Justin Evans

Working in
the Birdhouse
(Also by Justin Evans
Gathering Up the Scattered Leaves)

"There is a restless energy behind the poems in Justin Evans' Working in the Birdhouse -- from the unsettled birds that weave and wing their way through the pages to the narrator's treks through the topography of interstates, deserts and even the Garden of Eden. Evans' curiosity about how humans respond and coexist with nature and each other are at the heart of this well-crafted collection."

--Collin Kelley, Author of After the Poison

From the book:

So Often There Are Birds in the Sky

Silhouetted against the mainsail of dusk,
they shroud the remaining daylight.
See how they excommunicate themselves
from the earth, how a lone hawk will float
like a hapless bottle in the ocean,
waiting to deliver its message.

Night after night they remain with me,
great multitudes of dark wings.
I half expect morning to be filled
with birds perched at my window,
accusing me of stealing from them
the mathematics of flight.

Justin Evans lives in rural Nevada with his wife, Becky, and three sons where he teaches history and creative writing.  He is the author of two previous chapbooks:  Four Way Stop (Main-Traveled Roads, 2005); and Gathering up the Scattered Leaves (Foothills Publishing, 2006).   

Working in the Birdhouse
is a 28 page hand-stitched chapbook.


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 Gathering up the Scattered Leaves

From the book:

In Twilight

Yet once more, O ye laurels and once more
                             --- John Milton

I will go, walking down the dark canyon road
softened beneath a malleable sun. Once more,
one final descent into the valley of my home.  
Shadow and bare earth begin to evaporate
into each other, night, always a context for union,
a place to meet and linger in an embrace.  
I see how the river has cut a path for me, given itself
a rhythm for today and tomorrow. Each slight bend
another story told as the day passes to night.  
Together we both migrate, one man and one river,
each of us bound to accumulate with our own kind
where we are certain to find a place to stop and rest.

Artist's Statement:

I have long been interested in place being a defining factor in my poetry.  Many of the poets who have influenced me, use place as a touchstone for the message of their poetry, and I wanted to do the same.  Some have put forth the idea that American poetry is pre-occupied with place, and I certainly see that being true in my case.  I wanted to express in this second chapbook, as I did with my first, a sense of longing for the places of my youth.  Where I was admittedly darker with my first chapbook, my goal was to be more optimistic and hopeful this time around.  Specifically, I wanted to infuse a sense of the ecstatic writings of Rumi with my nostalgia for the places I knew as a young boy.  Hopefully, people can gain a sense of how I feel about specific places and my place in them.

However, poetry has always been more than expression of artistic ideas; it is a means for me to remain connected with the human spirit as a whole.  Poetry is a communion, and as such, allows me to come to the common ground of people with something to share.  And even though I am sharing something of me, I believe I am always taking more away from the experience than I could possibly give.  Therein lies the magic of poetry, the possibility for me to become more than what is possible otherwise.

Gathering up the Scattered Leaves
is a 28 page hand-sewn chapbook  - $8.00