Windfall: October 20, 2020
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Melissa Kwasny has been named Montana Poet Laureate for 2019-2020, a position she is sharing with M.L. Smoker. Her most recent poetry collection is “Where Outside the Body is the Soul Today.” She says, “Most of my poems address in some way our human relationship to the nonhuman world and my own attempt to forge a communication and conversation with it ….Recently I read that one translation of the Chinese character for poetry might be ‘words laid upon the earth altar.’ I like to think of my work like that.”
Kwasny has published five additional books of poetry; a collection of prose writings, “Earth Recitals: Essays on Image and Vision”; edited “Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry 1800–1950”; and co-edited “I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poets in Defense of Global Human Rights.” She recently published a book of investigative nonfiction, “Putting on the Dog: The Animal Origins of What We Wear.” The recipient of many awards, she has taught widely including currently at Carroll College and Lesley University.
Christopher Howell is author of twelve collections of poems, including the recent “The Grief of a Happy Life.” Describing it, Yusef Komunyakaa said the book “feels and reads like a gift. Each healing song takes lyrical twists and turns and arrives at an abiding truth -- a blessed ransom paid to soil and sky, body and soul, to the Earth....Every vowel is weighed, every leap earned, and the sway of hope drives the natural music of a worthwhile journey."
Howell’s other books include “Love’s Last Number,” “Gaze,” and “Dreamless and Possible: Poems New and Selected.” Widely published, he has been honored with the Washington State Governor’s Award, the Washington State Book Award, two National Endowment Fellowships, and many other fellowships and awards, as well as being included three times in the annual Pushcart Prize collections. A military journalist during the Vietnam War, since 1975 he has been director and principal editor for Lynx House Press and is now also director for Willow Springs Books. Howell teaches on the faculty at Eastern Washington University and Eastern Oregon University.