Page last updated: November 23, 2018

All pages copyright © 2018 by Pinyon Publishing


Poems by Don Thompson

In Everything Barren will be Blessed the images are immediate and memorable, of hot Southern California valleys and desert populated with wild and civilized lifecoyotes, hawks, egrets, pistachio and almond groves, humans:

“Crows never make excuses,

unlike us—but like us

complain bitterly about their blessings.”

These poems remind us of the significance of water, the importance of our relationship with nature, and our mortality:

“the way we watch a stranger go by,

wonder where he’s going, if anywhere,

and forget him as soon as he’s gone.”

Our isolation and our coexistence with nature must be inevitable:

“An old coyote alone in the fog,

somehow lost where he lives,

looking over his shoulder

in a way we all recognize,”

Don Thompson’s poems coalesce into a “collective voice for the San Joaquin Valley of California” (Allan M. Jalon, in the LA Times). His lifelong immersion in agricultural landscape is as clear as the water and stone in Preacher Valley:

“Everything we need to know

has been written in unhurried longhand

between the hills and the sky.

You can trace it with your finger.”

DON THOMPSON was born in the southern San Joaquin Valley of California where he has remained most of his life, the region in which these poems are set. Retired from teaching in a prison, he lives with his wife on her family’s cotton farm in the house that has been home to four generations. Thompson has been publishing poetry since the early sixties, including a half dozen books and chapbooks. Everything Barren will be Blessed is the sequel to Back Roads, which won the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize for 2008.


Preacher Valley.pdf


Old Coyote (1).pdf


Kern River Canal.pdf


From a review by Ruminate:

“... an effective entry into poet Don Thompson’s world: the dichotomous landscape of California’s San Joaquin Valley ... as the title proclaims, there is blessing to be found even in a landscape where ‘the heat bears down hard’ and where ‘dragonflies stick to the viscid air; / and birds have been stunned by it’...” Read the Full Review.


From a review by A Word’s Worth:

“. . . a significant landmark on the landscape of poems about the West . . . Thompson’s voice is that of a contemplative who can deal with solitude and silence and who is capable of spiritual insights as well as playful composition . . . As the title indicates, poet Don Thompson has blessed the barren landscape of California desert and valley with this collection of accessible poetry about the San Joaquin Valley area.”  Read the Full Review.


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Page last updated: November 23, 2018

All pages copyright © 2018 by Pinyon Publishing