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“In a poem there is always the chance of finding yourself afloat suddenly in a mythic river. The surge and sweep of its currents take you into their fold. The river’s vast reach curves across the continents of earth, weaves through the dunes of the passing hours, and you are awake in it. You are an eye in a raw vein of gold, rounded by the waters, lending to them the brief glimmer of yourself in the singular light of the moment. The largeness of the poem is inextricable from your smallness. As it undulates and folds, you feel the spaces correspond within. This, at least, is the shrine I find in poetry—a quiet that I tend to, a place where I leave wildflowers and light incense and admire the things left by others.”
Henry Alley is a Professor Emeritus of Literature in the Honors College at the University of Oregon. He has four novels, Through Glass (Iris Press, 1979) The Lattice (Ariadne Press, 1986), Umbrella of Glass (Breitenbush Books, 1988), and Precincts of Light (Inkwater Press, 2010). Also his Leonardo and I appeared, winner of the Gertrude Press 2006 Fiction Chapbook Award. His stories have been published over the past forty years in such journals as Seattle Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Clackamas Literary Review and Harrington Gay Men’s Quarterly Fiction. His articles have been published in The Journal of Narrative Technique, Studies in the Novel, Twentieth Century Literature, and Kenyon Review. His essay on versions of Mrs. Dalloway came out in Papers on Language and Literature, and his article on the film and story Brokeback Mountain recently appeared in an anthology from McFarland Press. The University of Delaware Press published his book-length study, The Quest for Anonymity: The Novels of George Eliot, in 1997. He is active in the Lane Literary Guild in Eugene, Oregon. He is presently revising several novels and stories. His treatment of the gay artist as tragic hero in The Picture of Dorian Gray can be read online in Comparative Literature and Culture from Purdue University. An article on E. M. Forster as a gay author is forthcoming.