STAND WITH BEARS EARS: RDT’s New Concert Dance Inspired by the New National Monument & the Tribal Coalition That Helped Make It Happen

Erosion, by Zvi Gotheiner
Erosion, by Zvi Gotheiner

By David Pace

Earlier this year Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) and Utah Diné Bikéyah (UDB) sat across from each other trying to figure out if together they could offer to be some kind of steadying order to the growing imbroglio of the recently announced Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah. What does concert dance have to do with preserving federal lands considered sacred by Native Americans?

It turns out quite a lot. At the meeting Navajo (Diné) representatives from the tribal coalition that had midwifed the Monument, including Willie Grey Eyes, Jonah Yellowman, and Mary Benally, related how to them the Bear Ears not only represented the sacred lands of 5 tribes, but also the healing between those tribes after hundreds of years of mutual suspicion and mistrust. Whatever artistic work issued from our collaboration would be motivated by the notion of how the land, and in this case the preservation of the land, can heal divisions. Continue reading “STAND WITH BEARS EARS: RDT’s New Concert Dance Inspired by the New National Monument & the Tribal Coalition That Helped Make It Happen”

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LONNOL Events

WIZ Valentine9

WIZ’s heart and LONNOL Month is officially open.

We’ve received a few tokens of affection but are longing for more. Please search your files for poems, short fiction, short essays, mp3s of readings of your work or of other work that’s in public domain, your original artwork, etc. and send them winging our way.

Along with submissions from our readers, we’ll have a winter wonderland/fond feelings haiku chain, to be initiated soon.

Also, February 24th is WIZ’s birthday. We’ll be four years old. To celebrate, we’ll be offering one or more of WIZ’s old movie giveaways. Giving our readers presents on our birthday is something we really enjoy doing. To “win” an old movie, all you’ll have to do is read each movie’s review and comment in the comment section. WIZ will contact you with further instructions about how to receive your free DVD.

It has been a hard, difficult, overlong (some would say interminable) winter. Let’s use February to warm things up.

Torrey House Press issues call for environmental nonfiction

On December 27, 2012, Torrey House Press, publisher of Steve Peck’s novel The Scholar of Moab, among other fine works of literary fiction and nonfiction, issued a call for environmentally-oriented nonfiction. In its call for submissions, THP noted that while it can’t help but like and publish novels and short stories, the literary fiction genre is huge and thus an extremely difficult field in which to make a mark. THP’s thinking is that “Topical, environmental nonfiction has a smaller, more focused market in which it is easier to identify and reach interested readers.”

Acting on this strategy to achieve a workable balance between literary fiction and environmental nonfiction in its publishing line and to brand itself more conspicuously, THP is

calling for lively, controversial, leading edge manuscripts on topics like water catchment, public land use, environmental health, environmental economics, sustainable living, renewable energy, land use policy, the importance of wilderness, the trans-formative power of natural places, environmental building and landscape design, about how small is beautiful, the local food and business movement and other ideas of enlightened, sustainable living. (Torrey House Press)

This looks like a good opportunity for WIZ readers and writers to send work and see if it makes a good fit with THP’s goals. This little press looks to be putting every effort into becoming a literary mover and shaker in environmental writing and environmentally-based literary fiction and, as far as I know, keeps its authors’ interests in mind. Not every writer can say that’s true of his or her publisher. In fact, early last year, THP forged a new relationship with Minnesota based book distributor Consortium Book Sales and Distribution that it hopes will help it achieve its goals of continuing to evolve in a healthy direction. This is not only something they’ve done for their own good but to my eye appears an act geared toward looking out for their writers.

If you’ve been thinking of launching yourself and are looking for a publisher, try Torrey House Press. Check out their site. Have I mentioned that it was me that put Steve Peck onto Torrey House Press, which match-making resulted in the publication of The Scholar of Moab?   In May 2011, THP managing partner and publisher Mark Bailey sent an email thanking me for making the referral. So don’t write this opportunity off. I’m on to something here.

THP has a blog and other means by which you can get to know them. Click here for submission guidelines.

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

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

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

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

Desert Gramarye*

(for Ellen Meloy)

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

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

State of the WIZ 2012

WIZ logo photo boot and deer hoofprints

Permit me to take a bit of virtual space to talk about Wilderness Interface Zone and its doings. I think it smart to revisit aspirations as well as mark recent changes and give notice of coming ones.   When William Morris helped me set up the site, I thought I’d build it, as the “About” page says, “to develop, inspire, and promote literary nature and science writing in the Mormon writing community.   WIZ’s intent is to open a frontier in Mormon arts, demonstrating in the process that it’s okay to write nature literature ….”

These were my earliest goals. I think WIZ has begun achieving some of them simply by staying alive for almost three and a half years. However, where I believe WIZ reaches highest expression is in its building an open venue for community members to celebrate or explore their relationship with nature, a relationship often sealed with the kiss of language. I might have begun WIZ, but readers have toted tons of necessaries to the literary barn raising, making it a unique, energetic, community-driven site.   Because of the wide range of voices speaking at WIZ, I’ve come think of it as a potential haven for narrative and rhetorical diversity, which, as I say so often that people are probably growing weary of hearing it, I think of as kinds of biodiversity. In the interest of providing ground for heterogeneity, then, which in nature supports the overall health, beauty, and potentiality of a place, WIZ will never turn nature writing away because it doesn’t follow a hot trend in the genre or pitch its voice to match those of dominant artists telling stories about people, other creatures, and the planet.   WIZ is an exploratory, let’s-see-where-this-takes-us site.   It’s a many-voices-mixing-may-give-rise-to-new-ground site. Continue reading “State of the WIZ 2012”

Thank you, 2012 LONNOL participants!

Valentine_Antique image woman bird cupids

Wilderness Interface Zone would like to thank participants who put their hearts in our Love of Nature Nature of Love Month.   The list includes:

Elizabeth Pinborough
Kathryn Knight
Gail White
Ashley Suzanne Musick
Sarah Dunster
Chanel Earl
Sarah Dunster
Mark Penny
Laura Craner
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Jonathon Penny

You all helped WIZ celebrate love and nature with fair fond tokens of well-worded affection.   Thank you!

Thanks also go to our readers and commenters.   There’s still plenty of room open (until March 24) on our LONNOL month giveaway of Typhoon, starring Dorothy Lamour and Robert Preston.   If you’d like one, please go to that post and leave a comment.   I’ll contact you for shipping information.   WIZ offers these DVDs free to readers in appreciation for your presence here and for your support of WIZ’s mission to create a rhetorically-diverse space for Mormon nature literature (though, of course, all nature writers are welcome–see submissions guidelines here).

Also, WIZ’s 4th Annual Spring Poetry Runoff Contest and Celebration will open on the vernal equinox, March 20, with categories for both competition and non-competition, an open-invitation spring haiku chain, another Retro Review, and other revelry.   Please make a note of the Runoff’s pending arrival and watch for announcements detailing this year’s activities and prizes.

Again, deepest affection to you, contributors, and to you, readers and followers of WIZ, for your continued presence here.

WIZ takes on two new marvelous creatures

Vecchio_Bruegel_Landscape_of_Paradise_and_the_Loading_of_the_Animals_in_Noah's Ark2

As Wilderness Interface Zone approaches its third birthday, it’s growing up a little.   Formalist poet Jonathon Penny has consented to join WIZ’s literary ecotone in the role of contributing editor. Jonathon has a keen eye for the belles-lettres.   Beside being a wonderful poet possessing a unique voice, he took his MA in Renaissance literature at BYU and his PhD in 20th Century British literature from the University of Ottawa. He has taught at universities in the U.S. and Canada, and now lives with his family in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates where he is Assistant Professor of English at UAE University. He has published on Wyndham Lewis and apocalyptic literature and is currently at work on several books of poetry for precocious pipsqueaks under the penname €œProfessor Percival P. Pennywhistle. € Bits and pieces may be found here. In addition to verse published on WIZ, his poetry has appeared at Victorian Violet Press and in Gangway Magazine and Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Several of his poems have also been published in the landmark, recently released poetry anthology, Fire in the Pasture, from Peculiar Pages Press.   Welcome, Jonathon!

Also joining WIZ as a contributing writer is Val K., a soon-to-be fifteen-year-old aspiring naturalist and fantasy writer.   She has participated in NaNoWriMo since she was twelve years old and has successfully completed three novels.   She also writes short stories, articles, and story serials.   She lives in a corner of southeastern Utah with her family, her carnivorous plants and her two cats. She has previously published in Moab Poets and Writers’ Desert Voices and also on WIZ.   Besides writing, her hobbies include drawing, biking, weaving, hiking, catching snakes, rescuing helpless creatures from her cats, and beadwork.   She is a voracious reader.   Welcome, Val K.!