Acclaim for Crosscut
"Join Prentiss on his wilderness climb cutting a trail with five young people, each lugging not only their gear but also a life-destroying addiction. Prentiss leads us into the crew’s inner wildernesses. Near the end of their pilgrimage into clearing a way into themselves, Prentiss writes, ‘Four moons ago I barely knew/their stories. Now I might be able to enter/their dreams:’ Thanks to Prentiss we will all learn to ‘speak a language glued together/as much by sap gum as syntax.’" —Jack Ridl, author of Saint Peter and the Goldfinch
"Sean Prentiss’s poems have the muscular strength of a Pulaski swing—contact with earth and stone and wood, carving a trail in the wilderness away from all that hurts us, telling the tale of a crew of teenagers “so recently lost.” What the poet finds in certain words--angle of repose, water bar, check dam, cut bank—will lead the reader into a contemplation of one’s own place under the constellations, dark all around, wet fire smoking. It’s “like learning language / through the song / of some new land,” and Prentiss claims that “Everything is conceived from rock & dirt.” His poems will make you believe it.". —Todd Davis, author of Native Species and Winterkill
“The world is strewn with nature poems, but too few of them feature blisters and sweat, as Sean Prentiss’s do. My favorite poems here center the tools integral to life on a trail crew—chainsaws cut through bullshit, mattocks churn up new ground. Reader, open yourself to diction as incantation: Pulaski, hitch, crosscut. Sapwood, rakers, snag.”—Christine Byl, author of Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods
Artwork for Crosscut by Tim Calkins
Sean's Favorite Trail Building Books
Click to read about my five favorite trail-building books.
Sean Prentiss takes readers into what it means to be a rookie trail-crew leader guiding a motley collection of at-risk teens for five months of backbreaking work in the Pacific Northwest. It is a world where the sounds of trail tools—Pulaskis, McLeods, and hazel hoes—filter into dreams and set the rhythm of each day. In this memoir-in-poems, Prentiss shares a music most of us will never experience, set to tools swung and sharpened, back-dropped by rain and snow and sun, as individuals transform into crew.
Book Reviews of Crosscut
Green Mountains Review
E: The Environmental Magazine
Split Rock Review
Interviews about Crosscut
Audio/Video from Crosscut