Meet the Writers of Winged

Hive of Writers
Top Row: Leni Zumas, Claire Preston, Rachel Cochran, Susan Kelly-Dewitt, Sarah Marshall, Karina Borowicz, Craig Goodworth. 2nd Row: Charles Goodrich, CA Conrad, Paulann Petersen, Malachi Black, Frank Sherlock, Jeanine Hathaway. 3rd Row: Adrienne Flagg, Lynn Otto, Kiandra Jimenez, Susanna Childress, Lois Leveen, John Beer, Kate Gray. 4th Row: Jeanne Wagner, Jennifer Moore, Lois P. Jones, George Venn, Elizabeth Lawson, Lea Banks, Annette Fisch. Last Row: Marina Callahan, John Davis, Marty Williams, Kristin Berger, Dena Rash Guzman, Maxine Silverman.

We’re thrilled to introduce you to 34 writers whose work graces the soon-to-be-published pages of Winged: New Writing on Bees. Our heartfelt thanks to these and the many other talented writers who submitted their work for consideration. This book and this project simply would not exist without your voices.

Thank you!

Contributor Biographies

Lea Banks has published or has work forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Big River Poetry Review, The Laurel Review, Connotation Review, and American Poetry Journal, among others. She is the author of All of Me, (Booksmyth Press, 2008). Banks is the founder of the Collected Poets Series in Western Mass. She attended New England College’s MFA program and her poems, “All of Me,” and “Hallelujah,” have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Recently, Banks was a fellow at the Vermont Studio Center. Her chapbook is being re-issued as a paperback by Booksmyth Press.

**Special note: Banks’ poem “The Majesty,” which appears in Winged, first appeared in SWEET:  A Literary Confection, V3, Spring 2011. The editors of Winged would like to acknowledge and thank the editors of SWEET.**

John Beer is the author of The Waste Land and Other Poems (Canarium, 2010), which won the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America and the chapbook Lucinda (SPORK, 2013). A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos for two years in the late 1990s, where he served as literary assistant to Robert Lax. Beer edited a collection of poems by Robert Lax, Poems (1962-1997) (Wave Books, 2013).  He currently teaches creative writing at Portland State University.

Kristin Berger is the author of a poetry chapbook For the Willing (Finishing Line Press, 2008), and former editor at VoiceCatcher. She has been awarded Writers Residencies at The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and at Playa, Summer Lake, Oregon. Recent poetry and non-fiction has appeared in, or is forthcoming, in Camas, Cirque, Forest Log (Spring Creek Project), and North Dakota Quarterly.

Malachi Black is the author of Storm Toward Morning (Copper Canyon Press, 2014).  His poems appear widely in journals and anthologies, and his work has several times been set to music and has been featured in exhibitions both in the U.S. and abroad.  Black is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of San Diego.

Karina Borowicz is the author of two poetry collections, Proof (Codhill Press, 2014) and The Bees Are Waiting (Marick Press, 2012), which won the Eric Hoffer Award for Poetry and was named a Must-Read by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Her poems have appeared widely in journals, including AGNI, Pleiades, Shenandoah, and The Southern Review. She makes her home in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts.

Marina Callahan lives in Portland, Oregon and attends Portland State University.

Susanna Childress is the author of Entering the House of Awe (New Issues, 2011), winner of the Society of Midland Authors Poetry Award, and Jagged with Love (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005), winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. She also writes fiction and creative nonfiction and, along with Joshua Banner, comprises the band Ordinary Neighbors, whose full-length album The Necessary Dark draws on her writing. She lives in Holland, Michigan.

Rachel Cochran is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri’s Master of Arts program in English. She has stories forthcoming in Angelic Knight Press’s Demon Rum anthology and Antimatter Press’s Local Magic​ anthology. Previous works of her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Deep South MagazineThe Missing SlateLiterary OrphansThe Ohio River Review, and more.

CA Conrad is the author of seven books including ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (Wave Books, 2014), A BEAUTIFUL MARSUPIAL AFTERNOON (WAVE Books, 2012) and The Book of Frank (WAVE Books, 2010). A 2014 Lannan Fellow, a 2013 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2011 Pew Fellow, he also conducts workshops on (Soma)tic poetry and Ecopoetics. Visit him online at http://CAConrad.blogspot.com

John Davis is the author of Gigs (Sol Books) and The Reservist (Pudding House Press.) His recent work appears in Hawaii Pacific ReviewIron Horse Literary ReviewThe North American Review, and Rio Grande Review. He teaches high school and performs in rock n roll bands.

Annette Fisch is a graduate of Barnard College and lives in New York. She is currently working on her first novel when not practicing law. She particularly enjoys combining emotional distress with scientific distress in her fiction. Her work has previously appeared in Black Heart Magazine.

Adrienne Flagg is a professional performer and producer based in Portland, Oregon.  She teaches theater throughout the US and is seen on stages in both improvisation and plays. She grew up on a sheep farm in Turner before moving to Portland and then New York for professional training. While she was gone, her father briefly tried his hand at beekeeping. Adrienne has taken the hobby further than her father and is on her sixth year of beekeeping.

Michele Glazer’s last book is On Tact, & the Made Up World (Iowa 2010). She teaches in the MFA program at Portland State University.

Charles Goodrich is the author of three volumes of poems, A Scripture of Crows, Going to Seed: Dispatches from the Garden, and Insects of South Corvallis, and a collection of essays about nature, parenting, and building a house, The Practice of Home. He serves as Director for the Spring Creek Project at Oregon State University, a program that hosts writers’ residency, literary readings, and symposia at the intersection of literature, environmental science, and ethics.

Craig Goodworth is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice lies on the boundary between ecology, poetics and spirituality. Working in drawing, installation and poetry, his art addresses the body and place. Goodworth holds master’s degrees in sustainable communities and fine art and has received fellowships in art and writing as well as serving as an artist-in-residence in various contexts.

Kate Gray tends her students’ stories at Clackamas Community College, where she has been teaching for 20 years. Her first full-length book of poems, Another Sunset We Survive, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in 2007 and followed chapbooks, Bone-Knowing (2006), winner of the Gertrude Press Poetry Prize and Where She Goes (2000), winner of the Blue Light Chapbook Prize. Her novel, Carry the Sky, is an attempt to look at bullying without blinking and will be published by Forest Avenue Press in 2014.

Dena Rash Guzman is a poet, essayist and beekeeper living on her family’s sustainable farm outside Portland, Oregon. Life Cycle—Poems, her first book, was published by Dog On A Chain Press in 2013. Her work can be found online and in print at The Poetry Foundation, The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Luna Luna Magazine, Ink Node and elsewhere. She has had her poems anthologized several times, including by publishers in the People’s Republic of China where she has performed her work for thousands.

Jeanine Hathaway, on the MFA Poetry faculty at Seattle Pacific University, has published a novel (Motherhouse with Hyperion: NY, 1992), personal essays (“Appearances” in The Wichita Times, monthly from 1995-2007), and poetry (The Self as Constellation with UNT Press: TX, 2001, and The Ex-Nun Poems with Finishing Line Press, 2012).

Kiandra Jimenez is a poet, homeschooling mother, and avid organic vegetable gardener from California. She teaches creative writing at UC Riverside Extension and serves as Arts Editor of Lunch Ticket Literary Magazine. She is a current MFA candidate in Fiction and Poetry at Antioch University, Los Angeles. Visit her at hungryfolktale.com.

Lois P. Jones is a host of Pacifica Radio’s “Poet’s Café” (KPFK 90.7 FM), and co-hosts the Moonday series in West Los Angeles. Publications include Narrative Magazine, American Poetry Journal, Nassau Review, Askew and Antioch’s Lunch Ticket. Her work won honors under Fiona Sampson, Kwame Dawes and others. New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear selected “Ouija” as 2010 Poem of the Year. She is the Poetry Editor of Kyoto Journal and a multiple Pushcart nominee

Susan Kelly-DeWitt is the author of The Fortunate Islands, eight chapbooks and the recent online collection Season of Change (Mudlark 46); her poetry can also be found in many journals and anthologies. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, she has also been a reviewer for Library Journal, the editor of the online journal Perihelion, and a longtime poetry instructor for UC Davis Continuing Education. She is currently a member of the National Book Critics Circle, a contributing editor for Poetry Flash and a blogger for Coal Hill Review. Susan is also an exhibiting visual artist. Please visit her website at: http://www.susankelly-dewitt.com

Elizabeth Lawson recently retired from the Writing Department at Ithaca College where she taught writing in many forms for over a decade. Educated at Bryn Mawr College, she holds a MA in Botany from the University of Texas at Austin, a PhD in Plant Biology from Cornell University, and an MFA in Nonfiction from Southern New Hampshire University. She worked at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in the UK, at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden as a botanical instructor, and for the Ecological Society of America and the Botanical Society of America for many years as a technical/copy editor. She writes as a naturalist at www.elizabethwinpennylawson.com.

Lois Leveen is the author of the novels The Secrets of Mary Bowser and Juliet’s Nurse.  Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and been engraved on a hospital wall.  She is a recovering academic and volunteer urban beekeeper.

Sarah Marshall grew up in Oregon, earned her MFA at PSU, and continues to write and teach in the area. Her essays have most recently appeared in The Believer, The New Republic, and Lapham’s Quarterly, and she is at work on a book about female victimhood narratives in American culture.

Jennifer Moore has poetry published or forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Best New Poets, The Volta, Columbia Poetry Review and elsewhere, and criticism in Jacket2 and The Offending Adam. She holds degrees from the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Ohio Northern University.

Lynn Otto teaches writing and literature as an adjunct at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, and freelances as a copyeditor. Her work has appeared in Plain Spoke, Triggerfish Critical Review, Strong Verse, and Centrifugal Eye.  She is soothed by the sound of bees because it means something is going right.

Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita, has six full-length books of poetry, most recently Understory, from Lost Horse Press in 2013. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Poetry, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, Willow Springs, Calyx, and the Internet’s Poetry Daily. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and the recipient of the 2006 Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts.  

Melissa Reeser Poulin teaches English and creative writing in many settings, working with the elderly, high school students, and adult English language learners. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, and she was a 2014 Pushcart nominee. She lives with her husband, a metal artist and blacksmith, in Portland, Oregon.

Claire Preston is Reader in Renaissance Literature at Queen Mary University of London. Her books include Edith Wharton’s Social Register (2000), Thomas Browne and the Writing of Early-Modern Science (2005), Bee (2006), and The Aid of Similitudes : The Poetics of Scientific Investigation in Seventeenth-Century England (forthcoming 2014).

Jill McKenna Reed is a poet, writing instructor, and beekeeper in Portland, Oregon. She is co-owner of Bee Thinking, a beekeeping supplier specializing in foundationless hives. When she is not writing or teaching, she can be found catching swarms or helping new beekeepers around the Portland area. Jill earned her MFA in Creative Writing – Poetry, at Portland State University.

Frank Sherlock is the author of Space Between These Lines Not Dedicated, Over Here, The City Real & Imagined (w/ CAConrad), and a collaboration with Brett Evans entitled Ready-to-Eat Individual. Por Aquí, a Spanish-language collection of works translated by Carlos Soto-Román, will be published in Chile in fall 2014. Poems beyond the page have found their forms in installations/performances/ exhibitions, including Refuse/Reuse: Language for the Common Landfill, Kensington Riots Project, Neighbor Ballads, and B.Franklin Basement Tapes. Sherlock is a recipient of the 2013 Pew Fellowship in the Arts for literature. He is currently Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.

Maxine Silverman’s poetry is published in many journals, anthologies (including Pushcart Prize III), and Enskyment: Online Archive of American Poetry. She is the author of three chapbooks (SurvivalSong, Red Delicious, and 52 Ways of Looking) and Transport of the Aim: Poems on the lives of Emily Dickinson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Celia Thaxter. In addition to poetry, she creates collage and visual midrash. Her website is http://www.maxinegsilverman.com.

George Venn is an award-winning poet, writer, literary historian, editor, linguist, and educator, and an eclectic, complex, and distinguished figure in western American literature. Taught beekeeping in his grandfather’s apiary, he has also worked for apiaries in Washington, Oregon, and Montana. See Keeping the Swarm (Wordcraft, 2012) for details, or http://www.georgevenn.com.

Jeanne Wagner is the recipient of several national awards, including the 2013 Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Prize. Her poems have appeared in Cincinnati Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Hayden’s Ferry and American Life in Poetry. She is on the editorial board of California Quarterly. Her most recent book, In the Body of Our Lives, was released by Sixteen Rivers press in 2011.

Marty Williams is a working writer living in both Oakland, California, and on Kenai Lake in Alaska. Her poetry appears in Poetry East, Inquiring Mind, Digital Paper and dcomP magazine, as well as in the anthology Bearing Witness: Poetry By Teachers About Teaching. She has published chapbooks, poetry postcards, and artist books. Marty loves bees and other pollinators.

Leni Zumas is the author of the story collection Farewell Navigator (Open City) and the novel The Listeners (Tin House), which was a finalist for the 2013 Oregon Book Award. Her work has appeared in  Quarterly West, Open City, Salt Hill, New Orleans Review, GOOD, Harp & Altar, New York Tyrant, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Zumas is an assistant professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Portland State University.

Yard Classifieds: A Poem by Sarah Ann Winn

Honeybee

Yard Classifieds, June
Sarah Ann Winn


I.

Wanted to Swap:
In or near flower garden, Akron, Ohio
Need Lessons – pollination, honey-making.
Prefer that you are certified. Duration – once a day,
five thousand flowers at a time until I get the hang of it.
Willing to trade one snare drum, slightly used,
or hour for hour humming lessons. You pick.

II.

Missed connections:
Last Summer, Saw you in neighbor’s bed of thousand leaf yarrow,
next to the sun dial.
Me: Burnt, shade-driven, grass prone.
You: Compact head, bead of black dew eyes, fuzzy
yellow striped cement mixer abdomen and matching thorax, ‘u’ shaped
birthmark on your forehead.

You were too busy to look up
from your scented barista to see me trying
to direct you over to my garden.
Your thorax and legs bustled with pollen,
and I tried to catch your eye,
but the breeze carried you off before
I could think of a good opening line. Where did you fly?
I’d like to introduce you to my orchard!

III.

For Rent:
One blossoming Baldwin apple tree. Prime location,
near lilac arbor. Pale pink walls and scent left by last tenant.
Furnished and richly appointed breezy rooms by the thousand,
perfect for the young up and comer! Rent negotiable.

IV.

Lost:
Valuable figure missing from Emily’s Reverie. If found, please
return to this summer. URGENT! Making the prairie without it proving
difficult. Too late for apology or apiology. Handle with care.

 

Sarah HeadshotSarah Ann Winn lives in Fairfax Virginia. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Apeiron Review, [d]ecember, Flycatcher, Lost River Review, Lunch Ticket, Massachusetts Review and Rappahannock Review, among others. Visit her at http://bluebirdwords.com or follow her @blueaisling on Twitter.

Image: Wikimedia commons

For We Do Not Know How to Pray, A Poem by Travis Poling

For We Do Not Know How to Pray

“but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words” – Saint Paul

 

Worker bees fly in from the field and dance the story of nectar: antennae circling,
abdomen humming. When I was a boy I had seizures and my body forgot how to speak;
in my silence, I rubbed buttercup pollen on my cheeks, tied dandelions into ropes.

In Russia, monks wander wordless through forests, praying for mercy with chotkis,
begging for honey from bees. One gospel says Jesus’ mouth was anointed with honey
right as the heavens ripped open, before he was silent for forty days.

The first time I stood before the altar, breaking the honey-wheat bread of Christ’s body,
my whole body trembled. I was speechless.

If you ever lost the capacity to speak, would you dance like the honey bee—
pointing your people to the wild, wild nectar of endless yellow blossoms?

 

____________________________________________________

 

Poling Travis

 

Travis Poling is a poet, liturgist, and teacher living in Richmond, Indiana.
His work has appeared in various journals and anthologies, and a self-published
chapbook. He edits the William Stafford Online Reader and blogs at travispoling.com.
Recently he collaborated with artist Craig Goodworth in “Vcela,” a liturgical installation
exploring the honey bee in ecological and spiritual traditions.

 

Visit http://staffordreader.com/

Beekeeping in Tasmania: A Profile by Noel Ponthieux

 

Ponthieux 2

Life is Sweet at the End of the World

Mawbanna, Tasmania (Australia)—High-spirited and well-travelled, Nicola Charles never dreamed she’d come back to this remote, forested area and marry a beekeeper. Or give up her successful nursing career to run the office, marketing and processing sides of Blue Hills Honey, her husband’s family business. But, she shrugs, it’s a good life.

“If you want Ferraris and condos, you don’t go into beekeeping,” Nicola muses over cups of tea after giving several visitors a tour of the Blue Hills Honey packing facility and warehouse.

Easygoing but keen to give us the whole story, she laughs often, occasionally pushing a strand of dark auburn hair back into its ponytail. “We’re never going to make a fortune, but we have quality of life, raise families, do what we want to do. It’s a flexible lifestyle, so we can go to trade shows in Melbourne and Hong Kong…but it’s always nice coming home, driving over those hills.”

Ponthieux 3Those hills are situated in northwest Tasmania near the coast and the pristine Tarkine Forest. Tasmania’s northwest coast is often called “the end of the world” because the sea west of Tasmania flows uninterrupted until it washes the coast of Argentina, half a world away. That means air travels 16,000 kilometers across nothing but the Southern Ocean and the Arctic before it arrives at the Tasmanian coast and sweeps over the island as immaculate wind and rain. It is truly the purest air on earth.

The climate, the water, and the Tarkine Forest itself all add the savor of an unspoiled terroir to the Charles family’s honey. The Tarkine is the world’s second-largest temperate rainforest,  stretching over 117,870 acres, and Blue Hills operates the only apiary in its abundantly blossoming wilds. In fact, their beekeeping team comprises 10 of the 20 people who are even allowed access to the area each year.

Tasting the Tarkine: Leatherwood and manuka

Nicola, head beekeeper Robbie and their team produce leatherwood, Tasmanian manuka, meadow, blackberry, and prickly box honey using modern but small-scale production techniques. Leatherwood honey is their flagship product, its bright floral notes anchored by a caramel richness that lingers pleasantly on the back of your tongue. The ancient Leatherwood tree grows exclusively in Tasmania’s wild, remote Tarkine rainforest, where it originated nearly 65 million years ago. Its delicate pink and white blossoms appear briefly between January and March to release a fast flow of deep-gold aromatic honey.Ponthieux 1

“Leatherwood honey flows flat out,” Nicola says, “but the manuka flow is totally different: long, slow, small. We keep the bees tighter and warmer, with one small box on them. It’s longer and harder for the bees, and the honey is tougher to extract from the frames as well. We can run manuka frames through the cold extraction machine twice, and still have to scrape the honey out manually. That’s if the manuka honey is flowing at all. One year you get plenty, the next you get a small to medium flow, and the third year you get nothing. That’s just what nature does! We brought in just 15 tonnes last year (2012), and this year we have none.”

The Charleses only discovered manuka on their patch in 2009, from what they believed were simple wildflowers growing head-height near one of the Tarkine’s sweeping plains. “We took wildflower honey to a honey buyer, he tested it, said ‘that’s manuka honey, I want it!’—and he bought the whole lot!” Nicola remembers.

Despite the difficulties in harvesting and extracting manuka, it opens another worthwhile market for the family enterprise. Manuka honey is highly sought after for its antibacterial properties, which derive from the manuka flower’s high concentration of a compound called methylglyoxal (MGO). The naturally occurring antibacterial factor in Tasmanian manuka honey ranges in concentration from 30–550 MGO; Blue Hills’ manuka honey MGO goes up to 500+.

Head beekeeper Robbie and his team of six beekeepers breed, monitor, and transport bees for up to 1,800 hives located throughout the temperate Tarkine rainforest. At harvest time—“as soon as that scent’s in the air”—they literally go with the flow, packing up 80,000–100,000 bees and moving them late at night. In the morning, the hives are positioned at the sites of honey flows, and by the next day, beekeepers place frame-filled honey boxes on top of the hives to catch the honey flow. The large, Full Depth honey boxes can hold up to 20-30 kilos of honey, but the rate of flow depends largely on the type of honey as well as environmental conditions.

Ponthieux 5

Generation B

When Robbie’s father, Reuben Charles, launched his bulk honey business in 1955, he may not have envisioned crafting gourmet brands for high-end markets—but the transition to artisanal producer has made Blue Hills a business that can grow in harmony with the next generation.

Nicola traces the history: “Robbie’s grandfather kept bees as a hobby; then his father and mother expanded the hobby into madness up to 1,600 hives. Robbie’s mum and dad started the bulk honey business, and Robbie’s been working alongside his dad since he was 14. He picked up a lot of the traditional beekeeping skills season through season.

“Now, I was away from Mawbanna for 20 years, working as an intensive care nurse in Hobart, Melbourne and London. I came back to visit…bought a bottle of red wine on New Year’s Eve…and next thing I’m marrying the boy next door from all those years ago!”Ponthieux 4

When asked about the long-term view, Nicola is positive but philosophical. “Fate has a lot to do with where we go. We just want to be the best beekeepers we can, make the best product that we can, and have happy customers and happy staff. It’s a combination of the right equipment, careful monitoring, and knowledgeable handling by a few well-trained people.” A sudden thought brings out a chuckle. “Even if Robbie left beekeeping professionally, he’d still keep a few hundred hives out in the bush, so he’d have something to do in the bees if we have an argument. He often laments, as an old beekeeper told him, ‘One day, boy, you will know why we keep bees.’”

Clearly, Nicola and Robbie could write the book on beekeeping in the Tasmanian wild. “I haven’t the time!” she protests, but as her guests help clear away the teacups, they suspect she’ll find a way.

Noel PonthieuxAbout the Author: Originally from New Orleans, Noël Ponthieux writes for love or money in Portland, Oregon. She’s currently working on a novel featuring Napoleon vs. the pirate Jean Lafitte.

Photos:
Beekeepers in action: Nicola Charles
Bees & leatherwood flowers: Kylie Sheahen Photography
Robbie & Nicola with Blue Hills Honey: The Advocate 

On the Apiary: A Poem by Monica Schley

1280px-Ruches_Haute-Savoie

On the Apiary

Recipe for Map, Honeycomb & Wineglass:

 
A cloud of birds rests in nettles like shadows stopping to picnic in a painting. The sound of a human in high grass scares them off. A woman wearing plastic gloves made from bread bags clips the foliage carefully, so the nettles don’t sting.

Drive to areas with elevations low, near a lake. Often county roads are thin blue lines. There you will find your best wild food.

Add raisins
to help the yeast rise

this is what he says, sneaking one into his mouth, while the other hand drops a fistful into the liquid in the large bucket below. The raisins float like flies on foam. Part of the skin sticks to his teeth.

Like a Van Gogh painting, buzzards above the August field circle & circle the blond corn— silently. It was a scorcher the farmer declared & there were more spiders that year than anyone could recall.

A spigot of silvery water in the sunshine forms elaborate pools on the lawn. While drizzles of honey move out of each comb along the sides of the metal spinner, the woman looks out the window & at some point, a song melts from the wax.

Still life with Porcelain, Bees and Twigs:

A poultice of baking soda & water will force the stinger out & reduce swelling. Mix with a spoon in a small Tupperware© (found at your local conglomerate) and stir into a thick white paste.

1 Tbs. baking soda
1/4 Cup warm water

Ouch, she said.

You’re hurting me.

He wanted to adopt

a new perspective, a new recipe on how to live as rural American gone urban gone rural again. How many years for each place was the question. He thought both suns were equally as bright.

The comb empty
is like having a hand over one eye.

Recently, against a wineglass, an old grey collection of mortared stones served as back drop to a 30 second television commercial. The glass was poured full of golden mead, as Debussy’s “Girl With the Flaxen Hair” played. Then a woman’s hand picked it up. The camera zoomed in and the viewer was able to see her smile at the glass and drink from it. While the music slightly slowed to end she sat down on a red bench stained the color of menstrual blood.

I’m too young
for you, she said.

But I love you
he said.

Unlike the wasp, a honeybee will sting its victim only once, and then die.

Served with crackers or bread, fresh watercress can be chopped up with onions or cucumbers. To find a patch, look in cool marshes with some sun, or a ditch. Wash well, especially if found near a road.

1/2 onion finely chopped
1 small cucumber
Dash of salt
1 Tbs. Vinegar (white or apple cider)

Mix with watercress to taste. Serve on rye bread, which is noted for its soft brown depth, (or if you’re feeling dry, a cracker). Cut off the crusts & shape the soft part with a knife (diamond, clover, square, et cetera) and save the crusts to make silly mustaches & laugh with your guests.

Every tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild:

Pinecones spend their summer in a birdbath, resting in rainwater.

For most effective results
find what is missing
& then give it up.

Line 54, Every tree sends its fibers forth…, was written by Henry David Thoreau

 

monica-headshot

 

Monica Schley was raised on a historic apiary in NE Wisconsin. Since 2001, she calls Seattle, WA home. She works as a freelance harpist recording, playing therapeutic bedside music in hospitals and teaching. She also performs regularly in public with various ensembles and for private events. Her poems have been published in Burnside Review, Cranky, Cream City Review, and Raven Chronicles. In 2009, her chapbook Black Eden: Nocturnes was published by Pudding House Press. More on her work, blog and music can be found at monicaschley.com andsoundcloud.com/harppoet

 

Poem: Nurse Log, by Todd Davis

1273345994347

NURSE LOG

Bend back the bark of the world,
which is its skin, which is the way
we learn how veins carry blood
away from the heart, then back
into its echoing chambers. I’m tired
of hearing about the kind of men
who would kill me, the news of bombs
going off in endless loops on late-night TV.
In the forest above our house a fisher
stalks porcupines, and every so often
I find their torn bodies, once even
a corpse in the crotch of a white oak.
Its animal face lay open, empty and red
where the fisher’s teeth had bitten down
to avoid the quills and to keep
the belly meat untouched. In nature
there is waste that good grows out of,
an abundance we are called to use.
In spring when we coax the bees
toward a new hive, Alverdia fetches
her wooden spoon and metal washbasin,
stands beneath the shad and pawpaw trees
whose blossoms the bees cover,
whose limbs sprout ten thousand wings,
and there she drums the basin
and hums a song she’s made
for herself and for this swarm
that will follow her anywhere.
This isn’t the news of the world
most of us live in. Two streams
meet in the floodplain where wet fires
of rot lap against fallen hemlocks.
Five seedlings have sprung up
along one of the logs, nursing decay
like piglets down a sow’s length, or like
an infant in a desert village suckling
a mother’s breast, oblivious to the murmur
of planes crossing overhead.

“Nurse Log” was first published by Ecotone and later in the collection In the Kingdom of the Ditch (Michigan State University Press, 2013).

Todd Davis (1)Todd Davis is the author of four full-length collections of poetry—In the Kingdom of the Ditch, The Least of These, Some Heaven, and Ripe—as well as of a limited edition chapbook, Household of Water, Moon, and Snow: The Thoreau Poems.  He edited the nonfiction collection, Fast Break to Line Break: Poets on the Art of Basketball, and co-edited Making Poems: Forty Poems with Commentary by the Poets.  His poetry has been featured on the radio by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac and by Ted Kooser in his syndicated newspaper column American Life in Poetry.  His poems have won the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, the Chautauqua Editors Prize, and have been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize, appearing in such noted journals and magazines as American Poetry Review, Iowa Review, Ecotone, Poet Lore, North American Review, Indiana Review, Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, Image, Orion, West Branch, River Styx, Notre Dame Review, Poetry Daily, Quarterly West, Green Mountains Review, Sou’wester, Verse Daily, and Poetry East.  He teaches environmental studies, creative writing, and American literature at Pennsylvania State University’s Altoona College. Visit http://www.todddavispoet.com for more.

 

A Poem by Christine Colasurdo

honey_bee_portugal-300x206

HONEY BEE CAUGHT INSIDE AN AIR-CONDITIONED BUS
IN PORTLAND, OREGON ON JULY 19, 2002

For Claire

What I thought was an empty seat
was you, cooled and woozy.
I took the neighboring seat,
then lifted you onto a birthday card
fetched from my purse.
You toddled tipsy at the edge,
a drunk teetering on a tightrope.
Don’t fly.
For a long time we sat that way,
you looking dizzy, me worrying.
Then I pulled the bus rope and rose
with you, still unsteady, on the card.
We re-entered the heat of the day.
I apologized for releasing you downtown,
amid the stink and rush of Homo sapiens,
no doubt miles from your hive.
I placed you on a yellow petal
of a tall chrysanthemum
in a tidy, landscaped bed
at the base of a skyscraper.
I was so sorry.
I thought you were dying.
But then.

Image: What’s That Bug?

Image

Writer and calligrapher Christine Colasurdo grew up playing in woods near her family’s house in Portland, Oregon. She remembers huge flocks of migratory birds from her childhood as well as lots of wasps, ants, grasshoppers—and bees. She provides habitat for mason bees in her back yard and is currently enjoying watching a hive of wild bumblebees thrive in a repurposed birdhouse. Whether it’s from their beauty or stamina, bees are always teaching her how to live.

Christine has won numerous awards for her poetry, and she’s the author of two books on the outdoors: Return to Spirit Lake: Life and Landscape at Mount St. Helens (2010) and Golden Gate National Parks: A Photographic Journey (2002). She was awarded a 2010 residency from the U.S. Forest Service and has twice been a featured guest on National Public Radio. She has also written radio commentaries for KQED FM, including one about pollinators.

She has given lectures in Oregon, Washington, and California about Mount St. Helens. As a volunteer, she has created three museum exhibits about the volcano, has served on the board of the Mount St. Helens Institute, and has worked to protect the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and neighboring lands from road-building, logging, development, and mining. Visit christinecolasurdo.com.

Forward

Lizzie Harper

Forward, Winged

        A year ago on June 19th, the seeds of Winged were planted when an estimated 50,00 bumblebees were killed by pesticides in Wilsonville, Oregon. That number was especially shocking since bumblebees tend to live in colonies of 25 – 75 bees. The loss was, obviously, staggering. Poet, educator, and editor Melissa Reeser Poulin was immediately moved to respond. Thus, Winged was born.

 

          Feeling outraged and wanting to utilize art as activism, but not having a connection to the larger beekeeping community and knowledge base, a common friend introduced me to Melissa. To say it was kismet is trivializing the partnership and connection; I think we both would feel comfortable citing fate. I am a local poet and writing instructor, and owner of Bee Thinking. Our partnership has been a perfect fit.

 

        Being awarded a grant from Regional Arts & Culture Council gave Winged a specific shape and task, one we have approached with vision, humility, and zeal. We received approximately 200 submissions and had a long process of carefully considering each one, and guiding the book into a primary, then secondary, and now (almost) final shape. We cannot thank the writers enough who submitted their work, we simply can’t. It has been heartening to witness not only how many writers care deeply about bees, but also the fortification of the age-old relationship between artist and bee (as symbol and muse), actualized on paper. Bees have influenced artists and writers since ancient times and we can attest that the relationship is still intact, and strong, as Winged itself will illuminate.

 

        Here in Oregon, the past two weeks have been disheartening for beekeepers as a rash of insecticide poisonings have laid waste to multiple honeybee colonies in at least 4 different locations, and an eerily similar bumblebee poisoning to that of a year ago in Wilsonville, OR occurred in Eugene, a town that was dubbed the “Bee-Friendliest City” in the U.S. earlier this year. That poisoning happened a year to the day after the Wilsonville die-off that spurred Winged.

 

       The relationship between humans and bees has never been more imperiled and to that end, we as artists stand to lose one of our greatest natural symbols. Additionally, writers and artists are in the shocking position of having to record the decline of pollinators through our works. Winged is meant to be a record of this moment, as a document that artfully honors the relationship, the importance, and the beauty and peril of one of the most vital of all pollinators: the honeybee.

 

       Winged will be available this fall. Initially, it will be printed in a limited run to keep the book within budget, honor contributing writers, and meet our original goal of getting a portion of sales to pollinator conservation efforts. We personally will not be profiting in any way from Winged; quite the opposite. We will be posting information when the book is available for pre-order. Due to the limited number, we recommend purchasing early!

 

      Please also watch this blog, as we will be sharing some remarkable work from writers and supporters of Winged over the next few months.

 

    Thank you all for your support and belief in this project. It is one we feel deeply about and we are humbled, and honored, to illuminate the essential relationship between writers and bees.

— Jill McKenna Reed

A Story of Flying

Ringland_April_4
Joseph Campbell used the term apotheosis to describe the burgeoning of consciousness that the story’s mythical hero experiences after defeating her foe, or ghost, or predator – the kind of awareness that feels feathery and weightless, as if flying. For the last few months while writing my submission for Winged, I have been considering how stories function as a form of such apotheosis.

Stories are consciousness and, as many have said before me, they are living things. Stories evolve as and when we do. They function to elevate and advance our humanity, and illustrate aspects of our human spirit. They heal, guide, explain, agitate, and invigorate us. They convince us of the impossible and awaken us to what is possible. I’m sure I’m not alone in being a child of the eighties and remembering the first time I inherently understood that stories do live was thanks to Michael Ende’s Falkor and The Neverending Story.

Prolific novelist Alice Hoffman says each story is always made for two: the teller and the listener, the writer and the reader. Whether we are writing or reading them, stories change us. They make us clutch our throats to catch our breath, and feel fire in our bellies to fight for something we believe is just. Through stories, we awaken, we remember, we love, and we grieve. Through stories we discover what has been hidden from our view and are reminded what we care about and who we are when we are too busy/tired/distracted to remember. Stories fill us with uncapped skies, which we can float through at our will. Stories are hope – recognising the call to action within stories is in itself a hopeful act, for within each story hides an incantation for change. Novelist Mohsin Hamid said storytelling alters the storyteller. Or writer, or reader. And a story is altered by being told. Or written, or read.

I caught up with a dear friend last week, a fellow writer of far more experience and acclaim than myself. She asked me about the writing routine I’m trying to re-establish now that I’m back in the UK from a lengthy trip to my homeland Australia. She sat quietly, listening deeply. When our conversation turned to the novel I am writing she said to me, “Let’s be honest. There are enough books in the world for everyone to read. But if you don’t write your story, here is the non-negotiable truth: it won’t ever exist.”

This non-negotiable truth is why the existence of an anthology of stories like Winged is so important. Winged is our specific and artistic response to the bee and pollinator crisis. It carries within it impassioned stories issuing calls to action in varying forms. Without such books as Winged, our stories, our burgeoning consciousnesses, would not ‘exist’. They would remain untold, unpainted, unwritten, uncomposed, and unexpressed. The power within each of our stories would remain dormant, and we would never realise the potential of what telling them could possibly achieve.

Each story is always made for two: the teller and the listener, the writer and the reader. The worth of our stories is in sharing them.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver once asked, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild, and precious life?” To answer I would be proud to present Ms Oliver with Winged, an anthology of stories for change. A lesson in how stories can teach us to fly.

Photo: “A Story About Flying” by Ryan Conners

About the author

HRinglandHolly Ringland grew up on the southeast Queensland coast in Australia. When she was nine her family lived on the road for two years in North America, travelling between national parks, inspiring in Holly what would become a lifelong fascination with different cultures, landscapes, and stories. In her early twenties she moved inland to Australia’s Central Desert where she spent four years working for Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and living in the Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu. In 2009 Holly moved to the UK and gained her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. She is now working on her Creative Writing PhD with Griffith University and King’s College London. Holly’s research territory is the symbiosis between the creative writing process, ghosts, place, and memory, amongst other ideas that get left at the door of the garden shed in which she is writing her prose fiction submission for Winged.

More at hollyringland.com.

Thank you!

MegNewellbee

Thank you to everyone who responded to our call for submissions, which closed on March 15th. We are SO inspired by your writing and your encouragement. Together, your words are powerful testimony to this moment in history, when humans have a chance to make a difference in the future of pollinators.

We’re reading every submission carefully and looking forward to being in touch with you later this spring. Winged will be printed in September 2014, and available for preorder in the coming months. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, we hope you’ll continue to respond to pollinator decline through your writing, your conversations, and your actions.