baobab girl

Finally, my tree poem chapbook, baobab girl, is READY. Now to figure out where to send it. It has 16 poems in it, nine of which have already been published in some nice places. There were 18, but I had to ditch frangipani and willow – I don’t where they thought they were going. I also abandoned the idea of titling each poem only with the English name/Latin name of each tree (which became dull, frankly). Coming up with new titles was fun, but exhausting, and I know it will result in people reading some of the poems and going, wait, this was a poem about a tree? To which I will respond: YES. They are ALL poems about trees! (In a way.)

So glad to feel that’s done, done. I have this primal urge to clear the decks, get the old stuff out, leave space for the new.

Salt River Review

What is sadly the final issue of the Salt River Review is up.

I have two tree poems in it, thorn and baobab. So glad to see them find a home, especially the latter because of the baobab girl, who haunts me still.

Lots of wonderful work in this issue, so check it out. I especially enjoyed this moment of lyric bitter-sweetness by Ed Harkness.

trees & deer in MiPOesias

One of my tree poems, Live Oak, is in the November MiPoesias issue (on page 19). Lots of terrific work in there, but I would direct your attention particularly to Love Your Son Lady by Bo McGuire, on page 9.

Listen to Bo read the poem. Yikes!

Thanks for bringing us all this great work, Didi.

the forestry student

For Dave Bonta‘s Festival of the Trees for September. This Tree Hugger Central piece may be part of the ongoing tree poem series (two more forthcoming in Salt River Review and another in MiPoesias – yay!), but maybe not, because it’s not about a particular tree.

the forestry student

there is congress in the foothills
the high country in spring
stands open like temple doors and speaks
in clean ways

Douglas fir and Ponderosa
pine expound here
heart-sharp arguments
blue spruce and mountain hemlock
knife-scented claims

a girl alone walks the pine forest
her familiars at home
are mahogany and teak forest
banyan and jacaranda

in crisp noon she tells
their distant stories
feels the Colorado mountain rooted
beneath her feet and listens
to the strangers

these high copper columns mantled
with living bristle with
green-silver needle
call for deep listening
and hearing speech

a song of home rises
off the bright alpine meadow
and a wind-woman in bells drifts through

she makes wheedling arguments in
wind-ridden voice but the girl
shakes her head
and walks on

naming each new tree
saluting it
with all the nerves in her hands
with all the meaning in her voice

cedar of lebanon

Why is this tree on my tree poem list? What am I thinking?

How can one possibly write meaningfully about a symbol so steeped in religio-politico-historical steepedness without getting sucked into that steepedness?

The fact is, I don’t want to put politics in my poetry, I just don’t.

More from others here, from a previous Ten Questions series on the role of the poet.

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Very helpful, Psalm 92.