Comments by the publisher
Poet Kevin Campbell had the idea of bringing a community of Chico poets together in an anthology. Larry Jackson agreed to publish it. Susan Bent agreed to edit the book, help with the layout and gave it generous support. She originally titled it Five Mile Spring. It was changed to Back in Town because everyone who left Chico always seemed to move back.
Following its publication a large crowd attended a reading by most of the poets at La Salle's Restaurant and Bar. The readings were electrifying but, halfway through, the audience got restless when the wait staff failed to come around for drink orders. Rather than getting up and interrupting the reading, we sat in the side room of the bar listening to the words and watching anxiously for someone to offer us service -- it never came.
The man on the cover is a painting by Tom Griffith. While publisher Jackson was in high school during the '60s, the unknown bicyclist shown on the cover would frequently ride past the campus on the frontage road of the Esplanade, stopping only to pick up anything that could be recycled for sale. No one knew who he was, where he lived or what has happened to him. He was unique to the small and somewhat naive town of Chico at the time, which had no one else like him scrounging litter for a living.
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