Richard Wakefield


The Seven Vacations of Man

A tree to climb and room enough to run,
a warm spring day spent playing in the sun.
Then Disneyland, so much to see and do,
so much to drag his sagging father through.
Two decades later, coming to prefer
a loaf of bread, a jug of wine—and her.
Then Disneyland again, this time beside
a boy who wants to go on every ride.
A week in Europe’s cultured atmosphere
spent watching wads of euros disappear.
Las Vegas, in the hope the gods of chance
restore the fortune that he left in France.
At last, the trees all climbed and races run,
a warm spring day spent dozing in the sun.

Richard Wakefield earned his Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Washington in 1983. His book on the poetry of Robert Frost, “Robert Frost and the Opposing Lights of the Hour,” was published in 1984. Since 1985 he’s been a book critic for the Seattle Times, reviewing poetry, fiction, and biography, with several hundred publications to date. He has taught writing and American literature at the University of Washington, Central Washington University, The Evergreen State College, and, since 1985, as tenured faculty at Tacoma Community College.  His first poetry collection, East of Early Winters, won the Richard Wilbur Award in 2006, and his poem “Petrarch” won the 2010 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award.  His new collection, A Vertical Mile, was published by Able Muse Press in 2012. His poems, reviews, short stories, and articles have appeared in American Literature, The Midwest Quarterly, The Sewanee Review, The Seattle Review, The Atlanta Review, Light, Able Muse, The Robert Frost Review, The Journal of the William James Society, and others. Venues for his readings have included the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, New Hampshire and, this spring, the national conference of the American Literature Association in Boston.