I am honored that Alaska poet Derick Burleson chose to use my painting West Ridge October on the cover of his extraordinary new book of poems. Never Night is a wonderful collection of the Fairbanks poet's reflections on life, family, love, death, place, and home, stretching from his childhood on a farm in Oklahoma to the homestead on which he lives today in Two Rivers, Alaska.
Derick, whose first book, Ejo: Poems, Rwanda 1991-1994 won the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, teaches in the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. You can get your own copy of this volume by visiting your local bookstore, clicking on the direct Amazon.com link to the book in the lower right hand column of this website, or at www.marickpress.com.
It has been a great privilege for me to have my paintings associated through publication with the work of several of Alaska's most talented writers. Blaze, published by Red Hen Press in 2005, juxtaposes thirty years of my paintings of birch trees and boreal forest with poems by Peggy Shumaker, one of Alaska's best known poets.
The product of a long and rewarding collaboration, Blaze was conceived as a conversation between poet and painter, some paintings done in response to specific poems, some poems written in response to my paintings, and other pairings selected by the two of us to question, challenge, reinforce, and enrich perceptions of each.
Bamboo Fly Rod Suite: Reflections on Fishing and the Geography of Grace, by Fairbanks writer Frank Soos, was published in 1999 by University of Georgia Press and released in a new paperback edition by them in 2006. Five of Frank's remarkable essays, ostensibly about fly fishing but at least as much about values and how one lives one's life, are illustrated by a number of my paintings. University of Alaska Museum designer Wanda Chin created the striking design for this small volume, and the University of Georgia Press produced it exquisitely.
It has been a great joy for me to participate in each of these collaborations, and I hope to do many more in the future. If there are any of these books you haven't seen, please check them out. You won't be disappointed.