Amy Irvine McHarg wins Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers

The Ellen Meloy Fund has awarded their grant of $2000 to Amy Irvine, author of Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land,  to support her work on her upcoming book, Terra Firma.   This is the fund’s fourth annual grant.

She competed for this grant last year, too, when the award went to Joe Wilkins.

Since then, Trespass has garnered a wide readership.   Like Terry Tempest Williams, Irvine comes from Utah Mormon pioneer stock and engages in broad social criticism of her native culture, especially its land use practices. Continue reading “Amy Irvine McHarg wins Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers”

Landscape, with Livestock

(On €œPond at Thompson’s Station € by J. Kirk Richards)

by Tyler Chadwick

The sun has been misplaced.
Or, if you’d like to get more
Biblical, it’s returned

to the dove’s abyss €”or
was that Milton? I can’t be sure
as I dance so near the beginning

with words so supple they
bend into themselves until
only the landscape remains:

the field flushed white, hills
seduced into bed
by cloud vapor so thin it will

barely last past the break of day,
the trees an erratic screen
against the sudden emptiness.

Consumed in association,
their teeth tight to the grass,
the livestock nearest the water’s

point of clarity absorb this light
in slight movements of   jaw and
tongue, slowing the arc of day
as it reaches to nest
in the foreground
of this slowly digested vale.


Find more Tyler here.

Evening drive

by P. G. Karamesines

Mountains and evening: aspen leaves
Pale as moth wings,
Reclaiming the wood.
The car clove spring.
A flock of yellow petals, heads hung €”
I wanted to stop,
But seeing you, said nothing.
You were not much in your face,
Your words, better remembering
Some breathtaken childhood
On this exalted road.
On the peaks, winds blew
Clouds to dust
In parching cold.
We rode through green flush below,
Windows pleasantly rolled down.

With dusk, winter came a little down.
On the road above the gorge
I sat in the window.
Raindrops broke across my face,
Burned off in the wind.
You turned the wheel
As if you held the reins
Of a mare, a bold girl
Standing on the saddle.
Beside us like a hound
The river ran panting.

The last brightness came down
Cascades branching like ivy.
Your mountains, losing
Their faces like sleepers,
Slumped out of the light.
The car went always
Toward the edge of that small clearing
The headlights cut.
Inside, your face,
Your chest, glowing faintly
From dashlights
As if you stood in a room
With a fire.

When I came in at last,
Breezes still running
Over my skin,
My hair cool as grass,
I had no warm words.
You had no cold,
So we sat like two birds
On the same wire.
I thought,
Language is an odd thing:
We  can get no further
Than  what we have words for.


First published in Irreantum: A Review of Mormon Literature and Film;   Volume 8,   Number 1 (2006), pp. 100-101

Language as wilderness

This piece is more journal-like in its musings than most of my posts.   In fact, parts have been  lifted from my hiking journal.   I hope this doesn’t  render its structure or possible meanings  confusing.   Also,  this post  plays around with several rather  strenuous threads, like I do commonly when I’m out walking alone.    I thought I’d just throw these ideas out there for fun today, but if you have a headache or are looking for something less troublesome to start or end your day on, you might want to skip this one.

Last year(ish), Moab Poets and Writers solicited a bit of writing that would fit compactly into one of the columns of their newsletter.   I’m not happy with the piece I wrote for them; it wasn’t quite focused and in places the language fumbled badly.  

As underdone as it was, it apparently stirred up some folks.   Earlier this year one of the group’s representatives contacted me.   MP &W was designing a brochure laying out membership information and other goodies.     They wanted to include a few lines from that earlier piece in the brochure.   I was delighted to hand it over €¦ more or less.   Like I said, the passage does contain some serious flaws.

This is the line MP &W selected for their brochure (again, forgive my clumsiness): Continue reading “Language as wilderness”