The Ginseng Hunter’s Notebook
The Ginseng Hunter’s Notebook records a vital and eccentric dance for life. In poems of brilliant texture and intimate gesture, the poet, wounded yet resilient, evokes a music as compelling and fresh as birdsong. In her love of language, and in her reasons for travel, Deanne Lundin calls to mind Elizabeth Bishop as she searches for something to name home, and for the knowledge to solve the equations of the human heart. Here is the wayfarer’s journal in which each item has been carefully observed and duly entered as though it might harbor the one true remedy for the soul’s longing.
“Deanne Lundin’s The Ginseng Hunter’s Notebook is an authentic poetic harmonium, blending a probative and anxious post-modernism with a nearly primitive lyric sensibility. I am struck and pleased by her lucid sense of the present, clarifying the moment as we live it, but equally awed by the transformations of her fractious narratives, wrung from her wide and wild historical flair. Hildegard of Bingen meets the Internet, indeed! Here are potions, conjurations, folkloric remedies, like voices from a vexing past — are they our real parents? are they our demons? —as acrid, as overwhelming, as they are brilliant and healing. The Ginseng Hunter’s Notebook is a marvelous debut.”
“Lundin’s delicately nuanced poems locate the music and congruencies at the heart of the disparate. This is a notebook in the sense that the poems retain the freshness of process: the evocative presence of the caressing gesture, the erasures of the slash and burn. The poems, in other words, have enough elasticity to admit mystery rather than wrestle its bewitchments to the ground of reductive meanings. These is room here for ‘starved blossoms’ and ‘sheer extravagant delight,’ for the cerebral and the sensual. By turns sardonic and lovely, biting and affectionate, The Ginseng Hunter’s Notebook imagines a bitterly beautiful linguistic world.”
“What is best is that I am foiled as fortune teller on a mission to despise, when I open a new book, foiled in reading Deanne Lundin’s The Ginseng Hunter’s Notebook, a book that immediately adopted me — I belong to this book–and made me loyal to a promise it made quickly, in the first poem, that ‘in a little while, the body will unfold / in all its senseless and extravagant delight,’ a promise that is indeed filled by botanical obsession intended first, in many cases, Lundin reports, to be remedy, though remedy, it turns out, for what cannot be cured (aren’t we lucky?): conditions of the soul that compel us to intensity in whatever is experienced.”
Deanne Lundin’s poems have appeared in The Georgia Review,Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah,Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, Antioch Review, and elsewhere. She has earned degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan, and recently spent three months traveling and photographing in Iceland.