John Meade Haines

John Meade Haines

in Norfolk, Virginia, The United States
January 01, 1924

March 02, 2011


Born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1924, John Haines studied at the National Art School, the American University, and the Hans Hoffmann School of Fine Art. The author of more than ten collections of poetry, his recent works include At the End of This Summer: Poems 1948-1954 (Copper Canyon Press, 1997); The Owl in the Mask of the Dreamer (1993); and New Poems 1980-88 (1990), for which he received both the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and the Western States Book Award.

He has also published a book of essays entitled Fables and Distances: New and Selected Essays (1996), and a memoir, The Stars, the Snow, the Fire: Twenty-five Years in the Northern Wilderness (1989).

Haines spent more than twenty years homesteading in Alaska, and has taught at Ohio Un

Average rating: 4.19 · 296 ratings · 46 reviews · 19 distinct works · Similar authors
The Stars, the Snow, the Fi...

4.19 avg rating — 155 ratings — published 1977 — 3 editions
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The Owl in the Mask of the ...

4.45 avg rating — 42 ratings — published 1993 — 2 editions
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Living Off the Country: Ess...

4.26 avg rating — 23 ratings — published 1982
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Winter News: Poems

4.21 avg rating — 14 ratings — published 1984
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At the End of this Summer: ...

3.56 avg rating — 16 ratings — published 1997
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Fables and Distances: New a...

4.18 avg rating — 11 ratings — published 1996
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News from the Glacier: Sele...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 9 ratings — published 1982 — 2 editions
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For the Century's End: Poem...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 12 ratings — published 2001 — 2 editions
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New Poems: 1980-88

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 4 ratings2 editions
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Stories We Listened To

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More books by John Meade Haines…
“I own a crevice stuffed with moss
and a couch of lemming fur;
I sit and listen to the music
of water dripping on a distant stone.
Or I sing to myself
of stealth and loneliness

No one comes to see me
but I hear outside
the scratching of claws,
the warm, inquisitive breath …
(from 'The Hermitage')”
John Meade Haines, The Owl in the Mask of the Dreamer: Collected Poems

“I turn and walk back to the home shore whose tall yellow bluffs still bare of snow I can see nearly half a mile to the north. I find my way as I came, over dusty sandbars and by old channels, through shrubby stands of willows. The cold, late afternoon sun breaks through its cloud cover and streaks the grey sand mixed with snow.

As it has fallen steadily in the past weeks, the river has left behind many shallow pools, and these are now roofed with ice. When I am close to the main shore I come upon one of them, not far from the wooded bank. The light snow that fell a few days ago has blown away; the ice is polished and is thick enough to stand on. I can see to the bottom without difficulty, as through heavy dark glass.

I bend over, looking at the debris caught there in the clear, black depth of the ice: I see a few small sticks, and many leaves. There are alder leaves, roughly toothed and still half green; the more delicate birch leaves and aspen leaves, the big, smooth poplar leaves, and narrow leaves from the willows. They are massed or scattered, as they fell quietly or as the wind blew them into the freezing water. Some of them are still fresh in color, glowing yellow and orange; others are mottled with grey and brown. A few older leaves lie sunken and black on the silty bottom. Here and there a pebble of quartz is gleaming. But nothing moves there. It is a still, cold world, something like night, with its own fixed planets and stars.”
John Meade Haines, The Stars, the Snow, the Fire: Twenty-Five Years in the Alaska Wilderness

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