My poem "Wood for the Taking," which appeared in Bacopa Literary Review 2017, is included in my full-length book manuscript, Good Work, which has just won the 2019 Sinclair Prize and is to be published by Evening Street Press.
"Wood for the Taking" is one of many poems I've written about woodcutting. I heat two houses in upstate New York with firewood I cut and split by hand on my 54 acres of woodland. Confronted with a huge uprooted shagbark hickory--about the best firewood there is--I mulled its dangers and wrote this poem as I did. Ultimately I got a logger friend of mine to cut through the upper of the hickory's two trunks, making it possible for me to reduce the tree to firewood with less possibility of winding up in the ground myself.
* * *Matthew J. Spireng's books are What Focus Is (WordTech Communications); Out of Body (Bluestem Press), winner of the 2004 Bluestem Poetry Award; and Good Work (Evening Street Press), winner of the 2019 Sinclair Prize. His is also the author of five chapbooks and is a ten-time Pushcart Prize nominee.