A Mark of Permanence, By Justin Watkins

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Photo by Dan Frasier

By Dan Frasier

I’ve always been a fan of the work of Justin Watkins. 

His blog, Fishing and Thinking, where he writes under the pen name “Wendy Berrell”, is a truly special place to read the ruminations of a scientist who sees a value in living life close to the land. Beyond his blog, Justin’s book of poetry “Bottom-Right Corner” from Red Dragonfly Press is a brilliant work of outdoor poetry about life as an outdoorsman in South Eastern Minnesota. So I’ve been a fanboy for a long time.

In his newest book “A Mark of Permanence” published by Shipwreckt books, Justin takes his work to a new level; integrating poetry and his uniquely stark factual prose, Justin has created a series of vignettes into life being lived in modern Minnesota as it was lived centuries ago. His deep respect for the quarry in his tales along with the land and water they live in shines through like rays of sun through a dark grey cloudy ceiling. Yet Justin achieves this feat without flowery language or high-minded soliloquies. Instead, he tells you the facts like they are and lets the overwhelming reality of just how interconnected we are with the world around us speak for itself.

I think nothing better exemplifies this amazing talent of Justin’s than 2 stanzas in the poem

“The Hidden Flat”


Paleozoic Seas have come and gone here

Flooding and receding

Leaving shelved limestone

That our boot cleats bite and hold

We study the ceaseless hefting of water

For there is no other signature

Water rock two hunters and the fish:

Dark shapes deliberate in the shallows


If you love the outdoors and all things in it, this book is for you. Find it on Amazon

Dan Frasier
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 
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