“Sometimes,” Tony Whedon tells us in his brilliant new book, Drunk in the Woods, “I think there's such a thing as an alcoholic landscape.” With such clarity Whedon tells of his close-to-the-bone experiences of gardening, cutting wood, and exploring the back country of northern Vermont woven into a lively, sometimes harrowing personal narrative, providing a fresh perspective on how “living wild” impinges on the mind of the suffering-and-then recovering alcoholic.
For much of his life, Whedon lived off-the-grid with his wife in a one-room cabin suffering in winter darkness and spring floods, drinking heavily and then making a go of it in recovery. An introductory chapter sets the tone for Drunk in the Woods. The Chinese poetry tradition of the sage tipsy on too much wine and too much Nature is evoked in “Form, Shadow, Spirit.” The book’s main themes—the darks and lights of backwoods loneliness, the transcendent clarity that drinking and sobering up in the woods provides—are developed here.
The book proceeds with thoughtful chapters on Emily Dickinson and Charles Darwin
folded into meditations on birds of the northern forest, animal tracks, and the metaphysics of
About the Author
Tony Whedon iis the author of three books of poems and a prize-winning essay collection. He is a working trombone player and the leader of the poetry/jazz ensemble PoJazz. Along with Neil Shepard, he founded Green Mountains Review. He lives with his wife Suzanne in Montgomery, Vermont.