Literary Arts | Poets in Pajamas

Sunni Brown Wilkinson Reads “Ghost” and Joseph Stroud’s “Ode to the Smell of Firewood”

Sunni Brown Wilkinson says Joseph Stroud’s Of This World is one of the best poetry collections she has ever read. “Joseph Stroud is a remarkable but less well-known poet, mainly because he purposely shuns the spotlight,” Wilkinson says. “He lives part of the year in a cabin in the Sierra Nevadas, has traveled all over the world, and claims a staggeringly wide range of poetry, but my favorites are his quiet, meditative poems, of which there are many.”
For our Poets in Pajamas series, Wilkinson has chosen to read Stroud’s translation of Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to the Smell of Firewood.” She says it “celebrates something we all experience but often don’t pay enough attention to. They say that smell is the sense most directly connected to memory, and I love the way [it] celebrates his own life and that scent that calls him back to himself.”
Wilkinson, a Cache Valley native who teaches at Weber State University and lives in Pleasant View with her husband and three sons, is the author of two collections of poetry: The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press) and The Ache & The Wing (winner of the 2020 Sundress Chapbook contest).

“Ghost,” her own poem she has chosen to read for this series “is more elegy,” she says, “but I hope it still carries a gratitude for the world, for all of the bright and lively things in it.”

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  1. After the beautifully read Stroud I sighed, planned to write “how lovely” but then, not a long enough pause (really, much too rushed) before the start of Wilkinson’s superb but disturbing work — and I do wish I had waited until morning for all of this (fooled, lured by the comfort of ‘firewood’ in Stroud’s title) because “Ghost” will haunt my dreams.

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