Spinning Into September

It was an incredible summer. Between Storyknife and a return to Road System, Alaska to an impromptu trip down to see good friends in the Columbia River region of Washington, my Hydro Flask is full!

I returned home to find a couple poems published in two different anthologies printed by the Australian press, Pure Slush. While this isn’t the first time I’ve published with Pure Slush, my response to doing so is consistently positive. Editor Matt Potter is a delight to correspond with as he’s not only quick to respond to writers, he’s thorough. This is one of the few publications that I’m required to sign a contract for and even its turnaround is timely and efficient.

So I thank Matt and Pure Slush for publishing “One Hundred Bucks for Public Radio” in the Friendship issue, and “The Goods” in the 25 Miles from Here collection. I’m also happy for my writing friend Larry Wright who also published his poem “Lost Boys” and “On Rattlesnakes” in these same anthologies.

As for summer, it is all too quickly coming to a close. I am trying, really trying, to settle into the groove of another school year and winter ahead. But my dreams taking up greater space. They are bright in color and I’m more restless than ever to chase them.

Storyknife Writers Retreat, July 2021

Two years ago I applied for Storyknife and I’m a little emotional tonight that I’ll be driving out early in the morning.  I have so much gratitude for this experience, and also for new friends. Maura Brenin, Storyknife’s Chef, is a poet with food.  Lunch, dinner – each day was something brand new to me and all of it healthy, nourishing, sustaining, and lovely! I’m seriously going to have to up my game from grocery store bag salad and frozen chicken. 

And Erin Coughlin Hollowell who is a poet and Executive Director which means she is not only a woman of words, but oversees all the paperwork and budgetary issues, sets the wasp traps, weeds the flowerbeds, and consults Fish & Game when dork boy moose has wild eyes, flattened ears, and runs wild circles through the yard.  She has an electric drill in one hand, pen in the other, and I’m happy to call her friend, as well.

I was lucky to stay in the Peggy cabin, named for writer Peggy Shumaker.  Peggy’s space is one of creativity and good sleep.  It seemed only fitting to read a few poems tonight from her book, Cairn

And thank you to Writer Dana Stabenow – at work up the hill writing her 55th novel. I enjoyed the evening she joined us for supper. 

The walls are naked again and I’ve just bundled up 66 poems, friends!  They are poems dabbling in stars, lust, shelter, and birds.  They are of wild places and states of being. Some new, many edited and revised. I’ll take them home and hang them in an empty room for the winter.  Sucker holes will light them up with sun, and through an open window, an invite – Come hither, wind.  Do your work. Eventually, I’ll find a path through this writing.

Finally, my writing friends, if you have an inkling of interest in Storyknife, you can do one of two things. First, support this residency through donation. Second, APPLY. The application period for 2022 residencies opens August 1. Apply, dream, create.

Blue Heron Review: Nurturing Hope

When Editor Cristina Norcross reopened Blue Heron Review for a special bonus issue to share writing of hope generated through an arduous pandemic, I jumped at the opportunity to share and was happy to learn that my poem, “In the Cauldron,” was included. I first published with Blue Heron Review in 2017, and was later Blue Heron Review’s Featured Author in February 2019. I’ve always appreciated this journal for its publication of thoughtful writing and art, and the re-open for a bonus issue is indeed a bonus!

Christina says it best in her letter:

Dear Reader,

It is such a great pleasure to share this issue with you!  My goal in opening up Blue Heron Review again for a special bonus issue was to provide writers and readers a chance to surround themselves with the energy of hope and promise after this long pandemic year.  You will find exquisite, fine art photography and beautiful poetry to nurture the soul.  These poems reflect the different experiences people felt moved to share.  Through recognizing your own stories of struggle, resilience, and human connection, I hope that the many tomorrows of 2021 seem a bit brighter. 

With kind thoughts,

Cristina M. R. Norcross, Founding Editor
Blue Heron Review

Perfect for Sunday morning reading, enjoy this issue. It was compiled with good energy and intention.

(Cover art credit: Kathleen Gunton)

Mason Street, Newark Library Literary Journal

I feel such a kinship with library systems, especially those in small towns. Often a hub, they have the ability to bring together, and in many cases, create community. When Bruce and I traveled Canada for many summers, our first stop was often the local library. It wasn’t just to borrow Wi-Fi to contact home, but also check out local happenings, what types of resources were offered, what folks were reading in their neck of the woods. In fact, I collected a good 7-10 library cards from small town libraries across Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland. I may never return to these destinations, but I like to think that my card-carrying membership added to their collective reader base, somehow.

Last fall, I sent some poetry to Mason Street, the Newark Library Literary Journal. The Newark Library is located in Newark, New York, and of course my curiosity about such an offering through a library system got the best of me and I had to learn more about this particular library. Like so many libraries I’ve had the joy of experiencing, the Newark Library is really no different. Community within community.

Mason Street’s Editor and Founder, Celeste Schantz selected my poem “Troubadour” for the winter issue and “Faithful” for the spring. Both poems are in good company, and I was especially delighted, no, fangirl delighted, to see that poet Marge Piercy headlines the spring issue with “My Library Memories.” Swoon! If you haven’t read her work, you should. The first collection of hers that I savored is titled The Moon Is Always Female, a must-read. This is her 7th collection of writing. Organized into two sections, the first is categorized as “amusingly elegiac to the erotic, the classical to the funny (Amazon).” The second section is lunar in nature. It consists of a series of 15 poems for “a calendar based on lunar rather than solar divisions” (Amazon).

I’m really thankful that both “Troubadour” and “Faithful” found a home in the pages of a literary journal of a thriving library far away from home. Should you get the chance, read both issues. Visit the archives. But most importantly, keep writing and sharing our work with the world.

Humble Pie

I am incredibly happy to have a poem appear in the pages of Humble Pie’s Volume XVII. The poem is titled “Greens & Lanterns,” composed in the fall when most days felt like I was grabbing at straws to make technology and school days work. It was quite a scramble and poetry offered a sweet escape.

And when finally spring rolled around, it was a warm celebration of writers and artists who celebrated the launch of this issue via Zoom on a May evening. Thank you to Caroline Goodwin, poet extraordinaire, who oversees the work that goes into such a quality journal.

Pandemic Evolution

This project, the best kind, emerged from the whim of writer and artist, Matthew Wolfe. When the pandemic began, he started assembling and sharing on Facebook a daily photograph of possessions, many with notes. Each photo carried a shadowbox appeal, a frozen moment in time. Enter Sheila-Na-Gig editor, Hayley Mitchell Haugen, who suggested moving this work to a book format, and to open a call for writers to share their writing in response to Matthew’s photos.

And so the birth of Pandemic Evolution!

It is a hefty volume, beautifully crafted. The book contains Matthew’s writing, a record of the early days of the pandemic, his photographs with notes, and the writings of 46 poets from the U.S., Canada, India, and Wales, who responded in kind, ekphrastically, to Matthew’s work.

I am grateful to have three poems included in this collection: “Day 79: Something Cohen Said,” “Outside Terrace, B.C.,” and “Day 100: Road Trip Is Life.”

This project is truly an act of a collaboration in both the project and more global sense. It is one that I’ll look back on in gratitude having had this chance to document those early days the world entered into a period of social distancing, questioning, uncertainty, and survival.

Thank you to Matthew and Hayley for gifting this to the reading world.

Tidal Echoes 2021

It’s such an honor to have poetry included in the annual literary journal, Tidal Echoes. I’m sure I say this every year, but the journal is phenomenal. A quick preview of the Contents is akin to attending a family reunion, only it’s a paper family of writers that come together annually to celebrate not only the journal’s launch, but what it is to live in Southeast Alaska. We are lucky indeed that Emily Wall oversee this project. This year’s editorial team of Erika Bergren, Emily Bowman, and Ana Erickson carried the torch in ensuring the completed journal is not only as amazing as those of years past, but maintains its own unique identity. And his is evident from the front to back cover which features Lily Hope’s incredible weaving.

I think that the challenges of the year forced many to back burner their writing routines. I know that over the course of the year, my own writing output has diminished somewhat. As we’ve learned, this is a side effect of living through a pandemic. So many have experienced stress, anxiety, dismay, fear, and profound loss on many levels. It’s no wonder that writing is set adrift for the greater need to simply survive.

Anyway, I do thank this editorial crew for publishing this gem of journal. Its simple landing in my mailbox still beckons summer closer and I so I have great kinship with this work.

And I also thank the editorial board for including my poetry: “Tent’s Collective Memory,” “Heart as a burning state,” and “Before Snow Flies.”

Capsule Stories, Spring 2021 Edition

I’m so grateful to Editor Carolina VonKampen of Capsule Stories for including some of my work in this sweet publication. This edition is chock-full of spring-themed poetry, and it couldn’t have landed in my mailbox at a better time. After a long year of Covid challenges and mitigations, the compilation of writing contained not only demonstrates that many small presses and their editors have persevered through this stretch, as have many writers. The struggle is real, and I know this firsthand, whether gathering the focus to edit, or the wherewithal to set aside time each day to truly write. I know it’s tough to put pen to paper, but if not now, when? Start small. Word into sentence into stanza, or paragraph. Start. The other piece I so greatly appreciate about Capsule Stories is much of the writing gives me hope. Much of the writing touches upon the natural world. Anyway, it’s a fantastic read.. Thank you to Capsule for publishing this. I know it’s not easy, but hopefully, it will become easier.

Capsule Stories, Spring 2021 Edition

TL;DR Press: Hope

TL;DR Press paired with Action Against Hunger, an international organization committed to supporting malnourished children and their families by beating hunger. 41 writers from around the world have contributed writings to this anthology: Hope. I am thrilled that my short poem, “Sitting with Emily,” is included. Thank you to the editors of TL;DR for including it and pushing this publication out into the world, and to Action Against Hunger for the important work they do to increase access to food sustainability.