Lost Salmon

Lost Salmon

9781936657230-Perfect-LostSalmon-cov.inddBy Scott T. Starbuck. MoonPath Press: Tillamook, 2016.

Lost Salmon is a 79 page poetry collection focusing on the clash between ancient sustaining forces like wild salmon rivers with modern industrial lives. While Starbuck’s first full-length poetry book Industrial Oz: Ecopoems was about the climate change problem,  Lost Salmon is more about his concern for climate change rooted in 45 years of love for Pacific Northwest reefs, rivers, and forest areas.  There are a few climate change poems in the book, but most are about fishing and fishing people and places of the Pacific Northwest.

The “ABOUT THE AUTHOR” section of the book notes “Starbuck was raised fishing rivers near Mt. Hood, in eastern Oregon, and on the Oregon coast. He still dreams swarms of orange salmonfiles gulped by giant redside trout on the Deschutes. After high school, he ran the Tradewinds’ Starfisher in Depoe Bay, [Oregon]. [ . . . . ] He said ‘During spring, summer, and winter breaks from teaching, I spend more time with my fishing rod than I do with people.’ His fishing articles or poems appeared in Yale Anglers’ Journal, Salmon Trout Steelheader, The Sunday Oregonian, Northwest Fishing Reports, Talking River at Lewis-Clark State College, The Raven Chronicles, and many other literary journals.”

He finished the book at PLAYA near Summer Lake, Oregon, during a fall 2015 residency.

Two poems from the book are included below.


A few oak leaves remain

as salmon die in the river.

Some boats left
and never returned.

A poster in the Crest Motel

shows 234 local shipwrecks.

On the pier, my blonde leans

into shadow like a mermaid.

Up the hill, baked cinnamon

wafts from Blue Scorcher.

On docks along the Columbia

winter comes late.

Far beyond street lamps, star-berries

fill vacant branches.

Their distant light makes
dead ones shine as much as the living.

* first appeared in Rain Magazine (Clatsop Community College)

Clyde said,
Take my ashes
exactly 30 fathoms
off Whale Cove
the second week of July

with tide rips moving in

and immediately after

letting me go
lower green hoochies

and flashers
into the sea,
drag them around
and watch.

* first appeared in The Steelhead Special

In 1989 Scott T. Starbuck wrote The City of Depoe Bay’s Memorial Against Offshore Oil Drilling to the Oregon Governor’s Ocean Resources Management Task Force to help stop oil rigs off the Oregon Coast.  He was awarded a climate change residency at PLAYA in the Oregon Outback in July 2016 where he worked alongside a climate scientist, writers and artists concerned about present and projected effects of climate change on ecological communities. Starbuck’s first book of climate change poetry/facts Industrial Oz: Ecopoems (Fomite, 2015) was praised by Bill McKibben as “rousing, needling, haunting.” Thomas Rain Crowe added it “just may be the most cogent and sustained collection of quality eco-activist poetry ever written in this culture, this country.” Starbuck read from it to over 500 climate activists at a Rally for Climate Justice in Balboa Park, San Diego, and at Cascadia College. Audio versions are on his blog Trees, Fish, and Dreams at riverseek.blogspot.com