Tag Archives: Moab Poets and Writers

WIZ takes on two new marvelous creatures

Vecchio_Bruegel_Landscape_of_Paradise_and_the_Loading_of_the_Animals_in_Noah's Ark2

As Wilderness Interface Zone approaches its third birthday, it’s growing up a little.  Formalist poet Jonathon Penny has consented to join WIZ’s literary ecotone in the role of contributing editor. Jonathon has a keen eye for the belles-lettres.  Beside being a wonderful poet possessing a unique voice, he took his MA in Renaissance literature at BYU and his PhD in 20th Century British literature from the University of Ottawa. He has taught at universities in the U.S. and Canada, and now lives with his family in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates where he is Assistant Professor of English at UAE University. He has published on Wyndham Lewis and apocalyptic literature and is currently at work on several books of poetry for precocious pipsqueaks under the penname “Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle.” Bits and pieces may be found here. In addition to verse published on WIZ, his poetry has appeared at Victorian Violet Press and in Gangway Magazine and Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Several of his poems have also been published in the landmark, recently released poetry anthology, Fire in the Pasture, from Peculiar Pages Press.  Welcome, Jonathon!

Also joining WIZ as a contributing writer is Val K., a soon-to-be fifteen-year-old aspiring naturalist and fantasy writer.  She has participated in NaNoWriMo since she was twelve years old and has successfully completed three novels.  She also writes short stories, articles, and story serials.  She lives in a corner of southeastern Utah with her family, her carnivorous plants and her two cats. She has previously published in Moab Poets and Writers’ Desert Voices and also on WIZ.  Besides writing, her hobbies include drawing, biking, weaving, hiking, catching snakes, rescuing helpless creatures from her cats, and beadwork.  She is a voracious reader.  Welcome, Val K.!

WIZ announcements, perhaps of interest

WIZ readers and writers: Remember that the deadline for Torrey House Press’s Creative Literary Nonfiction Contest (2,000-10,000 words) is midnight, September 30th.  First Prize: $1000.  Second Prize: $250.  Third Prize: $100.  There’s a $25 entry fee.

Torrey House is offering a special arrangement for entrants who can present “reasonable evidence” that they’ve bought Torrey House’s first novel publication, Crooked Creek. For more information about this special arrangement and for the competition in general, go here.  For those of you who don’t know, frequent WIZ contributor Steve Peck will also be releasing a novel through Torrey House Press in October.  Look for an excerpt to be published here on WIZ.

Also, Peculiar Page’s landmark poetry anthology Fire in the Pasture has announced a release date of October 1st.  It’s available for pre-ordering NOW!  This is an exciting and, really, quite astounding project.  I’m very pleased to say that many WIZ contributors make a showing in this important anthology (including me–what an honor!).  To view Fire in the Pasture’s product page and to pre-order your copy, go here.  You can also read Peculiar Page’s Theric’s triumphant promotional post about Fire in the Pasture here.

Also, I’ll be making a brief show of poetry in an anthology titled Vintage: A Harvest of Poems from Fortunate Childe Publications.  Carla Martin-Wood, another frequent contributor to WIZ, is one of the beating hearts of Fortunate Childe Publications.  If I remember correctly, most of the poems I’ll have in this anthology were published on WIZ.  Delightfully prolific poet Karen Kelsay will also be making an appearance therein.

Finally, occasional WIZ contributor Val K. has had her essay published first on WIZ, “Our Very Own Toad Hall,” accepted into the first  issue of Desert Voices, a regional anthology published by the Moab Poets and Writers’ group.  Congratulations, Val K.!  Your mother would be proud.

WIZ announcements

While we’re teetering on the very edges of our seats gripping our arm rests watching the heated race for the Most Popular Poem Award, I have a few announcements I’d like to make. Continue reading WIZ announcements

Guest Post: Letulogy, by Mark Bennion

Listen to Mark read “Letulogy.”

Uncle Howard,

At sixty, your traces stalk the hollows
of grocery stores from here to Snowflake,
Arizona. A thatch of curly gray hair
shuttles past the cash register, your cow-
milking hands pull a list out of an empty wallet.
You are forever in the next aisle over,
shaking a watermelon, picking at your
mustache, laughing with the manager
over an inside joke concerning paper or plastic,
laughing through the vegetables of loneliness
and the continual grind of bare freezers
and birthdays without anything, not even a cake.
Today it’s a flannel shirt
I see slipping through sliding glass
doors. Something lost in the hunter’s
worn down red, a familiar set of stripes
running through the plaid. Tomorrow
in San Diego your fingerprints will appear
on a drinking fountain, and in two weeks
a phone call will course from Oahu,
full of guttural questions and sun.

Yet it’s always yesterday
I imagine you near the backwoods
of Oklahoma, opening large stable doors,
then brushing the mane of a palomino
as a bird warbles through the muffled dawn.
You submerge in growing
light, occasionally smiling at nothing
near the end of the street.
You pat the horse and speak
secrets into a flickering ear.

From here I have only this letter
I’m not sure where to send
or a eulogy I am too afraid to speak.
Perhaps, tonight I’ll return
to an obscure shelf in the grocery store,
buy couscous or ask a stranger
to explain the difference between
writing to the disappeared
and speaking to the dead.
That’s when I’ll envision you
again, carrying a saddle
into another dawn’s hazy light, 
that’s where the picture fades,
where the horse lowers its head,
eats what’s left out of your hand.

                   Love,
                                   Mark

____________________________________________________________

 For nearly a decade, Mark D. Bennion has taught writing and literature courses at BYU-Idaho. When not teaching, he can be found watching tennis, playing racquetball, or eating kimchi. He recently published the poetry collection Psalm & Selah: a poetic journey through the Book of Mormon (Parables Publishing). Within three weeks, he and his wife, Kristine, will welcome their fourth child into the world.

“Letulogy” was originally published in The Comstock Review ,Vol. 21, No. 1,  Spring/Summer 2007.

Desert Sunflower

by P. G. Karamesines

On the east rim the fire rose blossoms,
Its pink-gold tongues
Blushing rock and sand,
Licking up night’s tinajas.

In sand grains beneath me,
The coolness of stars—
Those winking violets
That glamour the shadow.

My face
Inclines to the light.
Hands soften, spread—
Blood blooms.

______________________________________________________

Originally published in Glyphs III: Poems and Stories of the Colorado Plateau, Moab Poets and Writers Inc. Regional Anthology, 2007, p. 132

Language, the planet, and ice cream sundaes

Last Saturday I attended a meeting of SE Utah writers that the Utah Arts Council held in Moab.  This meeting followed a reading that the Moab Poets and Writers—a group specializing in nature writing—sponsored the night before, a reading in which yours truly participated.  It was a pleasant and interesting series of events all around, but something happened during the meeting that I found especially interesting.  Guy Lebeda, the Literary Arts Programs Manager for the Utah Arts Council, remarked that he had taken the recent switch from analog television broadcasting to digital broadcasting “as a sign from God” and quit watching broadcast TV.  His DVD player is hooked directly to his TV and he subscribes to a through-the-mail video and DVD rental service. 

Of the ten or thereabouts people in the room, half or more said that they had done the same thing—quit watching broadcast TV, many having made the choice some time ago. Continue reading Language, the planet, and ice cream sundaes

Language as wilderness

This piece is more journal-like in its musings than most of my posts.  In fact, parts have been lifted from my hiking journal.  I hope this doesn’t render its structure or possible meanings confusing.  Also, this post plays around with several rather strenuous threads, like I do commonly when I’m out walking alone.  I thought I’d just throw these ideas out there for fun today, but if you have a headache or are looking for something less troublesome to start or end your day on, you might want to skip this one.

Last year(ish), Moab Poets and Writers solicited a bit of writing that would fit compactly into one of the columns of their newsletter.  I’m not happy with the piece I wrote for them; it wasn’t quite focused and in places the language fumbled badly. 

As underdone as it was, it apparently stirred up some folks.  Earlier this year one of the group’s representatives contacted me.  MP&W was designing a brochure laying out membership information and other goodies.   They wanted to include a few lines from that earlier piece in the brochure.  I was delighted to hand it over … more or less.  Like I said, the passage does contain some serious flaws.

This is the line MP&W selected for their brochure (again, forgive my clumsiness): Continue reading Language as wilderness