My chapbook Silent Witnesses was a semifinalist in the 2018 Digging Press Chapbook competition. The winner was Awabi by Mandy-Suzanne Wong.
Silent Witnesses is three long poems, or really, a poem sequence, a long poem, and a poem written in the form of ten poems.
The “Barbed wire” sequence is a response to the work of fellow residents at Vermont Studio Center the summer of 2014, printmaker Rachel Allen and sculptor Rochelle Kulei. Their art explores issues of Native American identity and politics on and off reservation. Allen had done research into the push to invent barbed wire in the 19th century, and was toying with images of it in her work, musing about what she wanted to do with it. The poem series looks at barbed wire from various perspectives, as an ostensibly benign/pernicious/absurd fact of rural life, as a tool to enforce the concept of land ownership in the West, and as a bristly presence at a privately owned INS detention center in Rhode Island. The full sequence contains seven 1- to 2-page poems and two prose pieces. It has yet to be published.
“Encircling Earth: the center of our gravity” is an epic peace poem, first written at the beginning of the second invasion of Iraq, and performed between 2002 and 2013 at venues from Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health’s first International Day of Peace gathering to the American Friends Service Committee’s 10th year anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Other venues included: Apeiron Institute for Sustainable Living’s women’s festival; Starseed Sanctuary, the Greater Providence YMCA, Spirit Log, and Santosha Yoga Studio as part of my Walking as Spiritual Practice workshop; Breathing Time Yoga for the Pawtucket [RI] Arts Festival open studio day; and Bell Street Chapel, as part of a Unitarian Sunday service. I performed a shortened version with slides and music by Phil Edmonds at a PechaKucha Providence event, and with slides at Vermont Studio Center. I have rewritten and updated the poem as its vision of worldwide action for world peace has renewed urgency. Sadly its immediacy remains intact, and the phrase “since this latest war began rumbling” echoes with each new theater engaged. Older versions of the poem can be found here and here.
“Ten paper darts at one New Year’s” is not so much a sequence as one nested poem, written as if a particular evening could be summed up by a new poem at each of the chronological moments at which one of two old lovers might have left to drive home; as the poems progress, the story of the evening unfolds. It can be presented as seven pages of continuous, subheaded verse, or, as it was in Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, (Happy Holidays issue 2016): 11 ff., with each “poem” on a separate page.