Ryan Culwell’s album Flatlands comes out March 3, on Lightning Rod Records (Joe Pug, Billy Joe Shaver, Amanda Shires). I’m grateful to have etched the album’s cover art, a linoleum cut print. Also, if you get the physical album, I have a poem in the liner notes. Brian Boebel at Dual Identity Design did the package design.

I include here Gustav Dore’s “The Destruction of Leviathan”, which is an illustration of Isaiah 27. Not only was Dore’s leviathan a touchstone for my rattlesnake, but Isaiah may be the best hermeneutic while listening to Flatlands

Not that this is any sort of creditable review, but I keep crying while I listen to it. But then I stop cuz I ain’t no sissy.

P.S. Rolling Stone premiered the album. For a little while, you can listen to it here: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/premieres/hear-texas-troubadour-ryan-culwell-evoke-springsteens-nebraska-on-new-album-20150223?page=2

Hammer Through Daisies

@curatormagazine posted my most recent essay. Surprise, I write about death again. And Dylan Thomas.

Irony isn’t bad, of course. It allows us to grasp the nebulae of death or time or memory and examine them as things, briefly, because irony is a posture toward existence that grants the bizarre possibility that things like flowers could stand in the place of gigantic death. We need it. But in the end, the metaphors of irony’s garden are ridiculous little signs. If we forget that and carry on tending our metaphors, or worse preserving them as though they lived beyond their moment; if we forget that there is real life and death beyond these things, or maybe even a god that makes and sustains these things, then soon enough, all of existence is rendered ridiculous. Elegant maybe, but absurd. See more: http://www.curatormagazine.com/seth-wieck/hammer-through-daisies/

Hammer Through Daisies

Finalist in Narrative’s 2013 Spring Contest

“Lantern, Name Thy Bearer”, an excerpt from a long story I’ve been working on, was selected as a finalist in Narrative Magazine’s 2013 Spring Contest. Here’s a list of the finalists, a group in which I’m proud to be found:

Jerad Alexander On Our Next Stop in Modern War
Robert Bausch Rescue
Joe David Bellamy Bad
Stephen Carson River of the Crumbling Banks
Camilla Collova The Year I Grew Up
Pete Fromm Grief
Roberta Gates The Man Who Wore Violets
Nhi Huynh Caught
Katherine James Fishhook
Louise Marburg Poor Bob
Elizabeth Mosier Animator
Lynn Stegner Cedros Island
Seth Wieck Lantern, Name Thy Bearer
– See more at: http://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/223484

P.S. The inimitable msodradek looked at it this summer and made some much needed suggestions, for which I’m very grateful.

Finalist in Narrative’s 2013 Spring Contest

His Tomb Is With Us To This Day

Once again, the fine folks @curatormagazine have posted one of my essays. I have a few more scheduled over the next several weeks, so I’ll keep you informed.

My nephew Jude was stillborn. The diagnosis came early in the pregnancy: an extra chromosome written into the genetic language would lead to, among other maladies, a terminal heart condition. A period on a sentence still being thought. Yet. Inside the womb, Jude was vibrant. Strong even. I felt him kick my hand through my sister-in-law’s stomach. The reality of that touch was difficult to reconcile with the doctors’ predictions. The doctors had narratives built from a battery of tests and data, but I had flesh upon flesh.

His Tomb Is With Us To This Day

Little Girl Found

The kind folks @curatormagazine have posted one of my essays. Warning: it concerns child abductions. Here’s a link: Little Girl Found.

A few years ago in a neighboring town, booming as a safe alternative to my relatively safe city, a man with no criminal record or history drove into the parking lot of a gas station and tried to steal a little girl. The girl’s grandmother intervened and was shot and killed in the process. The man fled the murder into the quiet suburban town and kidnapped another girl from her front yard. As a police chase ensued, the girl leapt from the car, sustaining only minor injuries, and the police killed the man in a shootout…

Also, the brilliant Ms Odradek gave it a pre-read, for which I am deeply grateful.

Little Girl Found

Published in The Curator

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One of my poems was published today at The Curator. You can read it by following this excerpt: 

The Curator is a web publication of the International Arts Movement, which aims have artists “create good, true, and beautiful artifacts as sign-posts pointing toward a ‘world that ought to be’.” I heard the artist and founder of IAM, Makoto Fujimura, say that our culture “ha[s] a language to celebrate waywardness, but we don’t have a cultural language to bring people back home." I’m proud to have a poem published in a place with a goal of reconciliation. It’s a good magazine. Take a look around while you’re there.

(I’m especially enjoying this essay about reading: Digging and Reading.