The Road Washes Out in Spring
A Poet’s Memoir of Living Off the Grid
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For nearly twenty-five years, poet Baron Wormser and his family lived in a house in Maine with no electricity or running water. They grew much of their own food, carried water by hand, and read by the light of kerosene lamps. They considered themselves part of the “back to the land” movement, but their choice to live off the grid was neither statement nor protest: they simply had built their house too far from the road and could not afford to bring in power lines. Over the years, they settled in to a life that centered on what Thoreau called “the essential facts.” In this graceful meditation, Wormser similarly spurns ideology in favor of observation, exploration, and reflection. “When we look for one thread of motive,” he writes, “we are, in all likelihood, deceiving ourselves.” His refusal to be satisfied with the obvious explanation, the single thread of motive, makes him a keen and sympathetic observer of his neighbors and community, a perceptive reader of poetry and literature, and an honest and unselfconscious analyst of his own responses to the natural world. The result is a series of candid personal essays on community and isolation, nature, civilization, and poetry.
University Press of New England, 9781584657040, 212pp.
Publication Date: April 30, 2008
About the Author
BARON WORMSER was Poet Laureate of Maine from 2000 to 2005. He is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Carthage (2005), and the co-author of two books about teaching poetry. He directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching and the Frost Place Seminar, and he is on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA program. He lives with his wife in Hallowell, Maine.