Thorns and Thistles and Briars (An Easter Poem) by Jonathon Penny

This is a rather wretched place,
All things considered:
More paradox than paradise;

A poky little patch of dust and scrub
Now parched, now drowned,
Shaken and, as often, stirred;

A heaven gone to ground,
Ground gone to seed,
Thorn- and thistle-crowned

And for the very birds €”
The dove, the hardy thrush,
The brown chat with his melancholy word.

It’s an abated wish,
This dense and dropping orb,
A momentary, dark, full-throated hush;

A nascent sun, an infant star,
This crib of Adam-Christ:
Worth falling and worth rising for.

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Jonathon Penny 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 those he has published on WIZ, he has grown-up poems forthcoming in Dialogue and with Peculiar Pages Press.   He misses Spring.

To read more of Jonathon’s poems published on WIZ, go here, here, and here.

*contest entry*

A couple of announcements

First, Torrey House Press, which recently sponsored a contest for nature-themed fiction focused on the Colorado Plateau, is sponsoring also a creative literary nonfiction contest.   Torrey House calls for nonfiction that shows their judges “the power of the Colorado Plateau.”   The deadline is May 21.   Essays can be long, up to 10,000 words.   Entry fee is $25.   You can find out more here.

Also, Wm Morris, who helped me start Wilderness Interface Zone, has interviewed frequent contributor to WIZ Ángel Chaparro Sainz over at WIZ’s sister site the Mormon Arts and Culture blog A Motley Vision.   Ángel recently completed a dissertation titled, “Contemporary Mormon Literature: Phyllis Barber’s Writing,” for which he received summa cum laude marks from University of the Basque Country (Universidad del País Vasco — Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea) in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.   Congratulations, Ángel, for finishing the dissertation, for its garnering high marks, and for the intriguing interview.   Seeing WIZ friends pop up in other places in print, on paper for in an electronic medium, is always delightful and cheering.   Well done, Ángel!

To read the interview, go here.

Night Falls by Tod Robbins

Night falls,

then recedes,

mourning sleepless darkness.

€œTempt me not, € saith the Lord God.
The spire’s skeleton reaching upward like a plea for shielding.

May is a slight way,

April an end to Chillihuani

March a crimson memory,

February a bursting crag,

and January a duality of whiteness.

Morning rises,

then proceeds,

mourning spiritual atrophy.

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Tod Robbins was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and now lives in the greater Seattle area where he attends the University of Washington’s Information School, studying library and information science. His poetry is peculiar like his worldview. He is an advocate for cooperative living, gardening, bicycling, and anything else that inspires one to love, to serve, and to build a community. Collections of his verse will be available on his personal website shortly: http://www.todrobbins.com.

To read more of Tod’s writing on WIZ, go here, here, here, and here.

*contest entry*

Homecoming by Carla Martin-Wood

The air is a-buzz with wings
bird to butterfly
bee to dragonfly
flit, fly and flutter by

cherry trees lifting petticoats to heaven
full-blossomed defiance
caught mid-cartwheel
kicking up chaos
in can-can regalia
long-limbed show-offs
in ruffles and bloomers
late and early
daffodils and Japanese magnolia
crocus and iris and tulips cover places
old winter (that cold-handed lover)
has relinquished at last
bright spindled forsythia
lilies and redbud
double flowering peach
too much is not enough

this is earth in an Easter dress

and all because Persephone
called ahead to say
Mama — I’m comin’ home!

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Four times nominated for The Pushcart Prize, Carla Martin-Wood is the author of the recently released Songs from the Web (encore), as well as One Flew East, Flight Risk and How we are loved, all full-length collections of her poetry (Fortunate Childe Publications). She has authored seven chapbooks: Songs from the Web (Bitter Wine Press); Garden of Regret and Redheaded Stepchild (both Pudding House Chapbook Series); Feed Sack Majesty, HerStory, and The Last Magick (all Fortunate Childe Publications); and Absinthe & Valentines (Flutter Press). Carla’s work also appears in the following anthologies:   Love Poems & Other Messages for Bruce Springsteen and Casting the Nines (both Pudding House Publications); Lilith: a collection of women’s writes and Postcards from Eve (both Fortunate Childe Publications); and From the Front Porch (Silver Boomer Books). Her work has appeared in a plethora of journals in the US, England, and Ireland since 1978. She was recently nominated by Flutter Poetry Journal for Best of the Net 2010. Carla is listed in the Poets & Writers Directory at http://www.pw.org. To see more of Carla’s poetry on WIZ go here and here.

“Homecoming” was previously published in Leaf Garden Press.

*contest entry*