Tag Archives: spring

Call for submissions plus a few announcements from PK

Geese_Flying_Past_by Tony Hisgett of the U. K.
Migrate your creative work to WIZ

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 humankind’s relationship to the natural world, wherever writers engage it.

We’re especially interested in writing that demonstrates the need for and effects of what I call “green language”–rhetorical prowess that taps into the fertile realm of language’s most vital energies. One of WIZ’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 spring’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. We’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 life’s scenery.

Spring rises before the sun on March 20. Feel free to add a ribbon to WIZ’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.

(Edited 3/12/2013 at 12:10 p.m.)

WIZ’s 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff Contest and Celebration comes to an end

RodneyLoughWaterfalls public domain

Last year, spring in the Four Corners region of the desert Southwest was comfortably cool; this year, mixed business temperature-wise, but brittle-boned, tinder dry.  When the summer rainmakers come, they’ll find plenty of fodder to feed their range fires.  So far, mosquitoes have been rare and the black gnats–“flying teeth,” as a friend once called them–pretty thinly spread, causing little trouble.  The hummingbirds and orioles that frequent our feeders drain the cups twice a day, which is pretty serious sugar water quaffing for May–especially with those thread-like tongues that the hummingbirds have to work with. So far this spring, I’ve removed one hummingbird and one fence swift from the house.  Because of dry weather, the globe mallow–O, ye of the lovely, sherbert-orange blossoms!–is blooming a bit closer to the ground than it has during previous springs.  The invasive alfalfa that over the last five years had built quite a stronghold in our yard is struggling everywhere except in my garden area where I water the peach trees (which, by the way, surrendered all hope of fruit to a week’s worth of chill o’ the night frosts … except for one tree, which put out two flowers two or three weeks after the rest).  The claret cup cacti is blooming out.  Engleman’s hedgehogs are beginning to flash pink frills.  Prickly pear buds have sprouted like toes on the wide green pads of those be-spined plants.  The creek in Crossfire Canyon has gone thin and muddy, then, in places, flaky or sandy and dry-stoned.  The snowmelt on the Abajos to the north seemed to have skipped its trip south to the San Juan River via Crossfire Canyon and cascaded straight up into the air.  The beavers remain the water barons in the canyon, gathering together the springs at their canyon bottom outlets with mud and vegetable dams to hold constant the water levels of their modest ponds.  The last time I entered the canyon, about 30 black Angus cows and calves were strung out along the beaverworks, which provides the only significant, native water for miles.

Unlike the melt-off from the Blues, WIZ’s Runoff has been pretty impressive.  But like all runoffs, it has tapered off. The last poems have posted and deliberations to choose which of the 31 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 28 or Tuesday, May 29.  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 .

Thank you so much, writers, for participating so well.  Poets, readers, and commenters who have already put so much time into the Runoff—prepare yourselves to vote, starting next week.  Each voter will be able to vote for his or her three favorite poems!  Please, participants–enter three choices for your favorite poems.  It’s more sporting than just voting for your single favorite poem, and it provides other poets feedback for their hard-wrought words.

Again, good work, participants, and thank you, readers, for sticking with us and reading all the entries.  There were many delightful surprises in this year’s offerings–a lot of poetry I’ve been proud WIZ hosted.  Remember: Choices for this year’s prizes are Fire in the Pasture, an anthology of contemporary Mormon poetry, edited by Peculiar Pages, and the novel The Scholar of Moab, by Steven L. Peck and published by Torrey House Press.  Which, by the way, opened up to accept submissions on April 25.

It’s been a vibrant spring so far, thanks to all your flowers of speech. (Does anybody besides me remember that phrase, “flowers of speech”?)

Wire Up My Mind To by Ángel Chaparro Sainz

Wire up my mind to
Spring
Breaks      free
The seeds are roasting on my chest
I can only think
Of cliffs
To jump
That window
Sunny
Outside
I blame the birds for
My sympathy to god
God must be larks
Feeding swans
Maps taking shape
Lame boys
Like me
Still having hopes
When light gets
Dark and we get scared
Flee Flee Flee
Free
Words
Birds
Mean kids playing free
Out there
In the park
And me here wanting to grab what I can’t grab
Because I keep my hands on the keyboard
Instead of plugging them into the wet ground
And now
I’m quitting
Spring is bringing back the thrill
I mean
Jump off
Self-pity is leaning towards the edge
And embrace the risk
To be

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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. In the last few years all his creative efforts have been focused on his dissertation on Phyllis Barber’s work and some other scholarly stuff but he still got some time to publish a short story in a Chilean literary magazine and poetry in WIZ. All his poems in Spanish remain unpublished, waiting for the day Ángel feels confident enough to find an outlet for them.

*Competition entry*

End of the Drought by Sandra Skouson

I
Rain comes to the man in the field, steady
rain that soaks his shirt.  He makes himself
alone a few paces from his tractor, takes
off his hat, lifts his face to the clouds.
The woman runs from the house to drag
clothes off the line, but having done it
she stands outside the back door, her arms
full of wilting sheets, and breathes again–full
deep breaths for the first time in ten years.

Children bind sticks together for a raft
to float in the gutter.  Laughing, they follow
it downhill to a small dam of sopping weeds
and silt, catch it and bring it back to sail again.
Their feet brown and wet, they come home,
bringing small rocks shining with new colors
to make a row on the window sill.

II
The desert drinks herself to returning life. Red
clay darkens, gleams, and softens.  Roads crack
and break away.  Washes widen.  The heart
of the mountain draws water to deep shale where
coolness pools and oozes toward the seeps.

Seeds, the wind has stirred with sand through
circles of time, soften and sprout.  The desert
blooms and rejoices against her own identity.

III
Our prayers are answered, blessings open
the pores of our skin. Our hair looses its
crispness.  Our shoulders loose their tension.
Roses bloom against the eastern wall.

Rain fills our rain gutters, swamps our sewer,
and floods the lower garden.  The house floats
heavily now on an underground river.  We feel
no movement, but we are forced to bale water
or abandon ship.  We live to a new pulse;
the sump pump throbs water out of the basement.
We carry books and boxes upstairs, pull up
the carpet, and set the beds on blocks.  Children
sleep wrapped in blankets on the living room floor.

One day the sun will burn again, the water drain,
the wind fill up with dust.  The desert will come
to her own.  Until that day, our house rides
the jubilee current.  We stay with it.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

To read another of Sandra’s Spring Runoff entries and her bio, go here.

*Competition entry*

Walking to the Moon by Sandra Skouson

After breakfast the moon hangs
almost near enough to touch.
I do not resist.  Cutting across the lawn
I walk west past the row
of apple trees, climb the log fence,
crush soggy leaves deeper
into the pasture grass, duck under
the next fence.  From here on
I choose my way carefully through sagebrush,
scuff my shoes against yellow rocks
until the edge of the canyon stops me.

The morning the tree burned,
nothing stopped me.
I followed its shining until
I touched the trunk
and let the branches spill
their sparks, bright cushions,
catkins, clustered flowers
of fire, in my hair.

Behind me someone starts a car.
But for the moon I would go back,
kiss him good-bye, begin my chores.
Instead, half crouching, I grab
the gray branch of fallen juniper
and inch my way into the canyon.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sandra Skouson, poet and teacher, grew up on a farm in Idaho just west of the Tetons.  As an adult she has lived in many places, Japan, German, Massachusetts, Virginia, California and Arizona.  Currently she writes from Monticello, Utah, in the heart of the four corners area.

*Competition entry*

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.
Melons!
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.
Yeah.
And everything’s gonna be okey.
Sure.
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*