Montana Public Radio

'The Eclipse I Call Father' With David Axelrod

Jul 16, 2020

Curious, alert, and keenly observant, these essays probe the boundaries between what is here and what is gone, what is present and what is past, in elegant prose.

Readers familiar with Axelrod’s poetry will find a new facet of his lyrical gifts, while those encountering his work for the first time will be richly rewarded by the discovery of this Northwest literary talent.

In this interview, David remains true to form, examining the edges of his newly transported life during the pandemic with wisdom, intellect, and grace.

The Eclipse I Call Father: Essays on Absence

To hear the full interview with David Axelrod about his book, "The Eclispe I Call Father: Essays on Absence," click the link above or subscribe to our podcast.

About the Book:

In The Eclipse I Call Father: Essays on Absence, David Axelrod recalls a balmy night in May 1970 when he vowed to allow no one and nothing he loves to pass from this life without praise, even if it meant praising the most bewildering losses. In each of these fourteen essays Axelrod delivers on that vow as he ranges across topics as diverse as marriage, Japanese poetry, Craftsman design, Old English riddles, racism, extinction, fatherhood, mountaineering, predatory mega-fauna, street fighting, trains, the Great Depression, and the effects of climate change—accretions of absence that haunt the writer and will likewise haunt readers.

The essays in this collection grew from a ten-year period when the author found himself periodically living and working abroad, wondering why foreign landscapes haunted him more than the familiar landscapes of the inland Pacific Northwest he called home. Each place had a long history of habitation, but at home he was blind, unable to see past the surfaces of things. Axelrod examines many aspects of that phenomenon in these pages, framing surface realities and imagining the scale and scope of that surface, but also trying to sense what is absent or changed, and how, despite its absence, the unseen accretes to ever-greater densities and persists as something uncanny.

David Axelrod
Credit Jodi Varon

About the Author:

David Axelrod is the author of eight collections of poetry, most recently The Open Hand and Folly, both from Lost Horse Press, as well as a previous collection of essays, Troubled Intimacies: A Life in the Interior West (Oregon State University Press). He is the editor of Sensational Nightingales: The Collected Poems of Walter Pavlich and the award-winning basalt: a journal of fi ne and literary arts, as well as the director of Eastern Oregon University’s low-residency MFA in Creative Writing. In the spring of 2019, he joined Lynx House Press as its managing editor.