The Journal West

“Jerry Mathes’s poems come not from concepts, but from his life, first his experiences working on an Alaskan fishing boat in the Bering Sea, later as a firefighter in forests of the northwest. Many of these poems are georgics of a sort, not so much about nature itself, but about hard work in the elements.
Mathes is good at rendering the physical world and makes it appeal to all of our senses.
Whether about blown engines, fringe towns that have known better days, wolves, horses, boatyards, timber mills, or his beloved daughters, these poems quickly arrest attention with trustworthy language backed by a coherent sensibility that transmits experience made familiar and compelling. The Journal West, Mathes’s debut volume, is an impressive one.”
Peter Makuck

“Jerry Mathes writes with hard-won intimacy about emotional and physical survival in a landscape that is both natural and unnatural, blessed and doomed.
Quietly muscular, beautifully imagined…
…these poems take us deep to the heart of a world that is often harrowing yet always defined by the redeeming rituals of human connection.”
Kim Barnes, author of A Country Called Home