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Tag Archives: whale

found poem: the Onomatopoeic

found poem: rise

found poem: The sea

book in hand

book coverVery pleased to have received my copy of For Love of Orcas, an anthology edited by Andrew Shattuck McBride and Jill McCabe Johnson and published by Wandering Aengus Press. Along with my poem, “Coffee shop, watershed, orca,” the book is a collection of poetry and prose addressing the plight of the southern resident orca whales. Book sales benefit the SeaDoc Society and I am honored to have my work included.

whale poetry

Tonight, Friday, May 3, 2019, Bellingham’s Mount Baker Theatre Encore Room will host a chorus of poetry in tribute to whales as SpeakEasy 24: For Love of Orcas celebrates the publication of a new anthology edited by Andrew Shattuck McBride and Jill McCabe Johnson to address the plight of the southern resident orcas, chinook salmon, and their extended ecosystem.

The evening’s readers/contributors include Luther Allen, James Bertolino, Anita K. Boyle, Nancy Canyon, Susan Chase-Foster, Seren Fargo, Jessica Gigot, Mary Elizabeth Gillilan, Carol Guess, Julie B. Hunter, Jill McCabe Johnson, J.I. Kleinberg, David M. Laws, Rob Lewis, Carole MacRury, Christen Mattix, Andrew Shattuck McBride, JS Nahani, Cynthia Neely, Paul E. Nelson, Sheila Nickerson, Nancy Pagh, Betty Scott, Carla Shafer, and Sheila Sondik, with additional work by Ronda Piszk Broatch, Sam Hamill, Jim Milstead, and Alina Stefanescu.

The event, which starts at 7:00pm, is free and copies of For Love of Orcas, as well as other books by participating poets, will be available for purchase and signing. Please join us if you’re in the area.

found poem: the voice

on our lips…


whale scapula
Photo by AnMorgan Curry

During an exhibition of bones at Mindport Exhibits (Bellingham, WA) in 2009, poet Luther Allen invited a group of writers to participate in an evening of collaborative poetry.

Twelve people gathered in the gallery space, sitting in a circle among the bones of a gray whale that had died some years before on the shore of Lummi Island. After a period of contemplation, each person wrote the first line of a poem inspired by the bones. Each paper was then passed to the adjacent person in the circle, who had a few minutes to add another line to the poem. This continued until the poems returned to the first writer, who wrote the final line of the poem. The poems were read aloud.

Later, the collaborative poems were deconstructed and the lines written by each writer assembled in sequence to create new, “accidental” poems. Finally, the collaborative and individual poems were collected in a chapbook, Bone Poems.

What follows is the accidental poem created from the reassembled lines written by j.i. kleinberg in the order in which they were written; of course each line was intended to follow someone else’s line in a collaborative poem.

Teach me to fly these wings of bone
These ribs a stringless harp song of tidal memory
Their weightless feet the gnawing of time’s teeth
No heated pulse, no marrow, only this hardening silence.
These wounded symmetries of shadow
Dive into the indigo forgetting
Ancient aching wrist, gouged rib, tidal knot
Digits curled toward Bering shore, fluke, no fluke.
And does cartilage remember the wide curve of desire
Frozen in a receding glacier of truth
Breach, all weight, all weightless, through this viscous blue
The dream’s gallop: hooves mired in wet sand,
     remembered fragrance of sunheated hay,
     long bones stretching toward flight.
Spread this fan of wings, loose this frozen memory,
Break the rules: sing me the sandpiper’s song.

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