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Fly Fish Writing > Fly Fish Poetry

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message 1: by ron (new)

ron swegman (ronpiscator) | 154 comments Mod
Hello. Fly Fishing is often called a poetic sport and there has been a tradition of fly fishing verse since Charles Cotton and Isaak Walton penned rhymes for each other. There is a lot of uncollected poetry about angling in general and fly fishing in particular, and on this thread I encourage the Fly Fish Literati to list or link the angling poems or poetry collections they have come across.

To start, here are a few contemporary collections of fly fishing poetry:

Big Water by John Engels

Sinking Creek by John Engels

The Adventures of Jingle Bells by Robert E. Hahn

Savage Gods, Silver Ghosts: In The Wild with Ted Hughes by Ehor Boyanowsky

message 2: by Cameron (new)

Cameron Scott | 10 comments Thanks for posting this Ron, did you or anyone you know ever meet Engels? Tried to get in contact with him a few years ago but he had just passed away.

A few of my favorite fish poems:

"Entering the Kingdom of the Moray Eel" by James Wright (no link)

"King of the River" by Stanley Kunitz:

"A Fish to Feed all Hunger" by Sandra Alcosser (no link)

"The Painter and the Fish" by Raymond Carver:

And some others:

"The Fish" by Elizabeth Bishop:

"The Bait" John Donne

message 3: by Brandon (new)

Brandon Simmons (Troutschool) | 6 comments Hardly March - by Greg Keeler

Hardly March

What's with all

the anglers in new gear,

and what's with all

the spiders and whitefish?

It's hardly March,

and you'd think

they'd all pulled

the plug on winter.

They're stalking stuff

over the warm rocks,

pecking at pupae

in their boxes or

over the shallows

like there's no tomorrow,

which is just as well

since tomorrow's

supposed to be

back in the teens,

back to ice shelves

and slush in the water,

back to our dens and vices,

back under our rocks or

deep in the stacked water,

back to dormancy,

bobbins, feathers,

and whiskey.

But for now

in this brief heat,

let's keep

the river posted:







message 4: by Cameron (last edited Mar 25, 2010 03:14PM) (new)

Cameron Scott | 10 comments I'm gonna imitate on the heels of Keeler here since he's been writing some top notch poems in the FFJ this spring:

Pleasure Park

Down at the bottom of a windy road, at the confluence of the North Fork of the Gunnison and Gunnison. Otherwise known as the beginning of the end. Or the end of the beginning. Whichever way you look at it, a good place to fish most days without your guides icing up.

Pleasure Park

I came back for another season,
to walk caliche paths
among the dead grass and poison oak,
to count winter’s foot prints
and watch the fool indicator
dredge slow moving fish
from the depths of memory.

Leroy sits and smokes, thick glasses
and empty pint glass warping the light
in his eyes. He holds the scowl
of ten thousand jet boat launches.

I wait for the canyon’s mouth to open,
skeletal forms of trees line red strips
of rock, one gigantic yawn of cactus
buried beneath drifts of snow.

Once owned, raw freedom becomes
nothing. I find myself at his bar,
where he waits as if we’ve never met,
pours himself another pint before putting
his hand down, asking “What’ll ya have.”

When I leave, geese at the confluence
push away like black and white breaths.

That there should be a spring, and that
these cold waters must make room
for warmth seems impossible.

Still, I turn the corner above the power lines
and watch late morning’s first light
merge with a midge hatch
like a series of small bubbles rising
through the soft light of liquid amber.

message 5: by Cameron (new)

Cameron Scott | 10 comments Thanks for reading Scott. Good. We need to meet up this summer to catch some cutthroats... ?!?

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Scott wrote: "Dave Motes has about 20 poems from various writers over at his StoryArc website. I think even some people from FFL have some things published there (ahem). There are also essays and stories."

Hey Scott,

Just visiting here for the first time and I noticed your post. I know of another guy with some stuff posted on StoryArc (ahem myself). I'm never above a little shameless self-promotion. Seriously though, I would love for some others to give a little feedback to me if you read what I have up on StoryArc. I won't repost them here but, the two poems that I have up are Ephemera and An Unreliable Narrartor

message 7: by Paul (new)

Paul Boer | 1 comments For a non-serious, fun poem, which I think you will like, visit

message 8: by ron (new)

ron swegman (ronpiscator) | 154 comments Mod
Paul --

"GET CAUGHT BY ME!" . . . Indeed!

Thanks for the link.

Good reading . . .

-- ron P. swegman
-- founder & moderator
-- The Fly Fish Literati


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