Zoro’s Field by Thomas Rain Crowe

zorosfield.jpg On a recent hike along the trails of Carl Sandburg’s old house in western North Carolina, I brought along a guide book. Under “suggested readings” “Zoro’s Fields” was listed along with a biography on Sandburg. Since I wasn’t familiar with this title, I decided to check it out.

It’s the story of how author decided to move back to WNC when he was 30 and live in a cabin (that didn’t have electricity or plumbing) to eek out a living from the land. He befriends a couple of older gentleman who impart their wisdom when it comes to working the land in exchange for help with some of the more laborious chores. Less than a page is dedicated to Crowe’s relationship with the Carl Sandburg homestead – which is ten miles from his cabin and where on days the farm is closed to the public he clears out the goat barn to use the manure for his fields. It’s an Appalachian Walden’s Pond only not nearly as well written.

Each chapter ends with one of his poems. Evidently, his poetry has been published in various magazine but I don’t know why. Most of it is wretched wretched stuff. And while the book is thought provoking in it’s themes of being self sufficient and discovering yourself through nature, it’s not well written enough to be inspiring or a book for the ages. Plus on the “About The Author” page at the end of the book it describes Crowe as a “baby beat” of the 1970s San Francisco renaissance. Baby Beat? That makes me throw up a little in my mouth. I mean, seriously.

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