THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Edited by MariJo Moore
FULCRUM PUBLISHING Binding Information: Paperback ISBN: 978-1-55591-665-7 Pages: 376 Size: 6" X 9" X .875" In stock $16.95 www.fulcrum-books.com/productdetails.cfm?PC=6007 - 26k
Award-winning author MariJo Moore asked women from around the world to consider the devastating nature of conflict—inner wars, outer wars, public battles, and personal losses. Their answers, in the form of poignant poetry and essays, examine war in all its permutations, beginning in 60 CE and continuing into the 21st century, from Ireland to Iraq and everywhere in between. With contributions from both well-known and first-time writers, this moving anthology encompasses a wide range of voices—a Blitz evacuee, an ex-slave, an incarcerated mother, former military personnel, survivors of domestic violence, those who have battled drugs and disease, and many other courageous women willing to share their unique and timeless insight on the realities of war.
(MariJo Moore) ---------------------------------
Several months ago MariJo emailed me about an anthology she was putting together, a gathering of women's voices about war. She asked if I had anything to send her. I thought and thought. I had a sequence of sonnets spun off from the still-ongoing battle over displaying the Confederate flag in the deep South and some of my childhood memories of the Civil Rights battles that took place just miles from my home. But that had already been published in "Callaloo." Then I remembered a sequence I had begun in response to Ron Rash's "Shelton Laurel" in a recent ASHEVILLE POETRY REVIEW. In it the speaker addresses his sister about the atrocities he has seen and of which he has been a part during the Civil War massacres in the mountains. I woke up next morning with the sister responding. I sent the sequence to Marijo. She wanted it!
Now I find that it shares company with work by writers Eavan Boland, Linda Hogan, Glenis Redmond, Emöke B’Rácz, Paula Gunn Allen, and an impressive chorus of other women's voices. In addition to Redmond and B’Rácz, North Carolina is also respresented by Laura Hope-Gill, H. Byron Ballard, Ellenburg, Paula Popow Oliver, Margaret Abruzzi, Marjorie Hudson, and Cheryl Dietrich. And of course, MariJo Moore.
(Laura Hope-Gill and Glenis Redmond, from Jeff Davis's Blog, Natures, naturespoetry.blogspot.com)
Though tempted to reproduce the entire table of contents, I'll list only a sample of the titles included, a hint of the diversity of territory and experience.
This Land Had Seen War Before Rhiana Yazzie We tried to return in following months to recognize the place where our people had been massacred. We tried to return to the place that now holds a sacred meaning to us.
Dead All Over the Hills: An Interview with Ex-Slave Mrs. Phoebe Banks From the WPA Oklahoma Slave Narratives Edited by T. Lindsay Baker and Julie P. Baker The Creek Indians and the slaves with them try to fight off them soldiers like they did before, but they get scattered around and separated so’s they lose the battle.
How I Became an Evacuee Margaret Abruzzi I put my gas mask in a cardboard box with a string strap so I could slip it over my shoulder. I would carry my doll, Betsy.
Hermine Jungus Komnik’s World Wars I and II Experiences and Results Paula Popow Oliver At the Dresden train station, the Americans began bombing the city. We lived three days and three nights at this train station; moving from one track to another and running to the bunkers underground
La Scarlettina Alexandria Giardino Later, agents came to interrogate Grace, and they told her that they knew her husband had supported Mussolini and had sent money to Italy for many years.
American Helmets Bushra Al-Bustani / I shake off the blood clots from the bottom of my heart. / The prayers are unsound /
Sufi Dancing with Dad Marjorie Hudson Sufi dancers believe they can make peace by twirling to perfection. Why not? It makes more sense to dance for peace than to war for it.
INTRODUCTION, by MariJo Moore
And the miraculous comes so close to the ruined, dirty houses- something not known to anyone at all, but wild in our breast for centuries. -Anna Akhmatova, 1921
What is war? How can we define this horrible word? Children murdered, women raped, cities destroyed, generations of memories taken away with one nuclear blast? What descriptions come to mind when you think of war? Previous and present administrations have tried to desensitize us by commercializing it. We see pictures of women killed in arenas for mere infractions, children torn apart with flies circling their wounds, young men and women returning from battles in wheelchairs or in coffins. Realistic computerized war games, which turn murder into an amusing pastime, are available at the touch of a switch. Constantly we are bombarded with this imagery, so often that many have to go deep into themselves to grasp compassion. After all, it is not happening here, it is not happening to them; therefore they must go on about their business, say a few quick prayers for others, and continue to believe they are not impacted by these horrors. Bu there are still those of us who have not become so insensate that the realities of war are common expectations instead of treacherous realizations. Looking back over the past two thousand years, I understand that many wars were fought (and continue to be) because of religious and political imperialism: one group believes its ideology to be superior to another's. And of course, greed, racism, and misogyny fuel the fires of imperialism, which offer credence to the fact that women often have different perspectives of war than men. I wanted to know what these opinions could be, so I presented the following question to several women from various areas of thought: If you could converse with a woman, any woman (living or deceased), who suffered from war, any war, whom would it be? What questions would you ask? Their answers, in both poetry and prose, were poignant and deserve to be anthologized.
Some women considered wars more military in nature, while others chose wars of another sort: The ongoing battles with breast cancer, alcoholism, drug addiction, illegal adoption, and spousal abuse; conflict over the right to abortion, stem cell research, and other medical melees; women in prison denied religious rights; and of course the invisible walls many of us try to climb over as we struggle to excel in the workplace.
Comparing histories can be unifying, a spiritual bonding that encourages and renews our commitment to our callings. The contributors to this anthology are exclusively women. Who better to intuit what really exists in a woman's mind and heart? Who better to search their own souls and decide what they would have done in similar circumstances? Who better to compare and contrast their own experiences?
The selections here are presented chronologically from before 60 CE to the twenty-first century. The contributors live across the world, from the United States and Canada, to England, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Palestine, Kurdistan, Belgium, Latin America, China, Sri Lanka, and Iraq. Writings are by or about women who have lost everything and succumbed to their own demise, women who have gained from their losses and not given up, and women who have not had the opportunity to share their stories. Women who have fought inner wars, outer wars, and who are still engaged in battles. Women who fight, win, lose, fight again, lose again, and yet continue to remain stalwart. Women who remain women, regardless of their environment. Women of the past, women of today. All of this for women of the future, the women who must remain strong in order to hold this planet together.
These are the women I champion; no doubt this anthology will give others the chance to do the same. These writings will go deep into readers' psyches, past the nonverbal consent caused by desensitization, to reawaken and bring to the surface the innate realization that we are all involved in the historical and recent events concerning war; that no one is insulated from these issues; that everyone has experienced the realties of war in some way. These are the blood memories that will remain “wild in our breast for centuries.”
MariJo Moore PO Box 2493 Candler, NC 28715 http://www.marijomoore.com
And now, here is the poem I woke up to after reading Ron Rash's "Shelton Laurel."
Shelton Laurel Diary
“A branch runs through this cavern, in it trout whose eyes are blind from years of too much dark. I envy them for all they haven’t seen, and maybe with enough time I might too cease to see these things I tell you of...”
Ron Rash, Shelton Laurel
I dreamed you wrote a letter to me, grimy-fingered in the glow of some dream cave, holed up like wolf or bear. Your nib scratched over wrinkled paper, blood-stained, was it? Yes, I saw it clearly for a moment, fading though it was, as fading you were in the light. How did we come to this? Against each other. Other side of creek. Or ridge. Against, against. It tries my fortitude, this war. Recall that pair of overalls you gave me, unbeknownst to our strict father, saying, now you too can crawl the laurel hells and climb the rockface with the rest of us? I did. I keep them near to feel the earth they crawled, the thorns they bore, worn down to flesh itself through trailing you. I almost drew them on to track you into battle, joining boys out in the front lines, fight as hard as they. You know I could. Where are you, Brother? And why hide from me? I fear you’ve crawled into some hell more hellish than our laurel can be for a stranger who has lost his way in these parts. Yes, I dreamed the letter you left on my pillow, yet I do not dream I wake. I know I have awakened. And I know you wait in darkness, as I see now dawn begin to creep above the fog in Shelton Laurel.
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.