Jerah Chadwick passes

by Lucian Childs

I just heard the news that, after a long period of ill health, Jerah Chadwick has passed. 

Jerah was a poet of astonishing depth and sensitivity. He authored three chapbooks as well as a book of poetry, “Story Hunger.” His poems have appeared in many anthologies and literary journals. He taught and was the director of the University of Alaska extension program for the Aleutian Pribilof region. In 2004, he was named the Alaska State Writer Laureate. 

Jerah’s poems speak of the remoteness and beauty of rural Alaska where he made his home. He lived on the Aleutians—26 years in Unalaska, where he first came to write and raise goats while living in an abandoned WWII military facility.

When Frank Soos, the current Alaska State Writer Laureate brought his work to Martha and my attention, we responded to it immediately. So much so, we decided to begin the anthology with his poem, “Winter Country.” The poem seems to frame perfectly one of the things we are attempting to describe with this anthology—the difficulty in finding and nurturing love in a wild land.

Today, Alaska mourns one of its greats.