Spring 2016, Volume 20

Poetry by Christopher Buckley

Confusion at Evening—Santa Barbara Harbor

The red and yellow spinnakers puff out,
then flatten with the wind’s uncertain shift, 
sunlight sinking grey beyond the shore.

Sailing boats, haciendas in the hills, daiquiris
on the balcony of the club—your chances
long passed . . . nautical flags overhead whipping
in the breeze.
                   A salute from a friend
walking the breakwater will have to do . . .
little profit in watching the swirl of clouds,
ambition drifting over the horizon’s edge. . . .

What was it now . . . what was it. . . .
It might still be reasonable to hope
for something, but it seems wiser
to remain uncommitted, to not review. . . .

Home, it’s enough to lie back thoughtless
as a tree, to breathe into the deepening blue
and empty sky with the momentary wash-out
of memory at dusk. . . .  
                                Stars arrive, their light
only marginally removed from prayer . . . but—
all glimmering aside—you ask yourself again
about their inability to ever tell us anything
useful or lasting about our lives . . . and yet,
somehow, you have always believed in stars. . . . 



BIO: Christopher Buckley’s STAR JOURNAL: SELECTED POEMS will be published by the Univ. of Pittsburgh Press in fall 2016. His 20th book of poetry, Back Room at the Philosophers’ Club was published in 2014; by Stephen F. Austin State Univ. Press. Among several critical collections and anthologies of contemporary poetry he has edited: Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems and Poetics from California, 2008, and ONE FOR THE MONEY: THE SENTENCE AS A POETIC FORM, from Lynx House Press, 2012, both with Gary Young. He has also edited On the Poetry of Philip Levine: Stranger to Nothing, Univ. of Michigan Press 1991, and Messenger to the Stars: a Luis Omar Salinas New Selected Poems & Reader for Tebot Bach’s Ash Tree Poetry Series, Fall 2014.


Star Journal is a selection of poems from Christopher Buckley's twenty previous collections, from 1980-2014.

Past praise for Christopher Buckley:
“The poems are modest, straight forward, intensely lyrical and totally accessible. . . .  This is a humble poetry of great truths and profound emotions that never overstates its concerns for the events both in and above the world.  It rewards countless readings and never betrays itself.”
—Philip Levine on Sky in Ploughshares