Conflicted Excitement, by LindaAnn LoSchiavo

 

00_2018_Chapbook_cover_LoSchiavo

Download the collection here:

Conflicted Excitement by LindaAnn Loschiavo

LindaAnn LoSchiavo’s debut collection is an Italian memoir about coming to America. It traces the first footsteps to a country that would become home. The sense of belonging proved to be elusive for her immigrant grandparents.

“Fit in!” advised her husband. Neither did,
Unnoticed by America’s embrace.
–Merletto [Lace]

Setting up roots would be reflected in the efforts of her grandfather, affectionately called “il nonno mio”, growing fig trees in Brooklyn. In fact the poems about her grandparents endearingly anchor this collection.

Her poems—peopled by her grandparents, parents, her sister, her relatives, her friends–engage us in an effusive warp of story-telling. Sometimes one gets the feeling of being wrapped in a cocoon of Italian babble but thankfully there’re translations to get us through them. For of course one brings one’s own language along with oneself, and LindaAnn’s poems reflect that. We also learn where she got her gift of narrative from…her father! (See “The Wizard of Words”).

Along with her native language, religion is weaved through her personal rite of passage, enabling her to cope with death and the question of eternity.

Where Jesus, spotless, guiltless, is then beaten
For others’ sins returns me to my oyster
Shell, hard home where I dwell with grains of sand,
Intruders I coat with a glaze to make their
Existence not so scratchy, making it
All easier to slip around till I’m good
And ready for that opening up.
–A Little Choir Girl at Passiontide

For us then, the poems are secret musings of oneself, but it is when she makes leaps towards the sublime that “Like death’s jewels, feathers fell from pelicans.” (“Aboard S.S. Guiseppe Verdi”).

Advertisements

Release of Fall/Winter 2017/2018 Issue 12: Memento Mori

fall winter 2017 2018 cover

 

We are pleased to announce the release of the Fall/Winter 2017/2018 Issue.

The poets with work in this edition are:

John Aylesworth
Gershon Ben-Avraham
Wendy Bourke
Marilyn Braendeholm
Dah
Tony Daly
Holly Day
Milton P. Ehrlich
Joseph M. Felser
Jared M. Gadsby
Howie Good
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois
Miriam Green
Christopher Hileman
Diane Jackman
Laurinda Lind
Arthur Lamar Mitchell
Felicia Mitchell
Keith Moul
Sergio A. Ortiz
Jared Pearce
Roslyn Ross
Margarita Serafimova
Debi Swim
Alan Toltzis
Candelin Wahl
Martin Willitts Jr
Alan Walowitz
Barbara Young
Janet Youngdahl

You may download a copy of the PDF release here.

Red Wolf Journal fall winter 2017 2018 Issue 12

 

We welcome your submission of new poems to our Spring/Summer 2018 issue, on the theme of “Coming Home”.

With pleasure,
Irene Toh & Tawnya Smith
Fall/Winter 2017/2018 Editors

Coming Home (Spring/Summer 2018 Issue 13)

spring summer 2018 cover

Late last year I attended a sharing session by Li-Young Lee. I’d already been enraptured by his poetry of course, his meditations on love in particular. But until I read his memoir, I didn’t really know about his family’s harrowing journey as refugees before they sought asylum in the United States and settled into a new home. He had said that we’re all a version of Odysseus trying to get home.

Why is that? Home—is that a place of origin that determines who we are? Home is tied up with the stories that get told. It’s history and geography and a lot of storying of self. What if you’re an emigrant? Well then yours would be an emigrant’s story. America is a melting pot of people of different origins isn’t it? But even if place plays a key role, the journey is a journey with self. It is ultimately a spiritual journey, a journey of becoming.

Remember the epic story of Don Quixote, who imagines himself as a knight in a chivalric setting? It’s really a journey of the imagination. Sure Don Quixote is delusional, living in a kind of personal utopia—a fantasy no doubt. But if the exploits of the anti-hero in Cervantes’s picaresque novel is infused with so much humor, warmth, humanity and imagination, can it be meant as a total indictment of the world of fantasy? Sure we have to come down to earth but if there are only Sanchos, wouldn’t life be dull as ditchwater? Imagination is self. Perchance there’s more than one self. If the self is imagined, then the song is the thing. I think the best poets know this. Well, isn’t the song of the poet just the way poetry operates to lie against time, to hold a staying hand against time and nature?

One of my favorite stories is the film, Cinema Paradiso. It tells a touching story of the relationship between a famous Italian film director and his town’s projectionist, Alfredo, who had taught the young Salvatore how to operate the cinema projector. But Salvatore was advised by Alfredo to leave his village to pursue his dream to become a film-maker. Thirty years later, Salvatore returns to his village to attend Alfredo’s funeral and as he plays the film reel that Alfredo had left for him comprising all the censored kissing scenes of films he once projected, Salvatore experiences a sense of fruition as well as deep loss. His coming home is a coming home to self–the beginning of self meeting the journeying self if you will.

So there it is—the theme of our Spring/Summer 2018 issue is “Coming Home”. If journeying is exploration, adventure, and becoming, then no journey is complete without coming home. Inasmuch as it will be a physical journey, it is really a poetic one. Its reality is spiritual, so I’m calling that poetic because it’s how we get to a sense of the sublime. It is remembrance. It measures the spiritual distance between our original condition, having not journeyed, with the post-journey self. So journey is transformation. How can we not call this reality poetic, because as Lee pointed out,

“Poetic reality is the reality. All other realities are packaged bites. I think poetry is reality. The world is a poem.”

What he meant was that as much information as possible has been packed in as tight a space as possible—that reality is actually saturated. Much like what we experienced at the ending moment of Cinema Paradiso. We’re all a version of Odysseus getting home.

In this issue, we call for poems about the spirituality of self, the self in moments of sublimation, the fictions of self, journeying, the return. We explore what home means. Where do you feel at home? How do you feel at home? Or do you not feel at home? What is home? Does it mean coming to a kind of peace with the life you’ve been given? Does it mean changing your life and if so what are your choices? What does it mean to come home, to be home? Is home a place, a person, a feeling, a journeying back?

Oh that quote from T S Eliot’s “Four Quartets” goes:

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

Life’s a cycle, so things from the past come back to haunt. We journey back, this time much wiser, and things assume a clarity that wasn’t there before. And ultimately we return to dust. But before that we’re on a quest aren’t we? What is your quest? Are there common grounds with others or is yours unique as hell?

Whatever it is, we hope it will be a worthy one and that you’ll share those poetic moments filed under “notes toward becoming who one is supposed to be”. In other words, think about your narrator’s destiny. What is the path or journey of your narrator? What shape or meaning does his or her life take on? Does coming home mean coming home to the self after the soul’s journey, a kind of soul recognition? I mean, really think about who he or she is, and also who we are. Life’s journey perhaps is best seen as one of being cured of one’s delusions. But what a ride. Tell us stories. Tilt at windmills if you must, because you can’t help it.

These stories, I think, tell of the soul’s longing, its quest, do they not? Whose soul? We’re not really sure. If it is ours why do others find resonance in them? I once saw a performance where a woman started off with a feather and started to place all kinds of twigs and branches over her body in counterbalance, one thing balancing the other, till she’s totally laden with twigs and stuff. She held an amazing, seemingly makeshift contraption. In the final act, she removes that feather and everything falls. Is the soul a feather, holding everything together?

Submissions are open for the Spring/Summer 2018 issue. Closing date: 28 August 2018. Please read our submission guidelines before submitting.

Selected poems will be posted on this site from March 2018 to August 2018.

Our journal has a prompt site, Red Wolf Prompts. You are encouraged to write to the prompts over at the site, if you so wish.

Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith, Editors
Red Wolf Journal
https://redwolfjournal.wordpress.com/

Say This In A Whisper, by Dah

dah gauguin cover1

Dah’s poetry collection, Say This In A Whisper, should perhaps come with an advisory: there are sexually charged poems such as “How To Love A Lover”, “Summer, Ocean”, “Pulsar” and “Underwater, Still Breathing”.

Their nexus is the relationship between lovers which leaves you in no doubt about where the potency lies. “Summer, Ocean” carves out physical intensity in an almost predictable way yet doesn’t strike you as being facile:

“You, the matador
drinking the bull’s blood
Me, the bull goring you into ecstasy
until we lay finished off
our bodies trembling
smelling of ocean summers”

The collection’s first poem, “Oceans Of Rain”, sets a kind of framework by disavowing religion. The speaker is “an old inmate” with the gravitas of age:

“Now, I’ve seasoned
to this gray winter
an old inmate
waiting for light
to reap darkness
waiting for darkness
to bear down

Dah writes with disarming physical candor in his love poems. There is so much light and shadow in them, that it’s most certainly spiritual while being physical. But after the ecstasy comes the agony. The lover’s absence leaves the speaker emotionally stranded. The poems segue to a requiem. Every poem shines a different light on the grieving process of remembering. There is savagery in “you were the feathers/plucked from my mouth” (“A Missing Story”) to distraction where “we drink wine each night/to reach that neon glow/in the dark of a cloistered room” (“Pictures of You”).

Sure, there’s pathos there, but someone has said, if you haven’t loved deeply enough, haven’t had that kind of physical experience, you don’t know anything much. Such pathos may be another path to transcendence, if not through religion. Why, to speak of eternity as “a strange fracture/always breaking/before one reaches the line/the mood variations, another farewell” in “Another Picture of You” to the discernment of trees in “Pulsar”:

“I look through the grille
of bare trees
through the mineshafts
of shadows”

A tender, riveting read for all lovers!

Download the collection here.

Say This In A Whisper by Dah

New Site!
Red Wolf Journal’s digital collections has a dedicated new site
at Red Wolf Editions here.

Release of Spring/Summer 2017 Issue: Sweet Sorrow

romeoandjuliet

We are pleased to announce the release of the Spring/Summer 2017 Issue.

The poets with work in this edition are:

Ed Ahern
Iris J. Arenson-Fuller
Salvatore Buttaci
Marilyn Braendeholm
Darren Demaree
Edilson Afonso Ferreira
Christopher Hileman
John Huey
Diane Jackman
Michael Lee Johnson
LindaAnn LoSchiavo
Patricia McGoldrick
Josh Medsker
Sergio A. Ortiz
Roslyn Ross
Elena Sands
Debi Swim
Alan Toltzis
Walter J. Wojtanik

You may download a copy of the PDF release here.

Red Wolf Journal spring summer 2017 Issue 11

In conjunction we are releasing a special prompted edition featuring the work of the poets who had written to the prompts at our sister site, Red Wolf Poems.

spring summer 2017 prompted edition

You may download a copy here.

Red Wolf Journal spring summer 2017 Issue 11 Prompted edition

The third release is a collection of the poems written by Irene during the period of the Spring/Summer 2017 edition. You may download a copy here.

sweet sorrow by irene toh1

Sweet Sorrow by Irene Toh

We welcome your submission of new poems to our journal, particularly on the theme of memento mori.

With pleasure,
Irene Toh & Tawnya Smith
Spring/Summer 2017 Editors

Green-Weak Poems by Therese Broderick–A New Poetry Release

Red Wolf Editions is pleased to announce the release of a new poetry collection by Therese Broderick.

rwj-green-weak-1-cover

A daughter’s labor in grass-cutting epitomizes these elegiac familial poems. The three sections of this endearing collection act together as memory and catharsis, with an overall tone of love and whimsy. The first “green-weak” section opens with the remembrance. It defines the father-daughter relationship, its roots in the practice of scissoring the cardboard found within her father’s Roxy shirts into a child’s hand-made cards.

The poems take us through art and illness, a mother’s sense of lack, a brother’s divorce and other undoings. At heart the poems honor the perfection of imperfections: “And I loved him/to the end/despite a lifelong lack/of luster.” (Song for the Colorblind Artist). The collection’s title refers to her father’s congenital “green-weak” colorblindness, a faulty perception of reds and greens.

Her idyllic musings while cutting grass by scissors is at center, a meditation (glimpsing “the conjuring garden knot, its green snaking”) serving as transition to the third “regreening” section. It deals with death and loss. It is grief contained by noticing “an opened bag of nougat and milk/chocolate truffles” at her mother’s cremation and tellingly endured through the arrayed riches of Morocco. The reader takes each mouthful of poems, cupping them, full of weight and weightlessness.

Then there’s the one and only erotic poem, which is clinically breathtaking, a kind of Spanish blessing.

Green is the trope, whether in the Moroccan silk of “Paradise Green”, or in grass’s “emerald blade”, or “the neon L sprouting from Google’s trademark.” How deep sorrow, how deep the green. It becomes blue.

Download the collection here.

green-weak_poems-by-therese-broderick

Spring/Summer 2016 Issue 9

Song of myself

We are pleased to announce the release of Red Wolf Journal’s Spring/Summer 2016 Issue 9:

Red Wolf Journal Spring Summer 2016 Issue 9

 

The poets with work in this edition are:

Pat Anthony
Vivienne Blake
Marilyn Braendeholm
Edilson Afonso Ferreira
Grace Harriman
Christopher Hileman
A.J. Huffman
Kathleen Kimball-Baker
Ron. Lavalette
Patricia McGoldrick
Sanjeev Sethi
Debi Swim
Robert Walton

You are welcome to submit work to our upcoming Fall/Winter 2016/2017. The theme is “The Heart Knows”. Watch this space for the official announcement.

With pleasure,
Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith
Spring/Summer 2016 Editors

Release of Winter 2015/2016 Issue 8

Seeing beauty

 

We are pleased to announce the release of Red Wolf Journal’s Winter 2015/2016 Issue 8:

Red Wolf Journal Winter 2015 2016 Issue 8

 

The poets with work in this edition are:

Holly Day
Edilson Afonso Ferreira
Christopher Hileman
Nancy Iannucci
Christopher Oak Reiner
Roslyn Ross
Debi Swim
Alan Toltzis

You are welcome to submit work to our upcoming Spring/Summer 2015 Issue 9. The theme is “Song of Myself”. Watch this space for the official announcement.

With pleasure,
Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith
Winter 2015/2016 Editors

Winter 2015/2016 Issue 8: Seeing Beauty

Seeing beauty

Red Wolf Journal Issue 8 (Winter 2015/2016)
Our theme: “Seeing Beauty”

Suddenly, without expecting it, beauty is there. Yet ultimately beauty is a profound illumination of presence, a stirring of the invisible in visible form …”
― John O’Donohue

Beauty is a woman like Miss Universe. Ha! Or is Beauty the woman you love and behold? Beauty is, in fact, what you see. It is personal. Hence it lies in the eyes of the beholder. Where do you see beauty? That is the question for pondering.

True beauty has been transfigured by time. When you see a particular landscape that has been imbued by time, like the ancient rocks of Sedona, you perhaps experience a sense of stillness, solitude and silence. You are receiving time. Yet in receiving it you are steeped in its timelessness. Furthermore, nature seems to be a direct expression of divine beauty. You see beauty in the natural landscape―mountains, rivers, trees, whatever―and the creatures―hummingbird, snow leopard, salmon, whatever―that inhabit it. It is everywhere around.

That the beauty of these creatures, including human beings, shall eventually fade and finally die, whose frail presences shall fade into eternal absences, where does that leave us? Wreckage, loss and absence. These truths wrought within us a sense of their beauty rooted in time and yet somehow transcending it. Mortality enables us to see darkness in light, and light in darkness. We remember their colors. How we felt in their presences, enlivened as if a thread of infinity held us and it was through them that we have felt most alive. Then there is our ability to imagine them when they’ve become ghosts, an ability that makes us feel loss keenly and yet the act of summoning these ghosts fills us. Thus beauty is ether–sullied by ghosts, clothed in memory, revisited by imagination. What is beauty but to have known fullness?

Beauty achieves forms that are expressions of the human soul. So beauty is form, and form beauty—a variant of Keatsian truth. The quest for ultimate truth leads us to beauty. To quote O’Donohue, “We were sent into the world alive with beauty. As soon as we choose Beauty, unseen forces conspire to guide and encourage us towards unexpected forms of compassion, healing and creativity.” We heal from our woundedness, are transfigured through feeling, suffering. Then the beauty of our own human soul becomes luminous. Beauty is, says O’Donohue, “the illumination of your soul.”

How do we begin to see beauty? When our souls awaken and begin to recognize the concealed beauty of our mystical world, our stance changes to one filled with reverence and longing. We become attuned to nature’s rhythm–day and night; the change of seasons. Beauty makes us love. Love discloses another’s sacred and secret identity. It allows us to see one another in the soul’s individuality. I see you. An African greeting, “sawa bona”. The response is “Sikhona” (“I am here”). The exchange means, “until you see me, I do not exist and when you see me, you bring me into existence.” The beauty of the human soul seen by another.

How do we begin to see beauty in suffering? When we experience unexpected grace, in whatever form. Our cover art, Sandro Botticelli’s The Annunciation, depicts the Virgin Mary being visited by the angel, Gabriel, receiving the message that she had been impregnated and would bear the son of God. That is a moment of grace and significance, made timeless through art. Isn’t life more meaningful if one is given a sense of some higher order? That kind of spirituality is surely how beauty resonates with soul. Is there beauty in mystery, you might ask.

Nature-inspired poems, creaturely poems, love poems, spiritual poems–would you have it within to find a note of sacred beauty somewhere? A reason to celebrate saying “I am here.” Above all, presence is beautiful, real or ghost.

Have you noticed?
how the immense circles still,
stubbornly, after a hundred years,
mark the grass where the rich droppings
from the roaring bulls
fell to the earth as the herd stood
day after day, moon after moon
in their tribal circle, outwaiting
the packs of yellow-eyed wolves that are also
have you noticed? gone now.

Mary Oliver, “Ghosts”

We hope you collaborate in our poetic quest.

Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 

 

***

Interpret the theme however you wish. Submit poems to us by email here.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 28 FEBRUARY 2016. SUBMISSIONS CLOSED. PDF RELEASE FORTHCOMING.

Please review the submission guidelines and then send us your poems in the body of an email.

Poems will be published in ongoing posts on this site. Each posting will be announced on the Red Wolf Journal page on Facebook. Your poem may be published at any time from November 2015 to February 2016 so please check back here. If you do not see your poem(s) appear, you may deem it as not accepted for publication. We will not be sending out any acceptance or rejection letters.

The entire collection will be released in PDF format in due course. An announcement will be made at that point.

Regards,
Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith
Winter 2015/2016 Editors

Release of Fall 2015 Issue 7 (PDF Edition)

We are pleased to announce the release of Red Wolf Journal’s Fall 2015 Issue 7.

Red Wolf Journal Fall 2015 Issue 7

The poets with work in this edition are:

Marilyn Braendeholm
Vivienne Blake
Mark Danowsky
Hannah Gosselin
Christopher Hileman
Nancy Iannucci
Tom Montag
Debi Swim

You are welcome to submit work to our upcoming Winter 2015 Issue 8. The theme is “Seeing Beauty”.

With pleasure,
Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith
Summer 2015 Editors