” Yet for all the beauty she evokes, Day does not shy away from difficult topics like global warming, genocide, regret, loss, and death. The result is a remarkable collection of poems that are deeply layered, deeply felt, and deeply moving.
Lucille Lang Day has published six previous full-length poetry collections, including Becoming an Ancestor, and four chapbooks, including Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems. She is also a coeditor of two anthologies, Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California and Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, and the author of two children’s books, Chain Letter and The Rainbow Zoo, and a memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story, which was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. Her books have received the Joseph Henry Jackson Award in Literature, the Blue Light Poetry Prize, and two PEN Oakland/ Josephine Miles Literary Awards; her poems, short stories, and essays have received ten Pushcart Prize nominations and have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies. The founder and director of Scarlet Tanager Books, she received her MA in English and MFA in creative writing at San Francisco State University, and her BA in biological sciences, MA in zoology, and PhD in science/mathematics education at the University of California, Berkeley.