The trucker poet
“He’s a driver, a mechanic, an executive in jeans.” Add “poet” and you’ve described Canadian Dave Madill, the winner of Land Line’s poetry contest in 2007. Of the more than 500 poems that were entered, many honestly and vividly described life on the road.
Not too many drivers, though, take their trucking poetry so seriously that they’ve written three books of verse. “Reflections Thru My Windshield Part 3” (published in 2008 by writeuptheroad.com) features Dave’s favorite themes of trucking, relationships and nature. The tone throughout is sympathetic and philosophical, sometimes nostalgic.
Although he’s retired now, Dave was a long-haul trucker for more than 25 years. The driver’s perspective is evident in such lines as these from “The Highway”: “The lonesome call of an air horn, the tires how they cry, the thunder of a diesel as it goes flying by. Why do I heed this lonesome call, listen to this song?”
Dave answers that question by showing us the mountain breezes sighing through the pines, the show trucks shining in the sun, and the other woman – his truck.
– By Elizabeth Andersen, staff editor
A really good last-minute Christmas gift: Emmylou’s latest
Emmylou Harris’s new album is called “Everything I Intended to Be,” and it’s pretty much everything I thought it would be. It’s fresh Emmylou, easily identified as soon as it starts spinning.
Recorded during a four-year period, she reunited with her old producer Brian Ahern for the album. Nonesuch Records released it back in June, and she toured all summer in support of the work.
My favorite track might be No. 6, “How She Could Sing the Wildwood Flower” (written by Emmylou Harris, co-written by Kate and Anna McGarrigle). Another plus for me – Vince Gill, Buddy Miller and Dolly Parton make appearances on this album.
As Emmylou Harris has matured, so have her music and her voice. Did you know that in April she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame?
Now for a really big compliment: I like it better than “Red Dirt Girl.”
– By David Sweetman, Land Line columnist
An audio book thriller starring dogs
Attention, dog lovers: Here’s a first novel worth listening to. Oprah calls it a masterpiece. “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski is set in the backwoods of Wisconsin where a family breeds and trains dogs. Edgar, mute from birth, can communicate with the Sawtelles, a fictional breed of intuitive dogs, and in particular with one named “Almondine.”
When the menacing Uncle Claude shows up and Edgar’s father dies, Edgar suspects murder. What happens next is fateful and original, yet not unlike the story in “Hamlet.” Dogs are actual characters in this novel, on a par with the people who inhabit the story. Morally, they are clearly superior.
The audio book is narrated by actor Richard Poe. Published by Recorded Books, the unabridged run time is 21 hours.
– By Jonathan Lowe. Audio books may be rented in truck stops from
Audio Adventures. Jonathan’s Web site is JustSayNoWay.com