online discussion of poetry set for January 7th, facilitated by Sandra Kleven, poet, MFA student in the
low residency program at University of Alaska, Anchorage. See link on this site for Kleven's current project, "Where
is Ted Roethke?" a short film -- being shot in Seattle January 1 - 16, 2009. Kleven's most recent published work can
be found in the first issue of CIRQUE JOURNAL, "Jaden is Calling." http://www.cirquejournal.com/
|Click photo to go to Anne Caston's web site.
|Click book to purchase
|Click book to purchase
Anne Caston is a former nurse, a writer and an educator whose work has been published
in literary and medical journals here and abroad. She received a grant from St. Mary's Arts Council in 1994 and has been a
featured writer twice on WPFW's "The Poet and the Poem" and was interviewed by Michael Collier for The Writer's Life video
series, broadcast over a tri-state television area (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia). Her work has recently been anthologized
in collections such as The New American Poets: A
Bread Loaf Anthology, Where Books Fall Open, Sustenance & Desire, and Long Journey: Contemporary Northwest Poets. A selection from Anne's poems was awarded Prairie Schooner's 2002 Readers'
Choice Award and her poem, "Purgatory," received a 2003 International Merit Award in Poetry from Atlanta Review.
Caston's poems, below, will be published in her her next collection The
Empress of Longing. "Deer
Season" has been previously published in a literary magazine (Sundog:
The Southeast Review).
Anne Caston's webpage
Click this link for more information about Anne Caston
Click for Library of Congress webcast with Anne Caston - "The Poet and the Poem"
late years, to hear it, were riddled
with regret, though
not for the hundreds or more
who'd launched themselves at him,
nettles of their yellow teeth
thumb or finger
when he'd gotten close.
Not for the hundreds of them and not
the terrified infants, caged and crated,
off to zoos in the West or restaurants
in the Far
East. Business is business, he was
fond of saying,
and business is good these days.
A man has to eat,
Just for one was that hard man undone, by one
who'd been most ferocious in her love,
to surrender to him
her child until the machete
had cleaved her near in two, she
who had staggered backwards under the blow and – seeing
for herself the
hard and unrelenting fact of the matter –
circled the man's scarred thumb with her fingers
pulled him close, placing her trembling
in his arms, then lay down
on her side on the mossy
forest floor and died.
~ December 21 2009
In Shoney's this morning, at a center table, five
men in flannel and bright orange vests, speaking
loudly of hunting and guns,
of the buck
they hope to bring down,
the knife, the gutting,
the rack of antlers.
When a boy in the next booth drops
his jacket, his mother fusses, Jacob, don't
throw your coat on the floor. The men chuckle.
One winks and leans over to say
to her, A typical boy, Ma'am.
She jerks back, as if slapped, then
stammers, Not quite.
Something stricken in her voice shakes the boy
who turns face-forward toward the man who can see now
the puckered socket where an eye and cheekbone used to be.
The boy is watching his mother's flushed face.
She is watching the man's.
If it isn't cruelty
– how she lets him go on
sitting there, ash-faced,
staring after the boy
who has turned back already
to his green toy soldiers
and the war he is making
with them – well,
it isn't kindness
Across the room, sounds lift: a cough, clacking
spoons, the clatter of cups, a glass shattering.
She retrieves the
dropped coat. The men
turn back to their plates,
to what's left
of their coffee and eggs, to the
morning beyond the window.
Anything but that face.
One by one, each
man shoves a dollar bill under the rim of a plate.
by one, each gets up, takes a coat, goes out.
gather again on the sidewalk
beyond the ice-pocked
window. They shake
their heads and shove their
fists deep into pockets.
They leave for the cold fields. They don't look back.
The boy, with his one blue eye, watches them go.
Derick Burleson's first book, Ejo: Poems, Rwanda 1991-94 won the Felix Pollak Prize in
Poetry. His poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review and Poetry, among other journals.
A recipient of a 1999 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, Burleson teaches in the MFA program in Creative
Writing at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and lives with his partner and daughter in Two Rivers, Alaska."Never Night"
is a hymn to life, a meditation on day and night, on the seasons, on nature and on love. Alaska may be real chilly in the
winter but these beautiful poems are more than warm. Apparently poetry can change climate... Adam Zagajewski
The poems below
are from Burleson's collection, NEVER NIGHT.
You’d like it here where
it’s never night, where the sun
circles, rather, until it ends
it started from,
east or west, rises, sinks
but doesn’t ever set,
where in the summer
never need to sleep
and all day and all night
the sky is a series of blues
you’ve seen only once before,
blues van Gogh painted
at the end. Where
all the traffic
is fox and moose and bear,
where aspen and birch
bud and leaf all in one day,
and your sleep, when sleep
spring wind through a window
left open now that spring
is passing fast and summer
stay here long before
the snow sweeps any green
away again and then it’s always
night. You’d like that too, when
endless night falls and the moon
up, reads your book over
your shoulder, learns
poet moves you tonight,
when any heat at all rises,
and becomes a visible thing.
When snow falls thick
among bare aspens,
will wade down into
this vale and begin
to make my soul.
When midnight dawns
frozen with no moon
to silver the night,
I will begin with words
made visible, frozen
words rising on no
wind among the black
blind eyes of bare aspen,
rising into midnight
with none to hear
except sleeping ravens,
the world will grow
rife with strange green fire.
|Burwell is the editor of CIRQUE JOURNAL - click here
|Click book to purchase
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Burwell has published two chapbooks of poetry; his full-length poetry collection Cartography of Water was published
by North Shore Press in 2007. He manages to keep out of trouble by writing environmental impact statements for the Department
of Interior, teaching poetry part time at the University of Alaska Anchorage, researching Alaska maritime history, maintaining
a database on Alaska shipwrecks, and pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology. He is also editor of the new literary
When I cross the bridge over Granite
just past Sutton on the way to our cabin
up near Fish Lake three years ago,
am still long married, dying
from the load of it. The creek’s my divide
between town and the wild, where wild
takes over: raw,
Granite Creek’s whitewater
scrapes the air
clean as it courses past the highway bridge.
Castle Mountain’s towers and spines
soar above cottonwoods and clouds.
Mountain ascends in scree and slice.
A spectacle stirs between them
that I think full enough to embrace and carry us.
But in our cabin
on the wild side
of the creek’s bright churning,
a darker flood scours the trees and peaks,
home, where I live nameless
and submerged, rapt in a land
I let you draw on your brittle map.
From 50 Poems for Alaska, Ten Poets Press, 2008.
Wolf at Beaver Creek,
Wrangell Mountains, Alaska
--for Allison Hedge-Coke
This gray shape before me
not any known thing.
From twenty feet, my eyes slide
into other eyes, full
of wild streaks of darkening sky.
The creek rushes in its small calling.
He moves first, turns from the trail,
trots off, turns, stares,
trots, stops, stares
three more times before the willows
swallow him. I
am rooted under clouds
ripping in winds too high
that other eye heaving in the heart.
Originally published in a slightly different form in
Cartography of Water, NorthShore Press, 2007
|Click on photo to go to Bradfield's website.
|Click picture to go to Broadsided web page
Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of Approaching Ice (Persea,
2010), which was a finalist for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and Interpretive Work (Arktoi
Books, 2008), which won the 2009 Audre Lorde Prize and was a finlaist for a Lambda Literary Award. Her poems have been published
in journals such as The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry Magazine, Orion, and in numerous anthologies.
Founder and editor of the grassroots-distributed and guerilla-art-inspired Broadsided Press (www.broadsidedpress.org),
a former Stegner Fellow, she works as a naturalist. www.ebradfield.com
Polar Explorer Capt. John Cleves Symmes (1820)
Outside his Cincinnati windows, a street game
in full swing.
Some kid shouts Safe! Another jeers
A fight breaks out. Inside, Symmes keeps pressing
his human face against the frozen wall of what
is known, not seeing through but melting into it
his own features, his own strange form. He wanted
explanations for the plenty at the
caribou twice the size of white-tailed deer,
white bears dwarfing black, schools of herring
that return each year fat and flashing, more fish
than ever could fit into an ice-choked
Shouldn’t the north be barren? Wouldn’t
Hope effervesced in him, bubbled toward utopia. Americus,
he’d say to his son, there is more to discover
be patron to it. It could almost pass
icy ring and sloping verge
that he proposed, a concavity, a hole four thousand
miles across at the globe’s north end, and,
for symmetry, six thousand at the south, another earth
within our earth, more perfect, richer, the borealis
streaming from it like a neon sign.
—label circa 1940 for an ivory spear tip in the
MacMillan Collection, Provincetown
Optimism, in a strange,
American way, this zippy
for what was foreign
distant as the need
for a haasux
(spear-thrower in Aleut)
or unaaq (Inupiaq pole
to check ice
This tool (perhaps a sakku)
useless to the secretary
(was it Miriam?)
the label that has yellowed.
but some words drift.
Take vaxa gididzagh, Athabaskan for
that with which things are spread
and so now butter knife.
Or lastax—fermented fur seal flipper—
now the three-petaled gizmo
spins beneath a boat.
And consider the kayak,
neoprene and rubber.
that’s made it whizzamajig
to its own source.
3978 Defiance Street
Anchorage, Alaska 99504
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