William Kupinse, who is concluding the last days of his term as Urban Grace Poet Laureate of Tacoma for 2008-2009, will publish his first book of poems this April to coincide with National Poetry Month. Titled Fallow, the 84-page volume features 43 poems, many of which are set amid the natural and urban landmarks of Tacoma.
Kupinse is associate professor of English at University of Puget Sound, where he teaches British and Irish modernism, literature and the environment, and creative writing. His poems have appeared in many journals, including Cimarron Review, The Fourth River, and Green Letters. He is also the author of a chapbook, Raw Materials.
Fallow, which is funded in part by a grant from the Tacoma Arts Commission's Tacoma Artist Initiative, will appear under the imprint of Exquisite Disarray Publishing, a non-profit organization newly founded by Kupinse and dedicated to highlighting the work of Northwest poets. Exquisite Disarray Publishing is also currently publishing In Tahoma's Shadow, an anthology of Tacoma-area poets that strives to represent the diverse voices and experiences that characterize Tacoma.
With the support of the Tacoma Arts Commission, 100 copies of Fallow will be made available to local schools and libraries. All proceeds from sales of the book will support the future publication of other emerging Northwest poets.
Advance copies of Fallow will be available at Kupinse's farewell reading as Urban Grace Poet Laureate of Tacoma. Joined by his colleague, poet Hans Ostrom, Kupinse will read at University of Puget Sound, in McIntyre Hall's Rausch Auditorium at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 30. This event will conclude with Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma announcing Tacoma's next, and second, poet laureate. The event is free and open to the public.
As 2008-09 Poet Laureate, Kupinse offered poetry workshops for the community on topics linking poetry to environmental sustainability and spirituality. He also gave and/or organized readings at local venues including Urban Grace, King's Books, and Showcase Tacoma, and he read at events ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union's Bill of Rights celebration to the Pierce County AIDS Walk, to the Tacoma Food Co-op First Public Outing.
The volume's title poem may be reproduced with permission.
All's at rest, nothing is happening here.
Yellow grasses crows carried
laze and shimmer in the animated
still life of a disused wheatfield.
All's at rest, except the red worms
weaving their lattice work,
the pill bugs scattering the soil,
curling like armadillos at any small threat.
Nothing's happening here, but the red and white clover
stitching the ground, fixing
nitrogen with a saint's patience:
clover, trifolium, trinity; rhizobium, root of life.
All's at rest, except the ant scout's curved antennae
ground-bent, divining intelligence.
Inches and a world above, the bees
hum and dance, skim data of their own.
Nothing is happening, as the nuthatch
plucks the pokeweed's acrid berry:
the land is dreaming with even breaths,
its mind washed in the milk of sleep.
All's at rest; nothing is happening,
but the earth fixing its memories
of touch taste smell sound sight
and of all the other senses not yet named.
Copyright © 2009 William Kupinse