If you’re interested in learning how to create the braided essay, a beautiful form of the lyric essay, join me for a working session on Sunday, Nov 1st at 3:00 p.m on Zoom. The Denver Woman’s Press Club have hosted these Sunday Salon throughout the Fall. If you are a DWPC member, you attend for free. Non-members pay $5 to attend. You must register and pay in advance. Please use these links below to register. (The photo links are static.)
One of the surprises, soul-saving surprises, of this pandemic has been the creativity and generosity of care shown by so many, including the artists and writers of this world. The Gatherings Project is the brainstorm of artist Lynda Lowe: 56 boxes painted by professional artists and then sent out into the world to see what gifts they would gather. The boxes have now been sold and the profits donated to arts funding organization/s with well-established relief funds for creatives. Here’s the story of one box.
A few weeks ago at the Arvada Center, my friend Trine Bumiller handed me a cardboard shipping box tucked into a ragged shopping bag. Inside that box was a beautiful gold-painted wooden box with an orchid (erotic, as Trine described it) by the painter Fred Lisaius
And inside that golden box was Trine’s delicate rendering of a pine tree, inspired, I think, by her current gallery exhibit in Alaska, In Memoriam
And a poem by the poet Todd Davis about his mother in a memory care unit.
And I could add anything I wanted to continue this cycle of receiving and giving during this isolation of a pandemic. And so I did from the poems and photos I’ve been taking during this pandemic. Here, the swallows I watch along the old gravel pits by the South Platte River.
There’s something truly beautiful about artist and writers collaborating to bring some solace and support in a time of sadness for so many. See all the Gatherings beautiful boxes. And go to the Arvada Center to see the inspiring Pink Progressions: Collaborations exhibit of paintings, poetry, sculpture, installations, videos, and performance celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment.
ACC Writers Studio Hosts Andrea Mason and Jamey Trotter held a book release reading and recording for D. J. Lee and me on May 1st. We both read from our new books and answered a number of interesting questions about creative nonfiction and the writing process.
Thank you to Veronica Patterson, Loveland’s first poet Laureate, for sharing my two poems, “To Three Ducks Flying Beneath the Dog Star” and “Waking After Eighteen Hundred Dead,” as part of April’s National Poetry Month, on her Loveland Poet Laureate facebook site.
TODAYS POET ♦
Today’s National Poetry Month poet who read in Loveland as part of the Poets in the Park series is Kathryn Winograd. The poems presented are *TO THE THREE DUCKS FLYING BENEATH THE DOG STAR* and *WAKING AFTER EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DIE.* Of the latter, Kathryn writes, “This poem I wrote after the rising of the pink moon and one of our terrible nights of so many dead.”
TO THE THREE DUCKS FLYING BENEATH THE DOG STAR
So little you know, wild-winged and unshaken beneath a dog star, half-grazing the pines, the bare winter aspen I stand in the dark wash of waiting for the tip of a yellow moon. In Ohio, girlhood, these April stars circled a pond bull-dozed by my father, a raft of cattail where the red-wings spun their nests above the scrim of caught water. Tonight, in this near dark, so close my hand could circle it, Sirius hovers above the red factory lights of Pueblo and the Sangre de Cristo blue-washed in this hour. I am cold in this wind, in this spine of the Milky way, these blue white stars named for a bear or a lyre or a woman weeping her dead into a river. I think I was still half-sleeping in a field of grass, in a haze of stars, in a far and nameless country you care nothing about, burying and unburying those I love. Such quiet, the mining trucks to the north stalled and the little generator of a shed where no one lives in winter shut down. And then, your wings, almost, against the moon. Why am I always alone, searching for something beautiful?
WAKING AFTER EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DIE
Prayer began early before the sterling jays dove, then clattered at our window, flicked the blue dark storm of their tails. Our pale trees bow down secretly and a nuthatch teeters upside down from the post of the birdfeeder I buried with stones another spring, his thin straight beak tapping at the seed I leave out all night. My breath, how lightly it floats in this chill spring like a delicate frost of air I can walk through. I take the wood axe from our tool shed to split the old wood we felled and stacked years past. Last night I stood alone in the deepening dusk, in the silence, as if I could rename each splinter of star I did not know. And then the pink moon soft as the fingertips of the dead slid over the mountain and I lit fires beneath a moon of far blossoms. How long ago it seems, springs when we could just count the catkin on the budding aspen and step so carefully through the winter grass so as not to crush the white globes of the wind flowers lifting themselves from the cold earth.
~ Published in Colorado, Write On/The Colorado Sun
PROMPT: In her poem “Waking After Eighteen Hundred Die,” the poet does not write directly about this time of the corona virus. And yet the details and images of the poem embody it. Try writing about what you observe in the world now and letting the poem’s title, which the reader will return to, be an anchor.
Kathryn’s new book of essays, *Slow Arrow: Unearthing the Frail Children,* has recently been released. Here is a trailer for her new book: https://www.youtube.com/watch…
The Colorado Sun is asking all of you, anyone with the capacity and the willingness to commit your thoughts to print, to share your observations of the many aspects of this remarkable period. We’ll publish select pieces periodically — an ongoing time capsule of sorts — as we confront the challenges ahead of us.
I am learning the solitude of black tea citrus rinds and licorice roots, rosy finch, nuthatch and house wren quibbling at the copper feeder I hung just a day ago before the late frost air drifted through. I am learning the solitude of black tea citrus rinds and licorice roots, so I dry dishes at the sink, forget the days’ count since the last pink moon. The wood stove burns and unquiet sparrows gather in the gathering snow. I am learning the solitude of black tea citrus rinds and licorice roots, rosy finch, nuthatch, and house wren quibbling at the copper feeder I hung just a day ago.
I watch the squirrels plumped with our sunflower seeds for more than a quarter century in the cherry tree and its blossoms I planted to block the neighbor’s view. Even the dogs doze through the squirrels tracking our old fence tops and the boughs of a fifty-year-old pine tree I didn’t plant that each year keeps stretching through repeated air . Three squirrels dangle this morning from the crooked cherry tree I pruned wrong too many years ago to right or maybe underfed or maybe rooted too deep in manure-burn. Sometimes I want to take the pencil stub I write the grocery list with from the kitchen drawer and crosshatch the backs of bills and returned envelopes into something I’ll never see:
cherry blossoms floating down strange rivers, pink dawns when I cannot sleep for counting the dead and birds, swallows I think, tipped by expressive lines, by a haze of moon, by white volcanoes delicate and touching.