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Naked Trees

Netherlandic Press [1990]
ISBN: 0-919417-20-5
Wolsak and Wynn [2012]
ISBN: 978-1-894987-65-3


Naked Trees is a meditation on urban trees. It explores the life and death of these trees and the people who live with them. We see the trees through the eyes of a child, who finds her tree friendly and inviting, or view the tree’s life through the thoughts of a leaf, promised flight, but denied it by the capricious wind. Terpstra finishes the collection with a section on varieties, composed of poems on individual tree types such as prunus serotina and utility pole.

Barbara Myers writes (“Walking Around Writing” Arc Poetry Magazine 70 [winter, 2013]) “Terpstra identifies with trees […], losing himself in his subject just as Keats advised. His prose poems are so lyrical that the notion of lines begins to seem like an over-refinement that would add nothing but preciousness and unwanted artifice to the clarity of his compositions. […] For all its reverence and appeals to the tree-huggers among us, the thrust of the collection is clear-headed in also describing the uses of trees as wood […]. Whether in use, in admiration, or in cataloguing, it’s hard to resist Terpstra’s unabashed enthusiasm for his subject.”

read the full review here
courtesy Arc Poetry Magazine 70


Sue Sorensen (Prairie Fire Review of Books , Vol. 13, No. 1 [2013]) “These delicate ruminations are reverent but never sentimental, and their manner is, odd as it may sound, elaborately plain. The subject of tree keeps the poet intensely focused and […] rooted; at the same time he allows himself to range and wonder, to be awestruck and fanciful.”

read the full review here
courtesy Prairie Fire Review of Books


Phil Thompson (The Chronicle Herald, 22 July, 2012) “If you are lucky to live in a well-treed urban environment, get out the hammock and find two big trees in a park, public garden or friend’s backyard and read Naked Trees on a summer afternoon. According to Terpstra, the trees will know you are there. And they will remember.”

read the full review here