The early Japanese haiku masters were indefatigable walkers. Basho traveled 1 500 miles to produce a single slim volume The Narrow Road to the Deep North. In a rootless 21st century society obsessed with mobility and speed Bart Sutter decided to combine Basho's practice with Thoreau's sage advice to "stay home." In writing Chester Creek Ravine he says "I walked at least a thousand miles but I did it by covering the same 2 ½ mile loop through Chester Creek Ravine repeatedly catching it right down the block." Occasionally during those neighborhood walks Sutter had fleeting moments when the inner and the outer worlds came together in a flash of intimate imagery.
The 150 haiku contained in this book-tiny poems with large implications-conjure those revelatory moments alongside Chester Creek a stream that drops dramatically through the city of Duluth on its final run to Lake Superior. Sutter honors the haiku tradition by sticking close to the classical form alluding to the seasons and choosing subjects from the natural world but his haiku are fully contemporary and include surprises too-a pregnant girl with her black lab beer cans bagpipes plastic sacks-while his subtle use of rhyme helps rivet these impressions in the reader's mind.
Bart Sutter received the Minnesota Book Award for poetry with The Book of Names: New and Selected Poems for fiction with My Father's War and Other Stories and for creative non-fiction with Cold Comfort: Life at the Top of the Map.
Among other honors he has won a Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant (Sweden) a Loft-McKnight Award and the Bassine Citation from the Academy of American Poets. In 2006 he was named the first Poet Laureate of Duluth. He has written for public radio he has had four verse plays produced and he often performs as one half of The Sutter Brothers a poetry-and-music duo. Bart Sutter lives on a hillside overlooking Lake Superior with his wife Dorothea Diver.