Plain of Smokes

Plain of Smokes by Harvey MuddExcerpt from The Plain of Smokes:

…the mystery is that he seems
to have died happily
as if the injuring of tissue
tore blinders from his soul
and he had what?

a vision
that to be ravished just once
is the best we can hope for
ecstasy perhaps
the same as transcendence
though I doubt it…


Reviews for The Plain of Smokes:

“Few works transcend this subject (Los Angeles). The Door’s ‘L.A. Woman’ goes beyond the image of a city at night and imposes a sense of awe. Another example is Harvey Mudd’s new poetry book, The Plain of Smokes,” which translates descriptions of the city into universal messages… Odes have been written to cities before, but never on so convincing it its optimism.”
The Harvard Crimson, Nov 1982

“A professional environmentalist, born in Los Angeles to a famous family of civic leaders, turns poet and sees the city in fresh forms from New Mexico…. The result is a remarkable package, stimulating wherever it is not stunning, a combination of urban sensitivity, accessible imagery…. Mudd fills his verse with as many concrete supports as an overpass…”
The Los Angeles Times, Dec 1982

“This is a young poet with a sure voice – great conviction, great clarity.”
The Los Angeles Times nomination for 1983 Poetry Prize.

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