Tag Archives: Steven L. Peck

Torrey House Press issues call for environmental nonfiction

On December 27, 2012, Torrey House Press, publisher of Steve Peck’s novel The Scholar of Moab, among other fine works of literary fiction and nonfiction, issued a call for environmentally-oriented nonfiction. In its call for submissions, THP noted that while it can’t help but like and publish novels and short stories, the literary fiction genre is huge and thus an extremely difficult field in which to make a mark. THP’s thinking is that “Topical, environmental nonfiction has a smaller, more focused market in which it is easier to identify and reach interested readers.”

Acting on this strategy to achieve a workable balance between literary fiction and environmental nonfiction in its publishing line and to brand itself more conspicuously, THP is

calling for lively, controversial, leading edge manuscripts on topics like water catchment, public land use, environmental health, environmental economics, sustainable living, renewable energy, land use policy, the importance of wilderness, the trans-formative power of natural places, environmental building and landscape design, about how small is beautiful, the local food and business movement and other ideas of enlightened, sustainable living. (Torrey House Press)

This looks like a good opportunity for WIZ readers and writers to send work and see if it makes a good fit with THP’s goals. This little press looks to be putting every effort into becoming a literary mover and shaker in environmental writing and environmentally-based literary fiction and, as far as I know, keeps its authors’ interests in mind. Not every writer can say that’s true of his or her publisher. In fact, early last year, THP forged a new relationship with Minnesota based book distributor Consortium Book Sales and Distribution that it hopes will help it achieve its goals of continuing to evolve in a healthy direction. This is not only something they’ve done for their own good but to my eye appears an act geared toward looking out for their writers.

If you’ve been thinking of launching yourself and are looking for a publisher, try Torrey House Press. Check out their site. Have I mentioned that it was me that put Steve Peck onto Torrey House Press, which match-making resulted in the publication of The Scholar of Moab?  In May 2011, THP managing partner and publisher Mark Bailey sent an email thanking me for making the referral. So don’t write this opportunity off. I’m on to something here.

THP has a blog and other means by which you can get to know them. Click here for submission guidelines.

Temptations in the Desert by Steven L. Peck

Was that deceiver so lacking
in diabolical imagination that
he appeared loudly, graceless in
full-figured form?
No.
I think not.
Rather he brought to mind sweet
cool Spring mornings, mother’s bread
baking thick and moist. Its smell
tickling every corner, happily.
Broken, pulled apart, steam dancing
upward from two hot halves. Honey losing
viscosity as bread and sweetness meet.

“Surely it would be no crime,”
he whispered,
“Take these rocks, you
made them anyway, and
change them,
(Swiftly!)
to that bread.
Command these bees:
`Bring honey my friends
for this fast of mine is over.’
The Son of God must have his strength
for the mission ahead. Surely
you deserve this.”

But rising, the Master
smiled at his memories, brushed the
dust from his robe. And walked homeward
over the rocks
tired and hungry.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Steve Peck is an ecologist at Brigham Young University. His novel, The Scholar of Moab, by Torrey House Press was awarded the Association of Mormon Letters award for best novel of 2011. Other creative works include a novel: The Gift of the King’s Jeweler (2003 Covenant Communications) and a novella A Short Stay in Hell was recently published by Strange Violins Editions. He has published numerous short stories and his poetry as appeared in Dialogue, Bellowing Ark, BYU Studies, Irreantum, Red Rock Review, Glyphs III, Pedestal Magazine, Tales of the Talisman (nominated for the Rhysling Award), Victorian Violet, and a chapbook of poetry published by the American Tolkien Society called Flyfishing in Middle Earth. Steve blogs at bycommonconsent.com and has a faith/science blog called The Mormon Organon.

*Non-competition submission*

A Patchwork by Steven L. Peck

751px-Green_patchwork_quilt_sewn_by_hand2 by onebyjude

She rests on her grandmother’s quilt,
the Spring air cool, but sun warming—healing
Winter’s darkness.
She, face turned to the sun,
is thinking back on the line of mothers
who gave her being and body . . .  She thinks about
an Eve, way back . . .

Out of some Cambrian longing
her distant grandmother emerged
hard shelled, many limbed,
singular in purpose, only a
crustacean of sorts, but a
crustacean on its way somewhere.
What a piece of work, this creature.

There would be many cuts,
restitchings, corrections, additions,
before her story appeared leaping
onto this wet fabric, around this sun, in this
neighborhood of stars,
in this galaxy, in this cluster, in this universe,
in this multiverse, in this embedding,

in this quilt.

She is a small thing compared to a star,
attached to eternity
by only a pineal of complexity—maybe
netting consciousness from some other
place. Is she some eternal piecework or
does she arise like her
arthropod grandmother
new and shining from lesser things?

On this day, she notices that
a far more distant
relation has shed an apple
leaf, which spirals
downward with grace.

She, saturated in connections, turning
over, leans off the quilt
and breaths in the scent of fragrant
Spring grass,
face first, she smells existence
in the loam, and feels some of
Schopenhauer’s Will
wrapping its arms around her and whispering
sentences that that grandmother knew and
passed on to this mammal woman,
her child’s child and so on.
Mothers running backwards, for eons.

This patchwork on which she lies
is of certain origins, and
she can wrap herself in its squares
and enjoy its warmth and the mercy of
the long chain of its history and
its intent.

__________________________________________________________________

Steve Peck is an ecologist at Brigham Young University. He has a novel soon to be published, The Scholar of Moab, by Torrey House Press. Other creative works include a novel: The Gift of the King’s Jeweler (2003 Covenant Communications); a self-published novella A Short Stay in Hell (reviewed here and here), a short science fiction story: The Flaw in the Lord Harrington Scenario, published in HMS Beagle (online journal by Elsevier); poetry in Dialogue, Bellowing Ark, BYU Studies, Irreantum, Red Rock Review, Glyphs III, Pedestal Magazine, Tales of the Talisman (nominated for the Rhysling Award), Victorian Violet, and a chapbook of poetry published by the American Tolkien Society called Flyfishing in Middle Earth. Steve blogs at bycommonconsent.com and has a faith/science blog called The Mormon Organon.

For more of Steve’s writing published on WIZ, go here, here, here, here, and here.

Dialogue Summer 2011 issue has some WIZards

Coming soon to a mailbox (or computer) near you: Dialogue’s environmental issue.  Several Wilderness Interface Zone contributors are included therein–congratulations, friends! Frequent WIZ contributor Steven Peck guest edited this issue.

Table of contents:

Page     Author     Title
Mary Toscano     Front Cover
Inside Cover, Title Page
v     Edwin Firmage, Jr.     Letters
1     Steven L. Peck     Why Nature Matters: A Special Issue of Dialogue on Mormonism and the Environment
6     George B. Handley     Faith and the Ethics of Climate Change
36     Craig D. Galli     Enoch’s Vision and Gaia: An LDS Perspective on Environmental Stewardship
57     Bryan V. Wallis     Flexibility in the Ecology of Ideas: Revelatory Religion and the Environment
67     Jason M. Brown     Whither Environmental Theology
87     Bart H. Welling     “The Blood of Every Beast”: Mormonism and the Question of the Animal
118     Mary Toscano     A Perch, A Foothold, A Float
119     Patricia Gunter Karamesines     Why Joseph Went to the Woods: Rootstock for LDS Literary Nature Writers
134     Adam S. Miller     Recompense
143     Ron Madson     Grandpa’s Hat
148     Sarah Dunster     Gaius
150     Harlow Soderborg Clark     Easter Sermons
152     Jon Ogden     Seasonal Ritual
153     Jonathon Penny     Winterscape: Prairie
154     Karen Kelsay     Mother Willow
155     Sandra Skouson     Girl Without a Mother to Her Big Brother
156     Mary Toscano     The Tightrope Walker
157     Hugo Olaiz     The Birth of Tragedy
161     David G. Pace     American Trinity
177     Benjamin E. Park     Image and Reality in the Utah Zion
180     Polly Aird     Not Just Buchanan’s Blunder
190     Rob Fergus     Scry Me a River
196     Mary Toscano     Wherever He May Go
197     Peter L. McMurray     This Little Light of Ours: Ecologies of Revelation

Can’t wait to get my copy.   I’m very happy to see so many WIZards’ work appearing in the issue, including poems from WIZ’s 2010 Spring Poetry Runoff.

Only complaint: The cover girl or boy polar bear is cute, but I would have put hummingbirds up front.

Just sayin’.

Crossing Boundaries, Part Two by Steven L. Peck

Steve, friend, and redrock country

To read Part One, click here.

H. is unwilling to give up and is looking more closely at the little hole we might be able to climb in. I back up and find a passage behind a fallen slab about the size of a pancaked SUV leaning against the wall of rock. I tell H. and he looks and we decide it is worth a try. He goes first (again, being the less timid) and wiggles his way through on his belly. He yells that it ends at a drop off about seven feet high. I hear grunting, huffing and puffing . . . ”If I can just twist around . . . I can go feet first . . .” More grunting then an exclamation, “I’ve done it!” I then belly through the birth canal and emerge scratched up but smiling. We continue. The canyon is very narrow now. We cannot face forward in some places without each shoulder touching the wall. Two more places require us to chimney to get down similar seven-foot drops, but they are coming more often and getting trickier to negotiate. Continue reading Crossing Boundaries, Part Two by Steven L. Peck

Crossing Boundaries, Part One by Steven L. Peck

Steve and friend heading out

Every year an old friend and I undertake an adventure. H. and I are middle-aged now. Past our prime and youth when our adventures were bolder and more carefree. I can remember when we then, full of laughter, took his new pickup and rubbed its shiny sides against aspens for luck while searching out some secreted beaver dam in which to toss a fly. Now we fuss and fret. We worry endlessly about our kids and their kids and temper our exuberance with caution, having faced too many sorrows and misfortunes since. We are stressed and plagued with the press of the day to day, and we both in demeanor have that worn edge that cheese graters achieve when used on granite.

But once a year we become eighteen again. We plan a day and fashion ourselves into grand explorers and take to the environs of our youth. His wife drops us off on a dirt road. In pictures she took, we cut a pair of comical figures. Camelbacks, pants, and trekking poles make us look like a pair of amateur bird watchers more suited to a stroll along a paved parkway than two bold men (in our minds at least) out for rugged adventure. In one of the pictures, one of us points to the desert. It is a hint that today we are not taking to common trails. Continue reading Crossing Boundaries, Part One by Steven L. Peck

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

Bobcat by Steven L. Peck

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

Like
hunting hawks
dove
from the car
wings folded

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

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

________________________________________________________________

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

*contest entry*

Her Father’s Critique by Steven L. Peck

She painted herself
into the landscape. On
a canvas she had
magicked from deep-self,
April sunlight streamed
from the clouds
in spectacular, uncanny, rays—
immaterial matter,
soul stuff made flesh.

She brought it to her
father who pointed out
how she should have
painted the sunbeams with
more yellow—
pointing to a maudlin
mountain scene,
hung ceremoniously on
a well-manicured wall—
an oil anyone could have techniqued
with hackneyed accuracy. That’s
how it should be done he said, then
turned away.

He missed the remarkable
enchantment of his
little girl capturing light mixed with
quintessence and vital
spirits
spilling onto canvass.

Unable to penetrate
his cataracts,
she spread Platinum White
over the surface
and put down her brushes.

____________________________________________________________________

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

*contest entry*