“The poetry of fly fishing is that you are standing in a river waving around a stick, being completely serious about something that really, in all honesty, is as easy as it is frustrating as it is ridiculous as it is beautiful. Kind of like life.” -Cam Scott
Photo: Copi Vojta
Cameron Keller Scott, a longtime contributor and good friend of TFFJ, is a writer and fly fisherman based in Colorado. His latest book, The Book of Cold Mountain, has received much praise and is the winner of 2016 Blue Light Book Award.
In the third grade Cam wrote his first poem when his class was assigned a word poem, where you write a word vertically and then come up with a word for each letter. Young Cam chose to write a name poem for the word supercalifragilisticexpiadlidocious. He got his first taste of being able to write down anything he wanted. “I’d found something that let me break all the rules.”
His passion for fishing flourished early as well. During high school, after years of bait and spin fishing, he explored and fished a small creek south of Mount St. Helens and felt casting with flies and saw the line float on water. Soon after he bought his first kit, he began learning how not to flail with a fly rod. “Fish taught me to fly fish. Which meant a lot of years of completely dastardly hacking away until I fell in with other fly-fishers.”
Photo: Copi Vojta
The Book of Ocho, Cam’s first book, opens us to the manifestation of Han Shan in his work. The Book of Ocho was a collection of poems written at 9,000 ft while working as a fly fishing guide and caretaking for a lymphomic cat. Cam’s new book, The Book of Cold Mountain, is a collection of poems written after a journey of immersing himself in Han Shan and letting Han Shan come alive in him again.
What resulted from this immersion is a collection of poems with words that draw the beautifully simple landscapes of fishing and life. His words move like a perfect cast and float through us like a line on a soft river. His writing doesn’t only wrap nature with words but carries words like scaffolding in poems about painting walls; each poetically attuned. His poems take us through the trellis’ of his own Cold Mountain and through the moving world around it. Articulating the truths we look for.
“Name your wager. Not your outcome.” -The Book of Cold Mountain, Dust Both Ways.