Hero Island

Published By: Oasis

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Poetry

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Reviewed by Jennifer Peacey

Hero Island is an inspired journey through the seasons, set primarily in northern Vermont. This slim book of poetry captures the essence of life in rural New England with a graceful economy of words and clear, accessible prose. But this book is about more than nature and the seasons. It is also about the "seasons" of a life well lived, and the beauty that can be found in everyday objects.

In the first of three sections, cutting wood with a seven-foot saw becomes "a dance" between father and son, and deviled eggs and shucking corn create delicious metaphors for the warm summer days of the poet's youth.

The middle section focuses on Hero Island itself, where we explore Jasper Mine, witness the slow but inevitable changes of South Hero, and enjoy the quiet beauty of Lake Champlain.

The final section, entitled "End of Summer," takes us to a more recent past where the poet wryly requests that his knees "try not to creak" when asked to bend deeply. My favorite piece, "Einstein Sat Quietly," recalls the priceless memory of the poet as a young college student, plucking up the courage to visit the home of the legendary genius to request his presence at a rally. It is here that we begin to appreciate the extent of Wiley's rich and varied life in full.

Armchair Interviews says: Reading Hero Island is like relaxing in a rocking chair on the porch of a small-town general store, listening to the locals sharing tales of how life used to be.

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