'Distant Stations'

Distant Stations is in many respects a kind of love letter to these streets of yinz.



Often found on game day, watching the broadcast perched on a stool in Hough’s Bar in Greenfield, is local poet Jonathan Loucks. Once a West Coaster, Loucks fell hard for the City of Bridges. Distant Stations, his first full-length collection, is in many respects a kind of love letter to these streets of yinz. As Loucks writes with some longing and a bit of a wink in “Moon Over Parma:” “I just want people to dance, middle aged at Yesterday’s, blondes in wire rims with foot fetishes.”

His is a youthful Pittsburgh of sports fans, writers, indie rockers and drinkers—a city that’s equal parts Andrew McCutchen, Neutral Milk Hotel and John Berryman.

It’s a city of secrets and solitudes, which shows in the elusive quality of some of the work, such as in “Laurel Players:” “…walking around Greenfield, staring at houses that look like yours. Houses with sheets on the windows, white walls inside.” The whiteness suggesting both infinite possibility and the singular reality of an enclosed space compressed into one solitary understanding.

This is not to underplay the warm humor running throughout Distant Stations. There’s the goofy colloquialism of “Like wax paper wrapped around a fish sammich, why are you holding me?” from “Did Before” and the unsolicited stoner advisement in “I Write for the Drinks:” “A man on a bicycle in the snow says, ‘Smoke a joint, drink a few craft brews and enjoy your life.’ I consider it, the thought of a new legacy.”

Jonathan Loucks is part of a vanguard of younger writers and independent publishers who are bringing overdue attention to our amazing local community of writers.

As the poet Frank O’Hara so beautifully noted of the ’60 World Series, “The Pittsburgh Pirates shout because they won and in a sense we’re all winning—we’re alive.” It’s this affirmation of life, this exuberant yawp of joy that we find at the annual Forbes Field gatherings as well as in the growing lit scene—a love of Pittsburgh, both its legendary past and its bright future.


Distant Stations by Jonathan Loucks; Six Gallery Press; $10

Hot Reads

From Field to Fork

From Field to Fork

We put together this dynamic guide to help you find and engage with the region’s sustainable producers of meat, honey, alcohol, fruits and vegetables.
Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

PittGirl wonders if it's still possible to raise kids to be big-hearted people in an age of self-obsession.
Review: Café Zinho

Review: Café Zinho

Seasoned chef and entrepreneur Toni Pais continues to impress folks who dine at his longstanding Mediterranean establishment, Café Zinho.
City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

We explore every inch of Allegheny County (and beyond) for a look at the communities where we live, work and play.

The 412

Poll: What Should Be Done Next With the Mount Washington Sign?

Poll: What Should Be Done Next With the Mount Washington Sign?

After 20 years, Bayer Corp. is ending its lease on the iconic sign. What now?
TIME Magazine Calls B.S. on That ‘Pittsburghers Are Unhappy’ Study

TIME Magazine Calls B.S. on That ‘Pittsburghers Are Unhappy’ Study

Data-shmata, says TIME’s Bill Saporito.
AC Milan Will Hold a Free Public Practice Tomorrow at Heinz Field

AC Milan Will Hold a Free Public Practice Tomorrow at Heinz Field

Get an up-close look at Balotelli, El Shaarawy and company.
The Thunderbolt Now Is a Certified Landmark

The Thunderbolt Now Is a Certified Landmark

Kennywood’s classic all-wood roller coaster is recognized by the American Coaster Enthusiasts.

Hot Reads

From Field to Fork

From Field to Fork

We put together this dynamic guide to help you find and engage with the region’s sustainable producers of meat, honey, alcohol, fruits and vegetables.
Review: Café Zinho

Review: Café Zinho

Seasoned chef and entrepreneur Toni Pais continues to impress folks who dine at his longstanding Mediterranean establishment, Café Zinho.
Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

PittGirl wonders if it's still possible to raise kids to be big-hearted people in an age of self-obsession.
City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

City Guide: 200+ Fun Things to Do (No Matter Where You Are)

We explore every inch of Allegheny County (and beyond) for a look at the communities where we live, work and play.
6 More Things You Might Not Know About Pittsburgh

6 More Things You Might Not Know About Pittsburgh

PittGirl's at it again — this time with a list of a half-dozen fun facts you'll want to mention at your next cocktail party.
'Which Neighborhood Should I Live In?'

'Which Neighborhood Should I Live In?'

We pick the perfect neighborhood for six breeds of ’Burgher.