Living Off the Country

Essays on Poetry and Place
John Haines
Reflections on how landscape, the imagination, and the "real world" color the creative process


When he was a homesteader in Alaska, poet John Haines moved away from language and institutions to an older and simpler existence. In solitude, listening to his own voice, the events of his life reached into the past and the future.

We live on the surface, he discovered. It is the land that makes people. If a poet will see, will feel, will interpret his place and then relate that experience to what he knows of the world at large, he will have a life in imagination, a vitality beyond appearances.

John Haines is author of At the End of Summer: Poems 1948-1954; Fables and Distances: New and Selected Essays; and The Owl in the Mask of the Dreamer. He received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize in 1991.

Praise / Awards

  • "A compelling book [of] the prose of one of our best poets . . . as finely tuned as his ear for the line in speech."
    --American Book Review

  • "Haines captures, in all these essays and in the several poems quoted here, that quality of solitude, of sitting absolutely still and listening to the depths of one's own silence, and the world's. . . . This is a book to be read and reread, and reflected upon."
    --Santa Fe Reporter

  • ". . . contributes a refreshing perspective on the condition of modern poetry. [Highness] stresses the importance of place with forceful clarity and takes a valuable, penetrating look at writing programs in the universities and the directions of current writing."
    --Southern Humanities Review

Product Details

  • 5.25 x 8.
  • 200pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1982
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06333-8

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  • $26.95 U.S.