With 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

Photo by Michael Kleven - Click photo for Aesthetica site.  

A conversation with Peggy Shumaker, Vivian Faith Prescott, ZacK Rogow and Cirque editor, Michael Burwell. Go to the site, by clicking 49 Writers, below.   

Join the poets in an on-line chat, covering Peggy Shumaker's role as the new Writer Laureate for Alaska,Vivian Prescott's nomination for a Pushcart award, Zach Rogow's work in translation,as a playwright and his way with the erotic and Michael Burwell,as editor of the journal Cirque now in its second year. 

Also, news about the Andy Hope Literary Award.      

49 Writers

Alaska's new Writer Laureate, Peggy Shumaker

Click photo for poet's personal website.
Peggy Shumaker

49 Writers

Click to order

Whatever Shumaker touches is thick with life, death, and the blessing of her words. 
    —Alicia Ostriker on Gnawed Bones


An entrancing meditation on absolution and memory. 

    —Kirkus Reviews on 
    Just Breathe Normally

Peggy Shumaker
has begun her projects as Alaska State Writer Laureate for 2010-2012.  She'll travel in the next few months to talk about Alaskan writing in Washinton D.C., Petersburg, Angoon, Iowa, Homer, Sitka, Pelican, Kansas, Fairbanks, L.A., Talkeetna, Palmer, Cordova, Skagway, Juneau... Her latest book of poems is Gnawed Bones.  Her lyrical memoir is Just Breathe Normally

"With rare insight, clarity, and grace, Peggy Shumaker charts both the minutiaof miniature lives and the grand and cosmic movements affecting earth's moreimposing denizens. She tracks the profound and subtle dislocations orilluminations of self inspired by the closest regard of our natural world."
-Maurya Simon

Long Before We Got Here, Long After We're Gone

In the season blue-white sun
barely lifts above the ridge,
limps along the horizon
then dives out of sight,
we're changed each day by light.

Someone who's gone before
broke trail, set tracks.
With the right kick wax,
we make our way among birch
breathing hard rare frosted light.

We make of light arpeggio crystals,
caribou dance fans, shush
of bristles. One moment made
alive, human, unafraid.
All that's lost not gone.

Gnawed Bones

If language is bones, hard parts
of speech, what do skulls of pack rats
crushed into owl pellets
have to tell us?

If this delicate pelvis
once balanced a gravid
javelina, what word passes on
to her stoats?

If cicada shells hang on
like single mothers starved
for touch, what does hot
wind whisper through them?

If every day
re-enacts creation,
if we live
here, now

in the first world
and the last
let us speak
in our bones

languages of water
from all skies, from
deep underground.
Let our bones quench

the thirst of history,
thirst for all we yearn
to sip, marrow
of each dry tongue.


49 Writers

Vivian Faith Prescott

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Click for "Slick"

Rare is the book of poetry whose message and whose craft are of equal excellence. "Slick" is exactly that.—Larry Thomas.

Click for poet's blog

Planet Alaska

Vivian Faith Prescott
was born and raised in Wrangell, Alaska and lives in Sitka, Alaska and Puerto Rico at the U.S.C.G. Borinquen Air Station. She holds a Ph.D. in Cross Cultural Studies. Vivian's the Co-Director of a non-profit called Raven's Blanket based in Wrangell, Alaska and she facilitates adult and teen writers' groups at the Air Station Borinquen. Her poetry has appeared in Drunken Boat, Permafrost, and Turtle Quarterly. Her first book of poetry The Hide of My Tongue will be published by Plain View Press in Spring 2011.

Vivian says this about submitting her work, “As for myself, I was afraid to submit for years and years. I think the fear of rejection crosses all social, ethnic boundaries. Also, in small town Alaska, which is the entire state itself, there is a sense that you might offend someone by your words, so memoir and poetry are very vulnerable genres because they're so intimate. Our state may be big but it seems that everyone knows one another or knows one's cousin or cousin twice removed.”

The new Andy Hope Literary prize sponsored by Raven's Blanket was recently announced in Cirque.  Hear more about this prize during the online discussion, January 30th.    


The Eternal Return

She watched her husband’s troller chug
from the harbor. Then she painted her fins,
unpinned hairgrass from her head,

dabbed river silt at her throat, clothes-pinned
her red nightie to the porch-line.
And my grandfather, the ‘other-man,’

on his boat tied at the dock, searched
hillside homes with binoculars for the dot
of her swaying fabric.

She’s the Woman-at-the-Head-of-the-Stream,
arms and legs open wide summoning him.
And Grandfather, humped back

and patchy scaled, headed up the walk,
full of milt, switching his fins, the scent of her
calling him towards the place where he was born.

*First appeared in Off the Coast's Water: Something New to Say to the Sea.




Raven Child at the Koo.éex’

For my daughter, Mother-of-Humpy-Tail

Gunalchéesh xá aaa. Adaanáx has wudanaagí yá kustií yá haa Lingítxsateeyí.
Thank you, yes, for rising to it, to this culture, this our people.—George Davis, Kichnáalx

Raven child listens to tapping sticks, drumbeat,
and stories, sings naa yat xí: love songs.

She passes out fire bowls, then moves
through the room carrying a photo of the dead.

Wrist deep in náayadi, she heaps
fish onto paper plates filled with herring eggs,

smoked salmon and gumboots; she serves
bowls of hot deer stew and Pilot Bread.

 Raven child sways with tubs of blueberries,
salmonberries—laughing red and blue lips

echo throughout the ANB hall. Raven child
honors Eagles with cases of soda pop,

striped blankets and abalone pendants.
Raven child flies, arms flutter with beads,

dancing the exit song. And at 4:00 a.m. she sleeps
along a bench like a spent-winged bird,
a button robe draping her shoulders.


*First appeared in Alaska Women Speak, Fall 2010.


49 Writers

Zack Rogow

Click on photo for more about the poet.

Click to buy the book

Very few poets have the courage 
to open themselves as fully as Zack Rogow does as he pours out, in passionate poetry, the story of a love affair and the family fallout it radiates. These poems are hot, honest..."

— Bill Zavatsky

Horizontal Divider 17

Reading Zack Rogow’s The Number Before Infinity, I was reminded of young Neruda’s love poems; here is that passion, tempered and informed by the briars and grace of marriage and family.

— Cornelius Eady

Zack Rogow
is the author, editor, or translator of eighteen books and plays, including six collections of poetry, a novel, three anthologies, four volumes of translation, and a children’s book. His most recent book of poems is The Number Before Infinity published by Scarlet Tanager Books in 2008. He has written three plays, including La Vie en Noir: The Art and Life of Léopold Sédar Senghor, performed by the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. He teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the California College of the Arts and in the low-residency MFA in Writing at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. He is the editor of a critically acclaimed anthology of U.S. poetry, The Face of Poetry, published by University of California Press; and editor of two volumes of TWO LINES: World Writing in Translation, distributed by University of Washington Press. His translations of George Sand, Colette, and André Breton have won numerous awards, including the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Award and the Northern California Book Award in Translation. His children’s book, Oranges, was a Junior Library Guild Book-of-the-Month.


I’m open so wide
                                          so wide
I don’t have any skin.

Words overheard
on the sidewalk
jostle me left and right. Every breeze
becomes a parade,
every scratch
a torrent.

Even a dancer suddenly        lifted
is enough to blank me out.

And just a pebble of a country song on the radio
rattles my fault lines:
I’m in so deep
Can’t think of gettin’ out

I’m open so wide
                                       so wide
to take in each of your glances,
all of your long, dark hair.


A pink garland of cherry blossoms rings
the Tidal Basin. Fallen petals stick
to the ground like price tags.
One by one I hike up
the wide steps of the Memorial.

Today they’re waxing Jefferson.
Two men steady the expandable aluminum ladder
while another, hand over hand,
mounts to the top of the giant bronze.
I read the walls:


Near the last rung, the man dangles
a bucket that steams with turpentine.
the dome magnifies the noise
of tourist helicopters to painful hammering
like the blades of our gunships.

Now the man up the ladder is stroking on
the molten gloss,
a valet brushing his master’s coat.

Poems Copyright © 2011 by Zack Rogow


Michael Burwell 

Burwell is the editor of CIRQUE JOURNAL - click here

Click book to purchase


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.




3978 Defiance Street

Anchorage, Alaska 99504

Link to CIRQUE @ AWP