Category Archives: Nature literature

Quothing the Raven by Patricia Karamesines

Photo of common raven courtesy of National Park Service
Photo of common raven courtesy of National Park Service

This post is an excerpt from my unpublished book, Crossfire Canyon and the Landscape of Language. I published a shorter version of the chapter in 2007 on the blog Times and Seasons. I’ve added material and developed my thinking about the intersection  of narrative and truth, posing questions about what our responsibility may be when we tell a story that deeply affects people–especially when the story isn’t strictly true, but people who read or hear it feel that it must be.

Winston Hurst
Archaeologist Winston Hurst

Early in the summer of 2007 I visited Blanding resident Winston Hurst, a longtime friend from my archeological field school days back in the 80s. Winston is an esteemed archeologist in the Southwest and a man of science. We were discussing Craig Childs, who was coming to Blanding’s Edge of the Cedars State Park to promote his book. I had met Craig in the 90s at a writing workshop he’d led in Torrey, Utah. The first time I read Craig’s work—it was The Secret Knowledge of Water—I  thought, Here is a writer I can learn from. I’d taken the risk to travel to the workshop, even though leaving the household whose atmosphere depended on the state of my special needs daughter Teah and on the whims of toddler Val left husband Mark with his hands full.

The experience proved well worth the risks to my household’s teetering domestic balance. Craig told our little group—all women—that it was his first workshop. At one point we met in the wonderful stone house, still a work in progress, of a local resident. To make memorable his point that we should all carry writing journals when we’re out traipsing, Craig set a pile of his own journals in the middle of the floor and told us to each choose one and find a quiet place to read it. I happened to pick the one that contained dialogue that would later appear in his book, The Way Out: A True Story of Ruin and Survival.  The dialogue occurred between Childs and his river guide friend, Dirk Vaughn, who used to be a cop. It involved Dirk’s statement that he’d killed a man. Continue reading Quothing the Raven by Patricia Karamesines

WIZ Spring haiku chain, 2017

2017 April 2 peach blossoms

April is the poetry month, coaxing

Odes out of the fund-cut land, upraising

Free verse and sonnet, arousing

A metered pulse despite uncivil chill.

Winter moils to hold fast, stifling

Voice by imperious squalls, periling

Spring’s sprung verse with rime-crust.

Continue reading WIZ Spring haiku chain, 2017

The year of the fox by Patricia Karamesines

Red Fox public domain

From July 2010 to December 2013, the two years following Mark’s stroke and brain surgery, he struggled to regain lost cognitive and physical ground. The hemorrhage occurred in the back of the right hemisphere of the cerebral cortex in an area of the brain that supports eyesight. During the stroke he lost more than half of his field of vision. On the day we figured out that something momentous had occurred and I rushed him to the hospital, he cocked his head to his left side, like a bird, to see the doctor and nurses. We caught the stroke too late so some of the vision loss became permanent. The change in his vision disturbed him most at night when the house turned foreign. Every little object on the floor or crease in a rug transformed into a confusing and dangerous obstacle. Continue reading The year of the fox by Patricia Karamesines

LONNOL 2015 winter/Valentine haiku chain

Swans Valentine

After a slow start to Wilderness Interface Zone’s Love of Nature Nature of Love Month, we’re opening our LONNOL haiku chain. It’s our hope that readers will join in this winter and post-Valentine’s Day celebration of the logic of the heart harnessed with images of nature’s splendors and subtleties.

A haiku is a classical Japanese poetical form, usually 17 syllables all in a single line in Japanese, but there are longer and shorter forms. In English, haiku often take the form of one short line of 5 syllables, a long line of 7 syllables, and a short line of 5 syllables, but there are many ways–all versions are welcome here.

There’s no deadline for this activity and the only requirement is that you focus your feeling in a nature-oriented haiku. You can link your haiku to an image in a preceding one or simply forge a link out of new images altogether.  The chain runs as long as participants carry it along.

Traditionally considered a mindfulness practice, writing haiku brings perception and language together in a splash of imagery and aperçu. Can you distill you deepest feelings and sheerest insights to 17 syllables? Give it a go.

Here is my opening LONNOL haiku:

From plot twists in sea,
shore, savanna, city, this
departure, this love.

Call for submissions: WIZ’s 2015 LONNOL Celebration

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Love of Nature Nature of Love Month–it’s on!

Valentine’s Day is over, but the good ship LONNOL is still available for booking. Perhaps you yet have tokens of affection you would like to ship out. If they have even the slightest touch of nature about them, we’re longing to publish them. Please search your files for poems, short fiction, short essays, mp3s of readings of your work or of other work that’s in public domain, your original artwork, etc. and share them with us and our readership. Less than two weeks remains in February, but if need requires, we will keep things afloat through March.

Along with submissions from our readers, we’ll have a fond feelings haiku chain, to be initiated soon.

Also, February 24th is WIZ’s birthday. We’ll be five years old. To celebrate, we’ll be offering one or more of WIZ’s old movie giveaways. Giving our readers presents on our birthday is something we really enjoy doing. To “win” an old movie, all you’ll have to do is read each movie’s review and comment in the comment section. WIZ will contact you with further instructions about how to receive your free DVD.

In the Northeast, winter has been ridiculous harsh and relentless. Here in the Four Corners region, we seem to be trembling on the brink of an early spring. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. Full steam ahead.

Desert Names by Mark Penny

479px-Desert_Sandwort

I don’t know the names—
No very names.
Oh, chapparal. Oh, sage.
Vague names.
Oh, cactus, tumbleweed.
Oh, scorpion.
Oh, coiled up shaker of a shaman’s bones.
Oh, crook-limbed walker on the knuckled sands.
Oh, day-lived blossom, thirsting in its death.
Oh, winged portent of the flight of breath.
Half-names,
Bright shadows
In a sun
That beats its laundry past the need of clean.
I am the rag-post.
Mummied graves
Croak the long story of my ignorance.

_________________________________________________
Mark Penny has poetry on WIZ and Everyday Mormon Writer and in Sunstone and Dialogue, and fiction on Everyday Mormon Writer and Lowly Seraphim. He was winner of the Wilderness Interface Zone 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff Admin Award, a finalist in the Everyday Mormon Writer Four Centuries of Mormon Stories Contest, and a semi-finalist in the 2014 Mormon Lit Blitz. He hopes the trend will bounce.

Current projects include a poetry collection, a Mormon spec fic collection, a dozen or so novels, a collaboration that will blow your spirit right out of your brain, and a unified theory of narrative.

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Photo: Desert Sandwort via Wikimedia Commons courtesy of BLM Nevada, 2013.

Tonight by Bob Gill

Alpha_Capricorni

The universe is
Cold tonight
A winter of stars
Illuminate the world
Its heaven
Full of danger
And mystery

Just tonight
An asteroid
Three football
Fields in length
Slipped by
Missed us
By 1,500,000 miles
Small margin
Experts say
Enough for us
For now, maybe
Before one hits

We live and die
Hearing the stories
Of our ancestors
Similar tribes before
Us and we wander
Days and nights

Abiding

__________________________
Find more by Bob Gill here.

Photo of Alpha Capricorni via Wikimedia Commons.

Just by Bob Gill

1280px-GeysirEruptionNear

Just a moment
Sipped
Full of happiness
Just an instant
You may have missed
Compared to drought
The water
Of life pours over you
In a torrent
Underground
For centuries
It seems
And may have been
To bubble forth
And thunder
True

________________________
Bob Gill resides in Berkeley, California.

Photo of the Strokkur Geyser in Iceland by Andreas Tille via Wikimedia Commons.

Orange Cup Coral by A.J. Huffman

Cup coral polyp

Phallic shafts shock nocturnal
waters, wave fingers like fireworks,
flags of welcome, of final embrace
to small fish daring to flutter about
these make-shift flowers.
They are their own
entertainment, brilliantly blowing,
blooming in belligerent pantomime
of lighted breath. This crown
ring of kings rejoice in banishment,
openly celebrating their midnight world.

_________________________________________
Photo by Nick Hobgood via Wikimedia Commons, 2005.

Follow the links for Huffman’s bio and more of her work at WIZ.

The Road to Thunder Road by A.J. Huffman

Lightning8_-_NOAA

is a delayed growl standing several
steps behind the starring flash. Backup-
singing, supportive round of applause. Darker
partner waiting in invisible wings. Eruptive
echo marks the distance to point
of contact, countdown after-strike.

_______________________________________________
Photo by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via Wikimedia Commons, 2005.

Follow the links for Huffman’s bio and more of her work at WIZ.