Tag: poetry

This Thanksgiving I’m grateful to have my work included in two wonderful books!

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-8-02-25-amThe Montana Natural History Center has put together a collection of Field Notes from its long-running radio program on Montana Public Radio. Once upon a time when I was a grad student in Missoula, I wrote a Field Note about Sphinx Moths for this program and read it (yes, out loud!) for the radio show. I’m so pleased that my Note is now published in this collection, along with 111 other nature-lovin’ writers’ observations. You can order your copy here.

My poem ‘Moose Bell’ is included a new anthology of Wyoming writers, Blood, Water, Wind and Stone, published by Sastrugi Press and available on Amazon. As I’ve written before, I have wandered away, but always keep coming back to live in Wyoming since I first set foot inside its four straight lines back in May of 1996. It is dear to my heart for ‘Moose Bell’ to be part of this project with the work of many talented Wyomingans (Wyomingites? Wyos?). If you’re in Jackson on December 10th, stop by the Valley Bookstore for the Gala Opening at 5pm to celebrate Blood, Water, Wind and Stone. I will be there! And there will be refreshments!

Photo of Sheep Mountain by Acroterion from Wikimedia Commons

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Hey y’all, here’s another of my poems out in the world.  Foliate Oak has kindly published “Noxious Weeds.”  Go HERE to read it!!

Nope, it’s not a scientific paper on invasive species. But if you’re into that sort of thing you can go look at pretty pictures of the non-native plants taking over Wyoming. I wish I could direct you to an excellent essay, the amazing “Planet of Weeds” by my favorite science writer David Quammen, but it looks like that’s no longer easily available on the Harper’s website. Pouting.

“Noxious Weeds” was written in collaboration with my alter ego, who is perhaps a little rowdier and more pissed off than me. I wrote this poem during the Summer of 2015. There’s earthquakes and a talking grouse and more gritty surreality than you might expect from me…maybe?

 

Spotted Knapweed photo By Alan Vernon (Flickr: Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Well hello! It’s been a while. Since last spring actually – whoa!

I have been busy – it is summer in Wyoming, after all, and I am enjoying myself immensely. I’m also really excited to share this poem with you, thanks to the kind folks at Gravel magazine publishing it in their September 2016 issue.

You can read “Moose Bell” HERE.

And just to tease you, get ready for another one of my poems coming out soon at Foliate Oak. Something completely different to keep you guessing about me. Stay tuned! In the meantime, I’m going outside to play.

 

Lady Moose photo By Magnus Johansson (female moose) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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I wrote a poem last summer called “Crux” – and it’s published today at Atlas and Alice!

One of these days I hope to perform “Crux.” I wrote it mainly in my head over several weeks, while out running the bike path near where I live. I can imagine belting out “Crux” while standing on a table in the back of a dark roadhouse. Everybody might ignore me, and that’d be okay. This is a poem about being lonely in a social place. Or maybe it’s about art. Or Jesus. Or Jesus art. Or maybe it’s about tears in your beer and divine drunken revelations. Or maybe it’s about Yacht Rock, because I was doing way more Easy Listening last summer than any human being should. If you listen close you can hear a Judee Sill song in there, too – though I came by it through the great Warren Zevon version. No really, it’s about all of the above.

You can read “Crux” here – and I hope you’ll tell me what you think in the comments.

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Ludolf Bakhuizen – 1. Google Cultural Institute2. Indianapolis Museum of Art, Public Domain

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I’m so excited to see one of my poems about Texas published online at The Tishman Review.  I really love this new literary journal and I’m honored to be included in their fourth issue.

I wrote “Horse Lubber” after driving across the Lone Star State in October 2014 on my way to Texarkana.  Texas is like another planet to me, and I say that fondly. Have you experienced Texas? Have you ever seen a Horse Lubber grasshopper? They’re both HUGE.  My poem is small (unusual for me). Please go read it and let me know what you think.

In fact, The Tishman Review has a Readers’ Favorite contest for each issue – with cash prizes! Go HERE to vote for “Horse Lubber” and help me win some $money$. Maybe I will take you out to dinner if I win.

Photograph of Horse Lubber By Jerry Kirkhart from Los Osos, Calif. (Horse Lubber Grasshopper (Taeniopoda eques)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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I have a poem in Strange Horizons! This is the best thing ever. Strange Horizons is one of the greatest literary magazines for speculative poetry. I am still pinching myself. I think I’m qualified for membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America now. Cross that off the bucket list.

Last year, actually right about this same time last year – I was on the road from Shelton, Washington to Tucson, Arizona. On my way to the Southwest from a writer’s residency at Hypatia-in-the-Woods, cruising down the California coast, I stopped off for the night at Bodega Dunes Campground – one of the Sonoma Coast State Parks beaches.

B3D08C2B-5285-462F-B576-4FBA90106E22I was traveling alone. The day was grey, surreal, salty. I was trapped at the edge of the earth: the plunging sea, the leaden sky, the lonely beach. There were loud tripped-out campsite parties raging until late in the night, too-bright public restrooms, drunk men with huge Bowie knives yelling about country music, midnight wanderers stumbling past my tent (one of whom was startled by the hulking shadowshape of my bike on top of my car – “Oh my God what the hell is that!!??”). I slept fitfully and had bizarre dreams. Thanks for the memories, Sonoma Coast!

Needless to say, all of this morphed into a poem. Something like HP Lovecraft meets Hilda Doolittle. HP and HD, together on the west coast and in my crazed brain.

You can read “Bodega Dunes” here, if you’re not scared. Also – my reading of the poem will be part of the Strange Horizons podcast later this month. Yes – you can hear me read my own work. I’ll post a link to that when it goes live.

 

Photograph of the Pacific Ocean near Bodega Dunes Campground by me.

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“Scale Wing” is, though I didn’t know it at the time I wrote it, kind of a “found” poem. While I’ve never considered myself a found poetry writer (see my PoMoSco fail), I do tend to incorporate the gleanings of eavesdropping and conversation into all my writings. Here, a friend’s story about trying to explain the theory of flight to a small child became my poem about (re)connecting to the natural world. I am still trying to understand the physics of flight – human and moth.

I’m super excited to be included in the Prairie Mountain regional issue of Up the Staircase Quarterly. This is a special publication of writers, artists, photographers (and a musician too!) living in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. I just realized that I’ve lived in half of these states at one point in my life!

You can read “Scale Wing” here.  It’s a beautiful issue, so do linger a while on Prairie Mountain and read everybody’s work. My thanks to the Editor, April Michelle Bratten, for including me. And thanks to you, dear readers.

 

Hummingbird Moth photo By Andrea Westmoreland from DeLand, United States (Hummingbird Moth in Flight) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Discovering online lit mag THE FEM this year was a definite high point for me. What a great source of inspiration. I’m bowled over to be a part of their poetry page.

I wrote “Ninevah” in the same vein as (and striving for the same caliber of) poems in the “Poets Respond” category at Rattle. While not a vehemently political person, sometimes events shake me up enough to knock a poem out of me. When I saw this Hyperallergic article about ISIS destroying statues at the Mosul Museum, I felt a helplessness that translated into poetry.

This was a scary thing for me to write. I am mostly a fence-sitter. Someone hesitant to take a stand in case I misunderstand issues, history, people. This time my sadness took precedence. I want to know how human beings can break a seemingly infinite cycle of cruelty to each other and to our home, this planet. What part do I play?

I reread Byron’s “The Destruction of Sennacharib.” I contemplated, as I always do when I’m distraught, images of the Earth from space, and yeah even this image, which always seems to blow my mind and change my perspective. I sought out stories of female goddesses from ages past and the calm wisdom of Carl Sagan. Then I wrote a poem.

You can read “Ninevah” here. Thanks!

 

“Family portrait (Voyager 1)” by NASA, Voyager 1 – Visible Earthsource: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00451TIFF version: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/tiff/PIA00451.tif. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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So I didn’t forget to do a June documentary review. I am rebelling. I confess I have never been much of a documentary-watcher (did I already confess to that before? is this old news?). It’s true – sometimes I do not love the Real World. (Except I do love this Real World). I don’t listen to talk radio. Not even NPR really. I have enough voices in my head talking at me, I don’t need extra. I have failed numerous times listening to podcasts – the only ones I love right now are Welcome to Night Vale and The Coode Street Podcast, and oh hey – the former is fiction (or IS IT) and the latter is (pretty much) about fiction. As I’ve said, watching/reading/listening to News makes me barf in despair. So – don’t worry, I just need a bit of anarchy and she-lives-in-her-own-world right now and then maybe I’ll do a double feature documentary review later this month. Cuz it’s July! I know this because I am constantly sweating and the garden is growing too fast and threatening to go to seed. Also I just Stand Up Paddleboarded for the first time ever.  Summer, huzzah!

I’m looking at these possibilities for July documentaries. (Feel free to post a Comment and vote.)

Dreamcatcher (no, not the horribly ridiculous Stephen King film adaptation) but THIS incredible woman.

The Overnighters Simply because the viewer comments on Netflix are so wildly differing – what the hell is this about? I will see.

Cartel Land Because I just read this review.

Mainly I’ve been reading books like a mother-effer. I am 5 books behind on my Goodreads Reading Challenge but I am gritting my teeth and gonna catch back up. I just read a Jonathan Maberry book in 24 hours. (This is not much of a brag, but still).

I decided to read a book about writing poetry – Richard Hugo’s The Triggering Town – because it’s got a low page count (ha! cheating) and it’s been on my list for a while. AND because I recently attended two separate poetry workshops that varied so astoundingly in their respective teachings that I’m feeling a need for some familiar ground.

I don’t like to be told that poetry should never contain fragments, should always have proper punctuation and complete sentences, should contain exceedingly perfect line breaks.  Doesn’t this, Do that, Don’t do this. EXCUSE ME. Rules? Maybe if I’m rocking Terza rima Dante-style (NO. This will never happen). Otherwise…where I’m going I don’t need any rules.

Enter Richard Hugo, whose happy, knowing, conversational book stirs up all kinds of poet-y magical feelings in me. I am enjoying his anecdotes and lessons about “that silly, absurd, maddening, futile, enormously rewarding activity: writing poems.” He says: “I don’t know why we do it. We must be crazy.” Preach, Richard.

 

Photo of the Tetons from the Bar B C Ranch Road by me.

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Words Dance has published another one of my poems! “Texarkana Tap Water” was inspired by my time last Autumn in Texarkana, Texas. A gorgeous state – Texas is big enough to encompass many different kinds of beauty, from high desert to the hill country to the bayou. And Texans really set the bar high for hospitality. Much thanks to my friend Susan for the opportunity to immerse myself in this part of America, even if the tap water was quite…unique. My heart goes out to everyone affected by the floods. I suppose the eventual good news is that the state’s four year drought is over. I would raise a glass of tap water to that. You can read my poem here.

“Old map-Texarkana-1888” by Henry Wellge (1850-1917). – http://www.birdseyeviews.org/zoom.php?city=Texarkana&year=1888&extra_info=. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons  

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