Paul Croy grew up in Hope Idaho. He was born in 1905 and passed away in 1997. He was 92 years old. Paul Croy was a school teacher and poet. His first book of poems was a collection called Old Blazes and it was published in Spokane Washington by Sterling Press in 1937. Paul Croy dedicated the book to ‘the white tailed deer and mountain trout of America.’
I was able to meet Paul Croy and spend time with him in his log home he built by hand in Hope Idaho. I was 20 and he was 85 at the time. He spoke of times long ago and his poetry struck my heart. I flew up to spend time in Hope Idaho with my step mom and her brother, Uncle John. We flew on his little prop plane landing in what I thought was heaven. It was Hope Idaho and the Northern tip of Idaho. My step mom and her brother John grew up off the grid on a 160 acre farm in Hope Idaho. They had known Paul Croy their whole lives.
So inspired was I by this 85 man, who through his thoughts and words, spoke so deeply about nature, I went back to Portland State University, where I was a student, and launched a week long tribute to Earth Day, by putting on EARTH WEEK in 1991. We ran a week full of events to celebrate nature, mother earth, etc. on the campus of Portland State University.
My step-uncle John, who had flown me up to Hope Idaho in his little prop plane, and who had taken me into the mountains to pick wild huckleberries, well he donated an environmental scholarship to the college, PSU, in Paul Croy’s name. That environmental scholarship is still in place to this day. Learn about the Paul Croy award through PSU’s College of Liberal Arts And Sciences, Environmental Science and Management, here.
At the weeklong Earth Week festival I put together and ran at PSU, we flew out Paul Croy and had him read his poetry to the thousands of students who attended the university at the time. However, no one was ever so touched by this man, as me.
His first book of poems, Old Blazes, I have linked here for your reading pleasure.
Old Blazes BOOK OF POETRY – Paul Croy OLD BLAZES
It is leather backed, ancient text formats and pencil drawings, like all great poetry books of old. You will love the poems and the book itself.
Pioneer Pencil Dust, was his next collection of poems published the year we did Earth Week, where we announced his book launch, in 1991. This was done six years before his passing.
I am so touched and moved to have known this man. He truly shaped my life.
I am glad my uncle flew me to meet him and let us celebrate his life through a book launch and a scholarship that still exists today in his name.
And, now that I am 27 years older than when I knew him and spent time with him, I too have just published my first book of poetry, about life in rural America and about Americana. I truly did walk in his shoes.
I hope in heaven, he knows, he touched me deeply.
In loving tribute to Paul Croy ~ I dedicate my first book of poetry.
Learn more about my book HERE