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Not Alone, by Carmel Mawle

Not Alone

By Carmel Mawle

“If you’re writing or editing or working on a book right now, it may be incredibly difficult because the future is so uncertain, but every word you put on paper is an affirmation of the fact that there will be a future. It’s a profound act of faith.”  ~ Talia Lavin

How are you holding up during this Corona Virus crisis, dear Writers? I wanted to reach out to say, though we may be isolating, you are not alone.

I am heartened to hear the many ways our community is working to help each other. Writers are sewing masks and raising money to purchase protective equipment for those on the front lines. They are delivering food and pharmaceuticals to their at-risk neighbors. And they are advocating for each other, sharing information about the virus and ways we can disinfect our groceries and mail.

While we likely share common fears, this crisis will affect each of us uniquely. For some, the isolation further compounds struggles with anxiety and depression, and some, with children and other family members home, have lost the quiet time when they did most of their writing. Remember to take care of yourselves, as well as others. Take time for daily prayer and meditation, listening to the music that reminds you of the miracle of this consciousness we share, eat for nutrition and joy, read books that nurture your happiness, take a nap. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Ultimately, writing is a solitary act. It could be that putting pen to page has prepared us for this Covid-19 isolation in ways many others are not. Those of us who are naturally introverted may even thrive in this solitude. If you are fortunate enough to find increasing energy during this time of quiet, I know you’ll remember to reach out to friends who are struggling.

Whether or not the challenges of writing for peace are greater, your words and wisdom are needed now more than ever in our lifetime. I hope you are all preparing your work for our Summer DoveTales. Continue to speak out, advocate, and resist.

Below are some emergency numbers. Take care of yourself. We’ll get through this. You’re not alone.


Dial 211 for United Way Hotline

A free and confidential service that helps people across North America find the local resources they need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Our advocates are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) in more than 200 languages. All calls are free and confidential.


Be safe and well. And keep in touch.

Carmel Mawle is founder of the nonprofit literary organization, Writing for Peace, and has served as Editor-in-Chief of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts since 2013. A Pushcart Nominee, her short stories, essays and poetry have been published in literary journals and anthologies, including Smokelong Quarterly and Shake the Tree Anthology.

 

Thanks to Adviser Dinty W. Moore for sharing Talia Lavin‘s perfect quote (above).

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

RESISTANCE: Brad Wetzler on Guest Editing Our 2020 Summer DoveTales

I’m honored to have been chosen to edit the summer edition of DoveTales, which will be published on August 1st.  While serving on the board for the past two years,  I’ve  seen Writing for Peace  grow into a mighty force for peace on this precious planet.  Not only does the organization publish important new and established voices dedicated to creating a more peaceful world, but, through our youth writing programs, we plant the seeds for the next generation of writers who will be forced to face new and more complex world issues.

As a theme for the volume,  I’ve selected  “Resistance.”  Why? Because, well, it’s time.  History’s greatest peacemakers, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela, have taught us that peace is never passive. Sometimes those of us who love peace must do more than be living examples of peace. We must act, do, rise up, bang the gong, take to the streets. It’s obvious that now is one of these times. By any peaceful means necessary, we must resist the backdoor decisions and cruel acts of power-mongering politicians and corporate leaders who would create suffering for the world’s citizens, especially the vulnerable and powerless. We must use our voices and vast numbers to stop the madness and bring attention back to the one thing we all share in common: our humanity.

I’m looking forward to seeing the different ways our contributors interpret “Resistance.” I know we will publish thoughtful essays, articles, fiction and poetry, as well as art and photography that illuminates the path forward for us warriors of peace.  I can’t think of a more timely topic or a more important project to be part of.

Submit your work for our summer edition of DoveTales, Resistance, here.


A former senior editor and contributing editor at Outside magazine, Brad Wetzler is an author, journalist, and editor with twenty-plus years’ experience at the highest levels of publishing. His book, Real Mosquitoes Don’t Eat Meat, was published by W.W. Norton’s Countryman Press. He has written hundreds of articles and essays for top publications including The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times Book Review, Newsweek, GQ, Wired, National Geographic, Yoga Journal, Men’s Journal, George, and Outside.. His writing has been anthologized in the Best American Travel Writing series, Outside 25: The Best of Outside Magazine’s First 25 Years, and Traveler’s Tales. He penned Outside’s popular monthly Wildfile column and Universal Press Syndicate’s Adventuring column. He taught nonfiction writing as an associate professor of English at The College of Santa Fe and as a faculty member of The Book Project at Denver’s Lighthouse Writers Workshop. He’s given keynote addresses about writing at the University of Colorado Boulder, New Mexico State University, and other venues. He is the founder and lead book-writing coach at Memoir Academy and Nonfiction Academy. A certified yoga instructor, he teaches vinyasa yoga at Corepower Yoga in Boulder, Colorado. Brad holds a masters’ degree in journalism (magazine writing and publishing) from Northwestern University.


In other W4P News

2020 Youth Summit:

With schools moving online in response to the Covid-19 health emergency, many of our professors who are working very hard to prepare their classes and students for these crisis changes. As a result, the 2020 Youth Summit has been postponed until further notice.

Help Wanted:

Writing for Peace is looking for grant writers with experience in grant writing for literary and youth nonprofits. Contact us at mawlecarmel@gmail.com with “W4P Grant Writing” in the subject heading.

 

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

W4P Book Review: My Name Is Immigrant, by Wang Ping

In keeping with our goal of developing empathy, compassion, and awareness through education and creative writing, Writing for Peace is encouraging expanded reading through our partnership with Poetic Justice Books.

My Name Is Immigrant

by Wang Ping

Hanging Loose Press. 2020. 130 pp. $18.00. ISBN 978-1-934909-66-9

reviewed by Robert Kostuck

 

Old Home

“The population of Chinese immigrants in the United States has grown nearly seven-fold since 1980, reaching almost 2.5 million in 2018, or 5.5 percent of the overall foreign-born population. Whereas in 1980 Chinese immigrants did not appear among the ten largest foreign-born groups in the United States, China in 2018 replaced Mexico as the top sending country. After immigrants from Mexico and India, the Chinese represented the third largest group in the U.S. foreign-born population of nearly 45 million in 2018.” (1)

Wang Ping’s tenth book resonates with some of her previous themes, opened once again for deeper and wider exploration. The immigrant experiences are here, alternating with the cockleshell picker stories, all presented like random flowers that together form a bouquet. The title piece winds backwards and forward through time. The immigrants are generations of family, communicating with letters, envelopes, stamps. The charge is an electric current running with a branching blood line, and Wang finds her place among the many who left China and those who returned.

At sixteen, my father ran away from his widowed mother, to fight the Japanese. “I’ll come back with a Ph.D. and serve my country with better English and knowledge,” I pledged at the farewell party in Beijing, 1986.

Back from America, my mother furnished her apartment on the island, bought a new one in a suburb of Shanghai, and is seeking a third in Beijing. “A cunning rabbit needs three holes,” she wrote to us, demanding our contributions. They swore, before boarding the ship, that they’d send money home to bring more relatives over; in return, they were promised that if they died, their bodies would be sent back home for burial. I drink American milk—a few drops in tea. I eat American rice—Japanese brand. Chinese comes to me only in dreams—in black-and-white pictures. My mother buried her husband on the island of the East China Sea, where he lived for almost fifty years, after he ran away at sixteen, from his old home on the Yellow Sea. (“Lao Jia | Old Home”)

And those who lack the money, means, or connections. Here Wang gives a voice to those who are dispossessed. One feels her reaching out to embrace everyone who seeks a safe haven. Her research is evident in her poetic storytelling. Here, truly, form follows function. In an earlier book she brings forward the named and the unnamed. What’s missing in the American immigrant/migrant discussion is this lack of names. When experience is generic it becomes amorphous and gray, and unfortunately, boring. It becomes something we can scroll past, only registering the thought, Just another statistic. Stories are about people.

In this new book she gives out as many names as she can, for when experience is generic it becomes amorphous, gray, and generic.

Jakelin Caal Maquin was seven years old from Guatemala. She developed fever soon after she was separated from her father at the border. Within thirty-six hours, she died of cardiac arrest, brain swelling and liver failure.

Seventeen days later, Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, an eight-year-old boy from Guatemala, died of cardiac arrest, brain swelling and liver failure within thirty-six hours, soon after he crossed the border. (“Buried on Christmas Eve”)

an empty wave
ten thousand voices
broadcast the pain
please, oh please call our names
Chen Xinhan, Zhen Shimin
even if you can’t say them right
Lin Guoshui, Chen Dajie
even if you don’t know our origin or age
Wang Xin, Huang Changpin
please, oh please call us
raise our shadows from the moss
be gentle as you call our names (“Calling Ghosts from the Golden Venture”)

In pieces like “How To Cross the Line,” “An Immigrant Carol” and “Hui Jia | Circling Home” she all too briefly limns vignettes from her own past. Spaced throughout the book the author’s story blends with the immigrant stories of China, Syria, Guatemala, Honduras,

At fourteen, I left home on the big island of the East China Sea. I worked in a fishing village, for the one-in-a-million chance to go to college. I never returned. Three years later, I left the village to study English in Hangzhou. I never returned to the island. I left Hangzhou for Beijing University. My college dream came true at twenty-two. I left China in 1986, to pursue my Ph.D. at NYU. I never returned. “Go back home!” Americans scream, from streets, colleges, social media. Still, I never went back. I drift farther away from Weihai, my lao jia, carrying that old earth in my dreams. (“Hui Jia | Circling Home”)

 

Cockleshells

“The Morecambe Bay cockling disaster (Chinese: 拾貝慘案 Shí bèi cǎn’àn, “cockle-picking tragedy”) occurred on the evening of 5 February 2004 at Morecambe Bay in North West England, when at least 21 Chinese undocumented immigrant labourers were drowned by an incoming tide after picking cockles off the Lancashire coast.

David Anthony Eden, Sr., and David Anthony Eden, Jr., a father-and-son from England, had unlawfully hired a group of Chinese workers to pick cockles; they were to be paid £5 per 25 kg of cockles, (9p per lb.), far less than the typical local rate at the time.  The Chinese had been imported unlawfully via containers into Liverpool, and were hired out through local criminal agents of international Chinese Triads. The cockles to be collected are best found at low tide on sand flats at Warton Sands, near Hest Bank. The Chinese workers were unfamiliar with local geography, language, and custom. They were cut off by the incoming tide in the bay around 9:30 p.m.” (2)

Wang Ping has touched on the Morecambe Bay disaster before, notable in Ten Thousand Waves, and here she intersperses the body of her current book with vignettes told in the voices of those who died. Interestingly, David Anthony Eden, Sr., and David Anthony Eden, Jr. who hired the workers were cleared of any charges involved in these deaths.(2) In researching this disaster this reviewer found an archival website of jokes and alleged witticisms centered on these deaths.

Again, by giving names to the deceased Wang manages to bring each individual into focus. While we may not be able to see them as clearly as in a photograph, still, we can at least see a real person.

We pat the sand, we pat the san
Teasing cockles to the cold surface
We dig, we pick, we break our back
Bagging cockles for two pounds
They say we can return
When the bag is full (“Cockle Pickers: Wu Hongkang”)

Every night since I left home
I’ve been folding a boat
To rest my aching bones
How thin is the paper
Paler than winter (“Cockle Pickers: Chen Aiqin”)

The lichee tree we planted is blossoming
White flowers hide under dark green
The first moon comes and goes
But I haven’t returned as promised (“Cockle Pickers: Lin Guohua”)

The water is up to my chest
The boss got the time wrong
I can’t get back in time
This is my last call from the sea
Oh darling, can you hear me
Through raging waves
Washing me to the bay? (“Cockle Pickers: Guo Binglong”)

To not forget this tragedy is this poet’s calling. Through these memories she is able to establish a framework that shows how immigration is never smooth and does not always have a happy ending. She brings this forward in her writings about named contemporary migrants, showing how the tragic lines began long ago – even before Morecambe Bay – and bring us to the present. Central America, Syria, North Africa, the stateless Rohingya and Kurds—the list is finite but daunting. According to the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “The number of international migrants globally reached an estimated 272 million in 2019, an increase of 51 million since 2010.”(3)

Many flee repression, ethnic cleansing, drug wars, and genocide. Wang’s messages in the Cockle Pickers poems is that we should remember that migration is not an anomaly but an ongoing crisis. Can we open our arms, even a little, even for a short span of time? Can we practice acknowledgement, acceptance, and respect? Can we open our hearts? Can we share? We can. We will.

There is a homily that addresses this never-ending movement of people across the globe, and how we can honorably respond: “When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a bigger fence.”

(1) https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/chinese-immigrants-united-states

(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Morecambe_Bay_cockling_disaster

(3) https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/international-migrant-stock-2019.html


Robert Kostuck is an M.Ed. graduate from Northern Arizona University. Recently published fiction, essays, and reviews appear or are forthcoming in the anthologies Everywhere Stories, Vols. II and III, Manifest West, Vol. VI, and DoveTales Vols. IV—VII; and many print and online journals including Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Southwest Review, Louisiana Literature, Free State Review, Zone 3, Saint Ann’s Review, Bryant Literary Review, Concho River Review, Flyway: A Literary Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Silk Road, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Crab Creek Review, Takahē Magazine, Roanoke Review, EVENT, and Tiferet. He is currently working on short stories, essays, and novels. He lives near an ocean; his heart belongs to the Chihuahua and Sonora deserts, and certain parts of Nova Scotia.

 

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

E. Ethelbert Miller Joins W4P, and Other Exciting News

E. Ethelbert Miller Joins Writing for Peace

“Peace is linked to harmony, our relationship between people as well as with nature. Peace might be linked to calm and stillness but it is also fluid. It is always something we should be moving towards. Peace is also the measurement of the heart and the capacity to love. Our desire but failure to find the ‘strength to love’ is often why peace is so difficult to maintain.”

~E. Ethelbert Miller, Writer, Literary Activist, Writing for Peace Adviser

Writing for Peace welcomes E. Ethelbert Miller to our Panel of Advisers. Mr. Miller is the Featured Writer in our current DoveTales Online, and brings a wealth of experience to our panel through a lifetime of literary activism.

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the author of two memoirs and several books of poetry including The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, a comprehensive collection that represents over 40 years of his work. For 17 years Miller served as the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. His poetry has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. Miller is a two-time Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel. He holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from Emory and Henry College and has taught at several universities.

Miller is host of the weekly WPFW morning radio show On the Margin with E. Ethelbert Miller and host and producer of The Scholars on UDC-TV. In recent years, Miller has been inducted into the 2015 Washington DC Hall of Fame and awarded the 2016 AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature and the 2016 DCMayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor. In 2018, he was inducted into Gamma Xi Phi and appointed as an ambassador for the Authors Guild. Miller’s most recent book If God Invented Baseball, published by City Point Press, was awarded the 2019 Literary Award for poetry by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

In W4P other news~

Looking Ahead to Summer 2020 DoveTales

Brad Wetzler has agreed to be our Guest Editor for the Summer edition of DoveTales Online, published on August 1st. A former senior editor at Outside magazine, Brad Wetzler is a writer, journalist, and editor best known for his magazine feature stories and essays. His work has appeared in respected publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Wired, GQ, Men’s Journal, Best American Travel Writing, and Outside, where he is a current contributing editor. Stay tuned for more details!

Exciting Writing for Peace Book News

Congratulations to Writing for Peace Advisers Veronica Golos, Djelloul Marbrook, Wang Ping and Patricia Jabbeh Wesley on the publication of their latest books! These wonderful advisers continue to challenge and inspire us through their work. Watch here for coming reviews and please support their work by purchasing their books and/or asking your local librarians to make them available to their patrons.

Adviser Veronica Golos, Girl

“Once, several years ago, on the mesa between Tetilla peak and the Santa Fe River gorge, I saw what I believe to this day was a wolf running. I believed at the time the creature was male. Now I am certain there was a girl inside. This new conclusion because I have finished reading (and studying) Veronica Golos’s wonder, entitled GIRL from Andrea Watson’s 3: A Taos Press. No other poet inhabits persona as completely as does Veronica. GIRL is a masterpiece of shifting formal and free space and time. This is the creation of a master linguistic geographer. The space of the narrative defies topology. Time becomes rhythm becomes JAZZ. The music morphs from species to species. The lyric becomes prayer, becomes rant, becomes an evolutionary triptych. Every gender on the planet should go buy this book and read it, to each other, to their lovers, to their daughters, to their sons, to their parents, to their husbands, to their wives, to their friends, to their confessors, to their shamans, There are truths inside. “INSIDE EVERY WOLF IS A GIRL.”  ~Gary Worth Moody

Adviser Djelloul Marbrook: Lying Like Presidents, New & Selected Poems, 2001-2019

Governments are prone to becoming sinkholes of lies. Sometimes whole societies are swallowed by them. “Lying Like Presidents,” the title poem of prize-winning poet  Djelloul Marbrook’s new and collected poems, is a meditation in cantos on this horrific history. The work explores how our minds rewrite and invent memories to light our footsteps towards the kind of persons we aspire to be. The lies we tell ourselves, the poet says, can transfigure our lives—or the opposite.

Here is an opportunity to savor the breadth and depth of this surprising poet in one volume. No library should be without Lying Like Presidents.

 

Adviser Wang Ping, My Name is Immigrant

“Bleeding dreams and hungry ghosts move about Wang Ping’s latest collection, building up deposits of rage, shame and sometimes mercy. Her truth telling emerges from a deep well, describing the movement of people and the stories, the hope, and the desire they carry with them across deserts and oceans, over walls and through every barrier. The age-old question remains, with sharp clarity in these pages⁠—who among us decides who is allowed in, accepted, celebrated?” ~M.L. Smoker, Montana Co-Poet Laureate

Adviser Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Praise Song for My Children, New and Selected Poems

“Patricia Jabbeh Wesley is unequivocal about the uses of poetry, of her poetry—she is determined to trade in truth, in the power of experience, in the beauty of language to alarm and delight and in the challenge she willingly bears to be an instrument of witness and articulation for her people—for Africa, for women, for the lovers of poetry. In Praise Song for My Children, we encounter a poet at the height of her skills and at the height of her clarity about the world and what things must be spoken into it. But we are blessed to be given an insight into how she arrives at this place of power—it is a remarkable selection of some of the most urgent poems to emerge out of the wars of Liberia. Here is work of incredible joy, deepest lamentation, and necessary hope. It is a sure testament.” ~ Kwame Dawes

Dear readers and writers for peace, we encourage you to purchase all your books from Poetic Justice Books, a like-minded business that donates a portion of their proceeds to Writing for Peace. Thank you for supporting an Independent Book Seller and Writing for Peace, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Writing for Peace Employment Opportunity

Writing for Peace is looking for grant writers who have experience working with literary and youth organizations. For more information, please contact us at mawlecarmel@gmail.com with the subject heading W4P Grant Writing.

Keep the faith, keep speaking out, and keep writing for peace!

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Celebrating Gardens in the Desert: Cultivating Awareness

DoveTales Online, An International Journal of the Arts, Issue II – February 2020
Guest Edited by Robert Kostuck

Our Winter Edition of DoveTales is live!

Many thanks to our featured writer, E. Ethelbert Miller, and all of our amazing contributors.  Thanks to Phillip Richards for his fascinating essay and interview with Mr. Miller. And our sincere gratitude to Guest Editor Robert Kostuck whose vision and theme made this beautiful journal possible.

And thank you all, our Writing for Peace family, for your patience during the delayed publication, and for your kind messages. We hope you’ll be inspired by this issue of DoveTales. Enjoy!

Celebrating Gardens in the Desert: Cultivating Awareness

Cover Art by Joseph Black

 

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

 

Winter DoveTales Postponed

Due to a family emergency, we are postponing the Winter Edition of DoveTales Online. Previously set to go live on February 1st, the journal will now launch on Saturday, February 15th.

Guest Editor Robert Kostuck’s theme for the Winter 2020 DoveTales is “Gardens in the Desert: Cultivating Awareness” and it is shaping up to be an amazing collection of work, including a special interview with poet and activist E. Ethelbert Miller. So set some time aside on Saturday the 15th for contemplation and inspiration. And thanks for your patience.

Keep on writing, keep on speaking out,

Carmel Mawle and the Writing for Peace Board

 

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Celebrating The New Year with A New DoveTales

Happy New Year Dear Writers for Peace!

We’re excited to announce that our new DoveTales Anthology: One World, One People, guest edited by Adviser Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Ph.D., is finally available for purchase! This gorgeous book is 240 pages of thought-provoking, enlightening, and inspiring poetry and prose, art and photography. One World, One People, collects all the work published in August from our first online DoveTales, including Writing for Peace advisers, Young Writers Contest Winners, Liberian Young Scholars, and prominent contributors from all across the globe.

We can’t think of a better way to ring in 2020 than with our very first annual Writing for Peace DoveTales Anthology. We hope you all love it as much as we do! You can purchase the anthology now through this link.

Best wishes for a very Happy New Year from all of us at Writing for Peace, and thank you for celebrating with us!

Carmel, and the Writing for Peace Board of Directors

Carmel Mawle is founder of the nonprofit literary organization, Writing for Peace, and has served as Editor-in-Chief of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, since 2013. A Pushcart Nominee, her short stories, essays and poetry have been published in literary journals and anthologies, including Smokelong Quarterly and Shake the Tree Anthology.

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

In The Printer’s Hands

The good news is our DoveTales print anthology is finished, and it’s beautiful240 pages of thought-provoking, enlightening, and inspiring poetry and prose, art and photography.  Our 2019 DoveTales Anthology, One World, One People, collects all the work published in August in our first online DoveTales.  Guest Edited by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Ph.D., the book includes advisers, Young Writers Contest Winners, Liberian Young Scholars, and prominent contributors from all across the globe.

The not-so-good news is we have to wait a little longer before the anthology is available for purchase. It’s in the printer’s hands and we hope it will be ready by the end of the week. Unfortunately, it may not make it to your holiday wrapping table in time to be included with your other wonderful gifts. We will let you know as soon as the books can be ordered. Until then, feel free to print and include the above image in a gift card with the promise of the anthology to come. We’re sorry the books weren’t ready sooner, but they are definitely worth the wait!

Wishing you all a glorious holiday season, and hoping the winter weather and current events are conducive to words on the page. Keep on writing for peace.

Carmel, and all of us at Writing for Peace

Carmel Mawle is founder of the nonprofit literary organization, Writing for Peace, and has served as Editor-in-Chief of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, since 2013. A Pushcart Nominee, her short stories, essays and poetry have been published in literary journals and anthologies, including Smokelong Quarterly and Shake the Tree Anthology.

Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

Peter Street’s Natural World Poetry: Earth Talks

Adviser Peter Street was diagnosed with autism six years ago. At 70, Street believes his incredible life is in large part thanks to his autism. A qualified Arboriculturist and environmentalist who writes on Green issues, his book Trees Will Be Trees was published with Shoestring Press. He launched his last book, Listening to The Dark, at the Albuquerque Lit Festival, where he appeared during a tour of Midwest America funded by Professor Fred Whitehead, retired. Preeta Press published his memoir: Hidden Depths: Life and Loves of A Young Gravedigger. Street was recently interviewed with the BBC “1800 Seconds on Autism” and Readers Digest interviewed him about his work as someone with five successful poetry books with an international readership. John Harris, in his Guardian Weekend stated, “Peter Street was the most interesting person I have ever interviewed.”

Even when Street writes of the wars of men, a strong current of the natural runs through his poetry. Below, are two poems previously published in Thumbing From Lipik to Pakrac, by Waterloo Press.

 

Trigger Happy

They were trees being trees
minding their own business
on the corner next to the swimming pool
in Lipik

Christ’s sake, just standing
on the corner
until snipers blew
their tops out

target practice,
keeping their eye in
there were trees

and there were bodies
all over the place
you should have seen it

on second thoughts

*

Dunscar Cenotaph 

                                for Thomas Edgar Street
Pals, all of them
buried there right in front of us
underneath “Keep Off The Grass”,
as if they’ve been carried here
from where ever they fell
for me and dad

who, every time we stand here
on the edge, holds his black trilby
tight to his chest

trying to tell me
about his trench
and something or other
about some gas

I almost lose balance
and stumble
into their sacred ground
on top of them

*

In his latest collection, Earth Talks (forthcoming by Caparison Press), Peter Street addresses what amounts to a war against the natural world. “The book is about a parliament of flowers coming together to talk about the harm humans have caused over the centuries- but it’s also about the advent of climate change,” says Street. “The plants in the past have been silent bystanders- but now that has come to an end – they think it’s time for action.”

About Earth Talks, Caron Freeborn, poet and university lecturer says, “In some ways, this is different from Street’s other work: more overtly politicized, less filled with people, and yet many of the same things occur: spare, usable language; the sound(s) of natural speech condensed to drive the poetry; attention to the power of white space. Anyone engaging with this book will leave it more informed; as William Carlos Williams said: ‘It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there’. We all die miserably for want of what is found in Peter Street’s deceptively simple yet rigorous work. Everything natural is beautiful and itself and a metaphor at the same time; everything is dangerous and true ‘remembering those poor beetles / who tested the waters and teased the millions of elms into suicide / even then we were still ignored’. This is a book we all need to read.”

Saying No to The Icebergs

Sand Sedge    Carex arenaria 

like all families we have fought

put it behind us
an army is washing
towards us

waves of them
from land of ice and water
we have to be ready

or be washed away

come and stand with us
here next to my triangular stems
shields against their salt-burn

we have to slow those waves down

take the battle to them   here
on these dunes
Sand Sedges are natural warriors

we take root   colonise
safe in numbers
know what we have to do
are you with us

*
Congratulations to Writing for Peace Adviser Peter Street on the completion of this latest powerful collection, Earth Talks, by Caparison Press. The book and ebook can be preordered for £6, plus postage, by contacting Peter at peter.street3@googlemail.com


Exciting Writing for Peace Publishing News

December 2nd, 2019

DoveTales logoWe are thrilled to announce that, due to popular demand, Writing for Peace will continue the annual tradition of publishing a print edition of DoveTales, An International  Journal of the Arts in addition to our twice annual DoveTales Online. Our 2019 DoveTales Anthology will be available for purchase beginning next week, featuring Guest Editor Patricia Jabbeh Wesley’s One World, One People summer edition, including contributors from all over the globe, and the winners of our 2019 Young Writers Contest. Coming Monday, December 9th, the 2019 DoveTales Anthology makes the ideal holiday gift!

Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.