Read "Sprit Mound" at North American Review
Peter Ludwin is the recipient of a Literary Fellowship from Artist Trust and the W.D. Snodgrass Award for Endeavor and Excellence in Poetry. His first book, A Guest in All Your Houses, was published in 2009 by Word Walker Press. His second collection is Rumors of Fallible Gods, a two-time finalist for the Gival Press Poetry Award that was published in 2013 by Presa Press.
Gone to Gold Mountain in its original smaller chapbook form was a semi-finalist for both the 2010 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Award and the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award.
His work has appeared in many journals, including Atlanta Review, The Bitter Oleander, The Comstock Review, Crab Orchard Review, Nimrod, North American Review and Prairie Schooner.
An avid traveler who has journeyed by canoe to visit remote Indian families in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador, hiked in the Peruvian Andes, thumbed for rides in Greece and bargained for goods in the markets of Marrakech and Istanbul, he spent nearly a month in 2011 visiting China and Tibet.
He lives in Kent, Washington, where he works for the Parks Department.
Poem from Gone To Gold Mountain
Letter from a Chinese Miner in the Snake River Country, 1880s
Wife, the words I write from this rough mining camp are too poor an offering for one who still fires my gnarled, aching body. Forgive this fool’s gold an old man sends you. Years among barbarians have stripped from me the hope I will feel again your face between my hands, or see our son grow to marry. Tell me, do you yet tend the mulberry trees? Boil silkworm cocoons to spin your delicate threads? Tonight, at rest by a nameless creek, I contemplate the familiar fields of our village, see with the moon’s unerring eye the mat where you sleep. Despised by gweilo who once sought our labor, we linger like dogs on the edge of camp, desperate for a scrap. Scrape from stream, from wretched gravel a bare, crab- knuckled existence. Even the air we breathe seems metallic. Each morning when I wake it flares my nostrils like the long cold barrel of a gun. Pray for me, wife. Pray to our Taoist gods that I may prosper so you will not starve. Nor open your door to find a friend returned from Gum Shan, my crumbling bones his message.