Alaska Poets in Winter

Seattle-Saginaw: The Reach of Theodore Roethke
Defiance Street
CIRQUE - Book Fair Signing - AWP
Blue Moon for Poets Reading
Poetry Parley
Poets in Winter - The Series
Alaska Poets in Winter ~ 2013
Alaska Poets in Winter ~ 2013 - Morgan
Alaska Poets in Winter ~ 2013 - Emily Wall
Live & Moving, 2012
Amazing M-P
Spenard Jazz Festival
Kleven as poet
Creative Process
Fremont Show
"Like This" -- in production
HeartWorks Press
HeartWorks Press Catalog
Mike's Vita
Aniak dances
Poems on the Fly 2010
Poem at Christmas - 2009
"To the Moon" - Roethke
Roethke Score
Roethke - Running commentary
Roethke Poetry
Roethke film - Raw footage
"To the Moon! Credits
Poster - The Making of Roethke tribute
T-Shirts and more for Roethke
Production Stills
"Plotting" Midnight Sun Cafe
Naked Seattle - Fremont Solstice
BHS Class of '63

49 Writers


An 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/

Anne Caston 

Click photo to go to Anne Caston's web site.

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Judah's Lion (cover)
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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"

The Charge
The poacher's late years, to hear it, were riddled
with regret, though not for the hundreds or more
hysterical chimpanzees who'd launched themselves at him,
the stinging nettles of their yellow teeth
needling  a thumb or finger
when he'd gotten close.

Not for the hundreds of them and not
for the terrified infants, caged and crated,
shipped 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, after all.

Just for one was that hard man undone, by one
who'd been most ferocious in her love,
refusing 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 –
had circled the man's scarred thumb with her fingers
and pulled him close, placing her trembling
infant in his arms, then lay down
on her side on the mossy
forest floor and died.

~ December 21 2009

Deer Season

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 either.

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 frosty
morning beyond the window.
Anything but that face.

One by one, each man shoves a dollar bill under the rim of a plate.
One by one, each gets up, takes a coat, goes out.
They 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. 

49 Writers

Derick Burleson

Click on photo to go to Marick Press site

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Click book for Amazon page

UAA - CWLA Faculty page with Derick Burlson bio

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.

Never Night

You’d like it here where
it’s never night, where the sun
circles, rather, until it ends
up where it started from,
east or west, rises, sinks
but doesn’t ever set,
where in the summer
you 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
finally comes, is innocent,
spring wind through a window
left open now that spring
is passing fast and summer
won’t 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
comes up, reads your book over
your shoulder, learns which dead
poet moves you tonight,
when any heat at all rises, 
and becomes a visible thing.


When snow falls thick
among bare aspens,
I 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
sky with none to hear

except sleeping ravens,
and the world will grow
rife with strange green fire.

49 Writers

Michael Burwell 

Burwell is the editor of CIRQUE JOURNAL - click here

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Mike 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 journal Cirque.

Granite Creek

When I cross the bridge over Granite Creek
just past Sutton on the way to our cabin 

up near Fish Lake three years ago, 
I 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, spacious, quiet. 
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.
King 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,
our 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 to hear, 

that other eye heaving in the heart.

Originally published in a slightly different form in
Cartography of Water, NorthShore Press, 2007

49 Writers

Click on photo to go to Bradfield's website.



Click picture to go to Broadsided web page

49 Writers

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 Symmes’ hole!

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 poles:
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 ocean.
Shouldn’t the north be barren? Wouldn’t the cold…

Hope effervesced in him, bubbled toward utopia. Americus,
he’d say to his son, there is more to discover

and we’ll be patron to it. It could almost pass
for science—the 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.

             Eskimo whizzamajig

—label circa 1940 for an ivory spear tip in the
MacMillan Collection, Provincetown

         Optimism, in a strange,
American way, this zippy
         caption for what was foreign
beyond language.

         Thingamabob. Doohickey
distant as the need
         for a haasux
(spear-thrower in Aleut)
         or unaaq (Inupiaq pole
to check ice thickness).

         This tool (perhaps a sakku)
clever and useless to the secretary
         (was it Miriam?) who typed
the label that has yellowed.
Widget. Whatzit….

                    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
         that spins beneath a boat.

         And consider the kayak,
translated through fiberglass
         and rotomold,
neoprene and rubber.
         Bright alchemy
that’s made it whizzamajig
         to its own source.

49 Writers


3978 Defiance Street

Anchorage, Alaska 99504

Link to CIRQUE @ AWP