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

Advertisements

Fall 2015 Issue 7: Making Art

Red Wolf Journal Issue 7 (Fall 2015)
Our theme: “Making Art”

Jan Davidsz. de Heem, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon-high res

Cover art: Jan Davidsz de Heem, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon

The poet, like the painter, needs to dwell in worldly things. As poets, you are engaged with language– words that often express relationships. As a person I am terribly interested in how we interact with objects. Their role is to anchor us in a personal and collective history. Art commemorates this such as through a still life painting. Our cover of Dutch painter Jan Davidsz de Heem’s painting, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon, was the subject of contemplation by American poet Mark Doty—how art stages a dialogue with reflexivity and represents pleasures of shapes, colors, textures and tastes, all held in “the generous light binding together the fragrant and flavorful productions of vineyard, marsh and orchard”. How does art move us? When we take in the lushness of the oysters, the transparency of the grapes, the tangy curls of lemon, Doty says we’re moved into “some realm where it isn’t a thing at all but something just on the edge of dissolving. Into what? Tears, gladness…Taken far inside.” Art holds us there, to be instructed, held in intimacy as it were, in an experience of tenderness, of warmth and presence.

Likewise good poems give us resonating images. The poet brings to his art a making of connections, yoking subjectivity to objects. In bringing memory and desire to the surfaces of things, language transforms objects into stories. A good poem dives into the interior. The past is often in the present. All is heightened awareness and ultimately the poem delves and then brings readers into something greater than their own consciousness. What making art does. It transcends the personal into a kind of impersonality which is Truth, which is God.

So in this issue, we invite poems that make art. You may interpret it however you wish—ekphrastic poems? Yes we love that. But not only that. Poems that have startling imagery. Poems that lay bare the process of making art. Poems that embody a certain aesthetic. Even haikus. (Coming from one who hardly writes haikus.) To me the best poems are the ones that reflect the aesthetic of your soul. To paraphrase Doty, “what stands before darkness stands close together” and is ultimately unparaphrasable.

Poems that treat objects as subjects. But are they really? Isn’t the perceiver the real subject? When you describe, what you describe then is “consciousness, the mind playing over the world of matter, finding there a glass various and lustrous enough to reflect back the complexities of the self that’s doing the looking” (Mark Doty, The Art of Description: World Into Word, 2010). How wondrous art is, and how one may find true solace in art.

***

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

SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 25 OCTOBER 2015. SUBMISSIONS CLOSED.

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 August to October 2015 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
Fall 2015 Editors

Summer 2015 Issue 6: Once Upon A Time

Red Wolf Journal Issue 6 (Summer 2015)
Our theme: “Once Upon A Time”

ibgwJ4WpSX8GfZ

Cover art: Marc Chagall, The Promenade

Poems are stories. As if you didn’t already know. But the stories are eclipsed in shadow so you only get half or a quarter of it. The half or quarter carries the weight of the whole. The best poems inscribe a mood through observed, almost incidental, details. The surface details and action delineate feelings. Feelings are the real deal. Stories are steeped in mystery and enchantment as the title of this volume suggests. They prescribe a path, a journey, a quest because stuff happens. Bad stuff. The reader is hooked. Does the story hold out a promise of the happy ending? The human story is ultimately, to me, a quest for identity (Who am I? What is my place in the universe? What is the meaning of this universe?), which is why the reader is vested in the experience of its telling. It seems a grandiose thing to ponder. It, in fact, is an everyday thing. An experiential thing. In a good poem there is transformation by the time you get to the end of it. The mundane can be pretty epic. Anything can be a story. Whether or not life is a fairy tale, I just like to believe that the best poems tell a love story. It’s as if we depend on stories to save us. It is love that saves us. It is we who save each other.

So you tell us a story in a poem. Rather than tell the whole story, your poem pivots on a lyrical moment– let the delicate rendering of a moment tell a story. “Once upon a time” might as well mean “once upon a moment”. Sometimes the poem is the story. What does the act of fictionalizing do? It either transcribes a reality that’s out there, or it creates a reality that doesn’t exist out there. That only you and your reader knows. Now isn’t that just fabulous? Now it doesn’t have to be clear-cut at all. Fantasy does, in truth, intrude into reality (we all daydream don’t we?) and the best poems also play on the idea of rupturing ordinary reality. Story, it turns out, is the reality we create.

***

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

SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 19 JULY 2015. SUBMISSIONS CLOSED.

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 May to July 2015 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
Summer 2015 Editors

Spring 2015 Issue 5: Here Comes The Sun

Red Wolf Journal Issue 5 (Spring 2015)
Our theme: “Here Comes The Sun”

herecomesthesun2

Cover art: Vincent Van Gogh, Three Sunflowers in a Vase

Amour, le jour se leve

SUBMISSIONS CLOSED

Life is full of strife. Not a bowl of roses. Yet it’s really about how you see, isn’t it? Notes of green, yellow, orange. These balance out, dominate, crowd out the shadows. The brown and the gray. Their presence fills the heart with song, yelling: here comes the sun (yea, The Beatles). We’re sun-worshippers. The sun is the center of your universe, as a lover is. Each day, when the sun goes up, is a moment of rebirth. We’re born again. Art, in tandem, is about making it new. As a trope in poetry, the sun is really about transcendence. Finding the sublime in the mundane. Experiencing joie de vivre. As practicing poets, we like to think art helps shine a light on the path.

One might also reframe this thing into an optimist/pessimist frame. Like Don Quixote believes in windmills and Hamlet believes in the nunnery. Both minds being tarred by the brush in which they paint. So maybe at the end of it all, you can balance out the entire composition. You, the poet. But just as we could do with a little sunshine, too much of it causes imbalance. Can we be blinded by the sun? Icarus flew too near the fireball and got burned. Hubris–overstretching, or too much belief in infallibility–seems to be a tragic flaw. We want to cling to the belief that we’re somehow divine, special, unique. Will we be undone? Are we saved? It all boils down to the consciousness that we each possess. We’re just beings who desperately need to see the light.

***

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

SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 12 APRIL 2015. SUBMISSIONS CLOSED.

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 February to April 2015 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
Spring 2015 Editors

Winter 2014-15 Issue 4

Submissions Now Open for Winter Issue 4. Theme: Play

Red Wolf Journal requests your submissions for its Winter 2014/2015 Issue #4, and invites your poems to “Play”.

Play sparks the imagination. It’s an actor’s word, maybe Gielgud playing Hamlet, or a child’s imaginative play as Freud described. Or perhaps playful pursuits of the heart, play the field, play around. We play a song, and fall under music’s spell. We play for time, for attention, play into someone’s hands. We play waiting games, we play chicken, play fast and loose, play hooky, play possum, and who amongst us hasn’t played the fool or played to the gallery.

Play stirs memories. As Thackeray said, “I’ve played a second fiddle all through life.” Play leads to regrets and bitterness. Play is deeply human. We play rough. Careless. Without thought. We play endlessly at being human.

Life and play are symbiotic, and not restricted to humans. Animals play. Kittens, puppies tussle and tug and learn as they play. We even suggest that nature plays – the wind playing with leaves, wind playing in the clouds …

Play includes risk. We play with fire, run with the hare and hunt with the hound. One child, on the swing, wants to go higher and higher “push me, push me!” she calls, while another sees monsters in shadows, and giggles away fright. Flirting, teasing, crawling into dark places–just to see what’s there–are all play. Play involves risk because life involves risk. Play is discovering our personal limits. Play is practise for… not-play.

So come and Play with us. Send us your poems that Play.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 21 December 2014

Please review the submission guidelines and send your poems in the body of an email to: redwolfjournal AT gmail DOT com. Please do not send attachments.

Poems are published on an on-going and random basis on this site. Each posting is announced on the Red Wolf Journal page on Facebook. Your poem may be published at any time from October 2014 to January 2015. The entire collection will be released in PDF format in January 2015.

Regards
The Editors of the Winter 2014 Issue

Red Wolf Journal is a periodic publication of Red Wolf Poems (formerly known as We Write Poems).

Fall 2014 Issue 3

Red Wolf Journal Issue 3 (Fall 2014).
Our theme: “Celebration and Ritual”

Roses_and_Urn_coverimage

Cover artwork: Roses and Urn © Carin Ingalsbe

Celebration and Ritual:

The two words are a call for a gathering of poems to be included in Red Wolf Journal, Issue 3. The two words are an intention for reflection, nothing more.

Ceremonies and rituals have always been the milestones of human experience. Baptisms, weddings, funerals, anniversaries, the changing of the seasons have long mapped the course of our collective experience.

The universe of nature provides the setting for mankind’s need for ceremony and ritual. The order of solstices, the oceans, the sun, moon and stars are the altar of the marriage between man and nature.

And there are the more intimate personal rituals and ceremonies — the dining table, Sunday mornings, ways of greeting, a cup of tea – the signs and symbols that are the measure of one’s daily life.

And then there is the universe of human consciousness – the life of the mind – where exist the most subtle forms of order and design. Language, and in particular the language of poetry, is in some way a celebration and a ritual.

The poet carefully selects words and constructs a poem as a message of meaning, emerging from the images in a moment, a scene, a lifetime. The very act of turning language into a poem is a ceremony of the poet’s vision, a ritual as it transfers meaning in the vessel of its imagery.

Any poem, modern or ancient, rhythmic or free form, celebrates or mourns the minute and the limitless: a table set with a small meal, a night sky mapped by stars.

Each time a writer engages with language it is a ritual: using words to describe in a unique voice an aspect of our shared humanity. Poetry can express our deep need for words to express emotions, ideas, a sense of place, a belief or fear.

Poems can capture the celebrations/rituals that are flamboyant, colorful: the rhythm of dance and music in a wild street parade; or they can convey the sense of solitude in an individual ritual — an unexpected moment of reflection, thanks, sorrow in the way a tree is framed in a familiar field.

Poetry is generous with its meanings, and our hope is that many poems submitted to Red Wolf Journal will reflect upon and speak of these major themes.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 25 September, 2014. SUBMISSIONS CLOSED.

Please review the submission guidelines and then send us your poems via email to: redwolfjournal AT gmail DOT com.

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 June to September 2014 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 October 2014. An announcement will be made at that point.

SUBMISSIONS CLOSED.

Regards,
Peter Roundy and Grace Harriman
Fall 2014 Editors

Red Wolf Journal is a periodic publication of Red Wolf Poems (formerly known as We Write Poems).

redwolficon

Summer 2014 Issue 2

Red Wolf Journal now invites submissions for Issue 2 (Summer 2014).
Our theme: “The River: Within Us and Without Us”

Water, especially rivers, has been rooted in the human consciousness perhaps since the beginning of our existence as a species. Rivers are natural borders and boundaries, and by crossing them one transitions from one world into another. Consider the world’s myths and religious stories: the four rivers in the Garden of Eden, Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, the Ganges as a vehicle of ascent to heaven, the Styx as a boundary between Earth and the Underworld. There are also transitions of state, such as slaves crossing the Ohio River into freedom.

Rivers are also arteries, the lifelines of communities, which bring goods and people. Rivers can carry us, and we watch the landscape, people, and even the weather changes as we flow with them. Those same rivers are destructive forces, erasing entire homes, even communities, as they rage past.

Rivers are metaphors of time, sequence, and change. Rivers can begin with a lake, or a rivulet of melted snow — so all things have a beginning. Rivers flow one direction, have an origin point, and flow in one direction until they empty…somewhere. As Michael Stipe put it, “The ocean is the river’s goal”. Rivers branch out into little tributaries and watersheds, symbolic of endless possibilities and choices.

Rivers are represented in changes in time and season, in color, smell and sound. We approach spring and the newness of life by testing the temperature of the water and finding unexpected blossoms near its banks. Rivers nourish and refresh us in the summer heat. Before we put on the fall clothing, we watch the river wear the autumn leaves. In its winter-white ice, it is most quiet and most deadly.

Rivers can signify the continuance of life itself, both in the physical and the spiritual sense. Consider the Buddhist idea of the mindstream — the continual stream of our awareness (or personality, depending on which school you consult). Consider humanity itself as a river: through our connections to others, we are part of a constant flow of ideas, emotions, and even love which came from somewhere up the stream, flows through us, and onto the next person. Each family and its generations can be thought of as a river, with a genesis, tributaries, and perhaps an eventual end. Even human language itself can be thought of as a river — our words have roots further upstream in time and change as the river of language flows onward.

We invite you to submit for our theme, “The River: Within Us and Without Us”. Poems may speak to anything we’ve said and certainly things we haven’t yet said. As your soul is “as deep as the rivers”, as Langston Hughes put it, we want to read about it in a way that we’ve never seen before. Show us how the river which draws your soul travels.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS MAY 18, 2014.

Please review the submission guidelines and then send us your poems via email to: redwolfjournal AT gmail DOT com. Issue 2’s poems will publish all at once, in early June. We look forward to seeing your river poems.

Regards,
Nicole Nicholson and Tawnya Smith
Summer 2014 Editors

Red Wolf Journal is a periodic publication of Red Wolf Poems (formerly known as We Write Poems).

wewritepoems-banner

Spring 2014 Issue 1

Red Wolf journal is now inviting submissions for our first themed publication!
RWJ 2014.1 covxCover artwork: Cocoon 2 © Catrin Welz-Stein, used with permission.
 
          Home is where we have a history.    Terry Tempest Williams
 
Welcome to the inaugural Red Wolf Journal, Spring 2014 , Issue 1.
 
We invite your poems submitted to our theme, “The Art of Habitation”. Poems that are engaged with the idea of dwelling, whether the feeling is one of rootedness or a lack of it. Is it a fixed idea or constantly changing? Does it require negotiation?
 
Look also at language and the root sources here. Precisely who is doing the habitation, and into what or whom is that happening. Boundaries are (mostly?) a matter of mental process, so look at those lines and suggest to us what and where is the nature of habitation.
 
Poems might explore both personal and communal landscapes. Poems may evoke a sense of place and time, may deal with family and origin. Poems might be as tangible as the Ming vase residing in your home, as small as daddy’s tie-pin, as fragrant as ginger and spice in a family dish. On another plane, poems may describe urban spaces like the café you constantly inhabit to write, as well as rural spaces of your childhood – the farm, living close to the earth, to grain and harvest – or the big country within your roving horizon wherein lions and deer still roam.
 
Poems could express a sense of what home means. Make meaning out of history.
 
Writing is naming. Define the flower by the name you choose. Is it the stargazer lily in Catrin’s cover art? I googled for lilies and accidentally discovered that “lily of the valley” is the name of the lovely sprig at home. What joy. Imagine seeing it daily without ever knowing its name. As there’s value in naming people and things in poems. It is perhaps called “the art of habitation”. Things, inanimate, shimmer with history too. You get to say.
 
Terry Tempest Williams says, if we do not know their names, then “we are living a life without specificity, and then our lives become abstractions. Then we enter a place of true desolation”. How you call a flower saturates a poem with a mode of seeing. Tiger lilies. Irises. What do the names mean to you? What does Uncle Harvey mean to you? Answer it in a poem that interlaces present and past. Give us poems that speak of moments spent with family or of the people, real or fictional, who populate your world. Poems as acts of witnessing the dead and the living. Poets as memoirists. Be specific in your poems. By doing so you fill the world of your poem with affectional ties. Yes, feeling. That, perhaps, is what the reader came looking for.
 
Go through your drawers of poems. Bring them out. One by one. Then share it with us. Poem by poem. There is no cap to the number of poems you can share. Throughout Spring, submit one or a few poems at a time. As long as it moves us, we’ll publish it one blog post at a time. How does one know it’s poetry? What Emily Dickinson says, for a poem to make us “feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off”. If that seems asking too much, then how about just focus on moments of attention to your environs? Try to put some roots into it so the poem feels somehow like a tree. Metaphorically speaking.
 
There is value in doing this on a common platform, we believe. We like polyphonic voices. It gives us a common sense of belonging. And you know community is a highly intimate space.
 
Submission is now open and shall remain open for the duration of the current journal, which runs from February to April 2014. Selected poems will be published first in blog posts and thereafter we’ll collect them into a PDF format publication.
 
Please read the submission guidelines page.  Submit poems to us by email here.
 
We hope your poems find a home here in our Spring 2014 Issue. Submit now.
 

Irene Toh & Neil Reid
Spring 2014 editors
 
Red Wolf journal is a periodic publication of We Write Poems, Irene Toh & Neil Reid, administrators.
wewritepoems-banner_rwj