Coming Soon… Stay Tuned!

My co-editor Phyllis Cole-Dai and I are working hard in preparation for the release of Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, due out from Grayson Books in late summer. We want to give a huge shout-out to the photographer David Moynahan for “Great Egret Bow,” the fantastic image on the cover of the book. David’s got an amazing eye and a huge heart. Maybe we’ll get to meet him one day in person!

By the way, if you’d like to be on the Poetry of Presence email list, sign up here, and you’ll receive a mindfulness poem. Our gift to you!

Happy Pi Day!

I was offered an opportunity a couple of days ago to submit a poem about pi to celebrate this year’s Pi Day, special because today’s date, 3-14-16 is the same number sequence as pi rounded to four digits after the decimal: 3.1416. The request came from the Astronomers without Borders AstroPoetry project. I have never before attempted to write a poem on demand, but for some reason the idea of writing a “pi” poem sounded like fun. I figured that there was no harm in trying, and I just may have fun in the process. I did a little research and studied up on math concepts that I haven’t studied for quite a while. This is what I came up with:

Pi

It’s all about circles –
the ratio of circumference
to diameter.
It’s a constant
although irrational
transcendental number –
irrational
because no fraction
can accurately describe it,
its decimal representation
infinite and random –
transcendental,
therefore the circle
cannot be squared.

Thank goodness.

Because it’s all about circles.
It’s about not choosing
the shortest path
between two points,
going the long way around –
taking the scenic route,
transcending the boundary
of the horizon
and expanding into
the random, infinite
universe
encircling us.

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Four Poems from Four Quarters

Was it really over two weeks ago since the Four Quarters reading at Briggs Library? It has been such a busy fall with house repairs, winterizing projects, and bringing in the last of the garden produce that I’ve hardly had a chance to catch my breath since the reading. I’d like to share this video clip for those of you who are interested in seeing me read from my chapbook, “Maybe the Moon is Falling”, published in Four Quarters to a Section, an anthology of four winning chapbooks in the South Dakota State Poetry Society’s  annual chapbook contest.

I was joined by poets Darla Biel and Glenda Walth who also read selections from their winning chapbooks, as well as the editor, Christine Stewart-Nuñez. If you’d like to buy one of the books, or are a South Dakota poet and would like to submit poetry for publication by SDSPS you can find more information at their website.

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You’re invited…

Quarters_poster3 … to a reading by the contributors to Four Quarters to a Section, the South Dakota State Poetry Society’s publication of the winners of their annual chapbook anthology. The reading will be on October 29th at 7 p.m. in the Archives and Special Collections on the South Dakota State University campus in Brookings, S.D. The archives is located on the upper level of the Hilton M. Briggs Library.

Christine Stewart-Nuñez, Professor of English at South Dakota State University, edited this year’s volume and will also speak at Thursday evening’s event. The contest was judged by Heidi Czerwiec, a poet, essayist, translator and critic who coordinates creative writing at the University of North Dakota. The cover image of the 2014 chapbook anthology is “Autumn Dance,” artwork by Betty L. Beer of Brookings, South Dakota.

Books will be available for purchasing and signing, and refreshments will be served. If you know of anyone else who may be interested in attending, please pass on the information. Hope to see you there!

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Four Quarters to a Section

Each year the South Dakota State Poetry Society holds a Four Quarters 2015 w-border chapbook competition for South Dakota poets, and four winning collections are selected to be published in a chapbook anthology, Four Quarters to a Section. I’m honored that my chapbook, “Maybe the Moon is Falling,” was selected as one of the winning collections for the newest volume published this year. The other winning poets were Brandyn Johnson from Spearfish, Darla Biel from Brookings, and Glenda Walth from Sioux Falls.

The contest was judged by Heidi Czerwiec, a poet, essayist, translator, and critic who coordinates creative writing at the University of North Dakota. Christine Stewart-Nuñez is the editor of the new volume, and Betty Beer created the cover art.

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Reading at the Franklin Hotel in Deadwood, South Dakota

We were  asked to read from our chapbooks at the  Festival  of the Book held in Deadwood just this last weekend, so I joined Brandyn and Darla in a reading at the Franklin Hotel. Unfortunately, Glenda was unable to attend.

I must apologize for not getting the word out sooner about this event. Another reading will be held in Brookings on October 29th, so if you’re interested in attending, mark that date on your calendar. I’ll send out more information later this month.

If you’re interested in obtaining a copy of the book you may contact me by using the form below. The cost is $15 plus shipping.

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Winter is Knocking

After a couple of weeks of beautiful, mild, autumn weather, a cold breath of air has moved in from the north and is sending the cottonwood and poplar leaves skittering across the deck and clattering against the window. Dsc_04122008-11-07Winter is knocking at our door, and many of us may dread the snow, cold, and bleak gray days that are coming.

I am reading Ted Kooser’s memoir, Local Wonders, during my morning reading and journaling time. The book is organized around the seasons of the year and I’m in the last section set in the wintertime. This morning I read about Kooser receiving a cancer diagnosis earlier in the year. He was unable to write for months afterward. He “began to heal” as he put it, near the beginning of winter when he started going for walks. Much to his surprise and delight he was able to write a poem after one of the walks. He continued writing a poem after each daily walk, scribbled them on a postcard, and sent them to a friend. He eventually put them together in a collection titled Winter Morning Walks: 100 Postcards to Jim Harrison.

I loved learning that Kooser regained his poetic voice and began to recover his health in the winter, a season that we often associate with death and endings. The trees look barren and dead, most of the birds have left for more temperate climates, and the lush plants that thrived in the summer gardens are twisted and shriveled. The ferocity of the winter weather also reminds me of how small I am compared to the power of nature. I feel much the same way when I gaze at the night sky and the mysterious, infinite spaces between the stars. I find it oddly comforting that I am not in control.

Winter is a time for slowing down, enjoying the silence and the crisp contrast between light and dark. There is very little color in the landscape, but that serves to help us appreciate the more subtle hues created by the winter light: the blue at the bottom of a footstep in the snow, the rainbows that the sunlight creates inside the crumbs of frost scattered on the tree branches. The abundant life that surrounds us in summer seems to have disappeared, but actually it has just gone to a deeper place, a safe place to rest and build up its stores of energy to burst to life again in the springtime.

Living things need both the light and the dark, summer and winter, moisture and drought, cold and warmth. The dead plants in the garden will be tilled under and nourish the garden next year. They will be reborn in a new way. Nothing is wasted. The same is true for us. If we feel tapped out, exhausted, lifeless, we can take that old dead material and mulch it to create something entirely different.

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Summer Update

What a busy spring and summer this has been – so busy that I have neglected to let you know that At the Rim of the Horizon is now available for purchase on Amazon.com. If you live in the Brookings area and would like to buy a copy locally, they are available from the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum and South Dakota Art Museum on the South Dakota State University campus. You may also contact me to get a copy.

Many of you were unable to attend the Agricultural Heritage Museum reading on April 29th because you may not live in the Brookings area, or were prevented by scheduling conflicts. I prepared a slide presentation for the reading in which I paired pictures that I’ve taken to go along with some of the poems that are in the book. This is an excerpt from the slide show that accompanied the poems that I read that night: (You will need MS Powerpoint or an equivalent in order to view the slides).

At the Rim Slide Show

If this link doesn’t work for you, I also posted the slide show in a different file format on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ruby-Wilson/218234428340368)

I hope to schedule more readings soon and will be sure to post updates as that process moves along. Stay tuned!

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