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W

ith each Hiraeth Press book you add to your home library

you lend support to the philosophy for which the press stands, joining us in our philanthropic endeavors and helping to keep our honorable intentions alive. In an effort to reciprocate, we choose to publish titles that will not only provide a relaxing experience for our readers but will act as nourishment for the spirit. As you sustain us, we seek in some small way to sustain you. It is our desire to nourish our readers—offering our books like a rich mulch to bolster the soul and help the mind flower. Now more than ever we mustn’t neglect our well-being. Be gentle with yourself.

Nourish yourself.

Nourish Yourself


F E AT U R E S

 Q & A with Jason Kirkey Interview by: Jenn MacCormack

4  Letter from the Editor 5  Wrecker’s Coast Feature Photographer: Duncan George

41

 Wistman’s Wood Feature Photographer: Duncan George

45  Estuaries at a Glance A New Poetry Collection by Jason Kirkey

17

 Nature and Education An Essay by Theodore Richards

19  The Launch of Homebound Celebrating Hiraeth Press' New Fiction Imprint 21  Truckee River Reflections An Essay by Pamela Biery 23  Note to Self A Poetry Collection by Jamie K. Reaser 24  Western Solstice A Forthcoming Poetry Collection by Leonore Wilson

48 57  Preview of The Sapphire Song A Forthcoming Novella by Todd Erick Pedersen 61  Contributor Biographies


POETRY

 The Poetry of Marisa Handler

7  North, West 8  Homecoming Brandi Katherine Herrera  The Poetry of J.K. McDowell

31 33  Take Off Your Socks and Your Shoes 34  Humus Kasey Phifer

10 11  Rockpiles 14  Echo Haiku Simon Peter Eggertsen

36  Marginal Spring 36  This Region Rodney Nelson  The Poetry of L.M. Bowning

25  The Woodcock’s Courtship Jamie K. Reaser 28  Watershed Prayers 28  Remembering the Wild-Sung Heart The Poetry of Wendy Sarno 29  Owing More to Silence 30  ‘The Soul is Here for its own Joy’ Roselle Angwin

37 39  Path At the Edge of the Sea Beth Anne Boardman


4

L etter

from the

E ditor

Here along the Connecticut coastline it has been a very bitter winter. We saw a great deal of heavy snowfalls which, while pleasing in the beginning, came to try our spirits (as well as the integrity of our roofs) towards the end. With the return of spring I find I have been reflecting on the comforting consistency of nature. Annually, I find that I am deeply soothed when, for the first time throughout the long gray months of winter, I feel the warmth of the returning sun penetrate my chilled skin. No doubt, our biological mother does have her mood-swings now and again. As I write this the levees are barely holding along the banks of the Mississippi River and tornados plow through the Mid-western region of the United States, all unexpected and devastating—hardly comforting. These events coupled with the torrent storms occurring through the world speak of an imbalance in our mother’s moods of late, as if she is preparing to enter a new stage of her life. Nonetheless, even with her unforeseen squalls that can leave us reeling, I do find something reassuring in the dependable passings of the seasons. There is not a great deal that I can predict in my overly busy life—indeed throughout these precarious times there is not a great deal any of us can anticipate. Yet in the face of the worrisome unknown, we can all be assured that, no matter how harsh the winter, come late March the winds will begin to soften, the ice will recede from the lakes, the yellow grass will ripen green and the warmth of the sun will return. The truth I am taking away from this example is that, though life in the man-made work be unpredictable, there is a steady rhythm and dependable consistency in the natural world that can be profoundly soothing in times of uncertainty. Though we may feel isolated in our struggles there is a presence around us that will open itself to us—always inviting, always conducive. The feeling of isolation is a universal burden that every person must deal with from time to time; however, even when we are seemingly alone, we are not. The unwavering presence I speak not of is not that of an ethereal unseen being whose existence we must trust in but rather of the ecological omnipresence—a form of sacred companionship that stands silent yet steadfast near us—the Earth. Many of us feel alone at times not because we are so but rather because we overlook a great deal of those who offer themselves to us as companions. We all suffer our period of exile yet even when dwelling as an outcast within certain social circles of humanity we are hardly alone on the path we walk. Even when we are moving through our worst periods of alienation and isolation, we have a companion to turn to—a womb of dreaming and replenishment to reentered. Leaving behind the synthetic world man has constructed, we can return to the natural world to dwell in different circles. Look beyond the distinctions of form—beyond the distinction of two-legged and four-legged, beyond fur, flesh and frond to see the coursing heart of one who is akin beside us. In this Summer Solstice issue of Written River you will find the reflections and devotions made by poets who have long appreciated the company of their biological mother who, while consistent in her ways, still has the ability to bring wonder to our lives. Yours from the Strand,


Š Copyright Duncan George


North, West Brandi Katherine Herrera Believe me when I say this taste for earth has never been stronger—my tongue tuned to a specific gravel and soil to backyards and creek beds volcanic buttes, rivers and mountains developing a penchant for Powell silt and sandy loam, delectable Cazadero toothsome moss, and tender ferns. I was born with ash inside my mouth had already cut my teeth when St. Helens erupted, spewing its fragmented tephra as we looked to the sky—flakes falling lightly— and opened our mouths for a second helping. I’ve searched tirelessly, to replicate this hunger, this thirst—in the cindery rind of Humboldt Fog, dirt-fleshed morel spores, the hint of Jory in a ruby-brown North Willamette Pinot Noir. But there’s no mistaking the Douglas and Silver-fir scented water that slaked my mother’s thirst as I was learning to swim inside her—the liquid never stopped its begging—Bull Run tributary, Johnson Creek and the Sandy River, arteries to the Pacific just outside my bedroom window. They call me to feed on their damp bank-sides, my hunger for the elemental the search for home in a sip and bite these are the things that kept me up in Madison, Jackson, Ithaca— savory clay and mouthfuls of sweet, pine-scented, endless Oregon drizzle.


Homecoming Brandi Katherine Herrera Eight years had taken enough already— the pine-blanketed butte, the sweet soft drizzle, the clouds low in the wide gray sky, and the mountain that sat at the center of our universe. The birdhouse I’d managed to pound together in woodshop, still nailed to one of the peeling porch posts of the little blue ranch on Seventh Court, even though another family is sleeping in our old bedrooms, and eating at the same pass-through where we’d perch to watch momma roll out cinnamon rolls. The yard out back where I got caught with rocks in my mouth— just a toddler feeling out the world with my teeth and tongue.

It’s just easier to say, It was time when asked why I finally came home— but the truth is a wounded animal will do nearly anything to get back— stumbling until it reaches a soft place to hunker down, for the familiarity of its first bed, the place where its bones have memorized everything— the way the light shifts each November and the exact moment the steel sky will break open for the downpour.

2011 © Duncan George

And yet, the Japanese maple Papa tended all those years doesn’t belong to us, nor my mother’s climbing roses or the heirlooms she transplanted after Abuelo died, not the graves or the carefully chosen headstones in the cemetery where we buried my sister and cousin, or the way the moon looks from this little plot at midnight.


2011 Š Duncan George


10

… now ride. J. K. McDowell Blessings of health, blessings of strength – now pour this Light into the cup of another – a stranger, A friend. Be part of the flow, Divine into Divine. The Poet remembered my face and my work but Not my name. I will take two out of three - this praise Is still sweet milk, so today I am nourished. The invitation comes the day your arm bones do Not fit and I am OK to walk, splashing in Puddles on a rainy Thursday afternoon. Depart.

The workday goes well – flow into restful sleep. Tomorrow, the philologist at ten thirty. Now there is an appointment you just cannot miss.

I remember weeping at West Minster Abby. Facing the currents of history my father knew well And waves of emotion where we were lost. Focus Jim! Do not drift into resistance. The dream holds the ocean folded in a single tear. Rise up to blend with the forces that approach, now ride.

… the same. J. K. McDowell Patrons crisscross the gallery floor. The macaw Grasps the fountain pen. Clashing expectations Dominate the dawn and darkness stains the beginning.

Imagination sweeps into the ancient stories And the retelling excavates the deep self. What is found in the mundane strung moment to moment? The teaching today: Many things that people claim I long to hear the drumming that decorates the Morning sunlight and feel the roar of silent applause About you are wrong, but your task in life is not To grade their homework on your favorite subject. From the garden audience – perhaps tomorrow. Look skyward, the darkness falls and the Black Moon shreds The resume. No better time to face the soul. Put ink to paper, paint to canvas, feel the clay. The hammer has flattened the world but that is not The end of the geometry lesson Jim. Soon You will realize the poem never ends the same.


Rockpiles Simon Peter Eggertsen The gods here do not try to hide their toys, piles of rock, chunks of ingot-iron, glazed in the sun, randomly arranged— careless scattered versions of the pyramids further to the north. Hurled down, unlike marbles that would bounce, roll, refuse to stack, they pause in strong clumps, hold the desert floor down, break the horizon's line. First time passed, there were five stacks, now there are seven. Could it be? I must not have been paying attention, must not have been counting carefully enough. Perhaps here the gods play their arithmetic quietly stoned. Sometimes adding. Sometimes taking away. A mathematician would know their theory. One thing sure, no one disturbs the piles in daylight. No one would dare. Too many hot eyes watch, too many hot eyes protect. These gods would not trifle with mischievous day movers. Anyway, the heft would be too great for one or many mortals. But what happens at the edge of nightfall? Just once, returning late in the day, I thought I saw a newly shifted boulder, delicately holding on to the edge, deifying gravity with a haughty laugh! Next moment it was gone. Sent down by a whispered wind breath? Less than a candle flame blowing would probably do. Or was it I who had moved as I toppled along to Wad Medani?


Echo Haiku Simon Peter Eggertsen Gray stone stairway leans against the white lilies— confuses the blue pond. One hundred sun-dappled trees fold into the stone stairway— a frog leaps the between. A cup at a time dragon-protected water subdues day’s long walk. Fuji sky hazes velvet green onto the rocky, rolling hills. Blue pond waters cool spring flames of red imperial azaleas. Gray stone stairway rises to the forgetfulness of sun-blessed maple trees. May rain glazes blue roof tiles to night window black— swallows disappear.


forthcoming november 25 2011

t he

s

nameless man A Nove l

L.M.Browning Aut h or of : O ak Wi s e , Rumin at i on s at Tw i lig ht an d T h e B ar re n P l ain

raveling through the Holy Land, eighteen strangers are forced to take refuge in Jerusalem during a militant attack. Kept in close quarters in an abandoned building, over the course of four days this group of strangers begin a dialogue, discussing love and evil, religion and god; finding amongst their number a mysterious nameless man who poses a revolutionary and controversial perspective on these age-old questions. Journeying on his own pilgrimage as he attempts to come to terms with the violence, betrayal and condemnation of his past, this nameless man reluctantly steps forward at the urging of those around him to share the realizations he has gathered over the course of his borderless life; leaving those who listened forever changed by the radical transition of perspective his revelations bring about.

T

AVA I L A B L E F OR PR E - OR DE R 1 1 - 1 1 - 1 1 Homebound H IRAETH P RESS

Imprint of


Winner of an Independent Publishing Book Awards Gold Medal in the Religion Category.

“Theodore Richards is a unique and gifted social activist, one with a well nourished brain as well as a conscience. His commitment to inner city youth wounded as so many are by a culture that prefers consumption to compassion and preaches couchpotatoitism over creativity, he has spent years bringing alive the potential of young people in finding their in-depth selves and their place in our amazing universe. In a previous generation someone of Theodore's depth and integrity might have worked out his vocation in a monastery. In our time, he finds his way in the urban world of struggle and promise, despair and hope. He is a philosopher-activist who listens deeply and walks his talk. What he is learning is worth our all listening to. —Matthew Fox, author of Original Blessing and The Hidden Spirituality of Men

“The story of the Universe is the story that ends as it began: the spark of the Big Bang is in each of us; we have, at this moment, through our creativity, the capacity to create anew the Universe, to become compassionate to the whole of creation. Chaos—and surely we live in chaotic times—is the mother of creative transformation. Even as our individual interiority emerges, our imaginative capacities allow us to return to embeddedness in the cosmic womb. This return requires more than new knowledge, but a new myth, a way of connecting us to one another, to the rest of Earth and to the cosmos. The new myth will not be created by science or philosophy, but by the collective creativity of humanity. We will need more than mere ideas; to be remade and renewed from our very roots, to become “pure and ready to climb to the stars,” we need poets like Dante. We are, at this moment, like my unborn daughter, putting hand prints on the edge of our world, our womb—not unlike the earliest humans did on the interior of the cave—unsure what lies beyond. — [Excerpt from Cosmosophia Preface]

T h e o d o re R i c ha rd s Author of Handprints on the Womb and Cosmosophia: Cosmology, Mysticism and the Birth of a New Myth w w w. c o smo s o ph ia . c o m


Š Copyright Duncan George


homebound Imprint of H I R A E T H P R E S S

In July Hiraeth Press will be celebrating the launch of Homebound, a new imprint devoted to fiction titles. Humanity lives by stories, no more so than in our spirituality yet many of our sacred texts have remained unprogressed throughout history, leaving humanity without a relatable context for the truth that these parables hold. The intention of Homebound is to introduce a new world view through assembling a neo-mythology that would directly aid mankind in the trials we face during this modern age. The first two titles anticipated from Homebound are The Sapphire Song, a novella by new author Todd Erick Pedersen, slated for release in August. And the first fulllength work by author L.M. Browning entitled, The Nameless Man to follow in mid-November. This novel is the follow up to Browning’s contemplative poetry series released in 2010. Previews of both these titles can be found in this current issue of Written River.


PRESS PHILOSOPHY Going back to go forward is the philosophy of Homebound. At Homebound we recognize the importance of going home to gather from the stores of ancient wisdom to help nourish our lives in this Modern era, and choose to lend voice to those individuals who endeavor to make the journey. Our titles introduce insights concerning mankind’s present internal, social and ecological dilemmas. We publish introspective full-length works in the form of: parables, essay collections, journals, epic verse, short story collections and travel writing. It is the endeavor of those at Homebound to revive contemplative storytelling. In our fiction titles our intention is to introduce a new mythology that would better equip/aid mankind in the paradoxes we face in this modern age. The stories humanity lives by give both context and perspective to our lives. Some old stories, while well-known to the generations, no longer resonate with the heart of the modern man nor do they address the dilemmas faced. Seeking to fulfill this need, Homebound chooses titles that we feel balance a reverence for the old wisdom; while at the same time present new perspectives by which to live.

OUR VIEW

ON THE

BUSINESS

OF

PUBLISHING

So often in this age of commerce, entertainment supersedes growth; books of lesser integrity but higher marketability are chosen over those with much-needed truth but small audiences. Our Press focuses on the quality of the truth and insight present within an author’s writing before any other considerations. We seek books written by soul-oriented individuals putting forth their works in an effort to restore depth, highlight truth and improve the quality of living for their readers.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

homebound c/o Hiraeth Press, PO Box 416, Danvers Massachusetts 01923. www.homebound.hiraethpress.com

2011 © Duncan George

As an imprint of Hiraeth Press, Homebound holds a fervor for environmental conservation. Atop donating a percentage of our annual income to an Ecological Charity (each year we choose a different recipient.) Evermindful of our "carbon footprint", we take steps in our printing to ensure there is no excessive use of our precious environmental resources.


21

Truckee River Reflections Pamela Biery river It really isn’t much of a river; sometimes it’s barely a stream. The Truckee River flows through Squaw Valley as it nears Lake Tahoe, ignoring the heavy seasonal road traffic with a mind only to the snow melt, rainfall and summer sun. In the spring, churned and torrential in narrow banks by the town of Truckee, it's flow broadens and curves along the journey downstream of nine or so miles to Fanny Bridge and the fishery at Tahoe City. This river bears witness to many chapters of my life. The Truckee didn’t belong to anyone, was not strongly associated with any vagrant friends or disappointing relationships. This river had a clean slate as far as I was concerned. A safe retreat, a place to recharge. Somewhere to make my own, as much as any place ever is “owned.” current Maybe this is why some years back, as I watched the form of my life collapse around me like the flattened hoops of a grand party gown, I drove to the Truckee River. Sitting near the bank by a fine flower box, a stone wall and the sound of the river flowing by, I realized life would continue, though nothing would be the same again for me. This, was of course, both good and bad, like so much of life. As I watched the light fade, a little paper cup floated by downstream, bobbing along in a seemingly carefree manner. The cup was indifferent to the fact that it might be crushed around the bend, for the moment it was the captain of its destiny. Isn’t this how I had sailed my ship? Not noting that the appearance of control was just an illusion, just glad to be out on the current. The evening chill started to set in. drive Now I must drive back, back to the illusions I had created. To the dream that wasn’t, until the memory of the sun setting in my rear view mirror would seem to be the dream. I had begun to make the Truckee my own. drought When there’s a drought year you can’t even raft on the Truckee in the early spring. Perhaps it’s nature punishing us for our bad behavior—no, we can’t play in the water this year, we tore down too much ozone and have to make do with other toys. So we do. The bikes come off the roof of the car and we race the straight-aways and the bends while birds and strollers scold. Jumping frogs along the marshy northern bank laugh with us, croaking a sacrilegious chorus. I leave more of myself each visit. regeneration When the rainfall has been good, and the summer temperate, the Truckee warms from its winter chill, still flowing with enough boisterous body to keep a few rapids going. Just like the little paper cup on the river, our raft bobs and dips and even capsizes a few times. The day is hot, the water refreshing. Stopping at a sandbar, I bury my feet in the sand and watch my son dive. He rode his first bike along this river. His second and third bike, too. This path is now just the point of departure for greater adventures around Lake Tahoe and other trails. He presents me with a sapphire blue piece of river-worn glass. Holding it up to the light, I squint with one eye, and watch the clouds change color. Regeneration through prisms of light, glass, water and sand.


road marker Sometimes, I drive along the river, taking the turn off at Tahoe City around to the West Shore of the lake. It’s reassuring to see the Truckee, flowing on with its tale of life. This reassurance has a different tone when driving in blizzard conditions and trying to make out where you are; at these times the Truckee’s a critical road marker: something to steer by, a guidepost. irony I’m not a California native. When I first came to Northern California from Washington state, it was like driving through Mars. The sky was so intense and blue, cloudless for days. The soil was bright red. The traffic enough to inspire respect, even from veteran drivers. Road kill was everywhere. I looked at the rolling hills dotted with oaks and blinked. Then came the heat. 105˚ was a far cry from 80˚ at the beach in Seattle. Here you drive right up to the ocean, so these incredible places are magically accessible—to everyone and all that comes with it. Beauty, trash and crowds: California's irony from the Redwoods to Malibu. change A geologist told me once that California was still shifting geographically—was less “set” then most of America, still changing. This feels true. After twenty some years, I’ve become a Californian. The hills along one side of the Truckee are sliding, the beetles have killed many of the pine trees that hold the slopes in place. The course of this river will change and shift. swirls Autumn is the shortest season, and along the Truckee, trees turn brilliant red and gold against a clear, intensely blue sky. Water reflects back its green hue and murmurs along. A hawk swoops low, eyeing a trout, a stray Red-hooded Merganser paddles hurriedly to catch its mate. We examine swirls in the frozen puddles during our early morning walk. The air is cold, often frosty, but warms to a fine fall day. Only fools complain on such days. moment Each time we see a river, we see a new river. The water is different than what passed before. Whether we see it new or through our memories is personal choice, often made unconsciously. Memories can prevent us from seeing something new in the moment. Recollections are like boulders that stay the course of the flow of new experiences. new A river is always new.


Note to Self Cry. Expand. Let the longings that tug at your heart be the strings of your Sun Dance. Kneel. Pray. Surrender to your Destiny the glory of who you are meant to be. Listen. Speak. The Truth chimes in your ears. It has always done so. Now you must give it resonance in your lungs and across your vocal chords. Remove your shoes and your limiting beliefs. Make love to the Earth with every footfall. Her’s is the most intimate relationship available to a human.

“Jamie K. Reaser is a rare bird, indeed: a mystic naturalist, a gifted poet, and a virtuoso guide to soul. With the Siren song of her seductive verse, this chthonic critter will grab you by the ankles and draw you down toward the ecstatic and terrifying mysteries of the one life you can call your own, your one true gift for this breaking world. She knows well this fruitful darkness by virtue of her own long sojourn below, as these astonished pages attest. Note to Self: Once you surrender to Jamie’s poems, all resistance is futile. Turn off the lights on the way in.” —Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., Author of Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche and Nature and the Human Soul “Reading Jamie’s poems touched my heart. Her ability to weave words together opened my eyes to see things like never before. I continue to discover deeper meanings.” —Andrew Soliz, Founder, Sacred Ways

Look. See. Your purpose vision dwells within your eyes. All three. Extend. Hold. The hand, the body that you embrace is the Other’s salvation and your own. We are physical beings because Spirit knows what it takes to birth a miracle. Love. Because that’s what you were born to do.


World as Church Just think of the blossoming parsnip, or the button quail as divinity, try to see the rising moon as so or the touch of the iris tongue, also the early hawk as it perches on the black oak or the thin lanky hindquarters of the ant, the matted camellias thundering the porch with petal, discover the small motes of the dried pea, its husk like the cry of the pine cricket, and the dogma of arroyos and snow-melt, the passion of needle grass and berries and mistletoe in December when it reaches out to us with is heady midriff ; the world is church, is chapel, altar, blood, and body in its soft skin and its fervor, in all the salt-vacancies of the ocean in dawn and dusk, the affirmation of God collects in the russet-headed grass of summer and in the tattered fungi and the fistfuls of snails and sand verbena and the wings of the sycamore; the hedgehog in his hole knows the wisdom of Leviticus, considers passages from Proverbs because his face is always open to the glaze of morning, as is the nude body of the seahorse under the ocean’s momentum, everything of earth is the krill of the cathedral, the field and forest anticipates its potential as assuredly as the barn owl crouches to enwrap the vole with its talons, the gospel manifests itself in the facets of light and the falling of water, angels both of them, what more proof do we need that pollen hold reverence and constellations hold transformation, what proof exists at the core of the orb is there for our asking, there like any element, in abiding beauty, the wholeness of the finite fecund for our delight.

Available June 22, 2011

b Leonore Wil s on

has taught at various universities and colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area. She continues to live on her family cattle ranch in Napa, California. She has won fellowships to the University of Utah and Villa Montalvo Center for the Arts. Her work has been in such magazines as Quarterly West, Madison Review, Third Coast, Poets Against the War, Nimble Spirit, and Trivia: Voices of Feminism. She is the mother of three sons.


The Woodcock’s Courtship Jamie K. Reaser “Peent!” “Peent!” says he recently returned. First near, then far, then near again. “Peent!” “Peent!” Is his soul fickle? This audible advance and retreat, advance and retreat. No.

In the misty dusk air he circles. With his feathered body, he recites the ancient spiral dance known to all mystics, He announces the auspicious Truth of who he is. Suddenly the Cosmos calls him skyward and he casts himself into the heavens. Up he launches in body and soul, outward and inward. Rising. He twitters in the winged voice of ecstasy, a cascade of emotions released so emphatically that they collide upon utterance. His heart becomes frantic as he circles a hundred meters arisen above bog or meadow or powerline cut. Twittering.


26

Twittering.

to pledge himself in service

The heart must expand or explode. The heart must expand or explode.

Of the Great Mother. Of Creation. Of Eternity.

And then, at climax, he chirps. He chirps a loud vocal, urgent “Yes!” chirp, signifying his acceptance of the holy duties of embodiment.

Of the destined union of God and Goddess. Where he lands,

More vocal chirps amidst twittering. And more. His heart has expanded beyond reason.

She awaits,

Oh, take note:

Ready, like he, to give the Spirits an intimate flesh form through which to dance and merge.

The descent that follows is no defiance of The Great Spirit. It is instead acknowledgement of his willingness

Ready to play Her part.

“Peent!” “Peent!”

Photo: The Woodcock 2011 © Copyright Jamie K. Reaser


Remembering the Wild-Sung Heart Wendy Sarno

Watershed Prayers (For the Gulf after the 2010 Spill)

Wendy Sarno This bright water is flowing down Crooked Creek to the Meramec, toward the great brown wash of Mississippi, pouring over the generous haunch of this country into the spread hand of bayou and salt where birds are calling, the fish, the tiny shrimp, and the people. Here the rain sparkles with light, with our wild flung silver nets of prayer, before reaching, as it surely will, the dark oil.

From deep night the bird sings on under the dark trees, here between the rivers of ordinary streets, as the full moon sets and dreams pour like still water over the pillow of a waking mind. Miles away and mysteries ago, under the wind-swept pines, this one sang morning up out of the canyons where the sun-scented trees were vanilla and cinnamon. Like ribbons, or the thread of dreams, The singing stitches a familiar land to another place shaped of rock and wild-soul, wildflowers and wind. There we rose with the sun as if born from old cocoons into dawns cold and full of wild music. Now, high in another day, a sun rises full golden under the spell of this lilting chant‌ Unseen friend, singing on in the loom of oak, as tho tiny green hands were weaving cloaks of light and music, the breeze wrapping us in pale strands of gossamer song. Remembering, we might sing, too, gathering up from some secret place the words of it and the tune. Our wild-sung hearts might remember to build nests on the listening air. We might remember to fly.


Owing more to silence Roselle Angwin I am coming back to the word and again reforming though the sentence so dreamed might never be spoken and the poem beneath the poem will owe more to silence and the humming of bees to bluetits scurrying like summer thoughts in the buddleia’s new raiment

~ here in spring there is no question of container and contained here in spring the location of spring somewhere between sun and rain enthusiasm, that is the ‘breathing-in of God’, like a green fire (its passion) (the earth speaking answers to all our questions)

~ I am not welcome here at the edges where the hawk stoops

the world exploding around us with spring ~

I am not welcome poking my nose into what the huntsman knows and does not hide here where I am grass where I lie beneath the speeding-heart form of the hare crouched so low into this small hollow she is one with earth I am not welcome and then I am I become hare hawk hollow huntsman grass all of these and none

spring and the world is made new, made everything – that bird in flight is a vowel that tree a column of consonants these words I write – the silence in between – light and borrowed light, returned and still unspoken the poem beneath the poem owes more to silence


30

‘The soul is here for its own joy’ (Rumi) Roselle Angwin Jack-by-the-hedge and tracks of ragged robin in the marshgrass; Contrails above; and trails of water boatmen on the quiet pool With its frilled edges of late tadpoles, a moorhen, ghosts of winter geese – The three worlds and we in between, of and not of all of them. What if what we think we might become we are already? How hard, surely, to know this, to then know how to live.


Ambition Marisa Handler Ambition stumbles. Swoons into a slow tripping over the never-dead— lips on yellow petals spiderveins blooded maple forehead against grit of bark chest blooming on trunk

Still, even; still so as to feel it breathe through me still as branch, rock, dirt enough to win their trust the small things the avid and the ruthless and the question unto question

It will hold me I have at times understood drunken it will offer up all I am bold enough to need— If I am quiet. Bow my head. If I am slow enough to touch— reach—

Ambition calls— I am busy— I am lost in the dark edges of small things bud and rot and the sex of smell light-drenched center and the slow, slow falling


32

Solace Marisa Handler

Crisis

a stray last leaf drifts down trees naked veins drinking sky you locate solace in this landscape for grievances lost

Marisa Handler

you locate breath and body laying shoulder to rock hip to valley eye to the sentence of branch and stream the syntax of ant and spider a skein of geese congealing unraveling ear to the thrumming solace

the leaves are turning green at heart but tips blushing yellow even crimson I walk beneath face up the sky is burning crisis they shout crisis dow jones swoons lifetime savings freshly emaciated they were binging on rarefied air the world teetering on the brink of yet another winter the leaves are turning you are still two thousand miles gone a melody I hum words undone list in my pocket blank the leaves are turning I paste my face to the sky the sky is burning watch it fall


Take off your socks and your shoes Kasey Phifer Watch them melt into the earth. Press your hands into the soil, and the soles of your feet and watch them follow your socks and your shoes. When you have gone completely under, it will be dark, but warm. when you have gone under, you will speak with the ants and the worms and the moles and you will ask the moles if, when the end comes, would they like your fingers?

And you will swim in the underneath through the soil and the water and the melted evenings that gave the underneath their color. You will promise your fingers to the moles and the worms will ask if when the end comes, they may have your flesh? And you will promise your flesh to the worms. You will fall asleep in the underneath and awake in the evening after all the color has gone. You will leave the earth with stones in your pockets. And afterwards, sometimes, when you touch the earth, you will take off your shoes.


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Humus Kasey Phifer Humus: organic matter that has reached a point of stability and will break down no further and if conditions do not change, could remain as such for centuries or longer. Doe, dead. one hundred and twenty-two pounds at the narrow shoulder of route two-eighty-two. For the sake of all white-tailed deer, for the sake of centuries and of unhewn stones, for the sake of all mothers, for the sake of ten thousand sycamore trees, for the sake of estuarine salt marshes, for the sake of sour-fleshed unripened wineberries and steamy afternoons, for the sake of slow autumns and reluctant december winds, for the sake of a doe, dead, we became humus. we became matter. we became centuries. we became summer sycamores. we became blue-finned tuna and beaked whales. And only for centuries we remained unchanged and broke down no further. And we became scattered teeth and dry bones.


MARGINAL SPRING Rodney Nelson another spring of high river and floodplain going to tideland two weeks’ wait at a midtrunk height of water in the elder grove the warm air in a vacancy with no arrival wind or birds catkin turning to leaf somehow but green only at the margin to write and make a life in the geoponic words of floodplain

THIS REGION

to invent a new one in the hydroponic words of tideland

Rodney Nelson

another spring of high water and quiet in the elder grove

there would come a turning to the summer but the leaves were many enough for now

to be up to your trunk in it trying to bud out at ebb time

a falcon looked set to be peregrine anyway and the geese to make their vee whenever the blackbirds had a rally I hoped to attend if only in eye no jade emperor had moved me out here and I was not on corporate duty so I had only me to blame or thank for my heck of a life in this region I wanted to up and go flocking too but I did not know where the others were


Departure from Avery Point L.M. Browning Written In Route to Flat Hammock Island

I. Setting out across the deep landscape— afloat atop the fathomless. The bow presses forward into the misted Long Island Sound. The Herring Gulls scavenging the dock followed the sluggish boat around the jetty. Barn Swallows curled through the air— plummeting for the surface to dive, Only to pull up at the last moment— skimming the surface of a world into which they may not cross. A flock of inky Cormorants planted on the stubby rocks are drying their wings in the morning breeze. Arms open they face East reciting their morning prayers unto the listening wind. II. The shadow of the strand fades in our wake, as we proceed deeper into the embankment of mist. Engulfed in the fog it seems as though our boat makes no progress— same black waters, same opaque surround.

In a limbo of thought and motion I stare transfixed at the curling crests. A foghorn moans across the gulf. Hardly reaching my ears— my mind enveloped by the depressing curtain of seemingly unchanging scene. Until, jilted from the shapeless in-between we beach our boat upon the sands of the other shore. III. Leaping from the bow there was a crack underfoot upon landing. The shore composed of shells— hollowed out remnants of feasts past. Befuddled Oyster Catchers hurried along peeping back and forth— discussing we un-feathered foreigners. Black Backs unwilling to budge, sat atop their kelp nests warming their clutch of three speckled olive and brown eggs. Their smooth white breast puffed indignantly. The drip of blood smudged on the lower beak, red eye rims glaring, the fearless mother sits, harking and barking in guard of the forthcoming generation. The day wanes too fast. The fog burns off in the mid-day sun. The captain motions calls. The Isle I was on merges with the Isle on the chart. The duties on the mainland call. And I, unable to go deaf.


the path at the edge of the sea

often the moon lies hidden for months on end, muffled under wooly layers of marine fog….

Beth Anne Boardman there is a path at the edge of the sea on the southwestern shore…. it leads not over the tawny hills, burnished with golden crackling grass and dotted with cockle burrs…. it doesn’t wander the sandy dunes, flirting and playful, chasing the inconstant breeze— or seek for shade under the eaves of crumbled greying bluffs— and it’s not always there…. it shifts and moves, it rides the tides, lifting and falling through crystal night on sparkling silver waves….

wandering the beach, longing for your appearance, I wonder when my gaze will find your magic, your glimmering promise…. we stand here all alone, we think, encapsulated in our skin, our thoughts— yet filled with whirling energy— electrons and protons zinging constantly through our charged bodies…. we glow with hidden life; we teem with what we cannot see— like the waters,

when the planet aligns so that moon and fog and earth and sea are all in agreement,

the grasslands, the secret standing woods….

and with no fanfare— this rolling fountain of diamonds appears to any who come to the shore and brave their inner silence…. free enchantment, riches, secrets revealed to those who look….

all, even the air is replete with life watching us, heads tilted— curious, and indifferent…. the merest rocky outcropping propels a thousand lives along their days—


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and every moment, a million possibilities swirl in our direction….

have you never pined for it? and for at least a moment imagined walking out upon it— to some undreamt-of future?

and still – there is longing….

standing in the between of earth and sea and sky,

have you once looked on that shifting silver path?

do you never catch your breath with the sudden knowledge that we are as alone as this glimmering path?

those white-hot sparks leaping and grouping, dancing on the cold black liquid below?

—and as full of dancing sparks….


Q & A with Jason Kirkey Author of Estuaries and the award-winning title, The Salmon in the Spring: The Ecology of Celtic Spirituality

In t er vi ew by: Je n n Ma c C o r m ac k

What is the eco-philosophical concept behind this volume of poetry? An estuary is a type of ecosystem that forms where streams and rivers meet up with the sea. In that meeting of salt and fresh water, or terrestrial and coastal ecologies, a new habitat is formed. Like most transitional zones, there’s a lot of life and diversity in estuaries. I’m using that idea here as a metaphor for the kinds of things which happen when we let our minds become entangled with the Earth. Mind, as I understand it, is a phenomenon that is not unique to human beings but present through the whole of ecosystems. A forest is a particular kind of mind as are grackles and salmon. It is only through an act of cutting ourselves off that our minds don’t mingle with the minds of these Others. Estuaries is a question, then: what happens when we let our minds meet, when we speak with and to our watersheds? What kind of poetry do we produce, together?

2011 © Duncan George

In the preface of the book you write, “The poems in Estuaries suggest that speech and poetry are fundamentally rooted in the ecosystem ….” Could you explain what you mean by this? I mean that poetry, in its essence, is the articulation of being. When I write a poem I am attempting to speak my depths and communicate my meaning. The sound of rain falling is no different. That sound speaks the rain’s being and communicates its meaning. That is to say that the rain’s being and meaning are one: it means water, it means life in relation to every organism on the planet, and so on. It’s poetry, we think, to write or speak about all our human concerns, ranging from the profound to the mundane, if we somehow are able to illuminate these things or use them to speak deep truths. But what deeper truth is there than wild nature? To me, the growth of moss or the way a river meanders across the landscape is unmediated poetry. It is, in fact, where our poetry is derived from even if we aren’t writing “nature poetry,” per se. Our lives depend on the poetry of the Earth.


How does Estuaries connect to bioregionalism? The idea is that we’re not just relating to “nature” in the abstract. We’re not really capable of experiencing nature—we experience places. It is our situated places, our actual watersheds, that I’m most interested in. What is the poetry of our place and how can we participate in that place through poetry? If the decomposition of the detritus on a forest floor is actually a kind of poetry, if the movement of river water over stones is poetry, then what is our poetry in relation to this ecology? I think this is at the core of bioregionalism. When we understand our place in the bioregion through art and our poetry, when our voice is among damselflies and otters, then we might also understand how to live within the patterns and dynamics of that place.

None of your previous poetry collections contained photographs. Why did you decide to do this particular collection with photography instead? For quite a while the book felt incomplete and I put off plans to publish it, thinking I’d eventually write a few more poems to round it out. Then last winter as I was putting together our inaugural issue of Written River, working with James Liter as our featured photographer, I had a passing thought that it would be interesting to work photographs into the book in some way. It didn’t take long for that small idea to take root and the more I thought about it, considered possible photographs for each of the poems, the more the book started to feel complete. It felt like a more embodied book, appropriate for the imagistic nature of the poems.

“These Bodies: Rain Water Upriver” is unmistakably a love poem, which is unexpected in a book of nature poetry. How does this poem fit into the collection? It was written for someone I love who I’ve been habitually separated from by circumstances. When I visited her in her home watershed we walked along the Eno River. I wrote the poem both to suggest that her and her river shared a single habitat of identity but also to draw a metaphor between the way the water all gathers into the river and the way her and I gathered into each other.

How do you feel your writing process and style have developed or changed during the lengthy break between your last poetry collection in 2008 and Estuaries in 2011? I see my first three books of poetry, Portraits of Beauty, Songs from a Wild Place, and The Ballad of the Sea-Sweet Moon and Other Poems as my apprenticeship to poetry.


In the first book I wrote in very short lines, just trying to get the feel of words and phrases, the rhythm of the poem. Stylistically they were fairly didactic and blunt. There wasn’t much subtlety. Songs was a bit more ambitious. The lines got longer as I learned how and where to use line breaks (not always with success, however). The poetry, also, became a bit more complex and varied. I think the first hints of a more imagistic style came through in this book because I worked a little with haiku and prose poetry. If Songs is the book where I learned how to break lines, The Ballad of the SeaSweet Moon is the book where I broke form entirely. It’s an explosion on the page and much of that poem doesn’t have lines at all in a conventional sense. It was a practice both in being really free in the verse, but also in subtlety, rhyme, rhythm, and emotion. It’s the first time I think I really wrote something that is both deeply personal but also entirely mythic. It’s also the first time, as a poet, that I think I got over myself, learned to get out of the way, and just let the poetry happen. I say all that as preface to simply saying that Estuaries is probably my first “mature” book of poetry. Certainly it’s the first collection where I feel like I knew what I was doing and why. The frightening part of that is that it means I have to own both its successes but also its failures as my own. That’s also the most exciting part, and the part which, I hope, makes it good poetry.

What breaks your heart? The callous destruction of non-human life, the daily abuses of human rights, and an empty tea pot.

In the quiet moments from which these poems arose, how did these stunning, magical words spin out to you? In all different ways. Each poem is very much its own living organism. Some of the best poems—or at least my favorite poems—came without much visible effort. Both “Twenty-One Ways to Birth a Heart” and “Scattered Leaves” underwent very few changes from first draft to final. Both just overflowed out of me and all I really had to do was put out my cup to catch them. On the other hand, “Estuaries” was a poem of effort. It was originally much longer but when I scraped away all the soil from it I just had a few lines which I shaped, in a much more conscious and deliberate way, into the poem. It’s interesting, at the end of the day, to


try to spot the difference. In all cases though, there was an alchemy of both feeling into the poetry and applying the deliberate, intellectual mind to shape them. One mind shapes the clay, the other one put it into the fire.

Where do you see things going from here? What projects do you have next? Right now I’m working on a book called The Riverway: Field Note for Re-inhabiting the Earth. I think of Estuaries as its poetic companion book. The Riverway is a term I use to describe both the patterns of nature as a whole (the Dao) but also the particular patterns and dynamics of the individual watersheds that we all find ourselves in. The idea is that by integrating ourselves into the watershed we make ourselves consonant with the Dao and a more viable and sustainable culture going forward. It looks at the ecosystem as a mind and, from there, how our minds are part of or integrated into that larger mind of the Earth. The first draft is almost done so I’ll be spending most of the summer revising it and looking for a publisher.

Fishing with Heron Come in to the reeds and rushes—there is work to do. Thunder through sky pours rain like rivers on the Earth. I will stand as the heron stands, body poised like lightning, watching: the day—my fish, a meditative gaze on all the things we could, or could not, become. I caught no fish. The river, instead, caught me. Near-full moon through clouds—a sparse prose, veiled and unveiled like a tide. The rain still comes down: work enough for a day. — A Selection from Estuaries


A G l a n c e a t J a s o n K i r k e y’ s N e w P o e t r y C o l l e c t i o n

E stuaries Empty Tetsubin Womb black belly, heated spring water, spout sends swirls of steam upward and lazy— smell of steeping leaves.

A River Flows with Poetry

The space around it can’t help but turn to silence and fill itself with nothing. The teapot fills the tiny cups— but the tea fills something greater.

its eddies are swirling lines and letters carve a canyon through the open page;

Scattered Leaves Red hair scattered like leaves fallen from the autumn of your head— a reminder of seasons and the slow slipping away of everything you ever thought had mattered. Transiency is in the air like the smell of apples rotting pungent, earthy, and sweet like you and I and proper love poems who know they are about to die.

A river flows with poetry— the water’s source: deep within the dream of the earth;

its rush and babble, the voice gesturing toward salmon, the holiness of heron; its long meandered body— the inerrancy of breath, a path to deeper things; its rapids—white water thinking, and what are pools and riffles but commas? the ocean of longing— its end and opening out into the speech of things.

Estuaries is a collection of ecological poems by the award-winning author Jason Kirkey, set along side full-color images taken by photographer James Liter. {See opposite page for a collage of images taken from Estuaries.} for more on jason kirkey go to: www.jasonkirkey.com the photography of james liter can be found at: www.wildestbranch.com


The poems in this book are an attempt to speak in a common tongue with mountains, rivers, and forests. Too often poetry is thought of as the domain of human creativity with its source in the depths of the imagination. We use it to speak of the world, but not to the non-human world—let alone with it. The poems in Estuaries suggest that speech and poetry are fundamentally rooted in the ecosystem—the detritus of fallen leaves, the curvature of a river bend, and the sound of rain on a heron’s wings. All of this might be regarded as the speech of the Earth. When we speak or write poetry that engages these voices we become participant in the patterns of the watershed.

Now Ava i l a ble f rom Hiraeth Press


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N ature and E ducatio n Theodore Richards

The best school I ever went to was behind my garage. There was no actual school behind my garage, of course, but I did learn a great deal there. I grew up in the city of Rochester, NY, in a neighborhood with ample space for a child to roam and play and in a time— the seventies and eighties—in which parents had not yet become too scared to let children roam and play. The first roaming I did was between my friend’s house, directly behind mine, and the space behind our garage. It was certainly not a rural area, but there were trees and bushes, cats and toads. Like many little boys, I decided to build a fort. I spent hours behind that garage, hammering away at scraps of wood, building nothing much substantial, but able to let my imagination take flight and to get my hands in the dirt. I would suggest that this phrase—“letting our imagination take flight and getting our hands in the dirt”—could be the foundational principle for the future of education. I soon was able to venture beyond the backyard area on my own as I got older—not much older; children today would be shocked, and probably envious, at how much freedom I had at a young age. I spent my summer days riding bikes and skateboards, playing basketball and football, talking and fighting. Although I occasionally had a camp or activity to go to, I usually had no plan. I did not even have to call a friend. Just going to the local public school was usually enough to find a game to play.

As I entered adolescence, I began to wander beyond the neighborhood. I took the bus downtown with my friends, rode my skateboard to different neighborhoods, played basketball at the park. I saw a world beyond my neighborhood, and people who did not fit into its narrow socio-economic and ethnic limits. Of course, I wasted time playing video games and watching TV, and occasionally got into trouble—like most kids, I was not particularly aware of my own mortality—but I also continued to explore my world. I got my hands dirty and let my imagination fly. ~ East High School was a sprawling complex made up of various wings, taking up a complete city block. One small wing was referred to, quite indelicately, as “the box”. I cannot say whether this was a name given to it by the students or the official one. I hope it was given by the students. For “the box” was the area of the school where special education students went. Unlike the other students in the school, they were not allowed to roam from wing to wing while changing classes. Tellingly, this is the term prisoners use to refer to solitary confinement. Much later, it occurred to me that all schools are “boxes”, based on the principle that containment of our youth is one of their primary purposes. Day after day, year after year, our children are put in boxes. University of Maryland professor Jane Clark calls them “containerized kids.” There


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are days, particularly in northern climes when the days grow short, when our children see no sunlight except through windows. The test scores are too low, goes the argument, so we must keep our children in school longer. Among the great tragedies of modern life is the alienation of the human from the natural processes of which we are a part. Our alienation from nature and the Earth is not merely an educational issue; it is a problem for our species. We are destroying the planet, in part, because we have managed to delude ourselves into thinking we are separate from it. For any educational program to truly be subversive, it must challenge the dominant paradigm in the industrial world that has estranged us from the Earth. In truth, nature is not merely a nice place to go on the weekend. We are nature. Our very existence cannot be separated from it. We could not eat, could not breath, could not survive at all without the community of life around us. To know our selves, then, is to understand the ecosystem in which we are embedded. As an urban child, I appreciated the culture, the diversity, the intensity of the city, but did not understand what I could learn from nature. It was not until I was in my mid-twenties, when I went left Chicago for a training program for my work in Africa, that I realized what I had missed. Before leaving for Zimbabwe, I had to attend a training program in the Berkshires, the mountains of western Massachusetts. I spent four months there, watching summer turn to autumn and then winter. I spent hours alone in the woods, simply walking and listening. Although I could not yet articulate it, I learned that being silent in the woods meant listening to the cosmos. Being silent in the woods allowed for a whole Universe to enter my soul. I connected to the rhythm of the seasons and the days in a way I never had before. I did not learn facts, but shifted my consciousness in myriad ways.

This transformation only intensified while I lived on the dairy farm in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe. Each night I watched the skies come alive as the sunset faded into the starry sky. I watched the milky way spread out across the sky, watched the zodiac rotate, watched Orion do cartwheels. I learned to eat what could be grown and what was in season. I learned to be thankful for the rains when they came. As the years unfolded thereafter, I sought out opportunities to commune with nature at every opportunity. I felt this need not out of any scientific, intellectual understanding for the benefits of and our relationship to nature; I understood because I had experienced a relationship—a relationship that taught me who I was. ~ In response to our failing education systems, built on the model of the unholy trinity of the factory, the prison, and the mall, our leaders seem only to be able to propose more of the same: more restriction, more punishment, more consumerism. The problem with our schools, at its core, is that we use the wrong metaphors to understand education. The metaphor of the human as machine has reduced learning to quantifiable outcomes; industrial capitalism has become the primary context for education. To reclaim education—indeed, this is nothing new—requires a return to Wisdom Education. While this involves many dimensions, I will focus here on nature. That is, instead of thinking of the human as a machine, we must use organic metaphors. More is at stake here than our schools—without instilling in our children a reverence for and embeddedness in ecology, we have little hope of saving our species. There are also reasons that have only to do with education—that is, not with addressing the ecological crisis— for including nature in the learning process. A variety of problems arise, as wide ranging as the intellectual and


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~ While it can be a challenge to interest students in nature when they have spent most of their lives surrounded by concrete or being driven around from mall to mall, everyone likes food. Once an essential part of the learning process, seldom do schools integrate food into the curriculum. Traditionally, one learned in order to know what foods were safe to eat in the wild and how to procure them, to understand the rhythm of the seasons and how to grow food, and to prepare good foods. Food is not merely something that keeps us alive; it is also an expression of our culture and how we are connected to place. The industrialization of agriculture and our subsequent estrangement from food has led to economic, ecological, and health crises in the industrial world. Indeed, there is a connection between the rise of the factory farm that mechanized the organic process of growing our food and the rise of the factory school, mechanizing the lives of our children. Understanding this process is one of the most important justice issues our children can learn about. Wendell Berry writes: “There is, then, a politics of food that, like any politics, involves our freedom. We still (sometimes) remember that we cannot be free if our minds and voices are controlled by someone else. But we have neglected to understand that we cannot be free if our food and its sources are controlled by someone else… One reason to eat responsibly is to live free.” How many immigrants have come to this country in recent years due to U.S. farming policy? Why? How does this policy affect what we eat? All these are important questions to address if we are to understand the pressing issues of the day. The best way to learn about food is to grow it our selves. Urban farms and community gardens have become increasingly widespread in recent years. Children will be

2011 © Duncan George

creative development of our children and their emotional and physical well-being, from a lack of time spent outside, in nature. We are better able to concentrate when we spend time in nature. Our children today are seemingly always plugged in or in front of a screen. They become accustomed to being entertained constantly with quickly-changing images—images that are designed to entice them to buy something, usually. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult to get a child to apply the kind of concentration that profound learning requires. The answer of many educators has been to give the kids more of the same, to integrate new technologies into the learning process. While some of this is appropriate— indeed, we have done it in our programs at the Chicago Wisdom Project—it is not the only answer. Learning is an organic process. Screens cannot replace people; computers cannot replace nature. When in nature, we use all our senses, whereas the television screen requires only sight and sound. A forest, for example, can be a context for the imagination to take flight. The role of nature cannot be separated from that of creativity and imagination. To be intimate with nature is to be filled with awe, to be inspired by the creativity of the natural world. Educators seem even less aware of the need for students to get outside than they are of the importance of art in the classroom. Students who spend time in nature and are physically active will find it easier to concentrate and will have the emotional balance that learning requires. In spite of this, myriad school districts are cutting recess in favor of more time to prepare for tests. Recently, when several districts were forced to cut the school week back to four days due to budget problems, it was found that test scores actually went up. So much for the value of preparing for the test. In fact, several schools have shown to increase test scores through an environmentally based curriculum.


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thrilled when they can eat something they have grown themselves. Creating a garden or farm teaches organizational skills. Most importantly, students begin a transformation of sense and sensibility. They begin to recognize the rhythm of the seasons and appreciate the living community around them. Moreover, they spend time outside, away from the boxes of classroom and television. They can get their hands dirty and let their imagination take flight, just as I used to behind my garage. The lack of awareness around the relevance of farming to a healthy and holistic curriculum is disturbing. President Obama demonstrates in his comments about increasing the school year: “We can no longer afford an academic calendar designed when America was a nation of farmers who needed their children at home plowing the land at the end of each day. That calendar may have once made sense, but today, it puts us at a competitive disadvantage. Our children spend over a month less in school than children in South Korea. That is no way to prepare them for a 21st-century economy.” In addition to the lack of evidence that a longer school year will improve schools at all—apparently he had not heard about the rising test scores with four day weeks—the president’s reasoning is flawed for a far more important reason: our estrangement from the agricultural process should not be viewed as an inevitable sign of irreversible progress, but as a crisis. While I understand his desire, and the desire of educators from whom the president takes his cues on this issue, to deal with the problem that our children spend their summers and afterschool time watching television, our task as educators must be to find better ways for our children to spend their free time, not eradicate the notion of free time altogether. Maybe we should consider that our young people should be plowing the land, not locked away in a classroom. The values expressed in this quote are telling. The purpose of education, according to the president, is to prepare our youth for “the 21st century economy.” The typical values of utilitarianism and capitalism— the assumption that education is “competitive”—rise to the fore. The irony is that I am fairly certain that the president was not educated in this way. If one were to ask him how he became the man he is today—and while I am criticizing him on this matter, I think he has many admirable qualities—he would surely not point

to being prepared for the 21st century economy. And I doubt he educates his own children with this in mind. This is one among many examples of how, although clearly more committed to education than the Republicans, the philosophy of the two parties remains fundamentally the same. While Democrats are quite right to criticize George W. Bush for the No Child Left Behind debacle, it should be remembered that they usually do so only because of the Republicans failure to fund the bill—not because of its focus on testing, with which they basically agree, or at least can offer no alternative. ~ The lessons of farming truly come alive for the youth when they begin to harvest, prepare, and eat what they have grown. Cooking is a hands-on way for students to learn myriad lessons, seeing their profound connection to the living world through their food. It is hardly controversial to suggest that there is an epidemic health crisis among our children due to their diets. The rate of type 2 diabetes in children, once only found in adults, is soaring, particularly among Black and Hispanic children. Obesity has never been greater. Our leaders take away free-time and eliminate recess, limit the time a parent can be home with children to prepare food, and wonder why these problems are on the rise. Criticizing the victims—blaming obese children for lacking discipline—is the common response. By growing, cooking, and eating their food, the youth can see an alternative to fast food and chips. They can learn the skills, knowledge, and creativity required to garden and cook. Moreover, they can begin to recognize the relationship between the obesity of the American child and the malnourishment of children in the Global South by exploring the industrial food system that is so different from the simple and beautiful process of growing and preparing one’s own vegetables and fruits. If one’s garden is big enough, the youth can learn to can and store, as well as sell, their produce. While I have criticized the values of global industrial capitalism, I see nothing wrong with starting a small business with young people. In fact, it can teach many lessons, both practical and academic. The culmination of these lessons on food, of course, is eating. This will surely not be lost on any group of kids. We do not share food as much as we used to. This impoverishes us spiritually and diminishes our sense of community. To share food is essential to our humanity.


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Any teacher, in any type of classroom, will find his job much easier if students are preparing and sharing food together. While most schools, I suspect, will say that this is too costly and takes too much time that could be spent on learning basic skills for tests, a deeper analysis suggests otherwise. How much money is wasted on drugs for children who cannot concentrate because they have too much sugar in their diets? There have been documented cases of children dramatically changing their behavior as their diets have changed. Moreover, sharing meals brings about a spirit of community in a classroom or youth group. We learn in community, from one an-

ing them to develop a narrative that is both personally meaningful and intellectually rigorous. Wisdom Education has always been about answering fundamental questions such as “Who am I?” Until the modern period, much of this understanding came from a myth, a narrative or story that described how we came into being. The creation myth made sense of our world and our place in it while showing how we were at once connected and unique. In a traditional or indigenous society, there were no academic “subjects”—everything was understood through the lens of the myth. And even when subjects did arise—in a medieval school, for

other, and food can be a catalyst example—they were still underfor this process. stood through a common lens. We ~ can now criticize the lens—I am We are nature. Any discussion not advocating basing a curricuabout nature is extraordinarily lum on Scholastic theology—but Nature is not place difficult because of the tendency we have to find a new lens to reto visit; it is that from to reinforce the dualism of the place it. human and nature. Nature is not What, then, is the lens through which we arise. place to visit; it is that from which which we can organize a new WisThe human body we arise. The human body is nadom curriculum? One possibilture. We have evolved not only ity is by looking at the world in is nature. from the Earth, but also within terms of ancestry, which is essenWe have evolved not the Earth. The point is that, when tially what the creation myth of we truly understand how we have an indigenous society does. The only from the Earth, evolved, the lines between the hudifference, however, is that ours but also man and nature become blurred. is a pluralistic society that derives Our identity, so fundamental to much of its knowledge about the within the Earth. the basic purpose of education, world through science. cannot be isolated in the mind, Modern, industrial society is walled in behind our skulls. marked by an abundance of inIn any science curriculum, formation, uncovered by science evolution is a core concept, the core concept around and made available through technology. The problem is which the study of biology is organized. This is sig- that the diversity of our society and the overwhelming nificant not merely because it is an interesting theory amount of information make it difficult to find a coherabout science; its significance lies in what it tells us ent narrative around which to organize a curriculum. I about ourselves. Evolution tells us who we are. would suggest that nature itself as understood by modWe cannot teach our youth a particular narrative in ern science can provide the foundation of just such a science without having the courage—and I say cour- narrative, a narrative that can be both pluralistic and age because there will be fundamentalists who under- unifying. I am not suggesting that we introduce any stand neither the Bible nor evolution who will make more information into a school curriculum than what this politically difficult—the courage to integrate it is pretty much already there, but that we can begin to into the students’ pursuit of understanding themselves recognize that, through our ancestors, we are intimately and their world. It does not mean telling them what connected with every one and every thing. Ancestry is evolution should make them believe. Rather, it means not just about the past, but who we are. Our DNA is a showing them the evidence for evolution and challeng- legacy of the past, present in each of us.


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The way we structure a curriculum, although we are seldom aware of it, upholds a particular worldview. The worldview conveyed through the curricula of a modern school, no matter how progressive, is one of fragmentation. Each subject is disconnected from the others. The mind is disconnected from the body. Art is marginalized. A curriculum conveys meaning not merely through facts. I would not propose many new facts to be introduced to our schools. In fact, we probably have too much information. The importance in a curriculum is in how it organizes information. The story of the universe would be a narrative that would allow us to organize information fluidly, interconnectedly, organically. Teachers, however, generally operate according to the metaphor of a student as a machine. We speak of inputs and outputs, of quantifiable results. We test our children like they are automobiles. But our children are not automobiles, or even computers. They are as complex and chaotic as a stream. A stream can be studied and understood to an extent through quantifiable information, but not with the straightforward simplicity of a car. ~ The story of the universe is not about a world that was created from the outside and that cannot be changed from within. This is the story of a universe that has changed throughout its history, and the universe itself has participated in the change. While this does not mean that we live in the mechanical, atheistic world of some Modern thinkers, it does mean that we participate in the change that happens. While we cannot control our future, it is also not dictated to us. What lesson does this convey to our youth? The first humans had the courage to walk out onto the African plains. They evolved as they did because their survival depended on their spirit of exploration, their inventiveness, their intelligence, and their capacity for cooperation. They developed the ability to use symbolic language and to make meaning through symbols. Some of the earliest examples we know about are the Paleolithic cave paintings. In 1995, I was lucky enough to view the paintings at Altamira, in northern Spain, of which Picasso was said to have been moved to near-speechlessness, uttering only that, in the thousands of years since, we have done nothing more beautiful. Many of the images represent the predator-prey relationship. These early people seemed to grasp intuitively that we are not in competition with nature, but

that we evolve together. Had our predators not been so formidable or our prey not been so elusive, we would not have evolved the above capacities to such a degree. We owe our very existence to nature. The other predominant image in the cave paintings is much simpler, but perhaps even more profound— the handprint. Inside the cave, these people imagined they were inside the womb and made an image that reminded them of the baby’s handprints they had seen on the mother’s belly. They understood, in their wisdom, that we are like the baby in the womb, pressing out at the edge of our world, exploring it, testing it. This is an important part of who we are as human beings. Not as disembodied minds, but as a part of a natural process that connects us to the living world. So, as the narrative of the universe story connects us to nature, it connects us to our role as creators, as world-builders, as mythmakers. The role of nature and of creativity cannot be separated. ~ The highlight of a recent nature retreat in Michigan was surely a midnight walk I took with a group of girls. About ten minutes from the cabin was a small lake. While many of the girls were terrified at the sheer darkness of the woods at night—this group was from Chicago—they came alive when we reached the dock. “It is so beautiful!” several of them exclaimed. I have been moved to tears by the sight of the nighttime sky, so this was something particularly gratifying to me. They were enthralled and inspired, listening intently as I explained that the light from the stars they saw had left many years ago. I am certain that they will remember it better than had they been taught it from a textbook. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of such an experience. This moment is the key moment in one’s education. It is the moment when we are alive, when we realize that we live in a beautiful, awesome, enchanted world. We realize that, beyond what anyone else can try to force us to do, we are inspired to learn. ~ The work of education, of course, is not to make better schools, but to make a better world. Too often, I believe, educators forget this obvious and simple truth. Discussions about education seldom reflect the kind of world we might imagine is possible; rather, they focus on achievement and success within a given paradigm. They seem not to realize that the way we educate our children creates, reinforces, or shatters the paradigm.


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For example, when we assume that the purpose of education is to help students find a job in the global economy, we forget that the “global economy” is not some force of nature. Humans created it. It exists because of the decisions we made, decisions based upon how we view the world, which is based on the way we have been educated. While what goes on in a school is important in itself—after all, our children spend most of their childhoods there—the ultimate relevance of a school is what kind of civilization it inspires our children to create. A school is not “good” if its students get good test scores but are so unhappy, so disconnected, and so unable to think critically that they go out in the world and commit acts of violence and destruction. Such schools only give more power to the mis-educated. I think I prefer the “bad” schools. Modern industrial culture is ill equipped to deal with the crises of this moment. For the first time in human history, we face a mass-extinction that threatens the viability of life on the planet. This crisis was largely created by modern industrial culture. Its values can only lead to more destruction. On the one hand, we have the current model in which the world is the marketplace for global capitalism, the school a factory, and the child a machine; on the other hand… this is a hand is empty, a story we have not yet told. In part, it is our responsibility to offer our children a new vision. But we also must empower our children to become mythmakers, to tell the story of the their generation themselves. The metaphors and narratives and values of our educational system are problematic. This can be argued strictly on an educational level. That is, we can show how the current educational system simply does not work. Our children are becoming less, not more, educated through it. I would like to leave that argument behind now, and address what I think is at the core of the need for a Wisdom Education Movement. That is, even if the modern educational system did work within its own artificial and self-serving parameters—it is telling, I think, that educators have so much trouble showing this considering how easy it generally is to invent criteria that validates a given system—it will fail in the consequences it has for the planet and for our species. This is at the heart of our reason for educating children in the first place. Seldom, if ever, do educators discuss it. They may argue that this is because

it cannot be proven quantifiably. If they do, they will have proven my point. So what are the consequences of our current educational system? First, our school system, in using mechanistic metaphors, raises children to relate to the world as a machine. The consequences of this are clear and devastating. We can talk about “greening” our schools and tell our youth to recycle all we want, but if we continue to instill in them the notion that the world is a machine, they will unthinkingly relate to it as a resource to be used and manipulated. They will not value it. The consequences of not valuing the Earth, of not holding it sacred, are expressed largely through the system of global, industrial capitalism. The criticism here is not with the notion of “free-enterprise”, but with the notion that the economy is primary, ecology secondary. Economics dominates nearly every aspect of the public discourse, including education. In fact, economics, in its proper place, refers to the way we use and exchange resources. It is a subset of ecology. To be a human being, to survive, requires first to be embedded in a web of life. Without our primary relationship being to ecology, we behave as though we are disconnected from the Earth. When we consider the economy to be primary, we make choices—not simply individual ones, but civilizational choices—that express this devaluing of the Earth. A myth is most fundamentally about how we understand our place in the world. In the myth of modernity, we believe it is our place to manage, subdue, and control the Earth through the mechanisms of global, industrial capitalism. The only answers we can come up within this paradigm continue to reinforce this skewed relation. We believe that capitalism and technology, for example, are the solution to the ecological crisis. While technology can and should be part of the solution, we cannot solve our problems through the same mentality that created them. Technological and capitalistic solutions are popular with politicians for one simple reason: these solutions do not require a change in mentality or lifestyle on the part of wealthy, Western nations. The reality of the situation is quite different. As resources are depleted, as pollution and global warming intensify, and as species become extinct, we are faced with a choice if we are to survive: either wealthy nations dramatically reduce consumption or we force—and increasingly, this force with truly be enforced by force—the world’s poor to continue to live in squalor. We cannot sustain our current consumption


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would not matter. But education—Wisdom Education— is about shaping consciousness and about how we relate to and act in our world. To remove, at least partially, the barriers between the human world and the natural world, is to begin the process of shifting this relationship. And why should we want to shift it? We should want to shift this damaged relationship because our survival as a species depends on it, for starters. The absence of nature in modern education is directly related to the ecological crisis. The modern project has been many different things, but perhaps foremost it has been a movement to forget our ecological identity. The psychological reasons for this are understandable. The wild is scary and dangerous. Our ancestors can be forgiven for believing their purpose was to tame it. But now that we have largely—by appearances—tamed nature, it is unforgiveable that we continue to pave it. Even more unforgiveable is that we continue to pave and to repress the nature in our selves. The need to bring nature into the learning process is not only practical. After all, our survival as a species is not guaranteed either way, even if it is more likely if we remember that we are a part of the Earth. The certainty is that if we can help the youth to reconnect to nature, we can promise them richer, more meaningful lives, and that they will grow up to be better educated human beings.

2011 © Duncan George

patterns, particularly if the world’s poor demand an increasingly large piece of the pie. What’s at stake, therefore, is our survival. The myths of modernity, reinforced in our educational systems, perpetuate a worldview that not only encourages us to act as we do; it does not allow us to act any other way. Personal discipline or lack of information is not the problem. The problem is that we have been trained by our schools to see the world in a particular way. And this is leading to our demise. Metaphors, if they are powerful enough, have a way of becoming real no matter how absurd they are. ~ The role of nature in Wisdom Education is something we should not even have to think about. But unfortunately, we must. For nature is perhaps more marginalized from school curricula than any other element of Wisdom Education. The ultimate aim should be to create an atmosphere in which children do not think about nature because it has become their basic context. Even in science classes, our children rarely get their hands dirty, rarely get out of “the box” to truly explore their world. If the conveyance of information were the purpose of education, this


Forthcoming August 2011

The

v

Sapphire Song ~ A Novella ~

Todd Erick Pedersen


he time and the place are universal. Set in a simple landscape of mountains and rivers, deep-running vales and the ever-changing pageantry of the seasons, it is a world that is as profound and as beautiful and, ultimately, as revelatory as our own. A world in which Metaxaeus and Akasha shall come to find each other even as they come to find themselves. The Sapphire Song is a meditation on the possibilities of love, when seen in the light of the spirit, with an eye to the culminating discoveries that await an individual on the spiritual journey. A timeless portrayal of the value of seeking the sacred as it unfolds itself to us in the oft-secreted presence of our own deepest dreams, and told from the outset in spare, luminous language with the poignancy of a parable, this is a story that blossoms, long before its final pages, into lasting poetic resonance, lingering in the memory for days to come…

T

p “In his poem All the True Vows, David Whyte urges the reader to ‘Hold to your own truth at the center of the image you were born with.’ In The Sapphire Song, Pedersen invites us to witness the destined mystery of two incandescent souls who have the innocence and courage to do just that. Every story begins. Here’s your chance. ~ Jamie K. Reaser, author of Note to Self: Poems for Changing the World from the Inside Out. Todd Erick Pedersen grew up in Petaluma, California. He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington and also at Sonoma State University, where he received his undergraduate degree. He has a love for the arts of storytelling and poetry and has also come to harbor a profound appreciation for the contemplative life. He now lives in Ketchum, Idaho. His poetry has appeared in Written River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics. The Sapphire Song is his first book.

www.thesapphiresong.com www.homebound.hiraethpress.com Homebound Imprint of H IRAETH P RESS


Hiraeth Press is a publisher with a mission. We are passionate about creativity as a means of transforming consciousness, both individually and socially. We hope to participate in a revolution to return poetry to the public discourse and a place in the world which matters. Of the many important issues of our times we feel that our relationship to the environment is of the most fundamental concern. Our publications reflect the ideal that falling in love with the earth is nothing short of revolutionary and that through our relationship to nature we can birth a more enlightened vision of life for the future. We believe that art and poetry are the universal language of the human experience and are thus most capable of transforming our vision of self and world. We publish a wide range of books that deal with our relationship to the Earth and the revitalization of an ecologically viable spirituality fit for the planetary era. Although we specialize in poetry we also produce nonfiction books as well, such as the award-winning The Salmon in the Spring: The Ecology of Celtic Spiritualityy by Jason Kirkey, Kirkey, tthe he Courting Courting the the Wild Wild series series edited edited by by Jamie Jamie K. K. Reaser Reaser and and the the award-winning award-w winning title, title, Cosmosophia: Cosmosophia: Jason Cosmology, Mysticism and the Birth of a New Myth by Theodore Richards.

IIM MAG AGE BY BY: L. L.M. M. BRO ROWN WNIIN NG ©

What does Hiraeth mean? The Welsh word hiraeth encapsulates the spirit by which we strive and that the books we publish hope to inspire. A direct translation of the word might be something like “longing,” though a more literary reading and a look at its role in medieval Welsh poetry reveals that it is a deep longing of the soul for one’s original homeland. Here at Hiraeth Press we believe that our collective human homeland are the still-wild places of the Earth. We long for a more ecologically and spiritually sane world and believe passionately that poetry is a form of activism on behalf of the more-than-human world. How environmentally friendly is the press? We endeavor to be as environmentally sustainable as possible, and will continue to raise our standards as we are able. Our website is hosted by Sustainable Websites and is 100% offset by wind power. Additionally we make use of print-on-demand technology, allowing us to print only what we need without the typical waste of resources associated with offset printing.

HIRAETH PRESS PO Box 416 Danvers, Massachusetts 01923 info@hiraethpress.com w w w.hir ae thp re s s .co m


ALL HIRAETH PRESS TITLES A R E N OW AVA I L A B L E AT T H E F O L LOW I N G O N L I N E O U T L E T S

BookstorE

Wee want you to feel good about any purchase you make from Hiraeth W Hiraeth Press. Press. Remember, when you support the press, you are also supporting the philosophy philosophy upon upon which which it it was was founded. founded. the E very year we give 1% of our annual annu ual profits profits to to an eco-charity. Every

JJust ust one one off the the many many ways ways in in which which we we are are endeavoring endeavoring too “walk “walk our talk.” tallk.””


C ON T RI BU TOR BIO GRA P H I E S Brandi Katherine Herrera - works in Portland as a freelance journalist and copywriter, and she is currently in her third semester in Pacific University’s MFA in Writing program. Her work has appeared in The Jackson Free Press, BOOM Jackson, Madison Magazine, and The Ithaca Times.

Marisa Handler - Writer, singer-songwriter, teacher, and speaker—is the author of Loyal to the Sky, which won a 2008 Nautilus Gold Award for worldchanging books. Her writing has appeared in The Sun, Tikkun, Orion, Salon. com, the San Francisco Chronicle, Zeek, and other publications. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was a Fulbright scholar in Creative Writing. Along with academic settings she has also taught writing at meditation retreats and one-on-one as a tool for healing with the chronically and mentally ill.

Simon Peter Eggertsen - was born in Kansas, raised in Utah and schooled in Virginia and England, now lives in Montreal. He has degrees in literature, language and law. His pedigree in poetry is recent. His work has been published, or will be, in Nimrod, Vallum (Canada), Atlanta Review, The Caribbean Writer, and New Millenium Writings. He has won an International Publishing Prize (Atlanta Review, 2009), was a finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry (Nimrod International, 2009), and Runner-up for the Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize (2010).

Jamie K. Reaser - has a deep fondness for the wild, intimate, and unnamable. She received a BS in Field Biology and Studio Art from the College of William and Mary and her doctorate in Biology from Stanford University. She has worked around the world as a biologist, international policy negotiator, environmental educator, and wilderness rites-of-passage guide. She is also a practitioner and teacher of ecopsychology, nature-based spirituality, and various approaches to expanding human consciousness, as well as a poet, writer, artist, and homesteaderin-progress. She makes her home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

2011 © Duncan George

Wendy Sarno has lived in the Midwestern bio-region all her life. After growing up in the forests of northern Illinois, for over forty years she has been in the St. Louis area where she raised two children and found community and cultivated work she loves. She has been listening with people as a Spiritual Guide for more than fifteen years. She leads retreats and facilitates workshops on a variety of topics designed to nourish the soul and lead toward greater presence and wholeness. In the last few years her own creative focus has turned toward writing about her encounters with the land and with the beings of the natural world, animal, vegetable and mineral. Kasey Phifer - Rooted in southeastern Pennsylvania, Kasey Phifer is an undergraduate student of creative writing and sociology in the Philadelphia area. She is a tender of gardens and chickens, a writer of poetry and dedicated guardian of honeybees. Her work has appeared in Inklings literary magazine and is inspired by people, earth, and experience.


Theodore Richards - is a poet, writer, and religious philosopher. He is a long time student of the Taoist martial art of Bagua and hatha yoga and has traveled, worked and studied in 25 different countries, including the South Pacific, the Far East, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Richards has received degrees from the University of Chicago, The California Institute of Integral Studies, Wisdom University, and the New Seminary where he was ordained. He is the author of Comosophia and Handprints on the Womb, a collection of poetry. Theodore Richards is the founder and executive director of The Chicago Wisdom Project. He currently resides in Chicago with his wife and daughter.

Beth Anne Boardman - grew up in the foothills of Colorado and lived for five years in the Midwest before settling in California, where she raised her children. She loves words, images, reading, writing, hiking, dancing, singing, and time spent under the silent stars. She holds a current registered nursing license in two states, earned a master’s degree in English, one in Mythological Studies, and is currently completing her dissertation toward her Doctorate in the same field. Her passion, hope, and the subject of her dissertation is adolescents.

Pamela Biery - is happiest when outdoors. She received her BA in Humanities with a special focus on writing from Dominican University of California, and her MA in Management from University of Phoenix. Consistently engaged in conserving and preserving wild places, Pamela has contributed her voice to regional, state and national conservation efforts, including Oceana, Coastwalk, Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the Sierra Fund. Her work has appeared in Sierra magazine, Bird Watcher’s Digest, California Poetry Society Quarterly and many other publications. Pamela divides her time between the Pacific Northwest and Northern California.

Roselle Angwin is a Westcountry poet and author, well-loved leader of the international Fire in the Head creative writing programme, and the environmental Ground of Being workshops. Her passion is the eco-bardic, and psycho-mythology. She’s interested in the connections between creativity, consciousness and the environment, as well as in the interplay of outer and inner landscapes. Her workshops happen in the Westcountry, including Dartmoor, in the Hebrides, and France. Forthcoming in 2011 are Imago (a novel), Bardo (poetry and prose poems) and, with photographer Vikky Minette, River Suite as a limited edition.

J.K McDowell - is a poet and Ohioan expat living in Cajun country. A lifelong lover of poetry, McDowell was raised in Buckeye country by a mother who spoke of “Sam I am,” “Danny Deaver” and Annabel Lee” and a father who quoted Shakespeare and Omar Khayyam. Lately, mixing Lorca and Lovecraft, McDowell lives 30 miles north of the Gulf Coast with his wife and two beautiful companion parrots.

Rodney Nelson’s work began appearing in mainstream journals long ago; but he turned to fiction and did not write a poem for twenty-two years, restarting in the 2000s. He is is both old and "new." A lifelong nonacademic, he has worked as a book and copy editor in the Southwest and now is back in his native northern Great Plains.


F e at u r e P h o to g r a p h e r Dunc a n G e org e is a London based landscape and nature photographer. His work has been published in print, on the web and he has won a number of photographic competitions. Although George has held a lifelong passion for photography his principal career to date has been as an executive in the media industry. In the last year however he has focussed solely on building up a portfolio of images. As a well seasoned traveller his focus for this project has been almost exclusively the British Isles, putting to rights that old adage that its easy to forget about the treasures you have on your own doorstep. The project has taken him to many regions, drawn to wild and bleak landscapes. His favoured style is one of minimalistic, uncluttered compositions with a natural colour palette. For more information on Duncan’s work go to: www.duncangeorge.tumblr.com

Editors: Jason Kirkey, L.M. Browning and Jenn MacCormack Written River Copyright © 2011 Hiraeth Press All poems and essays copyrighted by their respective authors. Photographs Copyright © 2011 Duncan George except where otherwise noted.


HOMEBOUND SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

call for submissions! Homebound is an imprint of Hiraeth Press. Going back to go forward is the philosophy of Homebound. We recognize the importance of going home to gather from the stores of ancient wisdom to help nourish those in this modern era and lend voice to those individuals who make the journey. Using traditional forms of writing no longer prominent in mainstream publishing, our titles introduce insights concerning mankind’s present internal, social and ecological dilemmas. We publish introspective full-length parables, essay collections, journals, epic verse, short story collections and travel writing. It is the intention of those at Homebound to revive contemplative storytelling. So often in this age of commerce, entertainment supersedes growth; books of lesser integrity but higher marketability are chosen over those with much-needed truth but small audiences. Our imprint focuses on the quality of the truth and insight present within an author’s writing before any other considerations. We seek books written by soul-oriented individuals putting forth their works in an effort to restore depth, highlight truth and improve the quality of living to their readers. Homebound is currently accepting unsolicited submissions. We primarily publish full-length works of: Fiction, Epic Verse, Travel Writing, Biography, Journals Short Story Collections and Essay Collections. Although we appreciate hearing from our readers and prospective authors, postal mail requires a lot of packaging, paper mailing materials, and fossil fuel to ship. If you absolutely need or want to send us something through the post you may do so. However, we strongly prefer electronic submissions and correspondence. If it is absolutely necessary you may send your proposal by post to:

home b oun d c/o Hiraeth Press P.O. Box 416 Danvers, MA 01923 We prefer electronic submissions. Review the following submission guidelines and submit your proposal to hombound@hiraethpress.com as a Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF attachment. Please include in your proposal: · A brief cover letter · The first 30 pages or 3 sample chapters of your manuscript · A biographical statement including publications history (if applicable) · A complete synopsis of your book (1 – 2 pages) · An outline of chapter descriptions (5 – 10 pages) · A marketing overview and/or a letter of intent stating what steps you plan to take as an author to assist in the promotion of your title) We usually respond to proposals within 12 weeks. The submitted manuscript should be previously unpublished. A limited number of excerpts may have appeared in print or online, but the author must hold sole rights to the work. Simultaneous submissions are permitted; however, we ask to be notified promptly if your submitted work is accepted elsewhere.


Written River is a literary journal published by Hiraeth Press which focuses on poetry and non-fiction prose exploring nature and our relationship to it. Published quarterly in digital format, we strive to encourage the discipline of eco-poetics and return the voice of the poet to the body of the Earth. Eco-poetics is poetry in which the energy of the ecosystem flows through the poem, creating a written river of words which ebbs with the creativity of the entire Earth community. Written River marks the confluence of many streams and many voices as they flow back into the nourishing ground of the watershed. SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR WRITTEN RIVER Written River is accepting unsolicited submissions. Our Journal primarily publishes Poetry (any form as long as the verse is theme relevant), nonfiction, (essays, autobiographical stories, and travel writing), interviews and book reviews. Please send a short cover letter, biographical statement and a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) attachment of: • Up to 5 poems not exceeding 15 pages. Please send a query letter and an excerpt if you would like a long form poem to be considered. • Nonfiction work of 5000 words or less. • For each issue we usually choose one feature photographer. If you would like to be considered for this please submitted a digital portfolio of 12 nature-themed images. 300dpi resolution. Please email submissions to: writtenriver@hiraethpress.com. We prefer electronic submissions. If necessary, however, you may send your proposal by post to: Hiraeth Press Attention: Written River P.O. Box 416 Danvers, MA 01923 We usually respond to submissions within 4-6 weeks. The submitted works should be previously unpublished. We are open to publishing a limited number of poems or essays that may have appeared in print or online, but the author must hold sole rights to the work. We do accept original artwork/photographs. We request that images be scanned with a resolution of at least 300 dpi and attached it to the query email, which should also contain a cover letter. Simultaneous submissions are permitted. However, we ask to be notified promptly if your submitted work is accepted elsewhere. If your work is seasonally themed you should consider our issue deadlines: Winter Solstice Issue: November 20th Summer Solstice Issue: May 20th


w w w. h i r a et h pre s s . c o m

Written River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics Vol. 2 Issue. 1  

Written River is a literary journal published bi-annually by Hiraeth Press which focuses on poetry and non-fiction prose exploring nature an...

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