Picking a new summer book just got easier. Duluth writer Robert Wildwood has taken the free library idea to new heights, offering up copies of his latest book of poetry to the public in a novel way. This month, chrysalides of poetry appeared in Chester Park trees, and they are a gift for you.
Earlier this month, Wildwood’s new book of poems, Like a Leaf Love the Sun, started showing up in neighborhood book exchanges on Duluth’s hillside, and now they are offered in hand-sewn bags hanging in the trees of Chester Park. The books have a little note explaining that the book is for you to take home, read and share. Wildwood hopes people enjoy the experience of “a stranger giving them this thing.”
It’s “part of the connection with strangers, and the empathy for each other. Like, oh, someone else walks here, who writes poetry and things, books and trees; weird. But also, hanging them in the trees. I want to encourage people to think about our connection to nature,” Wildwood said.
The book captures everyday joys in the grind of life. His poems are about living in Duluth, embracing a new job, being grounded in family and about finding his way in the world in a more connected way.
“I focus my writing in the present moment and mindfulness,” Wildwood said.
Readers will find his book packed with positivity and built for connection. Like a Leaf Love the Sun is “a metaphor of kind of a broader thing of like, turn your face towards what nourishes you,” Wildwood said.
Wildwood has written and published for many years going way back to the Minneapolis zine scene.
“When I got into the world of punk, I would put out a zine like every few months and that inspired me to create things, write and do art and stuff, put it out there, spread it around. This was before the internet,” Wildwood said.
“Zines! That was the internet; where you were finding the fresh stuff that just anyone was expressing but minus the nasty comments.”
His youthful publications include short stories, while others are comic-book style zines about releasing the anguish of the childhood bully, of finding transformation and about love and community. They boast titles like Awesome Future: Stories of Victorious Action, Shut up and Love the Rain and Unsinkable.
His new book comes on the heels of Hillside Sunrise, a 2022 book of poetry capturing the pandemic woes and a love for the Duluth hillside. Like a Leaf Love the Sun is rooted in the hills of Duluth, where you can walk with Wildwood through this eyes-wide-open daily practice with insight and grace.
Another daily practice shows up in his poetry: walking to work.
A Multitude Walking as One
one person wearing shoes and
a barefooted bird
walked down this snow covered sidewalk
quiet sidewalk on a fresh side street
busy morning bustle behind
sounds surround move fast in cold air
humans encapsulated in machines
strive to avoid
other machines containing people
here on the quiet sidewalk
there is only
happy biological conglomeration
cells and multitudes of bacteria
life structures in bodies
doing what they have done
for millions billions
walking to work
walking to play
Book Release and Poetry Performance on June 29
Wildwood found community in the League of Minnesota Poets Duluth Chapter. Its members encouraged him to publish his work and to apply for support from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council. Spending Sundays with the other poets “makes the poetry different and more energetic,” Wildwood said.
Now his book is out and everyone is invited to the book release poetry performance at Wussow’s Concert Cafe on June 29 at 7 p.m.
Copies of Like a Leaf Love the Sun will be available at the book release, and also in the trees at Chester Park or in various neighborhood book exchange boxes.
“Please take this book, it is a gift” his chrysalis note reads.
Leave a Comment
Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here