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Sastrugi Press

Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains

Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains

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In every season, life on America's high plains is at once harsh and beautiful, liberating and isolated, welcoming and unforgiving. The poems of Cloudshade take us through those seasons, swinging wide a glassless window to life in the West--to antelope flowing seamless over dirt roads, boom and bust ghost towns, deep, glacial lakes ringed with glowing aspen trees, ice fishing by the Northern Lights, and as in "High Plains Solstice," live music on summer nights that

carves hot petals
through our bodies
in its ritual of tides
and light;
licks us open
from the inside
until we are night-blooming jasmine
seduced by the moon.

Cloudshade is a book for everyone, from poetry lovers to those who don't usually read poems. If you've ever waited through five or six months of winter for the first signs of spring, stood outside to feel the first, long-awaited summer rains, caught the wood-smoke and cottonwood scent of fall, or stood on a frozen lake, listening to winter rumbling and heaving through the ice, these poems will carry you back to what is elemental and haunting about life on the high plains, as in "On the Ice," where

We wait, silent, hearing with our feet
the seething of ultramarine blood,
the twitching of bones,
rumbles of omens
and restless spirits.
The ice stretches and heaves,
cracking like gunshot,
and beneath that, glints and gleamings
of sound, like whales
calling across the darkness.

In the poetic tradition of James Wright and B.H. Fairchild, these poems are rooted in the mercies of daily life, illuminating the intersections between our own internal landscapes and those that surround us. Howe offers a fleeting portrait of that intersection in the poem, "En Route to My Father's Funeral"

At a pale crossroads,
in an open shop two floors up,
a welder works into the night.
His arc is lonesome in the cool air,
gobbets of fire
like unformed angels

Whether you live on the high plains or it lives in your memory, the poems of Cloudshade, like the first summer rain, bring the sounds, scents, and the vividness of life back to us, whole.

Author: Lori Howe
Publisher: Sastrugi Press
Published: 11/14/2015
Pages: 78
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.28lbs
Size: 9.00h x 6.00w x 0.19d
ISBN: 9780996020695

About the Author
Howe, Lori: - Lori Howe is the author of Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains (Sastrugi Press, 2015), High Lonesome: A Poet's Guide to Wyoming Ghost Towns (Elm Books, 2016), and Stories from Earth: Millennials, Literature, and Teaching Writing that Matters. Her poems, short fiction, and non-fiction appear in numerous journals, anthologies, and books. She holds an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Wyoming. Editor in chief of Clerestory: Poems of the Mountain West (, she lives and writes in Laramie, Wyoming.

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