At a time when much of the literary world was concerned with the “urban heartbeat,” Schenker, in his sequence of poems “Hurd’s Gulch, 1986–1987,” was delighting in the minutiae and particular of the natural world. Be it quail, cows, or oak, small, precise details shimmer under Schenker’s examination. In his sequence “Austin Creek, 1969–1970,” Schenker uses a narrative of the momentary; an immediate vision or flash, like a car passing on a dark highway. The poems of Austin Creek inhabit that space on the edge of rural towns—longer lines and generous detail—although still the subject is nature as the elements deconstruct what work man has done. Throughout the book, Schenker maintains a fiercely ironic and self-conscious tone.
The full text of Donald Schenker’s Up Here is stored at Albertson Library at Boise State University, and can be downloaded here. You may also purchase a copy of the book.
The orchard clamors
in the sun
for my attention.
letters in a grid;
Now read me again.
Copyright © 1988 by Donald Schenker
Donald Schenker, 1930–1993, was born in Coney Island, New York. In the late fifties he and his wife settled in Berkeley, California. His first book, Poems, was published jointly with David Meltzer in 1957. He succumbed to cancer in 1993, after retiring in 1985 to devote his life to writing.