Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pape’s Poetry Soothes the Soul

Greg Pape has published nine books of poetry and was Montana’s second Poet Laureate from 2007-2009. A true master of poetry, Pape implants a heavy dose of patience and keen awareness into all of his works. Whether he is eating a burger and fries in Miami, or tip-toeing down the Bitterroot Valley, Pape easily manages to throw the reader into his artful mind.

In his poem “First Hour,” Pape is a stealthy figure that isn’t just walking through the woods, but a figure that becomes the woods:

I walk so slowly even the coyote
trotting down through lodgepoles along the creek
doesn't see me until she is so close she hits
the wall of my scent, turns in a splash of snow
and doubles her pace back up the slope.

When Pape isn’t on land, his water poetry is just as soothing. When floating down one of his favorite rivers, Pape takes time to contemplate the origins of drowned cars along the streamside in his poem “Bitterroot Car-Body Riprap,” by asking:

Or was it the product
of a single vision, some warden who for years
stared at the wreck of a Studebaker
wedged between rocks, and forming a small eddy,
in the same spot it had come to rest
after the poor intoxicated driver had broken
through the guardrail and left the road for good?

In his ability of the imagination, Pape effortlessly captures lovely thought and plasters it down the paper, while also allowing the reader to follow and comprehend his narrative voice with ease.

I encourage you to keep your eyes peeled for readings presented by Pape, as he does a great job getting around to the public. And if you aren’t in the area, check out one of his nine publications so you can see for yourself how attractive Pape’s writing truly is.


At age 22, Ross Klein has just finished his last semester at The University of Montana, where he graduated with a degree in Recreation Resources Management. Although born and raised in Colorado, Ross now considers Montana to be his new home. He is an avid rock climber, fly fisherman, and hunter.

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