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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Are You a Creative Person?

I don’t consider myself as living in an urban environment, but when I was asked recently by South Dakota Magazine how my community affects my creativity, I was challenged to examine my environment and what motivates me to write. I live on a small acreage out in the country and work at a university, and much of my writing comes out of both of those experiences. Campus Sketches: Images of South Dakota State University in Word and Photograph is a collection of poems that was inspired by my work environment, and At the Rim of the Horizon is centered around home and the natural world I experience there. Both books are now available for purchase on Amazon as well as locally in the Brookings, South Dakota area.

I have to admit that I’m not very comfortable with being singled out as a “creative” person, mainly because I think that everyone is gifted with creativity, we each just express it in different ways. We may tend to think that scientists and artists are polar opposites on a creativity spectrum and that other occupations fall somewhere in between. However, they may have more in common than we think. In order to be successful in any occupation we need to be effective problem solvers, and that requires a lot of creativity. The work that artists do often requires them to understand science and math, and the work that scientists and mathematicians do often requires inspiration and creativity. A willingness to look at our world in new ways, to pay close attention, and sometimes to ignore conventional thought is important in any vocation.

So I guess what I’m really trying to say is, try not to put yourself into any categories, be creative, and have fun!

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If you’re interested in reading about how creative South Dakotans are influenced by their communities, you can read about “Urban Creativity” in the September/October issue of South Dakota Magazine. One of my poems from At the Rim of the Horizon was also published on page 98 of the same issue.

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE CANDLELIGHT VIGIL

Photo by W.M. Jones
Photo by W.M. Jones

I attended a candlelight vigil organized by the South Dakota State University Nepalese Student Association late last week. The recent earthquake has been devastating for their home country, and  this was an opportunity for the SDSU and Brookings communities to show their support for the Nepalese people during this very difficult time. You can read more about SDSU’s response to the earthquake here.

I attended the vigil Thursday night, and left the event that evening with some ideas for a poem. Usually I like to let new poems sit for a while and work on them later when I can be more objective, but it seemed to me that I should share this poem now while the event is so fresh in all of our minds. Please forgive me if it seems a little rough around the edges since I just wrote it today.

VIGIL LIGHT
for the Nepalese earthquake victims

About one hundred
of us move ahead
to come closer
to join hands
and I hear
the grass whisper
as we shuffle forward.

Later, at home
I hear the soft
murmur of the rain
through the closed window
and open it
to listen, to hope.

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SDSU Campus in Autumn

I just saw an article in our local paper, the Brookings Register:

SDSU Alumni Green article, Brookings Register Oct. 31, 2014

The story reminded me that I had recently taken some fall pictures of the Alumni Center and other scenes on campus. The temperatures were so moderate, that the colors were more stunning and the leaves “hung around” for a lot longer than usual. The Tompkins Alumni Center courtyard next to the clock tower is a particularly beautiful place on the South Dakota State University campus. When I learned that the existing Alumni Center would be demolished to allow for a redesign of that area of campus, I wanted to make sure to snap some pictures when I had a chance. Here are some pictures I took as I walked across campus on a gorgeous autumn afternoon.

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