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 | August 21


In the dead still silence of the low tide morning
fog, a white web reveals its interlocking frames
in knit-spun space between the green
spine ends of new growth spruce, suspension

firm, delicately twined, sky-white against the brown
late summer grass, its oblong center lace defined
by space and emanating stairs of ladder lines,
Parcheesi-like, expanding outward like a fern.

It seems to drift in air, yet holds its own
by thongs known only to its absent queen
somewhere nearby in a darker arm
of fate, waiting for the sun to warm

her woven lair. She has the time.
Nothing flies in the morning air. The fog hangs in.


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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