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Rogue River Journal: A Winter Alone Paperback – April 3, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; 1ST edition (April 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593761058
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593761059
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Poet and essayist Daniel spent one winter in an electricity-free cabin as writer-in-residence at the Dutch Henry Homestead on Oregon's Rogue River. He planned to write one book about the experience of solitude, and another about his father, prominent labor leader Franz Daniel. Happily, the two projects merged in a work that anchors the history of the American labor movement to the life of a man who devoted more than 30 years to organizing labor unions, and which tells the story of the author coming-of-age during the 1960s as the son of a charismatic man and the product of a tumultuous marriage. Journal entries chronicle Franz's descent into alcoholism, as well as the author's own battles with drugs, and his refused induction into the military during the Vietnam War. As he watches winter turn to spring, the author makes peace with his deceased father--forgiving him his rages and alcoholism--and becomes more lenient toward his own, younger self in a lovely melding of memory and natural history. Rebecca Maksel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"A remarkable book. John Daniel learns to hold on to patience and love--but only hand in hand with impatience, remorse, and hard-edged grief."

More About the Author

John Daniel, a former logger, hod carrier, railroader, and rock climbing instructor, is the author of nine books of memoir, personal essays, and poetry. His new work, The Far Corner: Northwestern Views on Land, Life, and Literature, published by Counterpoint in April 2009, is a collection of personal essays that explore various subjects in the human and more-than-human worlds, seeking to define his allegiances to his home places and region and the wholeness of life itself.

Rogue River Journal: A Winter Alone, released in 2005, is an account of a four-and-a-half-month experiment in solitude in the backcountry of the Klamath Mountains in southwestern Oregon, and also a memoir of Daniel's father's life and career in the American labor movement and of his own growing up and coming of age in the 1950s and 1960s. Rogue River Journal was one of six books awarded a 2006 PNBA Book Award by the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association.

John Daniel has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, a James Thurber Writer-in-Residence at Ohio State University, and a Research and Writing Fellow at Oregon State University's Center for the Humanities. In fall semester 2005 he was Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at St. Mary's College of California, teaching the MFA workshop in literary nonfiction. In 2003-04, 2004-05, and spring 2006, he was the Viebranz Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at St. Lawrence University in northern New York State. He is now conducting a yearlong memoir workshop through Fishtrap in northeast Oregon.

Two of Daniel's books, The Trail Home and Looking After: A Son's Memoir, have won the Oregon Book Award for Literary Nonfiction from Literary Arts, a private non-profit that seeks to enrich the lives of Oregonians through language and literature. In 1998-99 he held a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has also won the Andres Berger Award for Creative Nonfiction, the annual John Burroughs Nature Essay Award, and a Pushcart Prize, among other honors.

Essays and articles by John Daniel have appeared in Audubon, Outside, Portland, Bloomsbury Review, North American Review, Southwest Review, and other journals and magazines, and in such anthologies as Nature Writing: The Tradition in English, the annual American Nature Writing series, and Facing the Lion: Writers on Life and Craft. His poems have been published in Poetry, The Southern Review, Sierra, The Pushcart Prize VIII, Poetry of the American West, and other journals and anthologies. His two collections are Common Ground and All Things Touched by Wind. He is poetry editor of Wilderness magazine, the annual publication of the Wilderness Society.

John Daniel lives with his wife, Marilyn Daniel, plus two cats, a dog, and usually a pack rat, in the Coast Range foothills west of Eugene, Oregon. His web address is www.johndaniel-author.net.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Corinne H. Smith VINE VOICE on June 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Poet and nonfiction writer John Daniel spent four and a half months living by himself in a cabin in the Rogue River canyon of southwestern Oregon. Though his original intent was to go there to write, he did some nature observation and terrain exploration as well. He chose to make his retreat during the winter of 2000-2001, beginning just after election day. We who were stuck back here in civilization can only envy his self-made cocoon of quiet, blissfully removed from the incessant media analysis of the Bush-Gore-Florida quandry. We can merely shake our heads, remembering.

Memory comes into play quite a bit here. After taking care of his immediate needs and taking in the natural world around him, Daniel spends much of his alone time considering the past. Or two pasts, really: his father's and his own. Something he sees or thinks about at the cabin will remind him of something else from the past, and he follows that tangent. He writes about his father and traces the man's work in the American labor movement as well as his struggle with alcoholism. At the same time, he reveals much about his own life and about growing up in a 1960s culture that was both anti-Vietnam and pro-drugs. "Rogue River Journal" is as much about Daniel's voyage of self-discovery as it is a temporary escape from society. By the end of his sojourn, it seems as if he has come to terms with all of it: his relationship with his father, his own varied and sometimes illegal activities of his younger days, his writing career, even the choice to enforce this self-imposed confinement. Daniel gets *very* personal, yet this is not a pure autobiography. It's funny, it's sad, it's thought-provoking, it's Life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daboomer on November 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The book has four themes: journal and musings while in the Oregon wilderness, auto biography, and father's biography. It's tough to write an interesting journal - face it, most lives aren't that interesting. Daniel has led an interesting life, but not that interesting. I enjoyed spending time with him in the wilderness, became bored with his reflections on his self-absorbed youth, and had to go for my own solitary walk to escape his musings on current politics - sorry, not interested in ruminations on Bill Clinton and Monica, the decriminalization of drugs, and the merits of Bush and Gore.

The sections on his father and the labor movement were fascinating and hope that Daniel can work through the emotional issues enough to write a full, more dispassionalte biography.

There are plenty of great nuggets to mine here, for example his experience as a choker in Washington forest, and having many fathers, that make the book worth reading. But often I could almost hear Franz Daniel saying, that's enough John, now get out and DO something.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GusNorman on April 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This has turned in to one of my favorite books. I've already read it twice through and used some quotes from it in my blog.
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Format: Paperback
In December 2000 John Daniel began a seven-month Thoreau style experiment in solitude at Oregon's Rogue River Canyon. His goal was to clarify his identity while pursuing daily life without the distractions of the world. He wanted no two-way conversation; not even with his wife. He said he wanted to live by the rhythms of light and dark, moon and weather and the tides of his own being. He wanted to be less bristly, more emotionally supple, rid himself of unworthy feelings and learn how to love and be loved. He felt, like most of us, that we distract ourselves with ourselves. We're only vaguely present.
"Rogue River Journal: A Winter Alone" is part memoir, part Zen journal, part natural history and part family portrait. Like Thoreau, John practiced domestic economy. He planted a garden, fished, meditated, walked and wrote daily about the rigors of solitude and the natural world's spiritual nourishment.
He also wrote about his family. He said, "I'm writing about my father and my younger years because that part of my experience seemed incomplete. It's in the past but I haven't finished living it. I'd like to do that if I can." He wanted to come to terms with his dead father, a charismatic union leader and alcoholic and his parents troubled marriage.
Instead of pouring drinks John pours himself into the page. He worked out his views and feelings - not in dialogue but by writing them down.
"Rogue River Journal" is an amazing memoir about the joys and tribulations of solitude, the spiritual nourishment of nature and mysteries of growing up with a father who was a famous labor organizer and an alcoholic in the 60s.
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