Improbable Journeys

Trade Cloth – $26.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-6092-7
Publication Date
May 2002
Page Count
220 pages
Trim Size
5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Improbable Journeys

Robin Magowan

All writers risk their identities, some with each sentence. But abroad, writing about a life that can't help but seem elusive, the charlatan in oneself may feel all too exposed. Limited to the surface, to the most fortuitous of impressions, how can a foreign pair of eyes hope to pen anything that can vie with something an insider, born there, carrying that landscape in his bones, might write?

For more than four decades, poet Robin Magowan has journeyed in search of ecstatic spiritual experiences. Hitchhiking and walking, by bus or boat or when necessary by horse, he has explored lands as exotic as Nepal and New Guinea, as classic as Italy or France, and as forgotten as Persia and pre-Castro Cuba. All the while he has submerged himself, whether in the mysteries of Haitian voodoo or the simples pleasures of Burgundian peasant life. Known for the beauty, wit, and expressive power of his prose, Magowan's writing vibrates with the intensity of an outsider who crawls into the skin of a country--and emerges transformed.

About the Author
ROBIN MAGOWAN is the author of America, America (Abbeville, 1999), Memoirs of a Minotaur (Story Line, 1999), Lilac Cigarette in a Wish Cathedral: Poems (South Carolina, 1998), Tour de France (Velo, 1996), and Fabled Cities of Central Asia: Samarkand, Bukahra, Khiva (Abbeville, 1990). He is also the translator of Henri Michaux's Ecuador, published in 2001 by Northwestern University Press. He lives in Salisbury, Connecticut.
"It is Magowan's power of observation that makes this book special, but he is no passive observer. He not only describes scenes, he plunges in and creates a center of action... It is magic that Magowan spins, a magic made more believable by his understanding and acceptance of the people he meets."
--Mark O'Brien, San Francisco Chronicle
"Magowan is that rare traveler who allows himself to experience everything and then to describe in clear detail what caused the experience...The difference between travel writing such as Magowan's and the extraordinary variety is truly a matter of depth--how deep (that is, how much, how truly, how accurately) one can see."
--Donald Richie, Japan Times
"Vissi d'amore, vissi del viaggio might well be this writer's theme song. He travels in order to love, he loves in order to find himself elsewhere. From deep in this or that interior his reader gets postcards; dissolving views, myth-haunted, radiantly dislocated particulars." --James Merrill