Ice Floe


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Ice Floe, the celebrated and award-winning journal of circumpolar poetry, is here reborn as an annual book series. This first volume features the best of the journal's first seven years, along with evocative new poetry from Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. All work is presented in both its original language and in English translation. With contributors including former Alaska poet laureate John Haines, Gunnar Harding, Robert Bly, Lennart Sjögren, and dozens of other established and emerging poets, this wonderful collection of voices from the northern latitudes is a great read for all lovers of poetry and international literature.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781602230835
Publisher: University of Alaska Press
Publication date: 09/15/2010
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Shannon Gramse is a poet and cofounder of Ice Floe. Sarah Kirk is a lifelong Alaskan and cofounder of Ice Floe. They both teach English at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Read an Excerpt

Ice Floe

New and Selected

University of Alaska Press

Copyright © 2010 University of Alaska Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-60223-083-5

Chapter One

New Poems 2010

JOAN KANE Maliktuq I. Marraa qagrut pulaarut qatigaaki?un, Tugusuilaq. Sigugni?aruguuq tavra. Tugusuilaq. Tavra?aquuq magitguq. Qanuqtunuuq siniktiglaani nalugaa. Tugusuilaq. II. Maatnami- Maani unniin nunami, Mazaq uvva una ugunainaaqtuq. Qimugin pituilaq. Ialiq azinatiqtuq. Qugruit tinirut- III. Igiluu naniq, A?aayaagnazigaa. Suli katumayaqliuqtu?a. Savigna vaktut, Ipkua siuliut Qininilaatiut. Procession translated from the Iñupiaq by the author I. Several arrows embedded her chest, But she did not die. It is said that she had her eyes closed, But she did not die. She got up from where she slept; How long she slept she did not know, But she did not die. II. These days- Even here on the mainland, The sun drops down lower in the sky. The dog is unchained. The window is broken. The swans have flown away- III. Turn the light on, It is time for church, And then I will go to a meeting. They were very strong, Our ancestors of long ago. They do not see us. GERDUR KRISTNÝ Nor?ur Hægt eins og búrhveli lí?um vi? gegnum sortann sem er hvítur hér á hei?inni Hann er fastheldinn á sitt og gefur a?eins eftir eina stiku í einu Örskamma stund leiftra flær í vegarkantinum eins og eldspýtur litlu stúlkunnar í ævintýrinu og lýsa okkur flar til vi? komum aftur upp í vök a? blása North translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb Slow as sperm whales we glide through the gloom which is white here on the heath It holds fast to its own conceding only one post at a time For an instant they flash on the side of the road like the little girl's matches in the fairytale lighting us until we return to the hole in the ice to breathe ELISABETH RYNELL Punkt av ro Det ska vara sommarnatt. En l?ng vit skymning som bryts i dag. Det ska spelas piano p? radion. Oändligt försiktigt. Kanske det vackraste Chopin har gjort. Det ska ticka av klockor i köket. En vas med alla sommarens blommor ska st? p? bordet. Ute i skogen ska en ensam nattviol växa och jag ska lukta p? den. Det ska vara sommarnatt. Ett glas gyllene vin ska st? odrucket framför mig. Det ska finnas en punkt av ro. En liten plats som heter här. Jag ska sitta där. Själva luften ska vara av piano. Ett stilla fall Av toner. Det ska vara sommarnatt. En genomskinlig enkelhet ska vara genom alla fönster. En särskild vit tystnad. Point of Peace translated from the Swedish by Per Helge and Lars Nordström It should be summer twilight. Long white dusk breaking into day. Piano music should play on the radio. With endless gentleness. Maybe the most beautiful piece Chopin ever wrote. There should be ticking clocks in the kitchen. A vase with all the flowers of summer should be on the table. Deep in the woods a single butterfly orchid should grow and I should smell it. It should be summer twilight. There should be an untouched glass of golden wine in front of me. There should be a point of peace. A tiny place called here. I should sit there. The air itself should consist of piano. A quiet falling of tones. It should be summer twilight. A transparent simplicity should come through all the windows. A singular white silence. TAYA KITAYSKY Grandmother at her Summer Dacha, Siberia Her heart is a berry in a wolf's mouth. I can taste that berry on my own tongue: Onions frying in butter, silent sex In grey curtained hours before dawn, Before beheading chickens- Then, taste of hair matted with tears, Thigh-bruises from pails of rusty water, Sore back from harvesting wild strawberries While the lake brims at horizon. One day, Picking mushrooms in a clearing loved by Its wild animals, she kneels down and dies. When I bite through the berry's center, all Is water; then my own tongue tastes itself. RAY HSU * * * The omens they say are close calls. Each bird in turn banks until each has accepted its own reason for unfolding this corner across air. Brick by girder, the square skirts by. The lift on the draft parts the caution tape. It falls diagonally across our ways. Inside is a vast calm vault. Soon we will make the tundra understand our need. RIINA KATAJAVUORI Autuusvalaistusta Kertun ja Hannun lapsuudesta on jo pitkä aika, epookit ja näkökulmat ovat vaihtuneet, suuri syvä metsä kaadettu. Paikalla on nyt radiomastoja, asfalttiteitä, lasketteluhissejä. Ehkä he ajattelevat pikemmin jotakin Enttimetsää eivätkä muista enää omaa metsäänsä kunnolla. Luihurunkoiselle luontopolulle pääsee parkkipaikalta, autossa soi Rammstein. Sponsoripipot päässä he kävelevät sepelillä hiekoitettua puistokäytävää pitkin avohakkuualueen halki. Kerttu ja Hannu hakeutuvat, kumpikin tahollaan, eräänlaisiin epäpaikkoihin, katvealueille. Moottoriteille, hylätyille joutomaille, työmaa-alueille, luonnonhakkuille, kaupunkilaitumille. Voisiko tänne rakentaa laavun, yöpyä, eksynyt? Bliss illumination translated from the Finnish by Anselm Hollo A long time has passed since Gretel and Hansel's childhood, epochs and views have changed, the great deep forest has been felled. Replaced, now, by radio towers, paved roads, ski lifts. What comes to mind now may be just some Entwood, they can no longer remember their own forest. The nature path through skinny new growth starts in the car park, Rammstein plays on the car radio. Wearing woolly hats with sponsors' logos on them they walk on a gravel path across a clearcut area. Gretel and Hansel seek out, separately, certain kinds of non-places, dead zones. Motorways, abandoned wastelands, construction sites, patches of natural growth, urban pastures. Could one construct a lean-to here, spend the night, lost? JAMELLA HAGEN Perito Moreno Ice. The long white tongue of it. All day this glacier breaks and falls thundering, piece by piece, into the blue. Icebergs bob in the swells, one turns over-slow tilt, then a quick slip and burst of submerged ice. Naked, wet-blue, it drifts loose of this sixty metre wall of evidence things are slipping away. Each time a piece calves off, the lake rises to receive it. A wave ripples out and sweeps the shore, collecting what it can. Travelers have disappeared this way, washed under in their quest to get close, to get closer. DON DOMANSKI Magnum Mysterium I was the one who first placed a pair of eyes in the darkness I left them on a large black tree on a rock face I left an ochre kiss on each life the awful silence of carbon on every sensation a perpetual sigh at the heart of every red movement in the body I placed endless blue space to remind it of death I placed lungs in fish and then changed my mind I sang camarillas and patted each organ into position around the sun I was charismatic and circumboreal a skitter of thoughts a jangle of namesakes I was a deep and dark intaglio at the end of every nerve a bailiwick at the far end of every consciousness I was wilderness I made orphans out of ascension I disposed of every elision except absence and introduced piquerism to insects flight to stones I coddled magma and micro-organisms I added digestion to every biome a womb to every tooth I placed God in the details and then said goodbye I rode the thermals till I was solid I walked the earth till I was air I surrendered only to dirt beneath my nails to the hard pinch of sight in my head to my own mystery the hulking of my tongue to dung in my hair I subdued joy in the higher orders and let it grow wild in the lower I ran blood through the stems of butterweed fire through the scapula of rivers I told the first nouns there were no verbs the language believed me and the language fell down. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] YURI RYTKHEU

translated from the Chukchi by Charles Weinstein You faded on the ice like a tiny fire, But your heat remains in me. A bird flew out to sea in search of food. It left its nest at the foot of a rock. The warmth of my breath will rekindle the fire, And you'll come back home. With all kinds of calls, flocks of birds Will fly back to their nests too ... LINDA VILHJÁLMSDÓTTIR Uppvakningar Starandi í skammdegisskímu sjónvarpsins á flúngan dökkan bókaskápinn litríka kilina og tvær myndir af múmíu sem hánga uppi yfir skápnum höfu? og her?ar og handleggur aframma?ur vi? olnboga teygir sig yfir í næstu mynd sem hefst vi? olnboga og nær fram í fingurgóma á milli myndanna má greina handleggsbút: olnbogali?. Og höggi? sem klýfur skápinn í tvennt ni?ur sturlúngu. Og ég rek augun í or?in: "Og nú vinna smádjöflar á mér" Apparition translated from the Icelandic by Sigur?ur A. Magnússon Staring in the midwinter gleam of television at the heavy dark bookcase the colorful spines and two pictures of a mummy that hang above the case head and shoulders and arm framed off at the elbow stretches itself into the next picture and reaching to the fingertips between the pictures the stump of an arm can be discerned: an elbow joint. And the blow cleaving the case into two down along Sturlunga Saga. And by chance I catch the words: "And now little devils slay me." TOM STALSBERG Vuggesang fra en Nedlagt Sideelv Vi senker dagen og lar jorda falle lett mot ettermiddagsbrisen. Kineserne utviklet stangfiske med silkesnøre. Og metallkroker. Makedonerne brukte kunstig agn laget av h?r og fjær. Cirka 200 ?r før Kristus, garnfiskeren. Vi hører vuggesang fra en nedlagt sideelv. En flettet kurv og to steinfluer bryter vannoverflaten. Vi senker kvelden og lar jorda sovne under en noe eldre himmel. I motsetning til oss kan en liten fisk bevege øynene uavhengig av hverandre. Lullaby from a Closed Tributary Stream translated from the Norwegian by Ingrid K. Jakobsen We lower the light and let the earth fall lightly against the afternoon breeze. The Chinese developed angling with a silk line. And metal hooks. The Macedonians used artificial bait made from hair and feathers. About 200 years BC, the net fisherman. We hear a lullaby from a closed tributary. A wicker basket and two stone flies break the water's surface. We lower the light and let the earth fall asleep under a slightly older sky. Unlike us a small fish can move its eyes independently.

TANYA LUKIN LINKLATER (wake up waniska he nudges me) Wake up waniska he nudges me My mind hums every which way before my feet hit the floor shower shower Brush brush my girl's braids Cheerios berries bits of crackers milk packed and wrapped for the day These little ones always grabbing for food iqallursurtaartua gather them, dress them warm: hats mitts pants boots grasp my scraps: watch, ring, key pray-or forget to pray aturlua run run: out the door backpacks in tow 8:35 drive drive make up in the car swerve 109 street drive agnguarlua laundry list of tasks check check list never ends check check list never ends check check waiting for my pay cheque in the mail: check ID check the payee ayanayo ayanayo at the back of my mind prayers shimmering concepts flickering nunaqutaartua cestun cukllinka piit'allit uswillranka nunaqucikut cali at the back of my mind newspaper chokes me: "battered and forgotten" grimy black print in blue boxes dotted along streets and sidewalks for all to see naming aboriginal women battered, forgotten; unseen calling ourselves that way: she says "native women believe domestic violence is the norm" crumpled paper in my palm asphyxiates fury rising at the back of my throat in all my domesticity now I feel I need to respond to you-can't let this one slide by- while I write chapters remembering origins of old time dances sing songs of renewal, calling our relatives close to us bathe and nurse my babies pay-or forget to pay-pile of bills while I practice asanas, sequencing my breath, limbs, balance as fired-up stove spits, simmers stew, steams wild rice, sizzles salmon back-straps and I develop pedagogy on the go how can I answer you? In your blue box and black time with only the best of intentions. how can I answer you without negating who I am? I gently open my eyes beyond my kitchen green moss blankets warm mounds of sepia earth calm breath misting between plant people sprung all over un-damp spruce and alder cover wet jaggedness beneath sky englaryuglua water laps within wide ribs and scapula, supple feet and nostrils breath in synchronicity, light and limber as my weight shifts to earth englarglua I walk with the nourishment of my grandmothers on slick slate rock on my way to 97 Street Italian bakery in strappy sandals while glimpsing raven perched precariously to pick scraps at village dump as I pass rows upon rows of rumps and crumpled stumps slumped on City Hall benches, and brown kids play wildly in concrete reflecting pools or waterfall canopied by spruce, this land slowly shifts seasons shift we shift in hue shade coloring my grandmother shifts weight of my shoulders lighter she carries me sings for me nourishes me memory curled in the tongue of my grandmothers' sings nestled within a continuum of nurturing murmur: shuck shuck ahhhh shuck shuck ahhhh ama! I call you unwrapping my skin layers shuck shuck ahhhh shuck shuck ahhhh your light warms malleable bone behind my neck, ama I carry all the stories you give me ama ama ama ama You uncurl me with your song gwi cuumillatstun uswillranka kingumni crumpled newsprint stains my fingers at the kitchen sink not far from the hum of Whitemud and sound of many languages laughing amidst children, and I speak clearly: I see me outside the confines of your black print-blue box-battered view gwi cuumillatstun uswillranka kingumni I am like my ancestors my children come after me TOM SEXTON October's Ghost What was the name of my classmate who fell through thin ice one night in late October of the year we learned how to spell? Our first loss, missing footprints in the snow at recess. Now when the leaves begin to fall I think of her caught under that ice, her small mouth filling as she tries to call out, not understanding what it means to die. Was she the girl in white who placed the crown of violets on the Virgin Mary's head in the schoolyard on the 1st of May, the girl who tripped and scraped a knee? The moon overhead seems as thin as ice tonight. Dear ghost, comfort me when I die. (Continues...)

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Table of Contents

Editors' Note

New Poems 2010
Selected Poems 2000–2006

Contributor Notes
Call for Submissions

Customer Reviews