Drunk in the Woods

“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
sobriety.

Praise
“Even if you didn’t know that Tony Whedon is a superb jazz musician and painter, you could probably guess those facts by reading this marvelous collection of essays, for it reveals a musician’s ear for sound and rhythm and a painter’s eye for imagery. And while the book is about being drunk in the woods, it’s also about being drunk on the woods: it’s both a moving memoir of Whedon’s recovery from alcoholism and a lyrical paean to nature that brings to mind Thoreau’s Walden and Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Reading it, you’ll find yourself drunk with delight.”
—Pushcart Prize Winner David Jauss, author of four collections of short stories, Black Maps, Crimes of Passion, Glossolalia: New & Selected Stories, and Nice People: New & Selected Stories II

“To read Drunk in the Woods is for me to keep thinking of Wallace Stevens’s idea of the poet’s world as ‘Perceived in a final atmosphere;/ For a moment final, in the way/ The thinking of art seems final.
’ Tony Whedon is nothing if not a poet, and his lyrical naturalism—which he so persuasively and movingly relates to his recovery from addiction—avoids mere solipsism; he recognizes how small a vessel each of our souls is in the huge scheme of things. Still, our souls are all we have. These beautiful essays reflect (Stevens again) ‘the mind in the act of finding/ What will suffice.’”
—Sydney Lea, former Vermont poet laureate

 

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.

 

Specs
Drunk in the Woods
Tony Whedon
Nonfiction
Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.25; 252 pp.
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
List Price: $19.95
ISBN: 9781732266209
Distributors: Midpoint Trade/IPG, Ingram, Baker & Taylor.
Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights Contact: Dede Cummings, dede@greenwriterspress.com
German Language Rights Contact: Oliver Brauer, brauer@agentur-brauer.de

BISACS:
NAT024000NATURE / Essays
BIO026000BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
SEL006000SELF-HELP / Substance Abuse & Addictions / Alcohol