Category Archives: Projects

Publications: Wind Intervals

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I’m excited to announce that St Brigid Press will be publishing a beautiful letterpress edition of a selection of my poems, Wind Intervals, in late April — just in time for National Poetry Month.

The book will be hand-set in Bembo type, printed on a beautiful and rugged 1909 Golding Pearl treadle press on the other side of Afton Mountain at St Brigid’s not-entirely-top-secret headquarters, guarded by trees, a gregarious dog and stunning mountain views.

There will be a Standard Edition, hand-bound at the Press and limited to 150 numbered copies ($24), and a Special Edition, limited to 35 numbered and signed copies, printed on Revere Book mouldmade text paper and hand-bound with St Armand handmade covers ($35).

You can hear me read two of the poems from the book here on the St Brigid Press site.

The book’s publication date is April 28, 2017. We’ll gather at Black Swan for a book launch and reading. If you pre-order with St Brigid and cannot make the trek to Staunton, I’ll gladly sign copies at the launch before they are shipped.

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As you can imagine, creating a letterpress book involves considerable work, including setting each letter (and space!) by hand in metal type. On a Golding press, the type is actually suspended type-side down for printing (which somehow seems right for my poetry!) after being locked tightly into place by wooden blocks and metal quoins.

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I will keep you updated as work on Wind Intervals proceeds! Check out the St Brigid Press site for more information on the book, additional photos of the book creation process, and to hear two of the poems.

Full Moon — The Cheesesellers Wife

The moon has risen and it’s time to start the #fullmoonsocial! Thanks to the cheeseseller’s wife for the first tagged poem of the night…

Full Moon I wave at the man Smiling in his immensity Sketched out by mountains and lava flows And call him friend He has lit my way home Coloured my evenings Lit up my childhood With dreams of space travel How many others look up and see him this way The Man in the Moon? […]

via Full Moon — The Cheesesellers Wife

#FullMoonSocial Tonight!

 

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Big full harvest moon tonight. Let’s celebrate with another #fullmoonsocial! Any time after the moon rises (7:30 pm in my neck of the woods in Virginia) compose and post a poem and tag it #fullmoonsocial on WordPress, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I’ll try to keep up and re-post all the tagged poems I can find here on this site.

I know you’ve stared up at the moon wondering who else was doing the same at that very moment. Tonight, share your thoughts while you’re doing it.

See you tonight!

Interview with St Brigid Press

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“Much of our experience takes place in an interior landscape. But … the most mindful way to access that seems to be through the external landscape.”

Emily Hancock of St Brigid Press interviewed me May 20 at the SBP printshop in Afton, Virginia. You can hear the interview and read the transcript here.

St Brigid Press will be publishing a chapbook of my work, Wind Intervals, in the late summer.

After the Black Crow Comes to Take Me Away, I Compose These Lines

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Artwork by Mary Winifred Hood Schwaner

 

Note: This poem is not a translation but was created by free-associating with the traditional Chinese characters found one of Mei Yao-ch'en's last poems, written over 960 years ago. What's below is more a round of poetic archaeology--like digging up the characters that made up the poem but not knowing how they fit together, and piecing together something entirely different from them. I hope to actually translate this poem properly one day soon, but thought I would share this curious first stage of the work with you. ----JS

After The Black Spirit Comes to Take Me Away, I Compose These Lines

Dark winged spirit, in the olden days even I had compassion for you! I’d tell folks
who’d just as soon spit on you and curse you if fate came their way on your wings

that Oh! the hour could not contain you, you’d overturn your own nest to shoot out
like sound from a plucked string, even to banishment from your old landlord, time.

Well, the history books are wrong! And here you are, stranded as well, so do not be so quick to reproach these days, too, which the master apprehends, like a bullet flicked across the mind,

a thought just passing, now detached. Sure, you can eat till you’re plump in Taicang,
buy a new nest in Kaoshu township, daybreak’s rooster’s not crying for you,

hundreds of birds will argue who can admire it best
but you cannot approach that phoenix, that emperor, or peep down into its celestial fire.

At this moment, to no avail across the warp of the sky your spirit flies north and south—
Its shadow falls on the cunning rabbit but cannot peck its eyes, or separate the thief from his base.

It’s more complex now that I’m dead, detesting the person with noble aspirations is not the same as becoming fond of this tiny bird that’s come around. I know I’m not either kind,

contrary to who I am, as if I flourished in the Qin or Han dynasties, brave and chivalrous!
Want some advice? Distance yourself from your reputation, Crow. I’ll just carry on on foot. I’ve got

something final to look after.