Birds of San Pancho and Other Poems of Place
by Lucille Lang Day
74 Poems ~ 113 Pages
Price: $18.95
Publisher: Blue Light Press
ISBN: 978-1-4218-3664-5
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With worldwide concern about the status of planet earth from global warming to endangered species to man’s steady encroachment on the quality of the very air we breathe, at an all-time high, Lucille Lang Day’s Birds of San Pancho and Other Poems of Place could not have arrived on the scene at a more opportune moment in history. With that said, this is a collection of poems to be enjoyed simply because they are wonderful poems that stand alone in their own right. Fortunate readers are invited to explore the world of colorful birds, strange animals, steaming jungles, and exotic landscapes through the lens of a poet whose verse vibrates with love for all creatures and most especially for the planet which gives and sustains life.


The seventy-four poems in Lucille Lang Day’s Birds of San Pancho and Other Poems of Place take the reader on a journey across continents, seas, and time itself. Charged with a lyricism that is at the same time tough and vulnerable, the poems recreate and preserve images of a beauty that is on the verge of disappearing or has already disappeared. Sometimes it is the beauty of the rain forests of Costa Rica or the birds of the Galápagos or that of cities like Athens, San Miguel de Allende, or Venice in flood. Sometimes it is a beauty that exists only in a single word such as “Oregon, … from wauregan, an Algonquian word for ‘beautiful river.’ ’’ Yet for all the beauty she evokes, Day does not shy away from difficult topics like global warming, genocide, regret, loss, and death. The result is a remarkable collection of poems that are deeply layered, deeply felt, and deeply moving.
—Mary Mackey, Author of 2019 Eric Hoffer Award for Best Book Published by a Small Press

What a rich and celebratory book is Lucille Lang Day’s Birds of San Pancho. A trained scientist as well as a prolific poet and anthologist, she brings to her experience a vast curiosity, an intimate knowledge of flora and fauna, and a keen appreciation for the things of this world—travel, food, weather, the manifold creatures, love.
—Ann Fisher-Wirth, Author of The Bones of Winter Birds and Mississippi; Coeditor of The Ecopoetry Anthology

Very few poets possess the acute observational power on display in Lucille Lang Day’s Birds of San Pancho. In lyric, narrative, and meditative forms, Day’s curiosity and love for the world radiate from every page. The life affirming vision in this book makes it a perfect read for our fraught time.
—David Roderick, Author of Blue Colonial and The Americans; Cofounder and Codirector, Left Margin LIT

In Birds of San Pancho, Lucille Lang Day looks at a bird and wonders “about the meaning of each moment / and how to hold it …” The language is simply gorgeous throughout the book: “The ocean, a turquoise taffeta shawl, / falls on sand shoulders lit by a moon / radiant as a trillion-ton pearl / on a silken scarf of pink and maroon.” One poem ends, “igniting a blaze of amazement,” and that is what this book does, with poem after poem making us aware of the glories of the natural world which we are rapidly losing, forcing us to wake up, and go down on our knees in awestruck wonder.
—Barbara Crooker, Author of The Book of Kells, Best Poetry Book 2018 Award from Poetry by the Sea, and Some Glad Morning


Lucille Lang Day has published six previous full-length poetry collections, including Becoming an Ancestor, and four chapbooks, including Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems. She is also an editor of three anthologies, Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, and Poetry and Science: Writing Our Way to Discovery, and the author of two Children’s books, Chain Letter and The Rainbow Zoo, and a memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story, which was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. Her books have received the Joseph Henry Jackson Award in Literature, the Blue Light Poetry Prize, and two PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Awards; her poems, short stories, and essays have received eleven Pushcart Prize nominations and have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies. The founder and director of Scarlet Tanager Books, she received her MA in English and MFA in creative writing at San Francisco State University, and her BA in biological sciences, MA in zoology, and PhD in science/mathematics education at the University of California, Berkeley.


Resplendent Quetzals

Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica
        by Lucille Lang Day

Male and female, they sit like gods, high
in an aguacatillo tree, surveying the forest:

small black fruits they will eat from red cups
fig trees strangling the trumpet trees that host them

green vipers with yellow stripes, nearly invisible
where they knot themselves around branches

lancebill hummingbirds dipping in light
violet sabrewings visiting red blooms of the shrimp plant

cardio orchids that pulse like the hearts of small birds
tarantulas dozing in nests in holes on the forest floor

woodcreepers pecking for insects on trunks
mottled owls asleep in the canopy

black-faced solitaires emitting their squeaky-gate call
humans and the mosquitoes that feast on them.

The quetzals see it all and know it is good.
The male puffs his bright red chest,

adjusts his flowing blue-green cloak. Mist settles,
making his feathers and all the leaves of the cloud forest shine.

His lady watches, dazzled, but these gods cannot rest.
Every year there will be a nest and young to hatch:
so much remains to be created.


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