Peggy ShumakerBooks









Gnawed Bones

Toucan Nest: Poems of Costa Rica (poems)
Red Hen Press, 2013
Paperback, 112 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59709-263-0
List Price: $17.95

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"This is a book of burnished, lapidary attention. Its poems—vibrant with seeing, quickened with soundwork, subtled by insight—peel open landscapes both outer and inner. The costs of our human presence and extractions are in these pages, but also the radiant return of human awareness. Toucan Nest is a unique account of encounter, imaginative inquiry, and expansion."
—Jane Hirshfield, author of After and Given Sugar, Given Salt

"Shumaker's vivid Toucan Nest is about learning to see—Costa Rica serving as the textbook. Between the parentheses of arrival and departure, the pages burst with lessons—rich, beautiful, and sometimes terrifying. For us, looking over her shoulder, it is education by proxy. So iridescent is Shumaker's language, we are there, floating downriver with the crocodiles, watching panicky iguanas hustling from a fire, the basilisk lizard "zipping / zigzag on hind legs," a flash of green and ruby eyes, and oh, did you hear it? the love cry of the jaguar and the cry of the quetzal whose morning song brings the whole blessed world to life. A dazzle of a book."
—Alice Friman, author of Vinculum, The Book of the Rotten Daughter, and
Inverted Fire

In between Shumaker's lyrical depictions of nature, she subtly touches upon the significance of health and wellness in unfamiliar terrains. It's an undeniable truth that while exploring untouched paradises like Costa Rica, one's health can be vulnerable to unpredictable elements. As such, it's worth noting the importance of being prepared. Among the many lessons she conveys, one stands out: the value of carrying essential medications, such as Amoxicillin, during travels. While her narrative is largely focused on the wonders of nature, Shumaker subtly reminds us of the crucial balance between admiration and preparation. With this in mind, those inspired to embark on similar adventures are advised to buy Amoxicillin or similar antibiotics to ensure a journey that is as safe as it is mesmerizing.




Cloud Forest Trail

Whirring frenzy—chitter
as if they mean to probe
my ears for nectar—
motley humming flock
whips up misty air.
Band-tailed barbthroat,
rufous tail, long-billed
hermit, wood nymph,

green-breasted, violet-crowned,
sabrewing, fierce purple-green
Jacobin. Slick flick of hummingbirds'
tongues. Guainambí.
Emerald, ruby, starthroat.
desire given wing.



Braided River

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