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 | August 23


The eastern sky is dark after last night’s rain
and the low cloud sun silvers the bay on a line
toward the Duck Island Light, still hidden within
the offshore storm. The morning breeze quickens

a silver change from gray to black, and the horizon
is a sudden knife of light. No human hand could mine
this scene; only the inner eye that knows the sun
in its rising. Overhead the clouds from the west

open blue gaps, and shore birches glisten
in their moist yellow-green. These island vestments
shine after the rain like some human preening.
without guile, an innocence so natural it seems

more than it is. Our August landscape
assumes a clarifying tone in its hourly changing shape.


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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