cuke-annex                                      Order the book        Kelly Chadwick page on

Kelly Chadwick's articles on edible fungi

Decomposition: Fungi-Inspired Poems

an anthology edited by Kelly Chadwick and Renée Roehl

with an Introduction by poet Jane Hirshfield

Decomposition is a stunning achievement – foxfire for the mind.... Humorous, authentic, and intelligent, Decomposition is not to be missed. -- David Rose in Fungi Magazine

Kelly's anthology is simply, well, how can you go wrong a group of poets like that? - Kenneth Goldsmith

Explore the intriguing world of mushrooms in Decomposition, an anthology of fungi inspired poetry. Edited by Kelly Chadwick and Renée Roehl and published by Lost Horse Press, this text—the first of its kind—explores a broad spectrum of human response to the fungal kingdom. Within the pages a superlative selection of poets offer antidote to both dry analytic and campy renditions of mushrooms.

Gathered from the root-zones of many different trees, knife-scraped from rock-face, lifted from dung, spore-flung into air, these gathered mushroom poems offer undomestic, distinctive discoveries to all who choose to join the effort to find them.  —Jane Hirshfield (from her introduction to the book)


3-05-07 - Fungi fascination: Local

 couple turns passion for wild

 mushrooms into business from the

 Spokane Spokesman Review

The original call to submissions for poems for this book.

How to Get the Book

Of course it's always good to get it through your local independent bookstore. They'll have to get it via the publisher because the distributor that the publisher uses has gone out of business.

Here's how you can ORDER the BOOK

Get a signed copy from Kelly and Renée (best way) - Send a check or money order of $18 per book plus $2 postage regardless of number to
Kelly Chadwick
720 W. Park Place
Spokane, WA 99205                  

Get it from the publisher: Lost Horse Press

Lastly, get it from Amazon

I love mushrooms.  I love good poetry.  How could I not love Decomposition, an inspired anthology of “fungi-inspired" poems?  
—Andrew Weil


I'm really amazed at how many intriguing poems have been written about mushrooms or with mushrooms and fungi as a central element. And Kelly and Renée selected only about one out of ten that they considered. These poems have truly helped me to appreciate why some people get so into this mysterious kingdom. - DC



Poems, like mushrooms, demand our close attention before they can be found or seen at all. As mushrooms are a hybrid kingdom first thought to be plants, now believed closer to animals, but truly neither, a life form in fact uniquely their own so it is with poems, which reside hybrid between music and speech, between logic and feeling, between waking thought and the leapings of dream, doing work they alone can. And then, as the largest living creature on earth (described in Laura Kasischke s poem) is a fungal mat whose expressed DNA extends over many square miles in Oregon s eastern forests, so poetry s mostly unseen devices underlie, sustain, and connect over vast distances other dimensions of language, whether lullaby, sermon, or political address at both its best and its worst. As mushrooms hold dangerous powers, so do poems Plato famously banned poets from his ideal Republic because their words can sway in ways beyond reason s reach. Both mushrooms and poems hold shamanic potential; when taken inside us fully, they have the power to alter consciousness in profoundly unpredictable ways. Neither porcini nor poems are day to day staples: continuous availability is confined to the more easily grown, more easily storable grains. Yet the intensities of the rare, the seasonal, the brief, the strange, and that which requires both a kneeling intimacy and depth of knowledge to be safely known at all these are needed as much as oatmeal, rice, or bread. It is that elusive, concentrated presence, the sudden coming and going of life forms mostly hidden, the awareness of mysteries that can only be given, not forced into being, that both the mushrooms and the poems in this volume point toward. Gathered from the root-zones of many different trees, knife-scraped from rock-face, lifted from dung, spore-flung into air, these gathered mushroom poems offer undomestic, distinctive discoveries to all who choose to join the effort to find them. --Jane Hirshfield

Renée Roehl has been reading, writing, and speaking poetry from the age of eight. She has a masters degree in creative writing, is a psycho-spiritual counselor and a writer-in-residence at an alternative high school in Spokane Washington, where she lives with her quasi-spouse Chadwick, her two cats, fish, and garden. She hopes to add chickens to the mix soon. - June, 2010 (They do have chickens now. - dc, October 2012

Kelly Chadwick has studied mushrooms on and off for 20 years during which time they’ve frequented his dreams and drawn him into the woods. He is a fine wine manager for a beverage distributor and lives in Spokane Washington with Renée.

See or download the PDF flier on Decomposition

Kelly Chadwick is my eldest son. He was born at Green Gulch farm at Muir Beach just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in October 1973. He grew up in and around the farm and the San Francisco Zen Center's Tassajara Springs, and City Center. As a young child he had a affinity with nature. He loved crawling around and closely inspecting plants, rocks, and animals. I remember him not yet two years old sitting in Tassajara's upper garden, delighted and gesticulating with a garter snake hanging out from each side of his mouth. His attraction to mushrooms seemed to be innate. Once at the age of five in a grocery store with other ZC kids who'd been told to pick something, most got ice cream, Kelly got a bag of mushrooms. At the age of 16 Andrew Weil, a family acquaintance, introduced Kelly to the joy of hunting mushrooms. Before long he was a member of the Spokane Mushroom Society and for years was their president. He worked for a time at Paul Stamets' internationally known mail order business, Fungi Perfecti. He has led many mushroom forays, has been a member of the Pacific Northwest's Mycological Key Council, taught college level courses, and consults for the Spokane (WA) county extension on mushroom identification. He says mushrooms frequent his dreams and call to him from hidden knolls. For 10 years he and his partner Renée Roehl had a wholesale business marketing wild gourmet mushrooms. Renée has written and voraciously read poetry her whole life. She has a masters in Creative Writing and teaches at a highschool for at-risk teens. After coming across poems relating to mushrooms by two U.S. Poet Laureates, Robert Penn Warren and William Stafford, they realized there was a void in available non scientific literature about fungi This led to a search for more such poems. After three years of collecting and soliciting poems, they distilled over a thousand into a careful selection for Decomposition which has truly been a labor of love. I hope you enjoy this book. - David Chadwick

A bit of errata in the book pointed out by non profit tax attorney Thomas Silk. See an interview with Tom by Huey Johnson on Forces of Nature.


11-18-13 - The article below makes plain that  "forward " is a direction while an introductory section to a book is a "foreward". My comment is offered in good will and not critically, but I couldn't resist this opportunity for teaching and learning.


Best wishes for the success of this book and future books by Renee and Kelly.


I am eager to begin this one now.




Tom Silk


Foreward vs Forward

June 2012 SF Bay Area EVENT SCHEDULE

Kelly, poet Charlotte Innes, and DC did readings from the book

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 7:00 PM
Reading at
Copperfield's Books,
138 N. Main Street        (707) 823-2618

Thursday, June 17th, 2010 7:00 PM
Reading at
Ecology Center,
Berkeley - W2530 San Pablo Ave (near Dwight)  (510) 548-3402

Friday, June 18th, 2010 5:00 PM - Social, wine, mushroom appetizers
at Readers Books, Sonoma - 130 East Napa Street    
(707) 939-1779