Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tidal Echoes Cover & David Woodie's Art

One of my favorite moments of publishing the journal is seeing the cover. This year the graphic design work is being done by two designers at Capital City Weekly, the local paper that is co-publishing with us now. Katie Spielberger is doing the layout and design and Anna Millard designed the cover. The cover features work by UAS professor David Woodie. His image is above. Amazing, isn't it?

I hadn't seen Woodie's work until the galley proofs of the journal came through and this one just knocked me flat. I go to gallery walk and look at art like any respectable Juneau citizen, but it rarely really bowls me over, and this one really did. I just love this. Somehow it captures exactly how I feel about Juneau.

Poetry Contest

The Fairbanks Arts Association called yesterday to let me know my poem "Proof" won 3rd prize in this year's contest. The FAA holds a yearly contest for all Alaskan poets, with a category for youth and one for adults. It's so great to see literary arts being promoted this way in Alaska. There always seems to be so much for the visual artists and not much for us writers.

So the awards ceremony is tonight in Fairbanks but of course I'm not going. When I talked to Seth, he said none of the winners will be in Fairbanks so he is arranging to call each of us and have us read our poems over the phone. This will be my first phone reading! I'm sitting by the phone now, waiting for him to call.

Here's the poem that won:


We have photo after photo
of splashes—

white wings of water
against blue silk,

swirls and eddies
where just a moment ago

a fin, a head, a tail
disappeared into the quiet dark

of the sea. And this is just how
it should be, when we show photos

down south at Christmas to curious
relatives, contemplating Alaska.

This is just how it should be
when we try to remember our own lives

and what brought us to this
moment. We can see the imprint

of hope on the surface of our faces,
while in our bellies, something dives


A few summers ago when AnnaCaroline was just a baby Corey's mom and dad came up to Juneau and we went on a whale-watching cruise. It's actually the first one I've been on since we moved here 13 years ago. Corey's dad is a photographer and he got these beautiful, amazing photos of humpbacks. Most of mine are of AnnaCaroline and splashes in the water. It's funny how often something that doesn't work, or turn out liked I had hoped, ends up in a poem. Poems are always good consolation prizes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Poem

Last Saturday I read at the Silverbow with a group of local writers. It was fun to see what other poets in Juneau are working on right now.

This is one of the poems I read:

Museum of Natural History, New York

Finally, the day when we will visit the Museum—
a long break between conference talks

and we all go—daddy, grandparents,
and you, rattling under the park and into

the belly of that amazing place.
I’ve been dreaming of the bones of sea turtles

for days. We walk
and walk and walk—you tucked against

my back, looking, looking
and soon we are overwhelmed.

How can we remember all these facts?
How can we hold the vision of so many

birds in our minds? Case after case
documenting a world we need to know better.

Finally, you whimper and save us both.
We slip away from the group

and into the blue whale room—
a life size replica slung from the ceiling

and the whole room, dark and blue
and cool. Below the whale is just a patch

of carpet and all the mothers and babies
are here on the floor. I take you out of your pack

put you down, and we both lie back
under the whale. It fills our whole

sight, going on forever, this view of a whale
that only nursing calves must see.

We follow its belly lines and they are the latitude
lines of the whole world. I reach out and touch

your head, as the quiet washes over us,
as we rest under the sea, and I remember

how I fit with you, and I remember who I am,
in this vast, unknowable world.

This one seemed to get the best response of the 6 poems I read. Maybe because it's the most narrative? I'm still kicking around the idea that poetry readings are hard because we can't follow lyric or meditative poetry orally. Do we need something narrative to hang on to when we're listening?