Tag Archives: Wilderness Interface Zone’s 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff

Vote for your favorite 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff poems

Hello, WIZ Readers and Contestants!  Thank you for your excellent participation in this year’s Spring Poetry Runoff Contest and Celebration!  It’s time to put on the mantle of poetry judges for the next seven days–part of the informal, just-for-fun nature of this contest.  But rather than limit each judge (that’ll be you) to just one vote, we’re asking each voter to choose her or his 3 (count them: one–two–THREE) favorite Spring Poetry Runoff entries of the 31 contest-eligible entries that came thundering down from the heights this spring.   The poll opens today and runs until 10:00 p.m. (Utah time) midnight Wednesday, June 6.

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 Thursday, June 7.  The winner in each category will receive his or her choice of The Scholar of Moab, by frequent WIZ contributor Steven L. Peck, (Torrey House Press, 2011) or the distinguished new anthology of Mormon poetry, Fire in the Pasture, edited by Tyler Chadwick (Peculiar Pages, 2011).  Tyler has also contributed work to WIZ.

Rules for voting (PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW CAREFULLY!!!):

1.  Each voter should select his or her 3 favorite poems of the 31 eligible. Please, participants–enter three choices for your favorite poems.  It’s more sporting than just voting for your single favorite poem, and it provides our poets feedback for their hard-wrought words.
2.  Each voter can vote only one time–no ballot-box-stuffing shenanigans, please.
3.  Voters are encouraged to read every poem before voting. Please note: Click here to see a complete list of contest eligible poems, then left click on a poem title.  This will open the complete poem in another window. Alternatively, to read all the poems, you could go to a Google docs page here and click through the links.
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=”6″]

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”?)

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*

The Olive by Harlow Clark

This Tree is light to the world.
The fruit of its fruit light to the mind
Fire to the lamp, calm to troubled waters.
The fruit bears its fruit by being crushed:
Salt well in a stone box
Add purgatives–vinegar is good
Let sit.
Crush between two grinding stones driven by a mule
Kissed by a whip
Till the skins break
Repeat to the lees, then burn the mash on a torch.
If the oil enlightens your soul
You will see the beaten traveller
There, by the side of the road, as you head down to Jericho
Pour it on his broken skin.

This man, light of endless worlds,
Praying near the trunk
Feels the branches enfolding him,
Folding him in–kneading, pressing
Till the skin breaks and it is not oil
Which will spill on ground that will shake tomorrow
Like waves tossing the boat
His nearby friends dream they are sleeping in–unaware
A friend will whip him with a kiss
Enemies whip nails through his palms and wrists
And spear him up a sponge of vinegar through his ribs.

After the healing has all flowed out
Layer him in linen
Salt him away in a stone room
Post sentinels to guard the rock that guards the room
That guards the shroud that keeps the dead
Dead–till the earth rolls the death stone like a boat
Tossed in stormy dreams and the empty cloths fold themselves
And Mary hears her name spoken
Not by the gardner.

But first, now, the tree draws him closer, tighter
Glowing in the approaching torchlight
As if dripping oil.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

To read Harlow’s bio and other entry, go here.

*Competition entry*

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*

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*

While Digging Out the Garden by Sarah Dunster

You, but not you.

The earth braces itself against
my first spade full—ground softened by
my salt—unearthing roots  like fingers
spread to sky, claiming a blessing
or, at least, an answer.

You are earth. You. But not
you—we never buried you, and
I never saw your face in death.

I’m alive, yet not alive.

I walk through shadowed valleys and
I find the Tree—not fruited, but felled;
a blackened trunk, with spring sprung up
in a hundred nubile branches—

Me. And you.

The garden must be dug. My young
plants wait on the sill, stretching leggy
stems to reach the light. I turn the
earth. What lies beneath? My spade-tip
scrapes the iron mantle, while I
hang on the wooden handle.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

To read Sarah’s bio and other Spring Poetry Runoff entries, go here and here.

*Competition entry*

There’s Nothing Like an Apple by Mark Penny

There’s nothing like an apple
Not a thing
In summer, fall, millenium or spring
The crisp, collapsing clutter in the mouth
Wet sugar squirting east, west, north and south

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

To read Mark’s other Spring Poetry Runoff Competition entries, go here and here.

*Competition entry*

I Miss That Time of Year I Know as Spring by Mark Penny

I miss that time of year I know as Spring:
The rain-chaffed ions on the air, the air
Breathed by the shrew and hawk, the wheat and tare,
Stirred by the green-leafed lyre and the wing.
I miss the swift, infant quaking of the grass
In the first stumbling steps of cloud-licked wind,
The boastful lowing of the herd-lord sun,
The warbling riot of the wild morass.
I miss that setting forward of the hour,
That lunge of drowsy muscles from a dream
Never quite shaken off, a dream of chills,
Of white-robed monarchs in a white-leaved bower,
Of cold blood coursing in the veins and streams,
Of all that revels lying prone and still.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

To read Mark’s bio and another Spring Poetry Runoff entry, go here.

*Competition entry*

Boneyard Song by Mark Penny

Down to the boneyard went the child to play
Rake-a-long snake-a-long
Laughing all the day
Laughing in the ashes
Leaping on the stones
Hiding in the graveholes, building with the bones

Down to the stickyard came the sun to play
Break-a-long ache-a-long
Shining all the day
Shining on the ashes
Shouting on the stones
Peeking in the graveholes, waking up the bones

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mark Penny lives in a world of people, books and guitars seasoned with a laptop and a bodhran. He first came to light on March 9, 1964 in the mill and market town of Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England, and led a nomadic existence between British Columbia, Orem (Utah), Haiti, Alberta (Canada), and Ukraine before settling in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, where he teaches English and raises feral children. In addition to sporadic pulses of poetry, he writes songs (music and lyrics), fiction (short, long and serial) and carefully graded TESOL materials, examples of all of which are available here.

*Competition entry*