Coyote Bush is a book that pays homage to the earth. It is a paean to the stars and their constellations, the clouds and the wind, to the horses, cows, deer, and dogs, all who blessedly live without language. In these poems of place, Nash traces and retraces his time-worn paths into the hills of Northern California. He is content at times just to watch the light change or lie down in the hollow a pregnant doe has made in the night. But these are also poems of refuge and discovery, poems of love and of suffering. We find relationships, childhood memories, sudden enlightenment, rising to the surface, just as we are ready for them. Nash finds his place among the elements, firmly rooted between earth and sky.
Here's a poet who has lived his life, not just imagined it. When he remembers the "arrowhead," "flickering tongue," and "black seeds" of a snake's eyes, you see them too. When "hooves thud in the meadow," you know he heard that sound. The book is a loose group of sequences, poems of love, of suffering, of sudden enlightenment, sometimes back to back, sometimes rising to the surface just when the reader is ready for them. A poem about a bony old mare who is put to pasture then, as her legs begin to go, put down, reveals the man as well as the mare. "This day / could stand for any of my days, / and if I had to leave / now would be a good time." Those lines end his book, and he has earned them.
—Taylor Stoehr, poet, translator, literary executor of Paul Goodman and editor of Paul Goodman’s collected poems
In "Tracks" Peter Nash describes lying down in the hollow of dry needles where a doe and her newborn fawn have lain. And this is what his poems allow us to do—to inhabit the experience of another being and in so doing, deepen our own. This collection is rich with praise and rich with cold, clear truth-telling. I admire Peter Nash's craft and courage.”
— Ellen Bass
Without ever shouting, Pete Nash's poems of rural life are deeply moving, whether as elegy or celebration. They develop their themes through inspired description that is both true to the immediate occasion and deeply resonant. This is a rich, wise, and delightful book.
— Carl Dennis