Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Howdy from Nancy C

Warm wishes from the land of wild cold rivers and also sweet warm bogs.  Izi and I just spent a solid hour dog paddling together in my parents' pond where the dream of water is alive and well in shafts of sunlight.  Tonight is Michelle's concert.  The gardens grow.  All systems go.  I'm typing from a phone so I will keep this short and hope you all can see the cyanotype David helped me finish complete with a poem made of our  names.  Peace! Nancy

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sojourns in the Parallel World - Denise Levertov

Several folks have asked for the Denise Levertov poem we read one morning before hoisting our fresh flags and rowing downriver. 
With a promise to post something of my own down the road, I attach her poem below, as reproduced at http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/sojourns-parallel-world


      Sojourns in the Parallel World
       Denise Levertov, 1923 - 1997

 We live our lives of human passions,
cruelties, dreams, concepts,
crimes and the exercise of virtue
in and beside a world devoid
of our preoccupations, free
from apprehension--though affected,
certainly, by our actions. A world
parallel to our own though overlapping.
We call it “Nature”; only reluctantly
admitting ourselves to be “Nature” too.
Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, wind
conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering
of fire to coal--then something tethered
in us, hobbled like a donkey on its patch
of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free.
No one discovers
just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again
into our own sphere (where we must
return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)
--but we have changed, a little.

By Denise Levertov, from Sands of the Well. Copyright © 1996 by Denise Levertov. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Of Songs and Silt

Hello good writers! I am just starting to come down off my first "river high" and hope you all are adjusting back to normal life fairly well. The songs of the river still ring in my head, and I hope they will not fade anytime soon.

I'm starting off the sharing with a sestina I wrote during the trip, which proved to be more enjoyable than challenging. I hope you enjoy it, and please don't be shy to share as well.
                                                                                                                                 -Alex A.

Long After

Like smooth syrup we float
Down Chitina’s glinting face.
Underneath our raft slides heavy silt
Remnant of glacier shadow
Rocks for rattles, she hisses like snakes
While into porphyry rock she carves.

Sun kissed skin, matted hair, in waves we carve
Oars for chisels, our work fades as we float
Our paper legacy lost in the thin grey snake.
Head on into boils we face
The waves, and shiver in clouds’ shadow
All this to run our fingers through glacial silt.

Next morn, cowboy coffee is thick as silt
In camp where rivers’ confluence carves
A land of fleeting shadows.
Upon the breeze the hornet floats
Thin-skinned creatures flee his face
His bite as fierce as any snake.

Afternoon, down slanted bluffs gullies snake
Give the river an offering of silt.
Ash trees write on hillside face
With callous mining roots they carve.
Only the dead break loose and float
To drift beyond Fireweed’s shadow.

Long before seeing jetliner’s shadow
Where tar and gravel rivers snake
Years ago copper would float
On iron beasts that spewed black silt.
In granite heavy tracks would carve
But then decay on canyon’s face.

Long after midnight sun forgets my face
One day when sinks my shadow
Into earth where rivers carve
Sun still will shine on the golden snake
Who carries down her silver silt.
In Chitina, my own silt will float.


Presented by the Wrangell Mountains Center in partnership with McCarthy River Tours & Outfitters, the 2015 Riversong writing workshop hosted a spectacular rafting adventure down the Kennicott, Nizina, Chitina, and Copper Rivers. Students honed poetry, prose, and songwriting skills with the quality instruction of Franks Soos, Nancy Cook, Michelle McAfee, Robin Child, and David Grimes. This blog is an outlet for workshop participants to share original works, photos, videos, and music from the 2015 workshop. For more information about Riversong and future workshops, please visit http://www.wrangells.org/writing/ .

Riversong participants, please feel free to share your creations and memories from the trip by posting on this blog- consider this a digital campfire round!