Tag Archives: nature

GWP’s Poem-a-Day from Greg Delanty

For our series “A Poem a Day,” we are honored to publish a sequence of poems from the editor of our climate change anthology, So Little Time: Words and Images for a World in Climate Crisis, Greg Delanty. About his upcoming poetry collection No More Time (due from LSU Press next August/September) where this sequence is taken from:

 No More Time as a whole, is showing, at the start of the 21st century, how we are all connected in so many ways.  The sequence ‘The Field Guide to People’ is arranged alphabetically and is a kind of integrated earthly heaven (thriving flora and fauna), purgatory (declining flora and fauna) and hell (extinct flora and fauna). The decline of the creatures and plants of the latter two is due in every case mainly to humans. The form of the poems in this sequence is the terza rimasonnet, both poems of the underworld and love poems to the natural world, connecting the past with the present in form and content. Since one of the greatest poems to portray humans in the Christian world is Dante’s underworld, Delanty has created a representative underworld for plants and creatures, rectifying the general centuries-old western attitude that humans are not apart, but part of the environment.

Chimpanzee

As a chimp, usually the adult male,

approaches and the roar of the

water booms louder, you see him,

without fail,

 

speed up. His demeanor starts to

alter, hair bristling. Arriving at the

fall,

he stands, sways from one foot to the other,

 

bows, genuflects. Answering some call,

he dips his hand as if in holy water, splashes

himself along the tassel border of the silk

wall,

 

climbs the bell ropes of draping vines,

lashes his body to several, takes flight

over the deafening water as it crashes.

 

He swings like a thurible above that veil of

white; the spray is the incense of the

monkey’s water rite.

 

Elephant

Sometimes you see something so

dreadful that the mind  snaps a shot

or shoots a video of the scenario,

 

lasers it into your retina on  the spot, 

impaled in you for as long as you live:

 a teacher thrashing a pupil — a crying tot —

or the elephant Dan and I saw given a

sedative so she could rest, sleep, that time

in Dublin Zoo. The aged female was

trapped in a repetitive

 

back and forth on her haunches,

unable to stop herself, a tormented

beast of Orcus.

Her attendant explained, feeding her bamboo,

 

“Twas her one way to move, trapped in the van of a circus

so long. Rescuing her was our onus and bittersweet bonus.”

 

Falls-of-the-Ohio Scurfpea

I feel like a student in my Environment

101, crushed by daily news: creatures

going or gone, the changing climate, the

planet under the gun.

 

In teacher mode I tell them: “For yourselves you

press on, your own wellbeing. You’re entitled to be

happy.

Action makes life fun. Good news: the Café Marron

 

and sage grouse are saved”. I say nothing of the scurfpea,

Orbexilum stipulatum? Its modest flower

blending with white-bearded cascades. A

century

 

or more and not a single sighting along the

river at Rock Island. It relied too much on

the bison. You know how one thing depends

on another,

 

with the jowled ones diminished, so went this

‘un; finally condemned with the building of US

Dam 21.

 

Ibex

In January 2000, the Pyrenean ibex (Spanish common name ‘bucardo’)
became extinct. Scientists cloned DNA from a last female.

In the end, no cliff or impossible

crag could save them from

plantation or gun. Their heads hang

on walls. Hunters brag.

 

Many were taken down for sheer fun.

The king pucks — their antler plumes

rising magisterially — plugged one by none.

 

Gone the clash of horn scimitars,

grooms battling to mate, the

bucardo of lore.

White-coated gods in lab rooms

 

summoned one back from the dark shore

of the underworld. They should have

known from the ancient myths what was

in store.

 

She returned after seven minutes, lone

clone, relieved to be back among the herds

of her own.

 

  Jellyfish Tree

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Kāmaʻo

Imagine a place, a zone, an

underworld which includes more

than our own kind:

the green and moving ones: ferns with curled

 

violin necks, gloaming players who

grind their wings together. And listen,

the music, the strain of this bird

lingers in the wind.

 

What flute-like notes, what warbling, what

a lick of trills and whistles. Can you hear

its song?

Heard melodies are sometimes sweeter. A trick

 

of the breeze, zephyr? Things went

wrong with land clearing. Hurricane

season intensified, uprooted trees, and

before long

 

mosquitoes multiplied in rain-storm

stagnation. The song: a figment of my

birdbrained imagination.

 

Northern Gastric Frog

This creature’s extinction is attributable to the human introduction
of pathogenic fungi into their native
range.

This one was a bit of an artist,

especially the female, so oddly

fecund.

At home in backwater rocky

 

cascades and riffles. Hard to

find, to spot even when

plentiful.

Its stone-hued skin and sepia behind

 

blending in. After the female

laid eggs, in vitro fertilized by her

groom, she swallowed them whole,

 

turned her stomach into a burgeoning

womb. Six weeks later she gave birth

within

and out of her own mouth. No more room

 

for lungs, she breathed through her own skin, 

spewed up her mites, each wearing a clown-

sad grin.

 

Oryza sativa

Something to behold, how this crop

succeeds in such diverse moraine. Best

of all, see row after row descend

gradually from the gods

 

down mountainsides to the valleys

below, tiers of a great amphitheater,

their heads craning to watch the show:

 

the traffic, rickshaws, the general

theater of our priceless world. On the

slow train to Kandy I was a passing

spectator,

 

watched locals kneeling to the god of

rain, lay offerings to the assisting

oxen and ant, petition the god of rice

for healthy grain.

 

I wanted to join them, genuflect, pray, chant

praise to the plant that’s half the world’s

constant.

 

Quagga

This chimeric beast, part zebra, part donkey,

—its name the phantom sound

of its supposed call—enjoyed the society

 

of ostrich and gnu, foraged remote grassland.

So comically mythical: the striped head

a kind of convict’s shirt, each band

 

fading until mid-body it bled

into a rufus rear, and on to a white tail.

(the last sad male to be found was bred

 

with a flummoxed horse, producing a female

striped in reverse, from waist to rear).

It’s as if a circus clown ran out of a final pail

 

of white paint. The only photo’d quagga, a mare, 

stares back from behind bars with an accusing glare.

 

Rafflesia arnoldii

The corpse flower, a flower straight out of hell

on earth, not one to give your wife or mother

come Valentine’s Day, or wear on your lapel.

 

Though the sight of this particular

flower’s measled, fleshy-skinned,

monstrous petal wouldn’t help you

any, what overpowers

 

is the stench of rotting flesh and organs:

Chanel de Cadaver, Bouquet Putrid,

Carrion Mystique,

Essence de Carcass, Versense Pew, Allure Impossible,

 

luring every bug in the vicinity to the

reek, unable to resist entering the

rank volcano

of this hotty, and presto, another sprouts in a week.

 

Meanwhile, the forests of Sumatra and

Borneo are being cleared. Ergo the corpse

flower also.

 

Saint Helena’s Olive

Far-fetched that plants feel pain,

but there’s evidence, the experts

say they can learn, process and

retain;

 

that they’ve intelligence in some

way. This one’s had it: St.

Helena’s Olive.

As soon as people settled to stay,

 

spread, this plant gave up the will to  survive.

Natural. But natural also that planters cut

all before them, needing somewhere to live,

 

to settle themselves. Too late 

by the time anybody got it together, 

grappled to keep the native alive, bust a

gut.

 

The seeds of this tree refused to flower,

their act of civil disobedience, flower

power.

 

Tarantula Hawk Wasp

Give us a break, man, you with your

inventory of whales crooning to one

another,

the society of bees, the scratched history

 

of bears, elephants mourning a dead

mother, the varying duet of the

babakoto,

the Saint Helena olives’ flower power.

 

You elect them denizens of a kind of

Paradiso. But consider the likes of a

particular wasp,

the Tarantula Hawk, straight out of the Inferno.

 

This one would make Hannibal Lecter gasp.

The wasp’s sting turns the tarantula into a

zombie, drugs and drags the spider off in its

relentless grasp,

 

lays an egg in the spider’s belly; the larva

methodically eats the host alive; more nature’s

norm than oddity.

 

Umbrellabird

You never saw anything like this

bird, black from coif to claw, with

looks to kill

(though ungainly in flight). But, what’s absurd

 

isn’t so much the unusual

hairstyle, which is less like a

man’s umbrella than an Elvis

quiff, driving many a girl

 

out of her tree, screeching for her fella,

nor is it his Elvis song, the testosterone

bass crooning longingly for his Priscilla.

 

But the instrument, and not just that, but the

place it arises from, his throat, a back-to-f

ront tail,

that opens into a feather duster when he plays

 

his well-endowed come-on, larger in the male,

a kind of didgeridoo, moaning, enticing the female.

 

The Voilá Grouse

“I’m pleased that we collectively continue to make great progress
on addressing threats to this bird, conserving
the sagebrush habitat
and providing a path forward for sustainable economic development.”
—US Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, Sep 21st, 2016

You should see their fancy

costumes: white ruffs, spectacular

fanned tails. And o-la-la, watch the

gallant grooms

 

strut their stuff, the puffed-up lek males

performing their version of a pole dance,

tucking in their bills, vying for the

females,

 

eyeing up their prospects, their chance

of a future. The future has some hope

now, thanks to Secretary Jewell taking

a stance.

 

The grouse is saved, the end of a protracted

row. The whole sage-swaying sea is singing

Hallelujah, along with the elk, pronghorn,

mule deer, sparrow.

 

Good news for all sheltered under this

umbrella, been blown inside out. Folks

spoke up and voilà!

 

Wheat

The old gods are defunct, but not the old

necessity to give thanks. This god spread

from the Levant forgotten religions ago,

bestowing prosperity.

 

He is goodness incarnate, the Midas

plant without the Midas curse, t

urning a field

into plains of swaying gold. He is our constant

 

from dawn to dawn, strength

concealed within burnished stalks

of energy, grounded goodness

variously revealed.

 

This great shape-changer: the deity

of cereal, pasta, bread, the English

taco has more lives than Buddha. We

 

become him, where he grows we

grow, rising each morning,

leavened dough.

 

X 

Surely there are others in your life who

make you feel worthwhile, are a safe

haven. I am lucky enough to have a

staple few.

 

And now this other, a befriending

dolphin I swam out deep again to

meet. I can’t tell

even myself what I felt when I first saw the fin

 

slice through the surface, the swell,

then to see this undine, stock-still at my feet.

We looked each other in the eyes for well

 

over ten seconds (nay, millennia). Such a

sweet, kind gaze. I wonder what he made

of me

in only my pelt and goggles. What a treat

 

to be allowed kiss his grinning forehead before he

undulated back across Dingle Bay, the channel’s

Lethe.

 

Y

is the divining stick, wishbone, question 

why one y rather than another why:

the yak, the y tree, the yellow-eyed penguin

 

or the myriad y insects who crawl

and fly we know nothing of, nor will

ever know? The links break from

alpha, beyond why.

 

You mention the Yaque chub, a

minnow, or Yaque catfish sporting

Chinese whiskers, both Yaques

depending on the slow flow

 

of Yaque River. According to Surem elders

–the last to speak Yaque, Yoeme Niki,

Hiaki

(And where do languages go when they die, others

 

on the brink?)– the Surem’s goddess, Yumululi,

speaks for The Great Tree, divines our future

history.

Zanzibar Leopard

The descriptions of the leopard and its habits are characterized by the widespread notion that wavyale (witches) sent them to harm villagers and were thus killed on sight. After the Zanzibar Revolution of 1964 there was a leopard-cleansing campaign which sealed the leopard’s extinction. 

Kill Evil incatinate. Kill kill kill

the Zanzibar Leopard, this island devil,

this vampire vermin, obeying witch-will,

 

dispatched by the wavyale  to bedevil

villages. You know the old strategy:

demonize and the demonizer will revel

 

in playing God, the paw of the Almighty.

This leopard survived since the ice age,

slowly shrunk itself into dwarf-cat royalty,

 

even changed its spots, but couldn’t manage

to outwit human categorizing. Yes, it is daft,

but this cat’s hardly likely to be found in cage

 

or ruling the night-forest now. When statecraft

bands with religion there’s no better witchcraft.

 

Zayante

There’s something off about talk of the land

as a person. It’s more a moody personality

that you insecurely sense, project,

understand

 

via the osmosis of yourself, your

ability 

to shape change, the abracadabra

matching outside to within. Take Zayante,

 

home of the slender gilia, Bonny Doon mazanita, 

coast-horned lizard, band-winged grasshopper,

Ben Lomond spine flower, June beetle, ponderosa,

 

everlasting, kangaroo rat, all going without a

whimper. 

Folks’ needs, comforts, fears up the ante.

The development night by day grows grimmer.

 

Which ciao —hi or bye– will it be on Planet

Zayante?

Enough Gregorian cant. We are done. Adelante.

~~~~~~~~

GWP Featured at AWP18 Reading!

Our Saturday (March 10th) morning AWP Reading at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel was so nice! Here are a few photos of some of our fabulous authors who read: poet Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, fiction author T Stores (who brought her whole family!), nature writer Jim Krosschell, poet and 2017 Hopper Literary Magazine Poetry Prize Winner, Ralph Black, and South Florida poet Ellene Glenn Moore.

The AWP Conference & Book Fair pix was a wonderful time for our GWP team. Here are some more photos to share from the three-day event. Our authors took advantage of the workshops and panels, too, and we look forward to presenting at AWP-19 in Portland, Oregon!

Top row, left to right: GWP poet Ralph Black chillin’ at our table, our backyard at GWP’s Airbnb in St. Pete, editor Jenna Gersie and publisher Dede Cummings relaxing on the deck of the Tampa Convention Center (after drinks & getting some sun while our friends deal with a Nor’easter), the new cover art for Issue #3 of our literary magazine The Hopper, GWP novelist Andrew Furman with some fans, Dede with our debut Green Place Books (our newest imprint!) Melanie P. Merriman and her fabulous book on caregiving.

Bottom row, left to right: Andrew Furman celebrates his galley giveaway for his environmental novel Goldens Are Here, Dede and poet Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Ralph and debut novelist James Hornor, Dede and HarperCollins author Sophronia Scott celebrate the poetry of GWP poet (in absentia) Richard Jarrette, GWP novelist Christine Davis Merriman (her novel At the Far End of Nowhere will be out in the fall), and last, but not least, GWP’s short fiction author, T Stores, with galleys for her collection Frost Heaves.

 

The Foreign Language Market & Exciting News

Exciting News: Green Writers Press/Green Place Books, & Green Sprouts for Kids has just accepted an offer from a German foreign rights agent for our Adult and Children’s titles exclusively for the German language market. They will also handle other international licensing deals like our current Chinese deal for an exclusive on our children’s titles.

Here is their website and they have offices in Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich!
Link: http://agentur-brauer.de
We will definitely save up for a table in Frankfurt at the International Book Fair in October this year!

Other publishers they represent include the following: Crossroads Press, Melville House, Two Dollar Radio, and more!

~~~~~~~~~ Please note: Our Cuba Trip has been postponed to early November! ~~~~~~~~~

Congrats to our Vermont Book Award Nominees from Green Writers Press!

Continue reading

2017 Green Earth Book Award “Long List” Announced

2017 Green Earth Book Award “Long List” Announced — Brattleboro, Vermont
indie publisher has 3 titles on the list!

Geen Writers Press has recently been notified that three of our children’s books from the Sprouts for Kids Children’s Book line have been long listed for a national award for environmental stewardship in publishing, the 2017 Green Earth Book Award. The Nature Generation created the Green Earth Book Award to promote books that inspire children to grow a deeper appreciation, respect, and responsibility for their natural environment. This is an annual award for books that best raise awareness of the beauty of our natural world and the responsibility we have to protect it.

The Green Earth Book Award recognizes books in five categories – Picture Book, Children’s Fiction, Children’s Nonfiction, Young Adult Fiction, and Young Adult Nonfiction. In each category, the author/illustrator are awarded $1,500.  The winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2017.

1. Broken Wing

Green Writers Press has recently published Broken Wing posthumously by celebrated Vermont poet David Budbill. Broken Wing is the story of one man’s love for birds and efforts to save a rusty blackbird that can’t fly south for the winter. The author worked closely with publisher Dede Cummings in order to finish the book before he died in late September of this year. The publisher enlisted local artist Donald Saaf, who illustrated the pages with stunning black and white collages that bring the book to life. The book is appropriate for young adult readers and adults. In Broken Wing, David Budbill has composed a monumental love letter to the natural world, an astute and minutely observed portrait of the avian inhabitants of a mysterious hillside orchard. The Man Who Lives Alone in the Mountains, a reclusive keeper of the earth whose soul is devoted to one injured rusty blackbird, embodies a narrative voice compelled to witness, in the rhythm and brutality of the seasons, the intimate patterns of the wild creatures surrounding his home. Budbill’s lyrical storytelling effortlessly transports the reader into his realm with a rare and poetic beauty.

2. KABOOM!

KABOOM! is the candidly comical and dynamic story of Cyndie and Ashley, two spunky and spirited teens from coal country West Virginia, who become activists overnight when their beloved mountain is threatened by Big Coal. This expertly crafted coming of age and rise to activism novel tracks the girls’ experience as they start their own club, Kids Against Blowing Off Our Mountaintops, as they explore the power of grassroots activism, and even as they both begin to fall in love for the first time.  KABOOM!, published on Earth Day (April 22, 2016) by Green Writers Press, utilizes humorous narration and the lively dialogue of impassioned characters to make serious environmental issues more accessible for adolescents. This Young Adult novel can be categorized as a Romantic Comedy “Cli-Fi” (Climate Fiction), one sure to inspire teens to evoke positive change in the world around them.

 The author, Brian Adams, is a recently retired professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at Greenfield Community College in western Massachusetts. His first novel, Love in the Time of Climate Change, was a Foreword Reviews IndieFAB Gold Medal Winner for Humor. He is active in the environmental movement and now devotes his time to writing romantic comedies centered on environmental activism. Brian lives with his wife in Northampton, Massachusetts.

2. Did Tiger Take the Rain?

Charles Norris-Brown was born in the small town of Warren, Pennsylvania. He completed a PhD degree in Social Anthropology and Sociology at Lund University, Sweden, in 1984, based on fieldwork in the inner hills of Uttarakhand, India. His other research his took him from India to the rainforest of Borneo, and to forest communities in eastern Canada and the Appalachian region of the USA. While visiting the Corbett National Park in India, he decided to combine his art, anthropology, and concern for the environment to focus on writing and illustrating children’s books. In time, he would visit western Nepal in 2011 and 2012, and develop what would become his first children’s book, Did Tiger Take the Rain?, an exquisitely told and illustrated tale of a Himalayan land without rain, of frightened farmers, and of courageous girls who go into the forest seeking an answer from the tiger they believe has stopped the rain out of anger. As one of the girls, Anjali, learns, ‘We all live under the same sky.’ The combination of gorgeous watercolors, a forest adventure, and the notion that children can act to make life better, creates a vibrant emotional message that welcomes multiple readings.

Review copies available upon request by contacting the publisher or distributor.  Authors and artists are available for interviews (David Budbill’s daughter, Nadine Budbill, is the spokesperson for her father).

Upcoming spring titles include: Horse-Drawn Yogurt: Stories from Total Loss Farm by Vermont legend and communard, Peter Gould; One Man’s Maine by environmental essayist, Jim Kroschell; A Field Guide to Murder and Fly Fishing by fiction writer Tim Weed; Walking Through the Seasons: Observations and Reflections by Marilyn Neagley; Learning to See in Three Dimensions by Pamela Spiro Wagner; Roads Taken: Contemporary Vermont Poetry edited by Chard deNiord and Sydney Lea with an introduction by Dan Chiasson; Last Correspondence poems by Leland Kinsey, edited by Howard Frank Mosher; Clothesline Religion poetry by Megan Buchana; and for Children: Josie Meets a Jaguar, Book 2 in the Josie Goes Green Series by Beth Handman and the Bruno family of Brooklyn, NY. 

April 7th, at Next Stage Arts in Putney, Vermont, the press will be featured at the annual Earth Day celebration and reading.

OF NOTE: Our children’s picture book, Ralph Flies the Coop, will be “flying” to the Bologna International Children’s Book Fair this spring.

All titles are distributed by Midpoint Trade Books, New York and Tennessee and available wherever books are sold.

Green Writers Press is a Vermont-based, global publisher whose mission is to spread a message of hope and renewal. Read more at http://www.greenwriterspress.com.

Thank you for helping us spread the word!

Green Writers Press in Cuba: Writing, Culture, & Place

cubaphoto2Our vibrant and growing publishing company, located in Brattleboro, Vermont, will be co-leading a trip to Cuba in March with Green Writers Press author, long-time Cuba expert, and co-founder of the Cuba Writers Program, Tim Weed. This exciting new program combines a generative writing program focused on place with a dynamic off-the-beaten-track exploration of the “real” Cuba, with its unique cultural, artistic, and environmental legacy.

Cuban poet,  Dulce María Loynaz, wrote:
“Cuando vayamos al mar yo te diré mi secreto”
—When we go to the sea, I will tell you my secret.”

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ABOUT THE TRIP: Green Writers Press in Cuba: Writing, Culture, & Place
cubaphoto3We begin in the magical time capsule city of Havana, with an itinerary that focuses on experiences that are unavailable to regularly scheduled tour groups. We’ll explore Cuba’s inspiring cultural scene, dropping in on artists’ studios and galleries, attending dynamic music & dance performances, and visiting many of the country’s fascinating and lesser-known cultural hot-spots, including synagogues, neighborhood markets, Santería temples, and small and quirky museums. We’ll visit several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Caribbean’s largest colonial fortress, one of the world’s greatest cemeteries, a cigar factory, and legendary Finca Vigía, where Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote for more than two decades.cubaphoto5

cubaphoto1img_1807We’ll also explore Cuba’s unique environmental and conservation legacy, with a visit to an urban organic farm, a hike through a shade-grown coffee plantation in the midst of a neotropical rainforest, a refreshing swim beneath cool waterfalls, snorkeling in azure coves filled with healthy coral heads and a diversity of marine species, and an expedition to a national park that encompasses the Caribbean’s largest protected mangrove area, a major destination and breeding ground for migratory wildfowl.cubaphoto4

 

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GWP guides, Dede Cummings and Tim Weed, at the home of Ernest Hemingway outside of Havana.

GWP guides, Dede Cummings and Tim Weed, at the home of Ernest Hemingway outside of Havana.

Our staff of Green Writers Press writers and editors will lead a series of field-based, generative writing exercises designed to help you document your experience in Cuba while incorporating an immersive sense of place into your prose or poetry.This program is ideal for aspiring and established writers in any genre, but you don’t need to be a writer to participate—as long as you’re excited about exploring, having fun, and sharing your impressions.

img_2152There will be time built into the itinerary for individual explorations as well. Because the group is limited in size, we will have the flexibility to take advantage of participants’ particular interests, with the spontaneity to take adimg_2153vantage of the sort of last minute happening that makes Cuba such a fun place to travel. In addition to a full daily schedule of people-to-people cultural exploration, we’ll have the opportunity to sample the cuisine in many of Cuba’s famous paladares (officially sanctioned restaurants located in private homes), and, of course, to experience Cuba’s justly renowned music scene.img_2022

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Dates: March 10-19, 2017

Price per person: $3,750 for double occupancy (single supplement: $400), includes round-trip airfare to Havana from Miami, visa, lodgings, all meals except 2-3 independent lunches or dinners, ground transportation, writing activities, cultural activities, a lecture series on Cuban history and culture, local guides and experts, and museum and park entrance fees. A few independent meals give participants the chance to get a break from the group and sample Cuba’s famous paladares on their own.

img_1831To register: Non-refundable deposit of $800 due by December 1, 2016; balance due by January 15, 2016.

Space is limited to preserve the intimacy and flexibility of the experience, so we encourage you to reserve your place early. Please note that our itinerary in Cuba entails extensive walking. Participants should be in reasonably good physical condition.

img_2099A note on lodgings: We will stay in well-located privately run casas particulares (bed-and-breakfasts) that get us off the main tourist track allowing unparalleled access to real Cuban neighborhoods, as well as providing a comfortable, hospitable base for daily cultural immersion and travel activities. Lodgings are well located, simple, and very clean, with excellent breakfasts served by our warm and welcoming Cuban hosts.

GWP is planning similar programs in Iceland and Ireland. Send us a note if you’re interested and we’ll be in touch!

~~~~~

IMP. NOTE: If you are interested or think some of your students might be interested in this March 10 to the 19th trip, send me an email and I will give you more details. Our numbers are limited so we are encouraging people to reserve by the end of September.  dede@greenwriterspress.com

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A Vermont Poet Shines Forth & Welcome New Interns & Summer Fellows

(Book Review)
Galvanized: New and Selected Poems by Leland Kinsey

By David Nilsen

galvanizedGalvanized, the new collection from Vermont poet Leland Kinsey, is a document of the hardship and rough-hewn beauty of living close to the land, in reach of its temper but also its embrace. Kinsey grew up on a Vermont farm, the child of a long line of such folk who clung to existence in the face of a cold north wind, working impossibly hard because to do less was to starve. These poems–some new, most from his seven previous books since 1991–are more closely tied to a particular place than any others I’ve read, and bring Vermont into a vivid focus, painting a landscape and a way of life I had never associated with the state.

Kinsey’s poems are beautiful but brutal pastorales, uncompromising in their depictions of the strain and heartache of living off the land. At times these poems feel like catalogs of woe, running through lists of injuries and tragedies, but they are never self-pitying, and they are never dishonest. The occasional joys of such hard lives are also given their turn, from necessary late night swims in glacial ponds to wash off the sweat and chaff after a day of baling, to summer baseball games, to barn dances to thank the neighbors for helping rebuild a burnt down farm building. Kinsey remembers sledding as a child, the near-suicidal danger of this diversion, the danger less impending than that of their farm work because it was chosen:

“We mostly slid at night to tell
if cars were coming,
no stopping at the corner
except by ditching at forty miles and hour,
blood and fractures either way.”
– page 97

More than anything, these poems chronicle survival, an endeavor that for Kinsey’s family was often a fraught and unforgiving one, but one that laid down from time to time in the shadow of joy. There is a wry humor underlying much of this poetry, rarely spotlighted but often teasing at the edges of harder truths, a humor that undoubtedly served its own role in the family’s endurance. In “Riding in the Open,” Kinsey recalls countless rides on top of farm loads in his youth, experiences that were sometimes fun, a chance to rest, and sometimes quite dangerous, and often both:

“I think of how we mostly could not talk,
mouths agape,
cheeks puffed out by the force of wind,
any conversation blown back passed us,
ears wind stopped,
and of the holding on,
and in the face of the black despair
we were all prone to,
wild laughter.”
– page 96

There is a section of the book containing poems from his 2004 collection In the Rain Shadow, a series of poems he wrote during his extended visit with his cousin in Tanzania. These poems present a jarring change of landscape and culture initially, but it quickly becomes apparent to the reader–as it did to the poet–how much there is in common between the experience the inhabitants of this impoverished nation have had in trying to scrape a living from the harsh African environment and the struggle Kinsey’s own family and ancestors had in prying a living from the glacier-scoured hills of northern Vermont.

Galvanized concludes with selections from Kinsey’s most recent collection, 2014’s Winter Ready. Living as close to (and off of) the land as Kinsey and his family have, many of his poems deal with the seasons, the heavens’ rationing of sunshine and rain, and the cruelties and wonders of winter, but this final section hones in on the way the calendar in a cold-weather climate bends around the gravity well of winter. Spring is about escaping it and planting as soon as the ground warms. In summer it can almost be forgotten as crops grow high and the sun beats down. But by fall, everyone knows what’s coming. Crops are gathered, wood is chopped, repairs are made, food is laid in. Winter will spare no one who isn’t ready. These poems perfectly encapsulate the simple clarity with which Kinsey documents the hardship of living as he and his family have, wasting little regret or resentment over the fairness of their lives. There simply isn’t time for it, and nature is as unforgiving with human life as it is with animal. In one of the new poems in the book, he summarizes this while talking about a recent fishing excursion. He set two trout eggs on a rock by the river, and while he had his back turned, they were snatched up by an opportunistic gull he hadn’t noticed a moment before:

“Eggs, and no gull noticed,
gull, and no eggs to be seen,
no one’s rights involved,
just, quick as that,
life’s magic
act.”
– Fish Eggs, page 7

I was unfamiliar with Leland Kinsey before this anthology, and I look forward to backtracking through his work in the future. He is a singular poet, deft with his words but aware his greatest asset is the strange and wondrous life he’s lived; he forefronts those experiences over flourishes of language, using his narrative skill to show us a scene, a people, and a place, and he trusts in the raw beauty and grace and pain of those details to do the work for him, which they certainly do.

REBLOGGED FROM:

(Book Review) Galvanized: New and Selected Poems by Leland Kinsey

 

NEWS:
Leland and many of our GWP aithors will be at BOOKSTOCK Literary Festival this summer! You can read about them here: http://bookstockvt.org/2016-presentations/

SummerInternsandFellows
Our interns and summer fellows officially start on Monday!
Please welcome them!

MARGARET SWEENEY, Editorial Intern and Publicity
Processed with VSCO with f2 presetMargaret Sweeney is a native of Brattleboro, Vermont and a recent graduate of Bennington College, where she studied literature and writing. While at Bennington, she interned for the literary organizations Poets House and the Center for the Art of Translation and served as co-editor-in-chief of plain china, the first national anthology of undergraduate student writing. She now lives in Western Massachusetts and works as a part-time bookseller at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley.

JESSICA JAUNDOO, Editorial Intern and Marketing
meJessica is an upcoming sophomore at Bennington College and was born and raised in Boston, MA. She has always had a lifelong interest in nature and her friends always find her trying to adopt any animal or critter into her life. With her interest in the field of Biology and the Environment still in its exploitative stages, her long term hobby has always been writing her own stories and coming up with ideas with friends. Inspiration never fails to strike her at any moment and many who know her are curious to see which book she may publish in the future.

RON ANAHAW, January-February Field Work Intern and 2016 Summer Fellow
RonAnahawRon Anahaw has three things close to his heart: RonAnahawCandid
his loved ones, writing, and Korean fried chicken. With a hand on playwriting, poetry, journalism, and fiction, he considers himself a jack-of-all-trades in writing. He is a big believer in trying to keep the world habitable. He is as quick to crack a joke as he is to ask you to collaborate. Ron is a first-year student at Bennington.

 

KAIYA LEWIS-MARLOW, Editorial Intern
KaiyaLewis-MarlowKaiya is a first term Bennington student with a passion for literature and social change. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and was raised with close ties to the local farm movement and community there. In her spare time, she enjoys writing speculative fiction, hiking, and making jewelry out of found mechanical objects and polymer clay.

 

KAITLYN  PLUKAS, January-February Field Work Intern and 2016 Summer FellowKaitlynP
Kaitlyn is a first-year student at Bennington College with a passion for any and everything Literature oriented. She firmly believes in the power of literature; both in the way it completely transforms perceptions of the world and in the way it inspires unity amongst communities. Her many years as a Girl Scout and Gold Award recipient have inspired her to enact social and environmental change. Kaitlyn is an avid sock collector, an outdoors adventurer, and is a right-handed writer who is preferential to pens.

April: Poetry Month & Earth Day is Coming!

April is National Poetry Month and we have news to share!

POEM CITY, Montpelier, Vermont is one of our FAVORITE annual events….

GWP's poet Leland Kinsey

GWP’s poet Leland Kinsey

On April 13 at 7:00 pm in the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, Leland Kinsey, Pushcart Prize nominee, will be reading from his new book Galvanized: New and Selected Poems, published by Green Writers Press in April 2016. Kinsey is also author of Winter Ready and six other books of poetry. He writes of the hard, dark life of the countryside in a haunting, spellbinding manner. Join Kinsey for an evening of poetry at the Library.

Later in the month . . .
A Round-table Discussion on Nature Poetry with GWP publisher Dede Cummings & Vermont poet Diana Whitney at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.
April 30th at 1:30 at PoemCity 2016
Kellogg Hubbard Libray in Montpelier VT

AND NOW ONTO EARTH DAY (BIG) NEWS! 

green-earth-book-award-2016

Order of the Trees Cover final._zpsgslhmlelI’m super excited that The Order of the Trees is on the Nature Generation’s Green Earth Book Awards shortlist!  I’m thrilled to see us—a Vermont based publisher — on this list with the major New York publishers. It is an honor to be included in this collection which features books that have a strong environmental stewardship message.

The winner and honor books will be announced on Earth Day, April 22nd 2016. Stay tuned!

 

HERE IS A PHOTO OF THE AUTHOR—This is the kind of reading she does for kids at libraries and schools . . .

cropped-launch-photo-higher-res

 

 

EARTH DAY IS COMING! Green Writers Press is so pleased to help promote our fantastic children’s list for Earth Day. Along with The Order of the Trees, we have another exciting children’s book series we’d like to tell you about—our 2014 title/first in the series Josie Goes Green.

Layout 1Green Writers Press is proud to publish the first children’s fiction book about taking action on climate change. Josie and the Fourth Grade Bike Brigade is the first in a forthcoming series about Josie Garcia, a feisty nine-year-old girl from Brooklyn who becomes a crusader for preventing disastrous climate change and other environmental threats. In each book, Josie takes simple, ingenious actions that bring real changes to her neighborhood and the world. The book is for ages 7-11 and is appropriate for schools, school districts, children’s social issue book clubs, and families. Nine-year-old Josie Garcia is an ambitious girl from Brooklyn who becomes an advocate for preventing disastrous climate change and other environmental threats. The feisty heroine in “Josie and the Fourth Grade Bike Brigade,” Josie was inspired by the children of P.S. 321 in Park Slope. Kenny Bruno; his wife Beth Handman, assistant principal of P.S. 321; and their daughter Antonia Bruno, who went to school at P.S. 321, co-wrote the new children’s book, which they refer to as children’s “cli-fi” — climate fiction.

Families and book lovers of all ages are invited to “Go Green With Josie” to learn about children taking action to preserve our planet this Earth Day 2016.

Josieandthe4thGradeBikeBrigade_smacxcoverThe book just came out as an audiobook, too, narrated by the wonderful Rosi Amador!
A GREAT EARTH DAY GIFT 🙂

Rosi Amador, voice of Josie.

Rosi Amador, voice of Josie.

Here is the website for the book. http://www.josiegoesgreen.com Josie won the Honor Book Award last year for the Green Earth Book Award sponsored by Next Generation.

Thanks for helping kids feel like they CAN make a difference on Earth Day!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Other News

AWP16collage

From left to right: Dede with author (and great friend) Sophronia Scott and (top right) with Tin House editor, Cheston Knapp, (bottom left) the women of VIDA, and Dede and agent Elaine Trevorrow from Blue Flower Arts in the photo below right. Next year, GWP hopes to have funding for a BOOTH!

AWP—The Association of Writers and Writing Programs—had their 39th annual convention and book fair in Los Angeles at the beginning of April. Dede went out and had a GWP table. It was thrilling to be around so many writers and avid readers and here was a great deal of interest in our press!

PARTIES! We love ’em!
Don’t forget our two big bashes in April.

flyer screen shot
The Hopper Launch Party is April 15th from 6:00-8:00PM at the Dianich Gallery at 139 Main Street in Brattleboro.

GWP_April 24 at NSA_FinaluseMKTOur 2nd Annual GWP Earth Day Celebration at Next Stage Arts in Putney, Vermont, is on April 24th from 5:00-8:00 PM with readings/slides/music. Hosted by Vermont’s celebrated writer, Howard Frank Mosher.
LINK for info: http://nextstagearts.org/event/green-writers-press-second-anniversary/?instance_id=19674

Happy Spring (though we just got more SNOW in VERMONT!