A conversation with Peggy Shumaker, Vivian Faith Prescott, ZacK Rogow and Cirque editor, Michael
Burwell. Go to the site, by clicking 49 Writers, below.
Join the poets in an on-line chat, covering Peggy Shumaker's role as the new Writer Laureate for
Prescott's nomination for a Pushcart award, Zach Rogow's work in translation,as a playwright and his way with the erotic and Michael Burwell,as
editor of the journal Cirque now in its second year.
Also, news about the Andy Hope Literary Award.
Alaska's new Writer Laureate, Peggy
|Click photo for poet's personal website.
Whatever Shumaker touches is thick with life, death, and the blessing of her words.
Ostriker on Gnawed Bones
An entrancing meditation on absolution and memory.
Just Breathe Normally
has begun her projects as Alaska State Writer Laureate for 2010-2012.
She'll travel in the next few months to talk about Alaskan writing in Washinton
D.C., Petersburg, Angoon, Iowa, Homer, Sitka, Pelican, Kansas, Fairbanks, L.A.,
Talkeetna, Palmer, Cordova, Skagway, Juneau... Her latest book of poems is Gnawed Bones. Her lyrical memoir
is Just Breathe Normally.
"With rare insight,
clarity, and grace, Peggy Shumaker charts both the minutiaof miniature lives and the grand and cosmic movements affecting
earth's moreimposing denizens. She tracks the profound and subtle dislocations orilluminations of self inspired by the closest
regard of our natural world."
Long Before We Got Here,
Long After We're
In the season blue-white sun
barely lifts above the ridge,
limps along the horizon
then dives out of sight,
we're changed each day by light.
Someone who's gone before
broke trail, set tracks.
With the right kick wax,
we make our way among birch
breathing hard rare frosted light.
We make of light arpeggio crystals,
caribou dance fans, shush
of bristles. One moment made
alive, human, unafraid.
All that's lost not gone.
If language is bones, hard parts
of speech, what do skulls of pack rats
crushed into owl pellets
have to tell us?
If this delicate pelvis
once balanced a gravid
javelina, what word passes on
to her stoats?
If cicada shells hang on
like single mothers starved
for touch, what does hot
wind whisper through them?
If every day
if we live
in the first world
and the last
let us speak
in our bones
languages of water
from all skies, from
Let our bones quench
the thirst of history,
thirst for all we yearn
to sip, marrow
of each dry tongue.
Vivian Faith Prescott
|Click photo to go to poet's webpage
Rare is the book
of poetry whose message and whose craft are of equal excellence. "Slick" is exactly that.—Larry Thomas.
was born and raised in Wrangell, Alaska and lives in Sitka, Alaska and Puerto Rico at the U.S.C.G. Borinquen
Air Station. She holds a Ph.D. in Cross Cultural Studies. Vivian's the Co-Director of a non-profit called Raven's Blanket
based in Wrangell, Alaska and she facilitates adult and teen writers' groups at the Air Station Borinquen. Her poetry has
appeared in Drunken Boat, Permafrost, and Turtle Quarterly. Her first book of poetry The Hide of My Tongue
will be published by Plain View Press in Spring 2011.
Vivian says this
about submitting her work, “As
for myself, I was afraid to submit for years and years.
I think the fear of rejection crosses all social, ethnic boundaries. Also, in
small town Alaska, which is the entire state itself, there is a sense that you
might offend someone by your words, so memoir and poetry are very vulnerable
genres because they're so intimate. Our state may be big but it seems that
everyone knows one another or knows one's cousin or cousin twice removed.”
The new Andy Hope Literary prize sponsored by Raven's Blanket was recently announced
in Cirque. Hear more about this prize during the online discussion, January 30th.
her husband’s troller chug
harbor. Then she painted her fins,
hairgrass from her head,
silt at her throat, clothes-pinned
nightie to the porch-line.
grandfather, the ‘other-man,’
on his boat
tied at the dock, searched
with binoculars for the dot
of her swaying
arms and legs
open wide summoning him.
Grandfather, humped back
scaled, headed up the walk,
full of milt,
switching his fins, the scent of her
towards the place where he was born.
in Off the Coast's Water: Something New to Say to the Sea.
Raven Child at the Koo.éex’
For my daughter,
aaa. Adaanáx has wudanaagí yá kustií yá haa
Thank you, yes, for rising to it, to this culture, this
Raven child listens to tapping sticks, drumbeat,
and stories, sings naa yat xí: love
She passes out
bowls, then moves
through the room
carrying a photo of the dead.
Wrist deep in náayadi, she
fish onto paper plates filled
with herring eggs,
salmon and gumboots;
bowls of hot deer stew
and Pilot Bread.
Raven child sways with
tubs of blueberries,
red and blue lips
throughout the ANB
hall. Raven child
honors Eagles with cases
of soda pop,
flies, arms flutter with beads,
dancing the exit song.
And at 4:00 a.m. she sleeps
a bench like a spent-winged bird,
button robe draping her shoulders.
Alaska Women Speak, Fall 2010.
|Click on photo for more about the poet.
Very few poets have the courage
to open themselves as fully as Zack Rogow
does as he pours out, in passionate poetry, the story of a love affair and the family fallout it radiates. These poems are
— Bill Zavatsky
Zack Rogow’s The Number Before Infinity, I was reminded of young Neruda’s love poems; here is that
passion, tempered and informed by the briars and grace of marriage and family.
— Cornelius Eady
is the author, editor, or translator of eighteen books and plays, including six
collections of poetry, a novel, three anthologies, four volumes of translation, and a children’s book. His most recent
book of poems is The Number Before Infinity published by Scarlet Tanager Books in 2008. He has written three plays,
including La Vie en Noir: The Art and Life of Léopold Sédar Senghor, performed by the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre.
He teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the California College of the Arts and in the low-residency MFA in Writing at
the University of Alaska, Anchorage. He is the editor of a critically acclaimed anthology of U.S. poetry, The Face
of Poetry, published by University of California Press; and editor of two volumes of TWO LINES: World Writing
in Translation, distributed by University of Washington Press. His translations of George Sand, Colette, and André
Breton have won numerous awards, including the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Award and the Northern California Book
Award in Translation. His children’s book, Oranges, was a Junior Library Guild Book-of-the-Month.
I’m open so
I don’t have
on the sidewalk
jostle me left
and right. Every breeze
Even a dancer
is enough to
blank me out.
And just a
pebble of a country song on the radio
I’m in so deep
Can’t think of
I’m open so
take in each
of your glances,
all of your
long, dark hair.
IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
A pink garland of cherry blossoms rings
Basin. Fallen petals stick
to the ground like price tags.
One by one I hike up
the wide steps of the Memorial.
Today they’re waxing
Two men steady the expandable aluminum ladder
while another, hand over hand,
mounts to the top of the giant bronze.
I read the walls:
WE MIGHT AS
A MAN TO WEAR STILL THE COAT
WHICH FITTED HIM WHEN A BOY
AS CIVILIZED SOCIETY TO REMAIN
UNDER THE REGIMEN
OF THEIR BARBAROUS ANCESTORS
Near the last rung, the man dangles
a bucket that steams with turpentine.
the dome magnifies the noise
of tourist helicopters
to painful hammering
like the blades of our gunships.
Now the man up the ladder is stroking on
the molten gloss,
a valet brushing his master’s
INDEED I TREMBLE
FOR MY COUNTRY WHEN I REFLECT
THAT GOD IS JUST,
THAT HIS JUSTICE CANNOT SLEEP FOREVER.
Poems Copyright © 2011 by Zack Rogow
|Burwell is the editor of CIRQUE JOURNAL - click here
|Click book to purchase
Mike Burwell has published two chapbooks of poetry; his full-length poetry collection Cartography of Water was published
by North Shore Press in 2007. He manages to keep out of trouble by writing environmental impact statements for the Department
of Interior, teaching poetry part time at the University of Alaska Anchorage, researching Alaska maritime history, maintaining
a database on Alaska shipwrecks, and pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology. He is also editor of the new literary
3978 Defiance Street
Anchorage, Alaska 99504
Link to Holding Our Own