Saturday, October 11, 2014

More About This River Coming Dec 1

Sergei Rumyantsev's painting of the Volga River looking toward the city of Kostroma, Russia.  This is the cover painting.

This River, due out December 1, as a Watersongs imprint from Wild Embers Press is coming along beautifully, and by October 26, I’ll know the price and you can pre-order it from me.  I’ll also be doing some readings in the new year, and I’ll launch the book at my Hoganvillaea Farm on Sunday, December 7, 3-6 PM.  If you’re in the area, and you don’t get an invitation, do contact me and I’ll be happy to invite you.

We had three lovely images of the Volga River in Kostroma to choose from, and we settled on a little study I was given by Sergei Rumyantsev, a wonderful Kostroma painter, of the Volga, looking across the river at the city of Kostroma (above). 

One of my friends who gave a blurb for the cover is Jaki Shelton Green, and on October 12, Sunday (tomorrow), she is being inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. I will be there, so proud of her. When I first came to North Carolina in 1971, she was one of the first poets I got to know and whom I published, first in Hyperion Poetry Journal, and later through Carolina Wren Press (1976-91 were my years as founding editor).  Dead on Arrival came out in 1977, and Jaki has been reading poems, teaching folks to write poetry, often as a way of healing, and winning honors ever since.  Here is what she said about This River:

This River holds our hands up to the magic in the dark moon with figurative language that pulls shards of tenderness from a world that is bloody with sting of sunlit longing and a psychic quest for redemption. These poems resurrect an ancient enchanted necklace worn by a herstorical aching that Judy Hogan bears into utterance.

This collection is a meditation on time, memory, and the fleeting nature of life.  Decoding the threads of aching and the heart of the language of two separate rivers is at the core of This River. These poems are a beautiful terrain forming the powerful backdrop for the magnificence of fragility. 

Part primordial, part philosophical, powerful story inhabiting fluid boundaries between hearts, breaking the pedestrian parameters of space, time, and sensory experiences…. This River is a lesson for weaving the baskets that are needed for carrying water to the Light. 

Jaki Shelton Green, Author of Dead on Arrival, Conjure Blues, breath of the song, singing a tree into dance, Feeding the Light. 2003 recipient of the NC Award in Literature, The Sam Ragan Award, 2009 NC Piedmont Laureate, 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame Induction. 

Here is poem 23 of This River:

T h i s R i v e r

Twenty Three

Does the holy always come into our life
in the heart of a conflict? I think so.
The heron, his feet in the cold water,
wading and calling throatily to the fish,
agrees with me. “You will suffer,”
he says. “The rain falls, doesn’t it?
So will your tears. But joy enters inevitably
when you are this clear, this content with
what life pours out and into your arms.
“Like those wild grapes you found.
Hundreds of them ripening on vines low
enough to reach by bending down the
little tree they clung to. Keep asking your
heart what to do. Then you’ll know.
Every cove where the water runs shallow
and the fish swim in it has a heron stalking,
one foot at a time, determined on his dinner.
“He comes for you. Take what is given
to a pure heart, a spirit cleansed by the tears
you have shed and will shed. There is no
end to the tears, but joy is in them. Like
light turning muddy water pale yellow or
as blue as the sky over your head, eternally
confident and serene, as you are, as you
will be. It is the gift the gods gave you:
your willingness to take in this love
and give him your beauty back. Let
nothing disturb that clear gift, that joy
which he’ll see in your eyes every time
he looks at you. It will feed his spirit
as well as it feeds yours. This love is
given like the sun and the rain. Turn
your face to its blessed light, bathe
yourself in its unwardoffable * tears.”

*unwardoffable a made up word from a Greek word used in
battle depicting the idea that you can't "ward off" or keep away
the enemy.

To learn more about Watersongs and Wild Embers Press:

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