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.!
(Boulder City, Nevada)
I did not know I was from the desert
when I moved to this hell of heat
that engulfed, stifled, weighed down leaden.
I pouted and sweltered that first summer
while sauna winds desiccated Spring bushes
into brittle skeletons whose sapped roots
cowered with reptiles under charred, rock pavement.
Then the heat gave way to a docile winter
so warm there were roses for Christmas,
robins in January, a mere dusting of snow and
I didn’t care if I was ever cold again.
I learned to worship rain when Spring erupted
through the lace of lizard trails on sand dunes
in masses of verbena and evening primrose;
bluebells and gold poppies tumbling over railroad tracks;
roadsides mottled beaver tail magenta and lupine blue,
wafting fragrance into all the crevices of town.
I walked out one afternoon to see virga
from heaped clouds in all that vast sky
and the sun setting in red fire
against hills of dusky purple-gray.
An egret up from the river flew by,
a piece of torn gauze carried on the wind,
a ragged flag of surrender;
and I knew that I was home.
To read Judith’s bio and more of her poetry here on WIZ, go here and here.
In Spring she lays her winter buckskin by,
bathes her brown skin in gentle rains
then dons a robe of filmy green.
From a hidden place in the earth
she brings her cache of jewels;
slips circlets of golden poppies round her arms,
drapes turquoise lupine about her neck,
anoints herself with scent of evening primrose,
white silver in the moonlight.
Wind, smitten by her beauty,
rushes from the west to dance with her.
He howls ancient love chants to her.
Jealous Sun hears;
he sees them whirling.
When she casts aside her robe and jewels
he forces wind away
and pours down love heat
on her tawny body.
Overcome, she lies stricken by searing rays,
cooled only by the passionate summer tears
of Sun’s longing.
Judith has been a Master Gardner and a volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix for twenty years. She loves the desert and often writes about it in her poetry. She has degrees from BYU, Boston University and a Creative Writing certificate from Phoenix Community College. She has had poems published in Irreantum, Dialogue, Segullah, and Exponent II. Last March she participated in a reading tour of Mormon women writers organized by Dr. Holly Welker and Dr. Joanna Brooks. She also enjoys playing duets with the birds in the backyard on her Native American flute. Judith is also the poetry editor for Exponent II. You can reach the online forum for Exponent II here.
To read another poem by Judith published on WIZ, go here.
The air is a-buzz with wings
bird to butterfly
bee to dragonfly
flit, fly and flutter by
cherry trees lifting petticoats to heaven
kicking up chaos
in can-can regalia
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!
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.