by Tony Burfield
Paperback, 30 pp
Purchase of this book supports the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center's mission is to rehabilitate orphaned, sick and injured wildlife for release into appropriate habitats. Greenwood also strives to educate the public, emphasizing humane solutions to human / wildlife interactions.
Greenwood cared for nearly 3,500 wild animals last year (75% of which were orphaned) at an average cost of $330 per patient. Since 1982, Greenwood has successfully released tens of thousands of animals, from hummingbird to coyote size, back to where they belong - in the wild and living free.
"As a purveyor of haiku and haibun, Tony Burfield is a finely tuned, thoroughly engaged craftsman. With concise precision, as measured as it is on-point, Burfield’s eye for detail adroitly captures the human place in nature as lived in the harsh conditions of Colorado high country. Read these poems as attentively as they were crafted, following the poet’s own guide: “Measure in threes, eye-ball twice, cut once.”
Don Wentworth, Editor, Lilliput Review
Burfield's lexicon is that of the foothills life zone, the mountains and canyons of Colorado’s western slope; deer bones, cactus and ponderosa, cord wood, switchbacks & snow . . . winters that mean business . . . feathers, blood & bone . . . sawdust, sap and slot canyons . . . flash-flood, wildfire and fear. I found myself instinctively checking my socks for hound’s tongue burrs when I finished reading it."
~David Anthony Martin, author of Span, Deepening the Map, Bijoux and founding editor of Middle Creek Publishing.
Sawhorse, the title of Tony Burfield’s latest chapbook, comes from an expressive allusion in the poem of the same name; “Ripping apart an old pallet for sawhorse wood. The potentiality of sawhorse.”
Sawhorse spans a year of newness, a marriage, a new house and a new sense of place as the poet embeds himself in the grounding process of work. The honest work of a homeowner, a landowner, a husband, a poet. This is the rurality of rediscovering the self in relationship to each other and to the land; the self as the story of place.
The poems comprising Sawhorse are rural, contemplative . . . simple, but not trite. Burfield does not put on any airs, there are no claims here to any mystic insight but for the simple newlywed sense of distracted joy, cramping muscles and newly calloused hands.
Burfield’s dialect is distinct to the American mountain west, his prose poems are often clipped sentences . . . phrases and fragments - just enough - like the not-too-heavy, not-too-light layers worn by those of the mountain west to accommodate the swift changes of weather.
His palette is the lexicon of the foothills life zone, the mountains and canyons of Colorado’s western slope; deer bones, cactus, ponderosa, grama grass (too real, too rural even for spellcheck), crags, canopy, pelvis, vertebrae, cord wood, fire rings, treeless peaks, switchbacks, snow, hermits, the dry heat, the dry cold, winters that mean business, stars, snowpack, aspen, sawdust and sap, slot canyon, flash-flood, wildfire and fear . . . parsing scat, feathers, blood and bone.
Sawhorse is an honest and concise chapbook. Twenty-four poems, mostly haibun, a pairing prose-poems and haiku. Reading Burfield's haibun, I was reminded of the Japanese word fushi (bushi 節) with it’s etymological allusion to a knot or whorl in the grain of wood or bamboo, while also being the word for song; an eddy, ripple or the endless flow of the Universe, turning briefly back on itself. Short, yes, and sweet at times, like life, like springtime in the rockies; full of possibility, full of potential.
Tony Burfield has been published in Contemporary Haibun Online, The Heron’s Nest, Lilliput Review and Modern Haiku. His collection of haibun, Sawhorse, won the 2017 Fledge Poetry Chapbook Award. He lives with his wife in Pinewood Springs, CO and works at the Boulder Public Library.