May 31, 2012
May 30, 2012
2012 Merit Award
By Jacob Hartsoch
Saving Power Creek
I found you here, flush with mud,
twisted over your shovel in silence,
the headwaters choked in silt.
Dig, you said, and shoulder to shoulder,
we learned about each other,
until after dusk the sound came back,
metallic whir through culverts
a sparkle in your ear.
My boys should know of this I think.
When the spawning starts we come again,
work down through the drainage,
slant light popping through alders.
You kneel down next to a discarded roe,
put a single egg in my son’s tiny hand,
pink on pink.
Further down we spot the coho,
taller than the flow, skittering upstream,
the boys dancing in rubber boots.
*Copyright 2012 by Jacob Hartsoch. Placard design by Egress Studio.
May 29, 2012
“I always write a lot of drafts, and when I do this, I like to write the whole poem out each time, in order both to fix it in my head and to see where my hand catches on the paper, so to speak — which words it snags on.” Julia Copus
May 28, 2012
2012 Walk Award
By Judy Orvik
Another Kind of Leaving
We read stories about the first women adventurers
to each other in your tent above the Arctic circle,
at the end of each day’s trek.
We followed ancient caribou trails
deeper into the country while
carrying the weight of our bounty on our backs.
Mornings held the retelling close
as we picked our course carefully, listening
as wolves sang old songs from memory.
We talked of leaving this country
on a day like today between migrations
without knowing you would be the first to depart.
That plane of yours is still
stuck in the tundra somewhere.
They say your wings fell off.
I imagine the moss growing over your skeleton
softening you into an otherwise hostile terrain.
*Copyright 2012 by Judy Orvik. Placard design by Egress Studio.
May 27, 2012
Here’s another poetry walk for your world poetry map, this one in West Yorkshire, in the north of England, near the town of Ilkley.
“Stanza Stones” is an ambitious collaboration between poet Simon Armitage, stone carver Pip Hall, the Ilkley Literature Festival and numerous other individuals and organizations. Six poems by Armitage — Rain, Mist, Snow, Dew, Beck (a creek or brook) and Puddle — describing forms of water in words “inspired by the language and landscape of the Pennine Watershed” were carved by Hall into slabs of stone on a 47-mile walking trail between Armitage’s home town, Marsden, and Ilkley. The 18-month project involved a number of workshops and master classes with young writers, who also collaborated with dancers and film makers in responding to the poems and the landscape. A book, Stanza Stones: The Anthology, includes the poems, photos, maps, artists’ statements and details from the collaboration.
You can learn more about the Stanza Stones on the Ilkley Literature Festival website or on Facebook. To see other poetry walks, scroll down to the Poetry Walks section of the links, at right.
photo © Pip Hall
May 26, 2012
2012 Merit Award
By Don Cramer
An aluminum ladder hangs on the wall outside my shop.
Extended, it’s nearly as long as the building.
Smoke-blue paint spots adorn its upper steps,
Flakes left after painting the house three summers ago.
Remnants of needles have nestled into the treads,
Left over from the annual cleaning of the gutters.
When I tried to lower a dangling widow-maker,
It fell and bent the ladder’s bottom rung.
Credit the manufacturer, the rung did not break.
Credit my prep, the ladder stayed tied to the tree.
Annually I brace the ladder at the angle of the roof,
Then carry shingles to patch it before the rains.
I take it on junkets to help neighbors harvest apples.
Its neck sticks out and waves a big red bandana.
My stability depends on how well I plant the ladder.
I gauge my stamina by how much vertigo I experience.
I am handing this marvelous tool over to my grandson.
It can get him from down here to up there and back.
*Copyright 2012 by Don Cramer. Placard design by Egress Studio.
May 25, 2012
Annie Vought is an Oakland, California, artist who works with words. She explains: “I have been working with cut out correspondence for the past four years. I meticulously recreate notes and letters that I have found, written, or received by enlarging the documents onto a new piece of paper and intricately dissecting the negative spaces with an Exact-o knife.”