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

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

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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

Release of Spring 2015 Issue 5 (PDF edition)

herecomesthesun2

We’re pleased to announce that the Spring 2015 Issue 5 can be downloaded here.

Red Wolf Journal Spring 2015 v2

The poets with work in this edition are:

Vivienne Blake
Marilyn Braendeholm
Bobbi Buchanan
Alan Catlin
Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
Christopher Hileman
A J Huffman
Ron. Lavalette
Alan Toltzis
Martin Willitts Jr
Barbara Young

Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith
Spring 2015 Editors

New Poetry Collections

Poets have an online presence these days. Over time, a prodigious volume of poems has been posted in blogs. Blogs garner international readers and are not confined to ivory towers. The accessibility of poems posted on blogs is remarkable. Self-publishing is either a levelling up or a dumbing down. Both are true.

Blogs help facilitate the creative process in another way. A notable strategy of Internet poets is to write to prompts. A writing prompt gets posted and within a day or two, you’ll see poems written in response by poets from all over the map. I myself fall under this category of poets. Call it speed poeming. It is a moot point as to whether poems can be any good if they’re written fast. Such arguments are facetious as one judges a poem on its own merit and disregards all else. A poem can definitely be revisited and improved upon if necessary.

There is, of course, the real question of which poems make the cut. It is a question worth pondering. In any case, this is the context which I’m vested in and in which I am now writing and making a small announcement.

Red Wolf Editions is pleased to announce the release of two poetry collections in PDF format.

The first is a collection of 50 poems by Christopher Hileman. The poems arose precisely out of the context of which I have spoken—posted on the poet’s blog. I have made a selection and put them together as a poetry collection. They are meant to be representative of the poet’s mesmerizing work.

Having Taken Vows collection cover

Cover artwork: Carmen © by Catrin Welz-Stein

HAVING TAKEN VOWS
By Christopher Hileman

Christopher Hileman’s poems in this collection shine. But if you feel the blaze in the words, you feel the ashes too. These poems are courtly, filled with longing, passion, gratitude, despair. Startlingly accessible in their human range, they oft use the lover as mage, always part of a spiritual quest. The poems feel like soliloquys. You’ll feel the tenderness and poignancy, hope and truth, dream and reality, flight and fall, all tangled up, finely wrought. As if the poet had sat at an overnight loom as he formed a blanket for spiritual comfort. In all of this, amidst all of love’s yearning, God is never far.

“I live in squirming under
God’s wide ranging eyes
And all things would shift, and I
Love you for this dream.”
–“Having Taken Vows”

These poems are about finding truth in heart.

Download the collection here.
Having Taken Vows First Collection

The second is a collection of 118 poems written in collaboration between Christopher and myself. It was a series of poems which addressed the other. Most of it happened at a daily pace over April 2014. As poets, we were writing in fantasy, or in a fictionalized mode. Stepping out of it now, fevered pitch gone, it felt like the poems had fallen out of the sky. For being forged in an intense process that lasted for as long as it did, the collection has raw and fortuitous energy.

DUET collection cover

Cover artwork: The Moon Ship © by Catrin Welz-Stein

DUET
By Christopher Hileman and Irene Toh

Poetry duets work as a kind of dialog, not unlike the old haiku orations of the teahouse that were made up on the spot and traded back and forth by poets gathered there of an afternoon. These poems were written in collaboration. The first poem was written on 27 March 2014, inspired by the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian plane, MH370, on 8 March 2014. It was carrying 239 passengers. The plane’s wreckage was never found. If there’s any connection at all to these poems, it is perhaps the mystery of life on our planet. We come up with stories. That’s all we can do. These poems mythologize, speak a kind of ineffable love whose essence is both permanence and fragility. In the process, they seem to weave a precious, breakable thread that runs through life and art. The last poem in this collection, dated 20 June 2014, may be viewed simply as part of a piece of tape that had been snipped off.

“So which secretion is yours,
from ripeness and sun
and which mine from sour
grapes all in a bunch?”
–Christopher Hileman, “I So Very Much Love You”

“What is heaven except in stooping
to sweet apples fallen? Sphere
an Edenic fruit: to know is heaven.”
–Irene Toh, “Heaven Is A Deacon”

Download the collection here.
Duet Collection

These two collections birthed on the Internet are a testimony of the times in which we live. They’re the hippie version of publishing: belief in community and free love in the pursuit of poetic vision. The reason we do this is of the highest order. I leave you with a quote by Walt Whitman:

[and that the world is not joke,
Nor any part of it a sham].

–Walt Whitman, “I Am The Poet”