Western Where (Broadstone Books, 2024)

Western Where is available for ordering from Broadstone Books.

Introduction to Western Where

Advance Comment:

 Reading the stark, moody poems of Tim Hunt’s latest collection put me in mind of a Paul Simon, “Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike/They’ve all come to look for America.” Though in Hunt’s version the highways are out west; the mood prevails, only the scenery changes. By the time we get to the exquisite third section, after a brief detour into Bluegrass land, I felt as if I was in a Cormac McCarthy novel: vast wide-open, sun-bleached plains, arid deserts, desolate, and unforgiving. Beneath every ghost haunted surface lies a threat of violence. The journey is all about searching for what we have already found within ourselves. Choose your own highway and travel if you dare.

–Alan Catlin poet, author of How Will the Heart Survive? and editor, Misfit Magazine

* * *

Tim Hunt’s elegy for a vanished America, Western Where, takes us on an evocative road trip where we discover the last picture show, a played-out silver mine, a hand-me-down fiddle, silver-screen cowboys, and more. His wistful word paintings leave us yearning.

–Holly George-Warren, author of Janis: Her Life and Music and Public Cowboy #1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry

* * *

I live in San Francisco, in a bubble. A few miles east, a tunnel leads traffic out to the suburbs, and then the farms of the San Joaquin, the Sierra Nevada and Nevada and so forth—America, in other words. Tim Hunt’s Western Where reminded me deeply of how very different America is from where I live. His discerning poet’s eye contrasts the two cultures that can be traced from Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee,” from “nothing left to lose” in his country version, which is about endless loss—and the liberation and culture change signified by Janis Joplin’s version. It’s a profound visit to America, 2023.

–Dennis McNally, author of Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, and America and A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead

* * *

Tim Hunt’s new collection reminds us that, “It isn’t that you understand this world. / You are this world.” The book, in three parts–“Here and There,” “Lost and Found,” and “In This America”–is filled with vivid imagery of the California desert high country. Hunt weaves history with desire and lore, the “mismatched details / And stories that might be imagined— / Some of them maybe even true.” “Lost and Found” explores the poet’s sense of displacement: “In this world, the opposite of lost is belong”, but then “in the world lost is here, / even though here / is where you are from,” The 21-part poem in the final section is Hunt’s hard look at the here and there, the lost and found of America of today. Western Where is a finely crafted, lyrical book that transcends The West, and speaks to the separations and displacements many of us feel. Time has moved on, and we are “tumbleweeds snagged in a fence / rocking in the wind.”

–Gerald Wagoner, author of When Nothing Wild Remains


Sample Poems: