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 | August 22


By eight o’clock the sun is shore-spruce high
and the low tide pool mirrors the low
eastern sky, white with offshore fog.
Overhead, the cloudless onshore sky

is coloring-book blue. A lobsterman I know,
his stern sail set, hooks his toggle
buoy and wraps the trap line in the pulley
groove. His boat growls slowly in an arc

and the trap appears. I know his ritual by heart.
When he waves and disappears around the point, surely
clear days and foul will follow him home. I mark
the buoy where he has moved his trap. The black

toggle sits almost motionless on the slow
wake of the tide, six fathoms over the box below.


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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