Category Archives: 2011 Spring Poetry Runoff

Thank you, 2011 Spring Poetry Runoff participants!


I’d just like to say again how, in both quantity and quality, this year’s Spring Poetry Runoff exceeded my hopes. I’m deeply grateful for everyone’s participation and consider hosting such an outpouring of spring passion a high honor.  Seeing writers come together to play and ply their craft has been inspiring, and my hopes for Mormon nature writing received quite the lift.  Fine work, people, and—for me, at least—some of the best fun around.  Slow-release wonder and other good effects of the Runoff linger still.

So many, many glad thanks to:

Sandra Skouson


Karen Kelsay

Mary Belardi Erickson

Sarah Dunster

Carla Martin-Wood (poems and photos both)

Sean Watson

Judith Curtis

Steve Peck

Barry Carter

Jonathon Penny

Saul Karamesines (photos)

Tyler Chadwick

Ángel Chaparro Sainz

Harlow Clark

Tod Robbins

David Passey

Nathan Meidell

A great group, and we’ll have to think of something really cool to do with such a glittering array of verse.

Winners of WIZ’s 2011 Spring Poetry Runoff Contest Announced

Snow_river by Ranveig Thattai

It’s been a privilege and delight for Wilderness Interface Zone to host a spectacular flourish of spring poetry during this year’s Spring Poetry Runoff.  In the kick-off post, I called for a show of green language, of creative élan and prospect-opening words.  I asked for poetry that contained the recombinant stuff of fertile, world-making expression that gets into others’ consciousness and gives rise to new thoughts or that perhaps resurrects a memory.  This year’s Spring Poetry Runoff Contest entries did all that and more.  Among the poets’ overall accomplishments is the intertwining of song and dance that erupted on WIZ in response to the call for spring verse—a sight that not only was worth seeing but also that was my deep pleasure to join.  It was a good crowd to work with and reminds me of a recent experience watching violet-green swallows mixing it up over beaver ponds. Not only do the birds snatch up insects, each bird for itself, but obviously, they’re flying together and enjoying it, tumbling above and below each other, every bird forming its flight off its comrades’, wheeling, barrel rolling, one bird drawing up short of collision to let another flyer pass under then swooping out of its hover into a long, twinkling glide that weaves right back into a living fabric of free-flight. Continue reading Winners of WIZ’s 2011 Spring Poetry Runoff Contest Announced

Vote for your favorite 2011 Spring Poetry Runoff poems

Thanks to a gorgeous stream of entries, WIZ’s 2011 Spring Poetry Runoff Celebration ran even deeper into the season than did last year’s.  And indeed, this year’s Runoff has been an inspiring show of green and fertile language, above and beyond what I had hoped. In fact, I’ve been wowed, not just by the craftsmanship of the poems that came in but also by the wide range of styles.  Many thanks to those who joined the dance in whatever way they did!

Now, Dear WIZ Readers and Poets Participating in the Contest, it’s time to have a little more fun and play at being poetry judges for the next six days–part of the informal nature of this contest.  But rather than limit each judge (that’s you) to just one vote, we’re asking each voter to choose her or his 3 favorite poems of the 25 contest-eligible entries.   The poll opens today and runs until 10:00 p.m. (Utah time) Saturday, May 14.

While readers and participants choose the winner(s) of the Spring Poetry Runoff Contest Popular Vote Award, WIZ admin will be choosing the winner of the Spring Poetry Runoff Admin Award.   Winners of both awards will be announced in a post on or shortly after Monday, May 16 and will receive their choices of Mark Bennion’s Psalm and Selah: A Poetic Journey Through The Book Of Mormon (Bentley Enterprises 2009), A Metaphorical God: Poems (Persea 2008) by Kimberly Johnson, or The Clearing (Texas Tech University Press 2007) by Philip White.

Rules for voting:

1.  Each voter should select his or her 3 favorite poems of the 25 eligible.
2.  Each voter can vote only one time–no multiple-vote-ballot-box-stuffing shenanigans, please.
3.  Voters are encouraged to read every poem before voting.  Click here to read all of the eligible poems. Please note: Because there are 25 poems total, you’ll need to click on “Previous Entries” twice in order to read them all. The full text of longer poems won’t display on the list pages, so right clicking and opening each poem in a new tab or window is a good approach.
4.  Participating poets and WIZ readers may encourage friends and family members to read and vote.
5.  All participating poets are encouraged to vote whether their poems were published in the contest category or in the non-contest category.

Instructions for voting:

Click on the small square box next to the name of the poem that you wish to choose.  A green or black check mark will appear in that box.  If you accidentally check mark the wrong box or change your mind, simply click on the box again and the check mark will disappear.  After you have check-marked your 3 favorite poems (you will see 3 check marks on the page), click on the “Vote” box at the bottom of the page.   Clicking on that box will end your voting session, so be sure you’ve finished voting before you click “Vote.”  To see the tally of votes so far, click “View Results.”

[poll id=”5″]

WIZ’s 2011 Spring Poetry Runoff Contest and Celebration tapers off

RodneyLoughJr. Spring Runoff

We’ve had a chilly April in southeast Utah, but this year, my neighbor’s barn swallows and the local colonies of cliff swallows returned to their traditional nesting sites two or three weeks earlier than they did during the past two springs.  A few hundred feet down the road at a cattle pond that drains an alfalfa field, a mallard has hatched an impressive brood of ducklings. Every hour, dozens of starlings crisscross my yard and the surrounding pastures as they zip between nests and their favored hunting grounds in a neighbor’s orchard and field.  They’re wholly bound up in supplying recently hatched nestlings with meals from the wriggling stream of caterpillars that are plentiful this time of year.  The paths the birds beat through the air are nearly Point-A-to-Point-B straight, but starlings are not above stopping to steal our dog’s food.  She has a years’ long feud going with the starlings over their thieving ways.  The black-chinned hummingbirds began arriving around April 21st, as usual.  The beginning of our seasonal servitude to their demands for ambrosia marks spring’s arrival in earnest.

Officially, spring has aged over a month since the vernal equinox.  The light is certainly settling in, lengthening day at both its ends.

Meanwhile, here at WIZ, our Spring Poetry Runoff crested and has run down.  The last poems have posted, and deliberations to choose which of the approximately 26 eligible entries might win the Spring Poetry Runoff’s Most Popular Poem Award and the Admin Award are about to begin.  Voting for the Most Popular Poem will be conducted by public poll beginning Monday, May 9, and run through Friday, May 13th.  Poets, please come back and vote, and invite your friends and family members to come vote, too.  Winners of both awards will be announced on or around Monday, May 16th.

I can hardly believe what a vibrant show of craftsmanship and poetic sensibilities flooded into WIZ this time around, and that’s with last year’s offerings being a cornucopia of unanticipated delights.  Thank you so much, writers, for participating with such high spirit and fine skill.  Poets and readers who have already put so much time into the Runoff—prepare yourselves to vote, starting next Monday.  And remember: Each voter will be able to vote for his or her three favorite poems!

Again, good work, participants, and thank you, readers, for sticking with us and reading poems for the last 6 ½ weeks!  It’s been a wonderful spring celebration.  Well done, everyone.

Toasting my funerals away, Spring 2006 by Gabriel Aresti Jr.

We are celebrating that spring came over and we did not even make a move
Move, he says to me, we need to keep moving
We’re moving, the ground is moving behind our feet
You know what I’m gonna do when I am older?
Nuclear weapons
I’m gonna do nuclear weapons
I’m gonna do nuclear weapons with geraniums
See those geraniums how they’re starting to blossom
This garden of concrete
I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna make nuclear weapons to celebrate
That spring is here.
Keep on moving.
We walk
We totter
We laugh
We stop in front of a fruit store.
We’ll serve dessert in the living room, ladies and gentleman
You feel like trying it?
My living room is a desert
Blossoming desert of greening meadows apple trees
Oaks poplars birchs beeches holms pines are all invited to dine
You see them there up in the mountains
You see them?
Up there
Can you see them?
They glow like uranium
Geraniums and nuclear weapons.
Melon for dessert. This desert of concrete and pavement.
Daisies, dandelions, darnel, daddy was always telling us
The names
Always the names of things
You remember when we were kids?
You remember that?
Back then
When spring was dry and flat.
Keep moving, he says, and I lower my head to follow
The tracks in the sand of asphalt.
We better keep moving, we’re late.
We’re celebrating.
I know.
Spring came back.
And everything’s gonna be okey.
We’re gonna make nuclear weapons.
You bet.
With geraniums.
See them, blossoming.
They blossom.
They do.
I miss him.
Me too.


Gabriel Aresti Jr. is the pen name of Ángel Chaparro Sainz.  Ángel was born in Barakaldo, Basque Country, northeastern Spain around 1976. Currently, he is a professor of English at the University of the Basque Country where he has been teaching literature, poetry and history as well. Some of his short stories have been published in Deia newspaper and some other anthologies after being winners of contest such as Villa de Gordexola, Ciudad de Eibar or Ortzadar–all of them in the Basque Country.

Gabriel’s poem “Nospringland” won WIZ’s 2010 Spring Poetry Runoff Admin Award.  To see more of Gabriel’s poetry published previously on WIZ, go here, here, here, here, and here.

*non-contest submission*

Sprung Rhythm (A Pagan Hymn) by Jonathon Penny

I could never make something so perfect, so precise
As midway between summer’s cauldron fire and winter’s ice
A revving of the engines, an adjustment of the eyes
From bleak to bright and coloured light. In short, it’s rather nice.

This season is a halfway house, an opening of blinds,
A rooster season, and a rood awakening of mind
To worlds in worlds in worlds of many valuable kinds:
Heuristical; chockfull of long lost treasures, novel finds.

Spring is a billion billion small explosions of new life:
If winter’s an old maid, then Spring’s a baby-bellied wife;
A wild and rabbit romp; a Bacchic toast to fecund strife;
A bee-loud, humdrummed glade and swelling hill with blossoms rife;

A gentle, warm upturning of the cockles and the soil
That heralds love, and plain, soul-saving toil.


To read Jonathon’s bio and more of his poetry published on WIZ, go here, here, here, here, here, and here.

*contest entry*

March Morning, New York City by David Passey

At last the world leans the cobbled street
between Church and City Hall
in line with the sun.

The host of sparrows in the barren aralia vines
catches fire again, flickering and dancing so quick,
like a scaffolding of glad candles.

The forsythia hedge at the Mansion gate–
yesterday a row of tattered sticks,
today a bustling brass parade.

And we, the grey coated regular strangers
befriended by this old street,
drink the new light with our eyes and faces,

partaking maybe in the very beginning of time
when the sun first made the world
a thing that could be filled with joy.


David Passey works as a lawyer in New York City.  He won the BYU Studies 2009 Annual Poetry Contest.

*contest entry*

Bobcat by Steven L. Peck

When the bobcat
flashed angrily through
the headlights
of Alan’s famous
we sliced the
silence to a primitive
stop and wild
grabbed the
.22s resting cold and
anxious on
the back seat

hunting hawks
from the car
wings folded

The canyon echoed the crack
crack, crack as we fired
at shadows

We didn’t know then,
the cat
have cured us
and the quiet Spring night
our burning


To read more of Steve’s poetry and see his bio, click here, here, here, here, and here.

*contest entry*

Frosty Kisses by Nathan Meidell

Warming rays over frost kissed flowers
Bids cold love depart into a smiling sun,
Enticed thereby to air and cloudy bowers
Where icy winds and snow have lately run.

An earth in step with brimming clouds above
Renews a onetime halted suitor’s dance,
Accepting rain’s entreating poet’s love,
Penned once again in arcing rainbow’s glance.

Cold voices from this blanket world rise up
To sing away with birds where snows still cling,
And stirred to drink new season’s refilled cup,
our slumbering earth steps thawing into spring.


Nathan Meidell is a blissfully wedded, stay-at-home father and student who enjoys escaping into the literature of his childhood, as well as trying to create some of his own.  You can read sporadically updated thoughts on art and writing from his blog, Palabras Ardientes.  You can read more of his poetry published at WIZ here.

*contest entry*