IPM 2015: Where do we go from here?

Before the Simplon pass at the Italian-Swiss border, is a Roman bridge over the Diveria River. It's called the "new" bridge, because it was built in 1300 c.e. to replace the previous bridge built in the reign of Emperor Augustus that was destroyed by a flood.
Before the Simplon pass at the Italian-Swiss border, is a Roman bridge over the Diveria River. It’s called the “new” bridge, because it was built in 1300 c.e. to replace the previous bridge built in the reign of Emperor Augustus that was destroyed by a flood.

 

“Poetry gives us the opportunity to offer our observations to present and future readers, be they from the perspective of one standing on the bridge watching events or of one standing below and taking on the current. I’m looking forward to a month of editing and I know that my IPM readers are standing on the bridge waiting for the flow of poems to begin…”

So began International Poetry Month 2015 and the flow of poems was fascinating for me to edit and I hope that both Readers and Poets enjoyed getting their feet wet. I offer my most sincere thanks to the participating poets and to the more than 1000 readers who came from the United States, England, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Pakistan, Canada, Denmark, France, India, Luxembourg, Singapore, the UAE, New Zealand, Trinidad & Tobago, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Switzerland, Israel, Ghana, the Philippines, Belgium, Peru, Romania, Serbia and Portugal to read their work.

Today is the fourth of March and Spring seems only a few days away here in Northern Italy while I know those in other places are still slogging through the snow. Regardless of the temperature, here the snows have begun to melt and these poems will begin to erode away, disappearing a few at a time and leaving only the voices behind. Some you will still be able to find on the web, or in a book. Some will be gone for good. Where do we go from here? Why across the bridge and in search of new images, new experiences and new poetry. Following is an alphabetical list of the participating poets; each name is also a link to the poet’s work posted at IPM where you will find additional links to individual blogs or published works:

FORCE OF WATER: by Lee Elsesser

For Lyle Waldron
Green River Fly Fishing Guide

Behind the fifty story dam
in the ninety mile reservoir,
deep in the storied canyons
its moving waters carved when
inner earth raised the Uintas,
the ancient Rio Verde lies at rest.

At the curving concrete wall
the imprisoned waters lap, as if
they hold a memory of power and now
bestilled, restored, clear and cold,
seek once more the freedom to flow,
to wear again the title “river.”

In the dampness and muted roar
two thousand cubic feet per second
of lake surging into motion leaves
hanging in the morning air, a boatman
drops his weight into the rear seat
of a watercraft of wonderful design.

The curved bottomed drift boat responds,
slipping the grip of its transport and
sliding gracefully into the eddy. Now
three elements of adventure are joined:
the river, the boat, and the boatman
in the Red Canyon of the Flaming Gorge.

On currents deep and almost clear as air
they will follow the easterly course
the Green River cut five million years ago,
between cliffs of bent and folded stone
layered in time like pages of a calendar, under
a sky where ospreys glide and eagles soar.

There will be others on the float,
always others in the boat.
For them, trout fishing makes the day.
From them, the boatman takes his pay.
For that, he demonstrates his skill
on waters swift and waters still.

On long flats and slower runs, fishermen
float tiny nymphs on hair-thin tippets
where the trout hang in submarine flotillas.
When the waters quicken, where the canyon narrows,
the river lifts swells like molten glass
that slide unbroken under the white water boil.

There, in the rapids, the drift boat glides
like a dry quarter moon battered in a stormy sky,
into a torrent where men have died, trapped
by the force of water. The man with the oars
touches the river, a stroke, a thrust, redirects
the force, turns the boat on its center to safe water.

Through the day, beneath the stony gaze of faces
trapped in the rocky cliffs, faces that watched
Powell and Ashley pass, the same dance goes on.
Finesse versus force, practice against power,
timing in a torrent, a waterborne ballet choreographed by the river’s moving stage.

At take out, the fishermen case rods and reels,
review the beauty of fish and foliage, both painted in the season’s burnished gold. The boatman releases
his craft from the river’s grasp and winches it up
onto its wheeled transport. He pauses to watch
an osprey pair winging along the now empty stream.

The waters that bore his boat today are gone,
rolling on to swallow the Yampa,to merge
with the force of the mighty Colorado, to reach
beyond its famous canyons to the western sea.
There, to start again the unchanging cycle,
tossing wave to drifting cloud to snowflake falling.

The guide, his boat ungainly on its trailer,
follows the familiar mountain trail that will
take him home and his clients to their lodging.
For the second time today he crosses the high dam,
where in the lake’s chill depths, clear and still,
powerful and impatient, tomorrow’s river waits.

Lee Elsesser
Fort Worth, Texas

To hear Lee’s reading of this poem, click the arrow on the player below:

To hear readings of more poetry by Lee Elsesser, click HERE.

THE ARKANSAS: by Lee Elsesser

The written poem has disappeared. To hear Lee’s reading of this poem, click the arrow on the player below:

To hear readings of more poetry by Lee Elsesser, click HERE.

In Late Winter: by Lee Elsesser

This poem has disappeared from this website. To hear a reading by the author, click on the player below:

Copyright 19 January 2014 Lee Elsesser – All rights reserved

To hear Lee Elsesser’s reading of his poem “Distant Signal” from IPM 2012, click HERE.

To hear To hear Lee Elsesser’s reading of his poem “Quantam Leap” from IPM 2012, click HERE.

Quantum Leap: by Lee Elsesser

This poem in its written form has disappeared. If you want to know why, click HERE.

To hear Lee Elsesser’s reading of this poem, click on the player below:

To hear Lee Elsesser’s reading of his poem “Distant Signal” from IPM 2012, click HERE.

All rights reserved Fort Worth, Texas 2013

Where are they now?

“It is this gesture towards real communication, offered in the midst of the flash-flood of information that our culture deluges us with every morning as soon as we open our eyes, that is being offered by the poets who will be presented over the next 29 days. An arbitrary flower in the midst of chaos for you, the reader.”

I hope that you’ve all enjoyed the 29 flowers that were offered from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, France, Italy, the United States, and Wales by way of Budapest.

International Poetry Month 2012 is over. The marauding hordes have left the library ablaze, the flood has washed away the ashes, the caravan carrying the last copy of the precious poetry collection has vanished in the desert; at least that’s what it feels like to me as I hit the delete key and erase the written versions of the poems.

Now what?

What remains is the oral tradition; I have made audio files of each poem available where the poem used to be posted when permitted by the poet.  When the poems can be found elsewhere on the web I’ve left a link. Anyone who is on my mailing list has a ‘fragment’ of each work. Perhaps, like the poems of Sappho, this is all that will remain.

I would like to extend my profound thanks to the following guest poets for their contributions:

Anonymous 2oth Cent. Poet

Matthew Broussard

Gilles-Marie Chenot

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Lee Elsesser

Chris Fillebrown

Brad Frederiksen

Giacomo Gusmeroli

Michelle Lee Houghton

Christian Stokbro Karlsen

Helen Martin

Tom McClellan

Benjamin Norris

Angel Raiter

Adina Richman

Liliane Richman

Tim Seibles

Octavio Solis


Some of these poets have blogs or websites where intriguing writing, images, or biographical information may be encountered. I encourage anyone suffering from poetry withdrawal to visit these sites by clicking on any of the names that appear in color. Others are tantalizingly unavailable, if you want to see more of their work you’ll have to hope that they come back next year. Of course my work that is or has been posted throughout the rest of the year is still here.

Thanks as well to everyone who has stopped by to read and comment on the poems either here or on Facebook. It has been a real joy to present so much fine poetry again this year. Now I have to start thinking about next year and get back to writing.

A presto!

Distant Signal: by Lee Elsesser

The written version of this poem has disappeared.

To hear the poet’s reading of this poem, click on the player below: