Japanese End Search for Craig Arnold

Rescuers in Japan have ended the search for Craig Arnold, missing at a volcano.

ByABC News
May 1, 2009, 5:23 PM

May 8, 2009— -- Japanese search-and-rescue teams have ended a 10-day search for the prize-winning poet Craig Arnold, who has been missing on a remote volcanic island.

The University of Wyoming assisant professor went missing April 26 after he set off hiking on the island of Kuchinoerabu-jima, about 30 miles off the Coast of Japan's southern Kyushu island.

Arnold's footprints were found going up the path to the mouth of the inactive volcano, and in the last few days, rescue teams found his tracks near a steep incline, where he may have fallen.

The island is remotely populated by only a few hundred residents and is densely wooded with deciduous trees and bamboo.

Arnold is the author of two award-winning volumes of poetry: "Shells," chosen by W.S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Young Poets in 1999, and "Made Flesh," published in 2008. He is currently a fellow with the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Exchange.

The literary community galvanized around the search for the poet, posting the latest information on Web sites, like the Poetry Foundation and The New Yorker. The University of Wisconsin has involved the state's congressional delegation and the State Department.

He has been described as "one of the most gifted and accomplished poets of his generation" by former poet laureate Robert Pinsky.

"He achieves a distinctive cadence of desire and interdependence," Pinsky said. "His writing about what holds one person to another articulates a tremendous emotional underworld, distinctive and memorable."

"It would a great loss to American poetry," said Mark Strand, who was poet laureate from 1990 to 1991, won a Pulitzer Prize for his book, "Blizzard of One," and mentored Arnold at the University of Utah.

"He's not a frail guy at all," Strand told ABCNews.com.

        may urge itself upon you with the ache

of something just beyond the point of being remembered

        the trace of a brave thought in the face of sadness.

According to a May 7 entry on Craig's Facebook page, authorities "believe they have identified where Craig's tracks end at a steep incline. The team believes that Craig went down that incline but they do not believe it would necessarily be a fatal fall."

But now, his fate is less certain.

Arnold's sister-in-law, Augusta Palmer of Brooklyn, N.Y., is reminded of his poem, "Couple From Hell," about the Greek goddess Persephone, whom the earth enveloped one day but who eventually returned, bringing spring. Palmer hopes her brother, too, is only in hiding and will soon re-emerge.

His philosphy, Palmer told ABCNews.com, is "poets should go where ordinary people can't or won't go to tell what experience is like."