WEATHERED PAGES: THE POETRY POLE ANTHOLOGY
edited by Jim Bodeen, Terry Martin, Dan Peters & Rob Prout
0-911287-52-3 paper $20.00
from Weathered Pages
Weathered Pages includes over 200 poems by poets from all corners of the country and from around the world, who have joined poets from Yakima in posting their work. Some contributors are being published here for the first time; others are internationally known. These writers—male and female, young and old, gay and straight, free and incarcerated, Native, Asian, Latino, Anglo and African-American—gather around belief in one of the most democratic, and perhaps most necessary, art forms.
After time in the weather, the pages have been taken down and saved—until now. Poems collected here represent a decade of testimony pinned and flying from a cedar post planted in a garden.
Cover photos, photographic essay, Tending the Pole, and 11 Division Page Images by Rob Prout. Rob Prout is a sHadOwMaRk who works as a photographer/poet.
Publication of Weathered Pages coincides with the 25th Anniversary of Blue Begonia Press. Our new Website makes it possible to bring our titles together for the first time in one catalog. Many of the titles are now out of print and hard to find. Yet posting all of our titles in one place at the same time, feels like a necessary task. At Blue Begonia Press the last book wouldn’t have been possible without the book that went before it.
Each poet published by Blue Begonia Press has taught me about the mysteries of poetry while sharing with me their stories, including the way they work and write. Each poet has taught me as much about walking and being in the world as a poet, as they have about crafting poems. This includes those who sent manuscripts that weren’t published, and poets who put poems on the Poetry Pole that were not included in publication of Weathered Pages.
The book is so large, and comes together in so many different ways beyond any one of the editor’s biases, that the book is a different book for each of us, and people inside the book, have confirmed that this is true for them, also.
In our time, the word terror has been taken over by the government, along with other words. Accepting the responsibility that part of our job as poets is to purify the language of the tribe, it is our task to remind people that terror is the poet’s word, before it is the government’s. Every angel terrifies, Rilke says. While we’re at it, let’s reclaim the word angels. Part of poetry’s work is reclaiming language.
For me, Weathered Pages is a book primarily of witness and testimony. Misuse of language is a media crime, not ours. We speak for others in reliving their fears. It is dangerous to use words that are pejorative rather than descriptive. Following these principles, we are beyond obeying; dead people would approve.
I can hear Seamus Heaney reading and responding to these words. He tackles this subject in his book, The Redress of Poetry: “But poetry does not need to invoke a god to sanction its workings: its truth, as William Wordsworth asserted, does not stand upon ‘external testimony but [is] carried live into the heart by passion; truth which is its own testimony, which gives competence and confidence to the tribunal to which it appeals, and receives them from that same tribunal.’”
Bring the truth of the imagination to the table. Another of our grandfathers, William Carlos Williams, reminds us that it’s the hole in the bottom of the bag, how we get out alive. All of that, and more, is included in the poems in Weathered Pages. And, by extension, in all of the works published by Blue Begonia during the first 25 years of the press.
To redress, as Heaney reminds us, is to set upright again, to raise again to an erect position, to set up, restore, re-establish. That’s all, and pretty much the story of the Poetry Pole and what’s in this book.
The Pole is energy, She Who Shines For All, from nine kinds of flower, the single poetic theme of life and death, the question of what survives after the beloved.
The Poetry Pole explains itself. Children understand it.
Winter Solstice, 2005
Blue Begonia Blog created by Dan Peters