Holy Ghost Town: Poems by Tim Sherry
Tim Sherry's latest volume of poems, Holy Ghost Town, tells the story of a place in the wilderness that is more than trees. In plainspoken language, he takes the reader to Holden Village, an abandoned mining town turned into a Lutheran retreat center in the North Cascades of Washington state. And there he explores the balance between faith and doubt, escape and reality, history and hyperbole, the serious and the hilarious - in the wilderness, a place to find answers beyond the questions of everyday life.
"Holy Ghost Town is a remarkable book-length evocation of a very special place. In the genre of place writing, it compares to “Paterson” by William Carlos Williams. Whereas Williams focused on the city in the person, Sherry gives voice to the community in the person, the community that embraces its interrelatedness with the other-than-human world. I admire how these poems honor and enact grace, ecology, hilarity, and diversity. As they seek divinity, they do not shy from religious language and ritual. At the same time, the wisdom offered here tells us that sometimes we need to skip church and follow our feet into the woods where stillness, silence, and attention become prayers in the divine mystery of wilderness."
—Derek Sheffield, author of Through the Second Skin
Tim Sherry knows the perils of belief. Anyone who writes poems today about a wilderness Bible camp has already leaped well above the high bar for risk factor. Marry that to the occasional stubborn doubt, the nagging question, and you have a faith forged in gnarly fires, one that puts boot to both internal and external trails. Whether assessing his own god-like nature in a mirror or marveling at a girl whose t-shirt says Religion Sucks Sometimes Too, in this paean to his beloved Holden Village and the wild lands that birthed it, Sherry keeps adjusting the scales as he seeks the sweet spot of balance. Don’t let the plainspoken style of Holy Ghost Town deceive you. Its depths mirror Lake Chelan, the water he travels to access this remote Cascade retreat. Take the plunge. Come up cleansed, yes, but also with more chuckles than you have any right to expect."
—Peter Ludwin, author of Gone to Gold Mountain
"In Holy Ghost Town, Tim Sherry tells the story of a place in the wilderness that is much more than beautiful landscape. In words clear and full of tenderness, he describes an abandoned mining town turned into a Lutheran retreat center that I and all who go there know as a place of reflection and transformation. Sometimes he puts words to what I have felt and couldn’t express on my own. Other times he sheds light on something I have seen differently or not at all. It is poetry in which I can lose myself and find myself. Sherry’s poetry reflects balance between faith and doubt, escape and reality, history and hyperbole, the serious and hilarious, that all who have been there know to be Holden Village, 'a holy ghost town, a metaphor in the mountains'"
—Elaine Harrison, assistant to the directors at Holden Village
"The story of Holden Village told in Tim Sherry’s Holy Ghost Town is one you might call serendipitous, though the visitors who come each year to the old mining town, now an ecumenical Christian retreat center in the north Cascades, know it as a place to shed worries, make room for peace of mind, marvel at the beauty of God’s wilderness, and live the core values of the Holden community. It is a stirring history of the grand dreams, the love of wilderness, and faith in God that every morning herald a bright new day when one out hiking at Holden might imagine being “right at heaven’s door” around the next bend in the trail."
—Marjorie Rommel, 2016-17 Auburn poet laureate
Cirque Press Author — Tim Sherry
After earning a B.A. in English from Pacific Lutheran University and an M.A. in English from the University of Chicago, was for a long-time a high school teacher, coach, and principal in and around Tacoma, Washington.
Not published until 2002, since then his poems have appeared in Crab Cree Review, Rattle, The Broad River Review, Cirque, The Raven Chronicles, and others. He has been a Pushcart nominee, and his poetry recognized in contests and in 2010 he was an Artsmith Artis Resident on Orcas Island.
One of Seven Billion, his first-full-length collection was published by Moonpath Press in 2014.