All posts by amywrayirish

Winning Poem: The Vocabulary of Heat

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.

Outrageous as flowers and other poems

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

reading tomorrow!

7pm July 2nd at The Mercury Cafe

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
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.

“Fire hazard” and upcoming reading

on Twenty Bellows Lit

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.

Cover art & upcoming publications

I am excited to present the cover of my forthcoming chapbook, Breathing Fire! Design work is by David Martin of Middle Creek Publishing; original art is by the fantastic Madeleine Dodge. Check out Madeleine’s new work at Space Gallery in the show “Variants of Blue.”

I should have a release date soon…Stay Tuned!

Irish’s poems burn and singe as she attempts to reinvent a way to navigate in a dangerous world.
–Kathleen Willard, author of Cirque & Sky and Incendiary Season

Also this year, I have poems forthcoming in:

coming soon: New chapbook

Amy is honored to announce that Breathing Fire, a new chapbook of her work, has been chosen for publication later this year!

“Quarantine. Racial injustice. Wildfire. Chronic disease and pain…

In these poems, I admire how Amy meets the trials with inventive and creative form and language, inviting the reader into a playground where so much is at stake.”

— Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
author of Hush and Naked for Tea

A haiku & upcoming publications

Moth’s thrumming orbit—
this hummingbird of evening
pollinates the dark

I am honored that the Illinois State Poetry Society has celebrated this poem in its Traditional Haiku competition, and I offer many thanks to this group from my home state. I must admit, I miss the vibrant writing scene and the fantastic writers of Illinois, but not the long winters!

I am also happy to announce that I have poetry forthcoming in the following publications:

  • The Northern Colorado Writers Anthology, winner of the Colorado Book award in 2019. This year’s publication is titled Chirascuro: An Anthology of Virtue and Vice.
  • Spit Poet Zine, an independent voice in Colorado publishing. Past issues of the print publication are available digitally online.
  • MiddleCreek Publishing, in their anthology titled The Mountain. MiddleCreek recently published the poetry chapbooks Hush by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, and Cirque and Sky by Kathleen Willard, which I highly recommend.