Donald Junkins Red Point Journal: Swan’s Island, Summer 2001

This spring, the passing of our former poetry editor Donald Junkins saddened the NDQ community. Junkins was a poet, educator, and editor both for the Quarterly and the Massachusetts Review. In recognition of his contributions to NDQ and his work, we thought we’d republish a collection of his poems from NDQ 70.2 (Spring 2003).

“Red Point Journal: Swan’s Island, Summer 2001” is a series of sixteen poems that interlace the landscape of Swan’s Island in Maine with personal reflections. The glare of the sun, the smell of summer rain, and the coastal fogs frame the interplay of the past and present in Junkins’s seaside reveries. We will publish the poems on the dates included in their titles inviting readers to back to Junkins’s vision of Swan’s Island 20 years later.

June 30 | July 2 | July 3 | July 4 | July 5 | July 7 | July 8 | July 10 | July 11 | Mid-July | August 19


Fog webs whiten the young shore larch,
green moss stubble-beards the trunks of spruce
looming with their higher dark. Our sky-gray
tide pond merges with the mist, silently swallowing

the shadow outer ledge. When the snapping blaze
of our softwood fire turns our gaze inside, we follow
the random trail of things that clear days
overlook, when the outer view is green

islands and a tacking sail. Here’s that round clay
water jug from Gredos, Spain; the wine glass from Bonn;
the yellow-blue tablecloth—Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer;
the Xi’an terra cotta warrior calendar;

the round black buoy from Scotland’s own east
coast. Those days come clear in the fog’s white yeast.


To read more about Donald Junkins see his obituaries in the Boston Globe and at UMass-Amherst.

As you likely know, these days are particularly challenging for many cultural institutions, publishers, and little magazines. So even if NDQ doesn’t float your boat, If you can, consider buying a book from a small presssubscribing to a literary journal (like our UNP stablemate, Hotel Amerika), or otherwise supporting the arts.

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