Naked Trees

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By: John Terpstra

May 2012
88 pages | ISBN 978-1-894987-65-3

Naked Trees is a meditation on urban trees. It explores the life and death of these trees and the people who live with them. We see the trees through the eyes of a child, who finds her tree friendly and inviting, or view the tree’s life through the thoughts of a leaf, promised flight, but denied it by the capricious wind. Terpstra finishes the collection with a section on varieties, composed of poems on individual tree types such as prunus serotina and utility pole.


Read an excerpt from Naked Trees by John Terpstra, complete with woodcutes from Wesley Bates.


Rocky Seas, Safe Arbour (Nicholas Bradley, Canadian Literature, 2014)
“Terpstra’s poetry teems with arboreal satisfactions.”

Walking Around Writing (Barbara Myers, ARC, 21/03/2013)
“His prose poems are so lyrical that the notion of lines begins to seem like an over-refinement that would add nothing but preciousness and unwanted artifice to the clarity of his compositions.”

Renowned Hamilton Poet Pays Tribute to Urban Trees (Adele Konyndyk, Hamilton Arts Council 07/09/2012
Naked Trees is a journey to be taken and re-taken, like a favourite path or street revisited. Perhaps the best way to read it is to embrace it as an invitation—a call to look more closely at the trees you encounter, in all environments and seasons.”

Naked Trees finely grained, thoughtful prose poetry (Phil Thompson, The Chronicle Herald, 22/07/2012)
"Naked Treesis finely grained, thoughtful prose poetry with only a few decorative knots, and the woodcut illustrations by Wesley Bates fit the text like a well-glued joint in your best furniture.”

The Kissing Sailor, and other new books worth a look (The Globe and Mail, 22/06/2012)
"He tells of towering white oaks along the QEW and the black walnut trees of Hamilton, discusses the beauty and functionality of utility poles, and the joy of creating a work of art from black cherry wood.”


John Terpstra takes the Magic 8 (Canada Writes, CBC, 21/03/2013)
"The author of Two or Three Guitars: Collected Poems, and Disarmament fields questions from the Canadian literati on how his 'work for money' choices have influenced his writing,  his 'geography of writing,' and why writing poetry is like sky-diving."

The Proust Questionnarie with John Terpstra (Erin Knight, Open Book: Ontario, 22/06/2012)
"His book is a reference guide for the weary, heat-soaked flaneur who leans against the worn wood of a utility pole or takes refuge from the sun under the boughs of an old maple."


John Terpstra Reading from Naked Trees (Fieldwork, 01/02/2013)
Johns Terpstra reads from the new edition of Naked Trees on the inaugural broadcast of Fieldwork, an online video broadcast about people who contribute to the health and vitality of their community.

A feeled guide to the trees (Amy Kenny, The Hamilton Spectator, 03/05/2012)
"With Naked Trees, Terpstra captures something he couldn’t find in the pages of books like The Native Trees of Canada – a 1917 reference guide that influenced his work. He wanted to move beyond the scientific and get at something deeper. How does it feel to stand beneath boughs? What’s it like to look up at stretching branches? What do trees do in an urban environment like downtown Hamilton? Poems like 'Place' touch on how essential trees are to the physical spaces they occupy – how they’re tethered to location in ways human beings can find difficult."


John Terpstra, Naked Trees from Double Zero Films on Vimeo.

Other Books by John Terpstra

This Orchard Sound (2014)
The Church Not Made with Hands (1997)

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