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Book Fair
 

 

 


Strong as Silk.
Brigit Truex. Lummox Press: San Pedro, CA  90733 - 5301. January, 2012. Paper:
8 1/4 X 8 1/4. ISBN: 978-1-929878-83-3. $ 15.00 + Shipping. www.lummoxpress.com  
 

About

Strong As Silk is based on actual events that played out barely 20 years past the discovery of gold. Set in the rugged and remote Sierra foothills of California, it is the universal story of “stranger in a strange land,” without reference to the specifics of place or time. Instead, it blends imagination with inference. Both created journal entries and traditional Japanese poetic forms are used to give insight into the daily dramas, large and small. The Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony has been compared to the early settlements of Plymouth and Jamestown in the Eastern United States, where optimistic and determined newcomers faced immense challenges in bringing their dreams to reality. Each lasted but a short time, but their impacts echo still. Within the historic time-markers of “start” and “end” lie stories of hope, conflict, loyalty and success, all elements of this varied and moving collection.

Brigit Truex has lived in the four quarters of the States since beginning her writing career. In each locale she has also established workshops to help others hone their prose and poetry as well, but her primary focus is on poetry. Her mixed ethnic background (French Canadian-Abenak/Cree and Irish) has been a theme she continues to explore in her work, approaching it from various angles. The historic Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony was based in the nearby community of Gold Hill, a scant 10 miles from where she currently lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California. Its universal story of "stranger in a strange land" resonated with her as the tale evolved and grew from an initial single poem into this detailed book, the result of extensive research and truthful imaginings.

The author has been published here and abroad in various literary journals and anthologies including Atlanta Review, Tule Review, Native Literatures, Yellow Medicine Review and others. She is a board member of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers and Native Writers Circle of the Americas.

Excerpt from a review by Grady Harp, 2-12-12

STRONG AS SILK is a little miracle of a book, another gift from the craft of fine publishing of the Lummox Press. It is a sensitive combination of recalling true events in the history of California in the 19th century and recreated through the talented mind and hands of Brigit Truex...

Truex relates this touching historically accurate story by means of poetry presented visually in near calligraphic style, letters form the members of the colony, photographs of the members, articles from the San Francisco and Sacramento newspapers, dividing her book into sections Arrival, Harvest, Waiting, and Ending. In addition to the beauty of her prose and poetry Truex includes a cast of characters, biographies, explanation of Japanese customs and words and festivals, and the resources she used to compile this book.

This is an exceptional book, rich in a history about which few of us are aware. it also asks the reader to experience the sense of being a 'stranger in a strange land' - some that each of us at some point in our history (or our present!) have experienced. A very beautiful, touching, and memorable book.


Some samples...

Pressed between pages –
pale green flower? a jade moth?
Ah, the word took flight!

~ * ~

Butterfly-to-be,
wrapped in rice-paper, wings furled.
Early plum blooms first.

~ * ~

At dawn’s edge, heron
steps into pond of black silk.
Water heals itself.

~ * ~

Line by line, wild geese
inscribe farewell notes on sky.
Wind fingers their nests.

~ * ~

Strung like notes on fence wire,
five midwinter crows.
See the song take flight.

~ * ~

Pleated silk blossoms --
despite others’ names for you,
you still bloom the same.

~ * ~

The moon is in awe of you,
armored silver toad.
Moths flutter their fans.

~ * ~

Am I to become
a toad in the pond
telling the same tales all night?

~ * ~

 

 

 

 


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