My admiration for this virtuous fabric prompted me to do a bit of research on it. On Wikipedia, I came across this: “Aaron Feuerstein [inventor] intentionally declined to patent polar fleece, allowing the material to be produced cheaply and widely by many vendors, leading to the material’s quick and wide acceptance.”
First item of business: Wilderness Interface Zone is issuing a call for nature-themed prose: creative nonfiction or environmental nonfiction, eco-criticism, interviews, hybrid literary forms, and short fiction, including novel excepts, that reflect on humankindâ€™s relationship to the natural world, wherever writers engage it.
Weâ€™re especially interested in writing that demonstrates the need for and effects of what I call â€œgreen languageâ€â€“rhetorical prowess that taps into the fertile realm of languageâ€™s most vital energies. One of WIZâ€™s foremost goals is to advocate for better behavior in the teeming yet at-risk environment of human language.
So, got nature in your prose? Please consider sending it to Wilderness Interface Zone. Before you submit your writing, please read our About and Submissions pages.
Item two: Poets, please continue sending your poetry. WIZ loves poetry! Please send your nature-inspired poems to Jonathon at WIZpoetryeditor@motleyvision.org.
Item the third: For the past three years, starting on or around the spring equinox, WIZ has launched its Spring Poetry Runoff, an annual, themed poetry competition celebrating springâ€™s highly anticipated arrival. Each year, the influx of vernal verse has graced WIZ with a garden of poesy. It’s been one of my favorite times of the WIZ year.
This year, Jonathon and I have chosen not to run the Runoff. Weâ€™ll bring it back in 2014 in new and improved form. However, we will host an informal spring fling featuring poetry and prose that revels in the arrival of warmer and brighter days, the annual emergence of life, and the onset of spring migrations that change lifeâ€™s scenery.
Spring rises before the sun on March 20. Feel free to add a ribbon to WIZâ€™s literary maypole. Even if your poem, essay, short story or novel excerpt merely mentions spring and nature, please consider submitting it to the festivities.
My neighborâ€™s light steps
Through gaps between the boards at night,
And my neighborâ€™s light steps
Drift like leaves among his unguessed furniture.
At sunset, the sun leaks from his room.
We have never spoken through the wall,
Though we have, at other times, spoken,
And we have, at other times, thought
Of each otherâ€™s sleeping.
Male and female,
Twining like butterflies in the space
Of the wallâ€™s other room.
I guess love
And wait ’til their trembling,
And the wallâ€™s trembling, pass.
Then embers of their conversation
Once more permit sleep.
I hear a woman crying.
I think, “There is a woman in my dreams, crying.”
Then I think, “No, I am crying.”
And then another voice says, â€œNo,
That’s real sadness on the other side
Of the wall–not your dreaming.â€
I follow the sounds, but when my eyes open,
They have nowhere to go in the blindfold blackness.
Yet to my ears, the nightingale, a bare-throated woman,
Warbles her sorrows through the wall’s divide.
Patricia Karamesines lives with her family in the Four Corners region of the southwestern U.S. She has won many awards for her poetry, essays, and fiction. She is the author of The Pictograph Murders, a mystery set in the area where she lives. An adjunct English professor for Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah, she teaches English composition but acts at the college mainly as an English tutor, working mostly with the school’s Native American students. She is founding editor of Wilderness Interface Zone and a passionate advocate for the environment of human expression.
Photo of an old door in Dakhla, Egypt via Wikimedia Commons.
Black seams skitter
Through mantled rock,
Encrusted veins of blackened heart
Hide within its poisoning death
Until exhumed by grave diggers,
Faces black with toil-worn greed.
Black smoke bellows
In high desert air,
Sooted walls of blackened lung
Hide within its poisoning death
Until exhaled by grave fillers,
Faces white with aged fate.
Infant heart struggles
Within plastic tent
As bellowed tubes and gauges pump
And beat louder than Death’s blackened wing.
Hides within its poisoning death
Until excised by wondrous grave emptiers,
Faces pink with reborn life.
Lee Allred lives alone in a small gray house on headlands overlooking the windswept Oregon Coast. Lee has lived and travelled extensively across the globe. He is a professional fiction writer and much of his published work incorporates poetryâ€”lines from the classics and lines from his own.
Photo by Jack Corn, 1974, via Wikimedia Commons: “First shift of miners at the Virginia Pocahontas Coal Company Mine #4 near Richlands, Virginia, leaving the elevator.”
At first it could be any shore.
and a little dark maybe,
but still intriguing.
Then a flash of green
throws your eyes off center.
Until the ground you were about to walk
is walking for you.
Is waiting for you.
With a million teeth
in a permanent smile.
A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida.Â She has previously publishedÂ six collections of poetry all available on Amazon.com.Â She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. Most recently, she has accepted the position as editor for four online poetry journals published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. You can read more about A.J. Huffman,Â including additional information and links to her work.Â Huffman has published with WIZ previously.
Photo credit: A.J. Huffman, Orange County, FL, January 2013.
Permit me to take a bit of virtual space to talk about Wilderness Interface Zone and its doings. I think it smart to revisit aspirations as well as mark recent changes and give notice of coming ones.Â When William Morris helped me set up the site, I thought I’d build it, as the “About” page says, “to develop, inspire, and promote literary nature and science writing in the Mormon writing community.Â WIZâ€™s intent is to open a frontier in Mormon arts, demonstrating in the process that itâ€™s okay to write nature literature ….”
These were my earliest goals. I think WIZ has begun achieving some of them simply by staying alive for almost three and a half years. However, where I believe WIZ reaches highest expression is in its building an open venue for community members to celebrate or explore their relationship with nature, a relationship often sealed with the kiss of language. I might have begun WIZ, but readers have toted tons of necessaries to the literary barn raising, making it a unique, energetic, community-driven site.Â Because of the wide range of voices speaking at WIZ, I’ve come think of it as a potential haven for narrative and rhetorical diversity, which, as I say so often that people are probably growing weary of hearing it, I think of as kinds of biodiversity. In the interest of providing ground for heterogeneity, then, which in nature supports the overall health, beauty, and potentiality of a place, WIZ will never turn nature writing away because it doesn’t follow a hot trend in the genre or pitch its voice to match those of dominant artists telling stories about people, other creatures, and the planet.Â WIZ is an exploratory, let’s-see-where-this-takes-us site.Â It’s a many-voices-mixing-may-give-rise-to-new-ground site. Continue reading State of the WIZ 2012→
These are the woods
Where my mother played,
Her playhouseâ€”an outline of
Stones on the ground.
Beside the creek
Her father gardened,Â
But the water rose
And spread his seedsÂ
Among the trees.
Summer was the time
For berry picking.
We each took a bucket,
Walked into the woods
And filled it with berries.
The aunts said, “Don’t pick
The unripe berries,
The rosy green ones,
The color of dawn:
Pick the ripe ones,
Black as hell,
Full of the sun
And ready to explode.”
At the edge of the woods
A castle of canes,
As sharp as shark’s teeth
Kept us out,
But Grandma’s dog,
An arthritic hound,
His black coat sleek
And hot from the sun
Bayed at some creature and
Shambled after it
Into the thicket.
Above, two eagles
Breasted the wind
Like knives at the ready,
Their scything shadows
Swept across us.
All of this happened,
But memory sanctifies
Lost moments like this,Â
This day of picking
Berries, this day
Of eating fat berries
Till the juice fills our veins.
Will Reger has contributed several poems to WIZ. You can find his bio here.
From her comfortable nest
At the top of the stairs,
This scroll of fur and claw
Uncoiled, shot outside,
Her eye distilled
For the hunt: tiger demon
Fell to winter’s ambushâ€”
Snow knives, hawk
Among the weeds, iron
Curve of skyâ€”and
Beyond the clouds
Orion tips his sword
At each of us.
Will Reger is a history professor at Illinois State University in Champaign. In addition to his contributions to WIZ, he has recently published in Fire in the Pasture and songs/cycles.
Photo by Kalina Reger. Used with permission.
Providing grounds for the greening of human language