Dear pale, nocturnal guardian who safeguards entrance to the holy valley of the stars
Let me sleep like caterpillar, unmade of body and adrift in metamorphosis
Let me sleep like winter cottonwood, unmade of leaves and untethered from the sun
Let me sleep like copperhead, unmade of skin and slipping from its past
In exchange for new eyes, new limbs, new self—let me emerge
From your chrysalis embrace refreshed, bathed clean in your waterfall
Of faint light and star song. Let me sleep like a stasis traveler through vast space, unmade
Of Earth, drinking your amnesiac nectar and dreaming only you for a thousand years.
Let me sleep until my pilgrimage of self ends, and I wake fetal and tender to completely undreamed-of worlds. _________________________________________________ I am happy to announce that my work has been honored by several state poetry organizations in their annual contests:
“Prayer to the Phasing Moon” will be published in Sandcutters, the annual publication of the Arizona State Poetry Society
Three poems will be published in Ink to Paper, the annual publication of the Indiana State Poetry Society.
One poem will be published in Cadence, the annual publication of the Florida State Poetry Society.
In this season of thanksgiving, I am very grateful to have been selected for awards and publication. Thank you, poetry community!
Dream Imagery. Surrealism. The Hyper-Real. Register Here for the Writing Workshop “Poetry as Alternate Reality” with Amy Wray Irish
Surrealism Workshop:Register Here When: Saturday Oct. 8 at 12:45 Where: Wolverine Farm & Publick House, Ft Collins $15 fee goes to MiddleCreek Publishing, supporting Colorado authors Come early for the Free Reading at 11:30am
Other Upcoming Events 9/25: Reading in Celebration of Fall At the Loveland Art Museum, 1-3pm, FREE Open Mic at 1pm, Featured Readers at 1:30
Coming Soon: “We are the West” Launch Party TwentyBellowslit.com is excited to release its debut anthology, featuring more than forty literary voices, representing the spirit and experience of Colorado. Featuring fiction, non-fiction, essay, poetry, and visual art from every corner of our home state. Available for purchase now on Amazon
Smeared with Pollen/Loveland Summer ReadingEvent Please join me at the Loveland Art Museum (503 N. Lincoln Ave, 80537) on June 12, from 1-3, to enjoy a great line-up of poets, storytellers, and musicians celebrating the pollination of summer! I will be reading at about 2pm; other readers include:
Current Loveland Poet Laureate, Lynn Kincannon.
Former Loveland Poet Laureate, Veronica Patterson.
Head of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Julie Cummings.
Future Readings and Publications
I will be one of the many Colorado poets celebrating our community at the 2022 Poetry Rodeo. The event runs from 1pm-11pm at the Mercury Cafe in Denver; my reading is at 7:20.
I will have two first place poems published in the 2022 Prize Winners Journal of the Pennsylvania Poetry Society.
I will be included in the “We are the West” anthology, forthcoming this year by TwentyBellows Lit. Reading dates TBD.
I will be presenting with Kathleen Willard, author of The Incendiary Season and Cirque & Sky, at Book Bar’s fourth Monday poetry reading series. Save the Date: Oct 24, 7pm, at the Book Bar in Denver.
I currently have three nature poems in the 2022 issue of Waving Hands Journal. I hope you will enjoy this selection, and join me for a reading sometime soon!
At the Equinox
This single day of stillness, with the axial precision of a dancer en pointe reminds me of the opposite— the daily errors, the wobbles and sways and stumbles of the Earth along its path, like mine.
Tugged by the gravitational pull of opposing stars, dizzy and aswirl from facing each day, breathless from the constant dervish of urges and desires— our imperfect ballet tipping us like a drunk.
Unwound by every revolution, we trip and lurch and slip. But for a single elegant spin, oh— with what grace we dance.
I am excited to share four new poems in the April 2022 issue of the Bristlecone E-Journal (edited by Joseph Hutchison, Jim Keller, Sandra S. McRae, and Murray Moulding).
Bristlecone supports poets of the Mountain West, and I proud to be included. Take a sneak peek at my piece entitled The Crime of the Poem, then enjoy the entire Bristlecone E-Journal (see below). And please feel free to download the journal and share!
The Crime of the Poem after Douglas Kearney
The poem stormed your defenses in an angry mob of words.
The poem slipped into your dark and rearranged the furniture.
Invited into your home, the poem played with matches.
Invited to your table, the poem devoured the decorative flowers.
The poem lurched against you in the subway and picked your pockets.
The poem pressed against you for one steamy moment leaving you aching and wanting.
Stretching out its languorous language, the poem sold itself for anyone to undress.
Kidnapping a body of language the poem strip-searched history.
Searching for hidden pockets of decay to expose, to diagnose, the poem
Turned you—turned us all—into bystanders of this dissection. The crime of the poem
Came when it made us chose to be voyeurs complicit in the violation,
In honor of poets everywhere, I am happy to share the poem Savoring the Meal, about the delicious nature of catching and eating poetry. I am very thankful for Twenty Bellows Lit for supporting my work—see below for links of other poems that are currently featured on their site.
For National Poetry Month I will also be posting a poem each day on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. This April is the three-year anniversary of my Poem-A-Day Group, with more than 1,000 first drafts! This group has really helped me break through many writers blocks and make me the writer I am today.
I am pleased to share my 1st Place poem from the Forces of Nature art and poetry exhibit. Many thanks to the judges and to the Windsor Art & Heritage Center!
You may view the free exhibit on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 12-4pm, through January 9th. For more information check out The Art & Heritage Center online.
The Vocabulary of Heat By Amy Wray Irish
I thought I knew pyrotechnics. Forbidden sparks catching in a state built of kindling. Fire so wild we destroy even more to contain the contagion. Inhaling smoke and cinders. And long-term water shortages drying all the way down the aquifer to our heat-stroked cells.
But now extremes crack open the dictionary to words too hot to handle. Like pyrocumulonimbus, when a firestorm cloud is formed by thermals rising from fire. 120 degrees flown in on a jet stream so the power cables melt and the roads buckle and the flesh of the trees ignites.
Or like the anticyclone that forms, the sky a whirling dervish dome that traps hot air, intensified to the point of lightning.
I know we are headed for megadrought, for the funerals of failed grids that die trying to keep us alive. I can stretch to grasp the feedback loop such heat creates, the greenhouse within a greenhouse effect.
But then I learn of the cryoseism, sounding deceptively frozen. In Alaska, glaciers melt so fast they are seismic events, ice shearing and falling to the tune of a 2.7 magnitude on a single day.
With such words to learn, my mouth goes dry, starts to smolder. I struggle with language smoking like ash and cinder, unable to choke it down. But I shouldn’t be forced to swallow such extremes— now is the time to spit them out, fight the fire with every fiber, before the whole world burns.
Check out Amy’s poem “Outrageous as Flowers” on South Broadway Ghost Society’s site. (Be prepared to scroll down, new work is added regularly. Or just read the other amazing work as you go!)
You can also find these poems by Amy online and in publications: — “The Room” on TwentyBellows Lit — “Terratoma” in All the Lives I’ve Ever Lived Vol. II, produced by Lighthouse Writers — “The Freedom Sickness” in Stain’d Magazine Vol. V, The Responsibility Issue –“The Beauty of Redundancy” in Progenitor Vol. 56, produced by Arapahoe Community College
On July 2nd, come join us at the Mercury Cafe for a celebration of the Thought for Food collection! Doors open at 7pm, performances start at 7:30, there will be readings from many of the poets from the anthology!
Hosted by Emylee Frank & Kali Heals, with performances by: Ted Vaca Liza Sparks Matt Clifford Hayden Dansky Bruce Sterling Patricia McCrystal Sarah LaRue Danny Mazur Shelsea Ochoa Jane Ripley Zeta Sage Irina Bogomolova Grace Mitchell John Staughton Lee Frankel-Goldwater Dalton Telschow Mayryanna Liam Max Kelley Brett Randell Amy Wray Irish Ashley Howell Bunn Chelsea Cook Caroline Savery and more!
Event is Free, but please consider making a donation to the Denver Food Rescue. Or buy a copy of the anthology! Proceeds from every purchase go to the nonprofit and its work.
I am pleased to announce that Twenty Bellows Lit has chosen a second poem to include online. Check it out here: Fire Hazard.
Ready to turn off that zoom screen and get back to live poetry? South Broadway Press is turning its fundraising anthology Thought for Food into a fundraising reading! Join us at The Mercury Cafe on July 2nd. Door open at 7pm, reading starts at 7:30. I’ll be among the many readers, check out the line up and get more information here. This event is free to attend, but please consider making a donation to the Denver Food Rescue if you can.