Tag Archives: Stewardship

Kristalltag by Sy Roth

512px-Leonid_Meteor by Navicore via Wikimedia Commons

Space exhaled a puff of air.
Caught in its stream
pathless terrene thought it well
to cleave a fresh path
form a new road
unzip the miles-thin protective layer.

Aeriform meteoric hand punched through.
Glass jugs exploded in a cosmic grand plie
windows shattered
crystalline light show
creation’s crumble
celestial chaff in its random wind.
Chimes clinking in twenty-part dissonance.

Cataclysm in its whimsical wake until
the bagmen scavenge bits to sell on eBay.

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Sy Roth bio picHe rides in and then canters out. Oftentimes, head bowed by reality; other times, proud to have said something noteworthy. Retired after forty-two years as teacher/school administrator, Sy Roth now resides in Mount Sinai, far from Moses and the tablets. This has led him to find solace in words.  He spends his time writing and playing his guitar. He has published in many online publications such as Red Ochre, Bong is Bard, Danse Macabre, Mel BrakE Press, Larks Fiction Magazine, Exercise Bowler, Otoliths, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, en brief. One of his poems, “Forsaken Man”, was selected for Best of 2012 poems in Storm Cycle.  Sy was also selected Poet of the Month in Poetry Super Highway, September 2012.  His work was also read at Palimpsest Poetry Festival in December 2012. He was named Poet of the Month for the month of February in BlogNostics. His work was also included in Poised in Flight anthology published by Kind of Hurricane Press, March 2013.

Degrees of Coyoteness by Patricia Karamesines

Coyote_arizona

This is a rewrite of a post published here on WIZ that I’m including in my book Crossfire Canyon. I’m posting the rewrite today in response to finding a bounty-killed coyote on this morning’s walk.

April 8, 2009. As I walked out of a nearby canyon last week along a trail where I had previously encountered a curious coyote, my nose detected gases given off by putrefaction. Somewhere nearby, bacteria were at work breaking down formerly living tissue to simpler matter, dispersing an organism’s worldly good to its biological heritors.

To this we must all come. But who has come to it now, and where?

Walking deeper into the field of decomposition gases, I searched the ground, guessing what I would find. I was approaching the gravel pit, a dumping ground for domestic and wild animal carcasses and the scene of occasional war crimes of the sort some people commit against animals. It’s common to find coyote remains around the pit, along with elk and deer carcasses, tree prunings, the ashes of bonfires, articles of clothing, and aerosol cans–the residue of “huffing” parties.

My eyes had difficulty picking out the body of the coyote because his full winter regalia of desert-soils-hued fur blended in well where he had been dumped against the weathered juniper barricade a rancher erected decades ago to prevent cattle from wandering. I’m guessing the coyote was an adult male because of the animal’s size. Wind ruffled the luxuriant fur, and my own hand felt drawn to touch. But I didn’t. Touching the coyote might spark a response that under the circumstances I wasn’t prepared to support. Continue reading Degrees of Coyoteness by Patricia Karamesines

Better and better by Patricia Karamesines

Wageningen_University_-_Building_Lumen2
Photo of Wageningen University Building in Lumen by Vincent is public domain via Wikimedia Commons Images.

In my quest for perhaps a wrongly-remembered story about beavers in Yellowstone National Park, I’ve watched several national parks shows, including Ken Burns’ America’s National Parks series. Since we finished that show–worth the watch, by the way–I’ve looked for other, nature-toned documentaries. We saw that Amazon Prime would let us view PBS’s Nature series for free, so we’ve tried settling into the 2012 season. The only time I watch television/movies is when I’m feeding my special needs daughter. Watching narrative takes parade across the electrified cave wall of our flat screen TV helps pass the half hour to hour thrice daily that I’m tethered to one spot while I get food into my daughter.

I haven’t watched Nature for 15 years, in part because I’m up to my neck in nature. Every day I’m at it–the struggles of helping my highly challenged family get through an hour, a day, a night, a week–hopefully, without losing anyone. When I watch TV, I really, really, really prefer something that engages me. Hard to find, me being the narrative maven than I am. We’ve watched maybe 6 episodes of Nature’s 2012 season now, and I’m pushing it to journey on. The overall poor quality of narrative in these episodes stuns me. The constant rhapsodizing on the more spiritually nourishing qualities of wilderness, even as we take in scene after scene of death and violence, is so lopsided that I think it does nature a profound disservice, forcing the behavior of other species into zoos of human thought. Not only does such captivating language do wild nature a disservice, I believe it’s doing human nature wrong. Continue reading Better and better by Patricia Karamesines

Transformed by Sue Halvorsen

800px-Wild_red_raspberry_plants

Sitting in his doctor’s office reading a National Geographic, a New York stockbroker felt compelled to conquer something other than a portfolio. Thinking of his view of the Hudson River from his apartment in River Place Towers on 42nd Street, he decided to try a primitive nature experience. He signed up for a seven-day wilderness awareness class. He had never been camping.

On day one, he walked into the primitive camp still carrying the hectic pace and stresses of his life in the Big Apple. His vision was tunneled, his awareness remained clouded, and his mind raced like the wind.

On day two, he built a debris hut in the woods from branches, pine needles, and scrub oak leaves. Exploring the cedar swamps, his vision broadened as he noticed the squirrels, meadowlarks, and blooming wild raspberry bushes.

On day three, he touched the sticky sap on the bark of a Ponderosa pine tree. It smelled like vanilla. The wind whistled through the sweet grass, and the chickadees sang from across the pond. Hearing this for the first time, his shoulders lowered and his jaw relaxed. He sat for hours and listened.

On day four, a downy woodpecker woke him as it drummed on a tree next to his shelter. He went for a nature walk and discovered an area covered in light green moss. It felt like velvet. He sat on a log next to a babbling brook. No thoughts of his life back in New York entered his mind.

On day five, he took part in a sweat lodge and afterward sat staring at the stars. He was absorbing things he had never been taught, hearing nature in a way he had never heard before. He felt as though he was in the prime of life.

On day six, he heard God’s voice. They talked for hours.

On day seven, he went home. Transformed.

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Sue Halvorsen is a naturalist who loves to combine nature with spirituality. She lives with her husband, Scott, in Colorado. She enjoys writing in several genres and is currently working on a memoir about a near-death experience she had 24 years ago. She is currently a creative writing student at Red Rocks Community College in the Denver, Colorado area.

LONNOL Month officially begins!

Valentine_777 Woman with Bird3

February need not be
cold, drab march toward spring.
Green through the heart, unchafe the flower;
tune up mind’s fiddle string.

For there is life in life this hour
and dance to dance this day.
The slightest reach of thought gives power
to meet the arms of May.

Let no one thought linger the frost,
or snow befall the mood.
Turning the mind with heart will shower
deep spring’s similitude.

Love of Nature, Nature of Love Month on Wilderness Interface Zone

Valentine_722 Antique Valentine

Starting February 1st, Love of Nature Nature of Love Month will open its heart at Wilderness Interface Zone.  We’re issuing a call for nature-themed love stuff. Got messages of companionship, connectionship, or of loveship you’d like to send someone? Are you weird like me and your nature is to be crazy about people AND nature? WIZ is looking for original poetry, essays, blocks of fiction, art, music (mp3s), videos or other media that address the subject of love while making references to nature–including to that work of nature as earth-moving and variable as any other natural force, human language.

We’ll take the other side of the coin of affection, too: We’ll publish work about nature spun up with themes of love.  And as always, you’re welcome to send favorite works by others that have entered public domain.

Some of us have been around long enough to have the authority to urge you to let people you care about know how you feel at each opportunity that flies up in front of you. So if you have a sweet song or sonnet you’ve written to someone beloved–or perhaps a video Valentine or an essay avowing your love for a natural critter or space near and dear–please consider sending it to WIZ. We’ll publish it between February 1 and February 28. Click here for submissions guidelines.

Our fondest hopes for LONNOL Month: Putting into the currents of language flowing around the world some of the deepest, warmest, freeze-busting words we can find. And if things work out, we’ll also be running one of WIZ’s DVD giveaways, a Pre-Hays Code movie, King of the Jungle, starring loincloth-clad Buster Crabbe as Kaspa the Lion Man.

We hope you’ll join us for this month-long celebration combining two of the most potent forces on the face of the planet–love and language.

We love the things we love for what they are.  ~Robert Frost

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.  ~William Shakespeare

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.

Ellen Meloy Grant for Desert Writers–Deadline, Jan. 15 2013

pictographs mountain bighorns3

I received my annual notice that the Ellen Meloy Grant for Desert Writers is seeking applicants. The deadline for grant applications is January 15. The grant funds only desert-themed, literary creative nonfiction. No fiction, children’s literature, or poetry will be considered.

To read the details, click here.You might want to take a look at past recipients to see if you recognize any names. The fund especially seeks applications from writers who can demonstrate they’re on a productive, desert-writing trajectory, on their way to charting a “deep map of place”.

Several years ago, I attended a writing workshop in Torrey, Utah, that Ellen led. Unlike some I’ve attended, this workshop ran on laughter and warmhearted guidance. Ellen was totally approachable and turned her wide-open attention to you and your writing at your slightest movement. I returned home from the workshop energized, comforted, and with a new poem in tote. I’ve posted it on WIZ before, but for anyone interested, here it is again.

Desert Gramarye*

(for Ellen Meloy)

It’s like the old Tarzan movies:
White hunters find their way barred
By skulls on sticks.

The Park Service has erected
A pavilion on the rim.
Beware, it says.
Quicksand.  Flash floods.
How to Resuscitate Lightning Strike Victims
One warning tells.
It pretends helpful information,
But it is another white skull. Continue reading Ellen Meloy Grant for Desert Writers–Deadline, Jan. 15 2013

The Manger Scene by Patricia Karamesines

Arbol_Navidad_03

Winter’s eve.
She smelled the season on him. Summer,
he came in redolent of horses
and wild mint; winter, copper and ice.
Metallic and snow-clean, he cooled the house.
Behind him, now, feathers of snow
bounced against black window glass.
The household breath smelled of pies and bread.
Shadows browned the cabin walls
and firelight varnished lintel beams
with grainy lights. She moved inside
her winter wools, wandering the scene
that was to be Christmas—her part of it.
Satisfied, she drifted to
his side to watch him carve. His knife Continue reading The Manger Scene by Patricia Karamesines

Theodicy (for Connecticut) by Jonathon Penny

Toppled_Stone_in_St.John's_Graveyard by Calum McRoberts

I’d rather it had been a whimper than a bang—
The way the year went out—
In dim-lit winter, while the choirs sang;
I’d trade those screams for joyful Christmas shouts.

I’d mar those deaths with lowdown, high-rise, hallowed Birth,
Were I the wondrous Way,
Cast out the grieving from the hall of mirth;
I’d give that love-lit night for darkened day.

I’d spare no cherub angel, nor her flaming sword
To guard that Eden’s gate—
Would perish one, were I the two-edged Word;
I’d pinch and pluck the sickly cells of hate.

But I am not I AM. And we’ve been here before:
Clean blood has darkened soil
For all of earth’s trite time, and grief and gore
Alike are her familiars, are Salvation’s foil.

As it always does, a haggard, flagging wisdom
Occasions comfort rare:
Our view is short, His long; He takes them home;
All that would be undone were He to interfere,

And He will not; but He’s not silent—Heaven weeps
For sinners and for saints
Alike; for all, alike, were heavenly once, and His,
Bought for pearly price, deposited for taints,

And mantle-made. Perhaps such comfort’s cold right now.
But then, it’s winter there.
The leaves lie bitter brown. A shroud of snow
Might clothe the vacant, precious dead, and clear the screaming air.

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For Jonathon’s bio and more poetry, go here.

Photo by Calum McRoberts  by way of Wikimedia Commons Images.