Tarpaulin Sky Online Literary Journal V3n2 Summer 05 features new work by Robyn Art, Jeff Encke, Rebecca Gopoian, Annalynn Hammond, Daniel Kane, Joyelle McSweeney, Cheryl Pallant, Juliana Spahr, Jane Sprague, Steve Timm, Sasha Watson; as well as Jonathan Skinner and Jane Sprague on eco-publishing, Deanne Lundin's review of Heidi Lynn Staples' Guess Can Gallop, and a brief Q&A with Juliana Spahr.

Also check out these main site links: submission guidelines, editors, news, tarpaulin sky / frequency series fall NYC reading series.

Robyn Art

Handfasting in Spring

And the book said, In the beginning there was light and the light was good though it was but dim,
a small spark in a big fire:

In the equinal light the world begins to stir and move in pairs, shed wool like casements from the
winter's long and hapless body:

And from the beginning there was the Word, the Word which was Law, the word being light, dim
flicker, small spark in a big fire and through which we'd be forgiven
everything--bad Pap smears, times you vamoosed without tipping, departures sans alibi,
the myopic night vision of your small-town loves, the shoulda coulda woulda of the body's
immeasurable failures like petty combustions held to light, small sparks in a big fire:

The world is of one mind to bury its hatchet of remorse, to call to its friends on the shore, C'mon
in, the water's fine, is of another to steal away and run off Godspeed to the marsh
where hordes of springtime peepers sound their propagant hullabaloos:

In May new things begin to root and move in the earth, earth the dupe, earth the long-suffering
body, hapless light, small spark in a big fire, by turns soothed and held hostage by the specter
of its fecundity, O springtime agendas of rupture, Go now, break
forth or be broken:

And from the beginning there was the light and though it was good it was but dim, light
the dupe, light the long and hapless body, its recollections scattered by springtime's
muscular wind--her hair on the pillow, his footsteps' concussive reports—as surely the rivers go
to ice and the ice to meet its reckoning, sure as the May sun hangs
its bulbous apparition through the clouds, how it started: the light's undoing
and the stuporous trudge unto, how it ends: small spark in a big fire


Robyn Art was born in Boston. Her recent poems have appeared in Slope, The Hat, Conduit, Slipstream, The New Delta Review, Rhino, and canwehaveourballback.com. She's the author of the poetry manuscript, The Stunt Double In Winter, which was selected as a Finalist for the 2004 Kore Press First Book Award. Her chapbook, Degrees of Being There, was released by Boneworld Press in May 2003. A second chapbook, No Longer A Blonde, is forthcoming from Boneworld Press in 2005. Currently she lives in Brooklyn.


Jeff Encke

from Above the Law

Administration on Aging (Carpodacus mexicanus)

I am the old man at the foot of the guardhouse, waiting for an audience with the law.

I no longer believe in memory.

Its strength is listening. Mine is revelation: the hoarseness of my word, the hair in my ear, the withering muscle about my midsection.

A silence falls. You say you have found four of the five things you sought.


National Eye Institute (Poephila bichenovi)

A device that translates the senses, transcribes the tree, the far-off chart, the blushing cheek, from an alphabet of sight

into an alphabet of heat. You move

in the dark, turning over, bending knees, grasping pillow, perching, and I witness the slow exchange

as a migratory lake of yellow, bordered by shores of green sand, at the edge of savannah grasses.


Jeff Encke has recently published Most Wanted: A Gamble in Verse, a deck of playing cards featuring excerpts of love letters written to Saddam Hussein and other war criminals, available at www.matlub.net. His poetry has recently appeared in Barrow Street, Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, Octopus Magazine, Salt Hill, 3rd Bed, and Quarterly West, among others.


Rebecca Gopoian

We Killed the Flower

The flower on the balcony grew for months until it was a many-stemmed conflagration of flowers. Once it started, we had to help it. But it could not support the weight of all our wishes. So the flower died. Now whenever possible, we wish the flower would grow back.

And beyond this tragic story of desire gone wrong, the desire of many overpowering the desire of one, beyond all this there is the story of waiting and wishing and not believing. How can this also be the story of a crime? But surely it is.


Rebecca Gopoian lives in Queens, New York. Her work has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, Taint Magazine, The Avatar Review, Bombay Gin and VeRT.

Email her at


Annalynn Hammond

What Happens in the Fields

Take a few moments to consider this large and varied organ:
that long-ago winter was a mystery, waiting to be called
into use by the body. Held in the memory, along creek bottoms,
ditch banks, fencerows, roads and neglected areas, caught
in the underside of the eyelid, where the external environment
extends into the animal. Entirely the wrong season. Begin
with the end in mind—some people like to use the dull side
of a scalpel blade. The most common catastrophes, minute
disturbances, middle-range machines. The big head swings around,
a sizable stone. Fascinated by what is seen: tiny hooks, ready
to latch onto any passerby, the experience of being handled
by others. Deposited in a glass vial for analysis: a long fleshy
taproot, a tall stalk and hairy, heart-shaped leaves. It’s not the same
as being taken out and walked in distinctive circular patterns,
close to the outer edge. One side is worn smooth where the soil
has cradled it for years. A link has never been proven: irreversible
changes in the tooth, a full water bucket, face flies, a hay bale,
something on the wind and causing more trouble.


The Unfortunate Incident of the Human Dissecting Itself

For example: multi-colored chicklings on a conveyor belt,

a latex glove.

                       “Just act naturally.”

Scalpel to scapula / fingerbone to keyhole.

And now the primitives walk backwards
through the door, headdresses made of light bulbs,
steel wool in their mouths.

                       “Just be yourself.”

A memory: x-ray of the entry/exit wound
on a television screen, the bucket outside,
black dirt around its rim.

Guttural wastewater. The Adam’s Apple, peeled.

                       I did everything I possibly could
                       not to kill myself.

In the left lung, you’ll find the pony’s tooth.
In the right, written instructions for botulism.

meat + air + time

From the observatory:

                       “Just look into the big glass eye.”

[operation incomplete]


Annalynn Hammond's first book, Dirty Birth, was the winner of Sundress Publications' Book Contest. A group of her poems also won the 2004 Marc Penka Poetry Award. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Slipstream, Gargoyle, Can we have our ball back?, Diagram, Failbetter, Spork, Aught, The Glut, Shampoo, Word For/Word, Sidereality and elsewhere. She lives in Wisconsin.


Daniel Kane

Kayak Trip

I went on a kayak trip     I succeeded at the kayak trip     I was in nature     I was OK.
I saw a heron     I befriended a heron     I paddled after it     it seemed to like me.

It waited for me     on an outcropping rock     as I paddled towards it     it just hung around.
But when I got close to it     it flew to the next rock     where it waited for me     to play catch up again.

I paddled after it     heron acting like Lassie     the event was quiet       and I communed.
I never thought     that I could commune     with a natural object     be it heron or tree

     *   *

I wonder if anyone     would like to tell me     a little story about      their kayak trip too.
For our force is quite fluid     chewing the kayak fat     cosmology radiant      a kind of mineral calm

For there are frogs     and there are tadpoles     there is fire     and there is a lake.
There is one river     hey here’s another one     there is a beach     here a fat daisy.

Oh there is a twig     and there is an outhouse     sounding of giggle      and there is some rot.
Now here is a ripple     and here is a plash     and there is scouring sand     oh and maybe a bulrush.

So there is a stone     and there is a kayak oar     there’s a canoe     and then there is the sun.
A sun beam some bees     lobelia some glass     a pan and some bubbles     leaf shade a slope

Oh come upward to sing     with nostalgia o wings     of a heron in clouds     and the background for words
A bird glides some heron     all feathers and shriek     in the air of our surface     whose name I’m not sure

Mix all sorts of scraps     it’s August my ears     the orange has fallen      night stinks of pine
I went on a kayak trip     I succeeded at the kayak trip     I was in nature     I was OK.


Beginning with Flapping

The fly doesn’t flap her wings she doesn’t flutter them
what does she do what does the fly do what does the

hummingbird do for I have seen the hummingbird
suck from the bluebell or is it even bluebell and does the hummingbird

suck or sip does the fly flap or flutter and what does the pigeon
in his daily excursions do is he a flapper or a flyer

or a glider OK hawks glide of that I can be sure hawks glide
and seals flap their flippers on the rocks in the north west shores

of Scotland I do not cry out after the seal I do not wonder often
about the platypus as it sparkles in the waters of New Zealand

huh I saw a squirrel scamper and nibble and once a squirrel kind of
looked at me funny and then scampering and nibbling at the same time

scurried up a tree which was as far as I know in the process of
growing though it could have been dying as there was a mysterious

bulge in the tree a mysterious bulge as if some infection or tumor
had made its home in the trunk oh an ant just crossed my path I’ll

slap it I’ll slap it with my flip-flop and a duck just landed in the
swimming pool or does it land does it merely slide or settle

does it settle or slide or land into the pool a naked
man can be like a river a body can have a coastline a baby

can be a forest of blood and you can wear a wedding dress but
a cat never slouches a crane’s neck bends and it doesn’t so much

peck at the water as tests it yes I’d say a crane tests the water
before consuming the fly and the fly doesn’t flap her wings and

nibble and a squirrel kind of day or a crane day or ant moment
a million gray rats life and a platypus a breeze of coral and

life who would be like a river if life could be
like a river when that is the world at sunrise with a fly and ant and more


Daniel Kane is the author of All Poets Welcome: The Lower East Side Poetry Scene in the 1960s (University of California Press, 2003) and What Is Poetry: Conversations with the American Avant-garde (Teachers & Writers, 2003). His poems, interviews, and essays appear in in Fence, Exquisite Corpse, The Denver Quarterly, and other journals.


extreme verse: Guess Can Gallop (Heidi Lynn Staples, New Issues Press, 2004)

by Deanne Lundin

Every year another shelf of unreadable poetry comes off the presses, poetry by those who are more in love with the idea of being poets than they are with poetry. Some of us read it anyway because even pseudo poems are better than no poems. At the other end, sad, unscary verse inoculates a few more almost-readers against poetry.

And in between there are delightful books like Guess Can Gallop, which we could use a great many more of—under its feckless charm is a deeper feckless. It is feckless all the way. Or so it seems: anyone who’s tried to achieve that tone knows how difficult—and how pleasing—its appearance, just as you’re giving up, which is of course when language finally gets to do what it was trying to do until you got in the way. As for the reader, contemporary poetry seethes with conundrum and predicament, with the impossibilities of being, even as we are, well—as we are. When poetry manages to communicate that as awe rather than simply angst I am especially grateful.

Take, for instance, the opening of “Another Story with a Burning Yarn In It”:

I was on a fragmented seeming toward
like a little child with no documents inside.
We’d just fallen through place, the far one,

the way, the was. I’d never seen it so everything,
so firstling everlasting, so before and after.

Transcendence, meet Immanence. Immy, Trans. As deliciously Riesling a bit of verse as I’ve read lately on that Big Subject, it succeeds, as do others of these poems, on apparently nothing more than delirious invention by way of deletion:

I waited in acute between the two.
Usually, I. If not, the house from zero.

behind which however ghosts a not-quite, but almost, inference to something dark and disquieting:

The zero was where anyone is. None by none,
worlds grew off, and that should have told me
somebody. Letters are mad and broken.

“Zero,” “none by none,” “worlds grew off,” “somebody,” “no documents inside”—while it makes no explicit gesture to 911, it’s hard not to hear ground zero in a poem about the grounding of self, its slippage, the “strange quadratics,” (as Karen Volkman has put it) of “none by none.” Into the ark they should go. But signs are “mad and broken,” and few will be saved.

Staples does not reach for this reading—the poem does. It is I think an important distinction. She skirts the unspeakable, deftly troping aphasia, amnesia and other highrollers of pomo as though it were after all just a giddy diddy worth dancing to, but let’s not take it too seriously. And yet? It isn’t only letters that are mad and broken, but “I//from what I understand.” With the grace characteristic of this collection, she adds: “I guess this is all/I can remember. This is it for the time being.”

I hope it is only for the time being. And while I don’t particularly need more villanelles, I’ll add “Wrestling with the Concrete” to those I’d keep. Though a little loud in places (“shimmers about sum thing”; elisions like “Somethings” and sudden Unexpected emphases) its teasing is tender (“The others joke that he is hard of Herring,”) in its portrait of a man “In prescription frames with nonprescription lenses/Canting into the wind of his own undoing.” Wisely, Staples leaves the first repeating line alone (“It is on the table. He isn’t used to it.”) and its simplicity achieves a poignancy devoid of sentimentality. This is much in any book; in a first book, it’s worth celebration.

Like other recent books I greeted with joy (among them Christine Hume’s Alaskaphrenia, James Wagner’s the false sun recordings, Jenny Boully’s The Body, Lee Ann Brown’s Polyverse and The Sleep That Changed Everything) the best work in Guess Can Gallop belongs to experimental verse with body—tires spinning wildly over the edge but still got some road under. That road, though, isn’t concrete, as in the second appearance of “Wrestling with the Concrete,” where the lines mutate another abstraction away (its first line, “Somethings he forgets what is a Fish” becomes “Some kings he fare glints swap is a Filch” and now we’re in the skin trades). By the title’s third appearance late in the book, you hope the car’s a plane.

It is. This is poetry as Extreme Sport. Were it just about skiing past the “You Can Die” signs, who’d bother—those who go there mostly do die, the only epitaph another Darwin Award. But Staples is one of those who take the material of poetry to be, actually, poetry, rather than reportage, composers of a complex emotional music neither anecdotal nor explicitly political, very much alive and refusing to be depressed about it (“Literal of Apparition” will make you laugh out loud).

As a poet gleefully addicted to every kind of pun—or “paranomasia,” as Harryette Mullen once said in an interview, leaving out, thankfully, the related but distinct asteismus, equivoque and paragram, the latter of which has been especially seductive to writers (Nabokov called it “word golf”)—Staples mostly remembers how delicate an art it really is. Like farce. Like a soufflé. A very little misjudgment can turn the innuendo of scald behind “Hot scolds” into the nearly gratuitous “Hose that Jake Belt” (with its refrain, “That Joke be It,” though in fairness, even this nursery rhyme unfolds in delightfully unexpected ways). When that oblique rhyme on a cliché works—as it did so spectacularly in Mullen’s waymark book, Trimmings, as it does in the best hiphop—there are at least two ways of hearing at once, and one of them tends to undo the high seriousness of the other. When it fails, it risks turning into a knock-knock joke, or worse, let me get out my languey thang decoder ring, it was just here somewhere. And was it Frost who said, “Find out what you do best and then stop doing it”? Well, but he was a little cranky. Against this, I hope that Staples finds more and more things she can do with language and keeps doing them, because as of Guess Can Gallop, Staples, with an ear finely tuned to the exactly misheard, understands the music of the heart is strangely broken, and that’s about as close as language can get.


Deanne Lundin lives and writes in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she co-directs the Work-in-Progress Reading Series at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore, occasionally emcees at Shaman Drum Bookshop, and has taught for several years at the University of Michigan. The Ginseng Hunter's Notebook was published by New Issues Press (1999). Her work-in-progress includes a new collection of poetry, a novel, and essays on religious subjectivity in American women poets.

Poems by Heidi Lynn Staples appear in Tarpaulin Sky V2n1 Winter 2003-04. TSky V3n2 contributor Joyelle McSweeney's review of Guess Can Gallop can be found at Constant Critic.


Joyelle McSweeney

The Rockies

We drove our boat through the foot-shaped economy, canaline with first-name bases. Nicknames curved over the prow. They whistled, listened for a response, whistled. Or whispered directly into the grain. Can you believe how everything is talking to us she wrote across the red line intended for primary instruction. I studied the white space intended for illustration and considered my response. The ducks set their mouths in a line, then clapped and talked at our backs. Our craft moved down the canal as if guided by memory. Offline, we sifted through facts. Cord du roy, fustian, rus publicas we waited. For the turn we had passed a while back.

It would have to return. It was fully expected.

Lone photographer slots in, sticks his tongue into the groove. He was born for this, knows how to draw a welt. You give me the prose poems. His eye dilates. His eye flaps slow as a frog. I’ll give you a map to the water wells from here to the Texas boarder guards. I’ll make up the difference as a song and dance man with my thumb on the scales. The same lozenge hat can serve for both. The manywinged house will tilt over the landscape until you reverse the frame, and then it will taste the other way. Look on both seasons. Dishrags, fens. Was I dreaming as the blood left me or did I dream it into being. Is it cold or coal which makes it pure. Knuckled as the Rockies, perfect as the taste of punch in the mouth.

At root the prow was fiberglass, the grooves molded, and a gummy nylon dripped into the grooves. We toted a superfluity of paper in wads and wallets, but this paper was not cash. It was the letters and memoirs we would assemble into the journey. We proceeded like a log flume that had escaped its machinery, like a piece of making money tugged like a tooth from its grammar or flapped like a goose off the set. We floated our joke bond through the forest. I wrote that into the space. 


Joyelle McSweeney's second book, The Commandrine and Other Poems, was released last Fall from Fence Books. She teaches at the University of Alabama and writes regular reviews for the Constant Critic. She recently co-founded Action Books (www.actionbooks.org), a new poetry and translation press.

More work by Joyelle McSweeney will appear in Tarpaulin Sky V3n3-4.


Cheryl Pallant

Conterminous, Gridded, Deaggregated, and Uncertain

Four matriarchs contributed to hazard the site. They organized magnificently, flaring their skirts and baring their teeth amid intervals of laughter which corresponded to columns and distances unachievable without a scope.

Which they had, of course. Its upper endpoint magnified the intervals. For example, the number 6 meant that seismic sources with magnitudes in the interval 5.5 < Mw < = 6 were included in their hazard calculations. Such numbers gave the upper endpoint epicentral distance, which they needed. They would never argue red wine over white except when the occasion demanded. They stomped around the gape, a bit tipsy, mind you.

The eldest of them chanted, "We have deaggregated the hazard to examine the contribution to hazard as a function of magnitude and distance. This plot can be useful for a specific design. Probably," she added in a mirthful afterthought.

"We considered the epistemic uncertainty in ground-motion attenuating relations," another responded, she, long ago, also adopting the traditional tribal we.

"Let’s capture any differences between attenuated relations. Grab them by the pants," agreed another used to the brute forces of the ancient ways and sensitive to the slightest seismic shift.

They chuckled and lifted their skirts to their thighs. The diameter of the circle was proportional to the ratio of the 85th to the 15th fractile result for the 0.2 sec spectral acceleration at 10% PE in 50 years.

Their levity should not be taken lightly. As historical records bear out, too many have ignored their bellied calculations. Men get cockled—fear mostly—mystery of the ovum and the void. Awe does not come easily.


Cheryl Pallant's books include Into Stillness and Uncommon Grammar Cloth, both published by Station Hill Press (NY), and the chapbook, Spontaneities, from Belladonna Press (NY). Her poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous print and online journals such as HOW2, Moria, lyric, and Confrontation. She is also a dancer and the co-editor of the dance magazine Contact Quarterly. She teaches classes in creative writing, dance, and a blend of the two at the University of Richmond.


Eco-Publishing: Bringing It Down To Earth
w/ Jane Sprague & Jonathan Skinner

by Michael Boyko

As writers, we have a hard enough time getting our work in print without worrying about how our tiny publishing victories are going to effect the environment. As readers, we feel like we're doing a good deed just by picking up a book instead of flipping on the TV. No one wants to think that the book they are reading or publishing is toxic to the environment. Television is the enemy, books are our friends. Right? In a lot of ways, yes. But in many ways, the environment is better off if you subscribe to cable than if you crack the spine of a freshly purchased book. Writers and publishers are, often unwittingly, contributing to one of the most pollutant industries in the country each and every time we make or buy a book or print out another draft of a work-in-progress. But before you fall back into the soft folds of your sofa and resign yourself to channel surfing as environmental crusade, be aware that there are efforts being made to clean up the publishing world in an ecological sense. Jonathan Skinner, editor and publisher of the journal ecopoetics, has for years now put ecological concerns at the fore of both his writing and the journal he produces. Jane Sprague’s Palm Press (palmpress.org) recently found itself facing the financial and logistical difficulties of producing an environmentally friendly perfect-bound book, when it set out to publish Skinner’s own Political Cactus Poems.

Palm Press is a small press with a modest list of titles. Their mission is "to make available works which navigate the interstices, the between spaces, of academic and non-academic realms and discourse," publishing writers "whose work challenges notions of genre . . . who consciously work within and among these spaces in poetry, essay, cultural studies, narrativity, theory and the increasingly blurred edge between such categories." Sprague, an active, established writer, began the press in 2003 with the publication of a pamphlet, the transcription of a talk by poet Ammiel Alcalay, titled Poetry, Politics, and Translation: American Isolation and the Middle East.

Sprague aims not only to publish great texts, but to create books that embody the intent of the author and the work. Palm Press’s second book, Juliana Spahr's things of each possible relation hashing against one another, was one such “product of conversations” between publisher and author, with Sprague again making sure that the book's design, as well as what was inside, reflected things that were important to Spahr and her work. The result was a 32-page, hand-sewn chapbook, “a series of poems that opens with the view from the sea and ends with the view from the land and is about the ecological hashing that happens as these two views meet in Hawai'i.” In the short essay following her poem(s), Spahr says that “Around the time I was working on [things of each possible relation . . .], Jonathan Skinner started publishing his journal ecopoetics. And then I realized that what I was looking for all along was in the tradition of ecopoetics—a poetics full of systemic analysis and critique that questions the divisions between nature and culture while also acknowledging that humans use up too much of the world—instead of a nature poetry.”

It seems only natural, in looking at the development of Palm Press, that its next book would be one by the founder of ecopoetics, Skinner himself. Sprague says she is pleased with “this through-line of collaboration which has developed. It is as if each publication is in a kind of communication with the next one, through Palm.” However, publishing Political Cactus Poems—and doing so in an ecologically-sensitive way—has its roots in personal experiences as well. Prior to looking for ecologically sensitive printers, Sprague was fairly unaware of the tremendous pollution and waste involved in the process. “Which is strange,” she says, “because I grew up outside of Binghamton, New York, and actually had a summer job once working in a printing/publishing factory—Vail Ballou." Sprague worked "the line":

Third shift, "stuffing packets" chucking great sheaves of paper into this kind of paper-eating machine. . . . There are several publishing factories outside of Binghamton. Penguin is there, Putnam, and also Vail-Ballou. All of these factories are situated right on water which eventually becomes the East Branch of the Delaware River. You can imagine what may be happening in terms of waste, run-off, and pollution.

According to Sprague, Political Cactus Poems is concerned with "landscape, environment, politics, ruptures of both language and human relation, and this incredible split we find ourselves with or in: that of our highly industrialized world culture as sheared off from ecological concerns—at our own expense." It was clear to Sprague that any collaboration between Palm Press and Skinner would require “a certain intention and care regarding ecology.” If his poetry takes “the shape of a changing response to questions posed by the environments the poet physically inhabits,” then the book in turn would have to change its shape in response to these questions. “So, we decided to go for it, as a press,” says Sprague, “and have the book printed in the most ecologically conscious way possible.

Sprague sought out an ecologically-minded printing company Skinner had mentioned: Alonzo Printing, located in northern California. The result was an affordable, ecological-friendly book, printed with soy-based ink on 100% (“well, 99.8%”) post-consumer-waste recycled paper. It turns out that very few printers currently offer Alonzo’s environmentally friendly services. “Alonzo is a terrific company,” says Sprague. “Even after I priced everything out (with the likes of Bookmobile—this print-on-demand place out of the Midwest that tons of indie presses are using nowadays—to McNaughton & Gunn), Alonzo was just moderately more expensive but ultimately worth it.” Initially, all of the chapbooks slated for publication by Palm Press in 2005 were to have their covers printed by Alonzo—unfortunately, the economic reality of small press publishing, such as it is, made costs prohibitive. Palm's next perfect-bound book, however, will printed using environmentally-friendly methods.

What do we do about our other favorite books and literary journals? Or about our own printing habits? No one at Staples will tell you that chlorine bleach is used to make paper (even recycled paper), that dioxins are a by-product of chlorine bleach, and that dioxins are poisonous and carcinogenic. Most inks and toners used in printing are also toxic. It seems pretty obvious when you think about it, but hardly anyone ever thinks about it when they think about publishing. Why? Denial, probably. Ignorance, definitely. I had never thought about the impact my art had on the environment until I started writing this article (I’d been too busy sending out submissions and printing out innumerable copies of my manuscript in its many forms. But never mind that—let’s forgive ourselves and move on.) Now is as good a time as any to start thinking about it.

According to Skinner, "The pulp and paper industry is the 3rd most polluting industry in North America. When I checked Environmental Defense for point-source pollution in the Buffalo area [where ecopoetics is published], printers came up among the biggest culprits.” And he says that while global paper consumption has more than tripled over the past 30 years, “Editors and publishers (and office managers) are uniquely situated to influence this state of affairs.”

Skinner cites many ways that publishers can make their process more eco-friendly:

Paper-free publishing on the Internet is one route (supposedly, so long as your readers aren’t automatically hitting Print). Responsible printing is another. Recycled, tree-free and processed-chlorine free papers are not materially (in the long run) any more expensive or difficult to produce, nor is their quality substantially different from the other range of papers available. (It might be interesting to note that the pricey cotton-based papers that have been around for a long time are largely tree-free.) Places like Alonzo show that the toxic aspects of printing can be minimized and responsibly managed. The only factor holding the price up is low demand. There’s prejudice or ignorance about recycled paper— that supposedly it jams up copiers, or that it’s cost is prohibitively out of range, or that it handles ink unpredictably, etc. And there’s also a lot of unreflective use of “recycled” paper. If it’s not at least 60% post-consumer content I’d say it’s not recycled; anything less is token. (The organization “Reach for Unbleached,” and their journal “Mill Watch,” will settle for 30% post-consumer content when the paper is also processed chlorine free [PCF].) There’s also the problem with certification; as with bottled water, there’s no official certifying organization. As it is, paper mills can slap “recycled” on any old pulp, and customers would never be the wiser—it depends on the state/ country, probably. Finally, there’s the issue of bleaching: chlorine-free processing is just about as important as recycling—no certification process established for this either. (There is the Chlorine Free Product Association, which supposedly does 3rd-party certification for the UN: chlorinefreeproducts.org) In short: the more demand we generate for recycled, tree-free and processed-chlorine free paper, the more we can begin to deal with these problems. And the more we demand the more the price will come down. There is currently a program for offices to join together and form “office buying clubs” for such supplies. Small presses should be getting together to do the same.

Skinner admits that this is not always the easiest thing to do, since many small presses are run with pocket-change and spare-time. The first issue of ecopoetics was printed on paper that was only 30% post-consumer recycled waste. The next two issues, however, reached 60%. The covers were made from such materials as recycled money, recycled denim, and the African fiber kenaf (all obtained through Greg Barber Paper (gregbarberco.com)). Though Skinner says he chose these materials more for how they looked and felt, they remain an aesthetically interesting alternative to the glossy cover and are free of the toxic side effects of the photographic process and lamination.

Skinner remains as interested in the paper itself as in the ecological ramifications of using that paper:

There are some cool handmade papers out there. Green Field Paper Company makes “Grow A Note” paper—embedded with wildflower seeds, it will sprout when you plant it! Or their confetti-colorful 100% recycled junk mail paper: greenfieldpaper.com. Once I came across some recycled golf-course clipping paper, but now wonder if I dreamt that, since I can’t find it anywhere.

But does it matter if small presses engage in ecologically sensitive printing methods? Small presses don't really produce enough to have much of an impact on the environment. Maybe. But that's like saying that just because you don't drink a case of beer a day, you shouldn't bother recycling your cans. As anyone who recycles knows, the idea is that anyone who can do it should do it. Besides, we all know where the big publishing groups get their best ideas: by copying the small presses. The sooner small presses jump on the eco-publishing bandwagon, the sooner the big presses will try it out, too—saving us from a whole lot of pollution down the road.

Skinner eloquently sums up this lead-by-example philosophy, saying, "I try to show that it can be done differently— not so much a matter of elevating consciousness as bringing it down to earth."


Jonathan Skinner was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1967, and has lived in Mexico, England, Italy, France and, most recently, New York State. Skinner edits the review ecopoetics in Buffalo, NY, where he curated the Steel Bar reading series and where he continues to misidentify birds along the Niagra River. He teaches at the State University of New York and in the Buffalo public schools.

Jane Sprague publishes Palm Press. She began and curated the West End reading series in Ithaca, NY as well as the 2004 conference "Small Press Culture Workers." Her poems and reviews are published in numerous print and online magazines including ecopoetics, Columbia Poetry Review, Kiosk, Tinfish, and Tarpaulin Sky (V2n2-3). Recent poems are in the current issues of How2 and Bird Dog. Her manuscript, Halocline, is in circulation; her current writing project is The Port of Los Angeles from which "The Den of Ships" has been excerpted. She lives in Long Beach, California.

Michael Boyko is a Poetry Editor for Tarpaulin Sky


A Brief Q&A with Juliana Spahr
by Michael Boyko

MB: "In Gentle Now, Don't Add to Heartache," as in other work of yours, there is a lot of listing and repetition going on. Could you talk about how this specifically relates to the themes of nature and turning from nature also present in a lot of your work?

JS: I like the list. I like lists because they are inclusive. You can keep sticking things into them. And they don't require categorization. So each item in the list can be as important as the others. I especially like the list as lament. As a sort of recognizing or call out of what is becoming lost. In these poems with lists of plants and animals in them I am thinking of poetry as a place for storing information. I am thinking of the age old uses of the list poem as a way of keeping knowledge that needs to be kept.

MB: How were these lists generated? How did you decide what to include?

JS: In various ways. For the one in "Gentle Now" I used a list that I found online in A Guide to Ohio Streams (published by the Ohio Chapter of the American Fisheries Society). I supplemented it with various other notes that I took as I read about streams.

MB: Could you talk about point of view, the very complicated relationship between "we" and "I" in this poem? (I have a lot of thoughts on this, but wanted to hear your side of things, why specifically you made that POV shift when you did, what you believe it accomplished, etc.)

JS: I keep thinking pronouns all the time. Somehow pronouns have become the most loaded parts of language for me. I started with "we" because I wanted to start with together. It is the idyll part of the poem. "We" is humans and animals and plants. It is also knowledge when you are a child. You learn with and through others. And I wanted everyone to be there in the poem. I wanted "we" to include those who read it. And then I wanted when I turn to "I" to talk about how that moment of becoming individuals, becoming distinct and disconnected, is part of the problem. And I wanted more specifically to talk about my own complicity with this. I wanted to think how I went from someone who was very connected with "nature," and who wouldn't have noticed the distinction between nature and society. To someone who does very unnatural things all the time now. And I also felt I needed to use "I" because I wanted the poem to be local to Chillicothe, where I grew up. I guess I felt I had to stand up and take responsibility and be there in the poem at some point. That I couldn't hide in the "we." And I also wanted the reader to think about their individualism with me.

MB: Where is that song at the end of the poem from?

JS: Euripides. But it came to me from Gail Holst-Warhaft’s Dangerous Voices: Women’s Laments and Greek Literature which came to me because Allison Cobb was talking about it.

MB: I get the sense that your work is highly engaged with recognition. As if it is resisting the urge to try and fix a problem and is instead trying to fully identify what is going on. Could you talk about identification and recognition as forms of action, and how this relates to poetry in general?

JS: I probably want to argue that recognition is a form of action. But I also have to admit the limits of this. I like poetry because it helps me think. It helps me resort data. It lets me list things and then think about the shape of the list. I am not sure I can make poetry do much more than this. I don't trust poetry when it tells me what to do without resorting the way I see things first.

MB: Do you feel like talking a little about what you are working on currently?

JS: I'm working on something that is part memoir, part critical study, part literary study, part cultural study. I guess it is prose. It is about three people who move between Hawai‘i and New York in order to speak more broadly about how issues of colonialism and the at-risk natural environment of islands are interconnected and shape our relations with other humans. I can't seem to finish it. It gets longer and longer.


Juliana Spahr was born in Chillicothe, Ohio in 1966. Her books include This Connection of Everyone with Lungs (U of California P, 2005), Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You (Wesleyan U P, 2001), Everybody's Autonomy: Connective Reading and Collective Identity (U of Alabama P, 2001), and Response (Sun & Moon P, 1996). She co-edits the journal Chain with Jena Osman (archive at http://www.temple.edu/chain) and she frequently self-publishes her work (archive at http://people.mills.edu/jspahr/ and http://www2.hawaii.edu/~spahr/).

Michael Boyko is a poetry editor for Tarpaulin Sky. See "editors" link below.


Juliana Spahr

Gentle Now, Don’t Add to Heartache


We come into the world.

We come into the world and there it is.

The sun is there.

The brown of the river leading to the blue and the brown of the ocean is there.

Salmon and eels are there moving between the brown and the brown and the blue.

The green of the land is there.

Elders and youngers are there.

Fighting and possibility and love are there.

And we begin to breathe.

We come into the world and there it is.

We come into the world without and we breathe it in.

We come into the world.

We come into the world and we too begin to move between the brown and the blue and the green of it.


We came into the world at the edge of a stream.

The stream had no name but it began from a spring and flowed down a hill into the Scioto that then flowed into the Ohio that then flowed into the Mississippi that then flowed into the Gulf of Mexico.

The stream was a part of us and we were a part of the stream and we were thus part of the rivers and thus part of the gulfs and the oceans.

And we began to learn the stream.

We looked under stones for the caddisfly larvae and its adhesive.

We counted the creek chub and we counted the slenderhead darter.

We learned to recognize the large, upright, dense, candle-like clusters of yellowish flowers at the branch ends of the horsechestnut and we appreciated the feathery gracefulness of the drooping, but upturning, branchlets of the larch.

We mimicked the catlike meow, the soft quirrt or kwut, and the louder, grating ratchet calls of the gray catbird.

We put our heads together.

We put our heads together with all these things, with the caddisfly larva, with the creek chub and the slenderhead darter, with the horsechestnut and the larch, with the gray catbird.

We put our heads together on a narrow pillow, on a stone, on a narrow stone pillow, and we talked to each other all day long because we loved.

We loved the stream.

And we were of the stream.

And we couldn’t help this love because we arrived at the bank of the stream and began breathing and the stream was various and full of information and it changed our bodies with its rotten with its cold with its clean with its mucky with fallen leaves with its things that bite the edges of the skin with its leaves with its sand and dirt with its pungent at moments with its dry and prickly with its warmth with its mushy and moist with its hard flat stones on the bottom with its horizon lines of gently rolling hills with its darkness with its dappled light with its cicadas buzz with its trills of birds.


This is where we learned love and where we learned depth and where we learned layers and where we learned connections between layers.

We learned and we loved the black sandshell, the ash, the american bittern, the harelip sucker, the yellow bullhead, the beech, the great blue heron, the dobsonfly larva, the water penny larva, the birch, the redhead, the white catspaw, the elephant ear, the buckeye, the king eider, the river darter, the sauger, the burning bush, the common merganser, the limpet, the mayfly nymph, the cedar, the turkey vulture, the spectacle case, the flat floater, the cherry, the red tailed hawk, the longnose gar, the brook trout, the chestnut, the killdeer, the river snail, the giant floater, the chokeberry, gray catbird, the rabbitsfoot, the slenderhead darter, the crabapple, the american robin, the creek chub, the stonefly nympth, the dogwood, the warbling vireo, the sow bug, the elktoe, the elm, the marsh wren, the monkeyface, the central mudminnow, the fir, the gray-cheeked thrush, the white bass, the predaceous diving beetle, the hawthorn, the scud, the salamander mussel, the hazelnut, the warbler, the mapleleaf, the american eel, the hemlock, the speckled chub, the whirligig beetle larva, the hickory, the sparrow, the caddisfly larva, the fluted shell, the horse chestnut, the wartyback, the white heelsplitter, the larch, the pine grosbeak, the brook stickleback, the river redhorse, the locust, the ebonyshelf, the giant water bug, the maple, the eastern phoebe, the white sucker, the creek heelsplitter, the mulberry, the crane fly larva, the mountain madtom, the oak, the bank swallow, the wabash pigtoe, the damselfly larva, the pine, the stonecat, the kidneyshell, the plum, the midge larva, the eastern sand darter, the rose, the purple wartyback, the narrow-winged damselfly, the spruce, the pirate perch, the threehorn wartyback, the sumac, the black fly larva, the redside dace, the tree-of-heaven, the orange-foot pimpleback, the dragonfly larva, the walnut, the gold fish, the butterfly, the striped fly larva, the willow, the freshwater drum, the ohio pigtoe, the warmouth, the mayfly nymph, the clubshell.

And this was just the beginning of the list.

Our hearts took on many things.

Our hearts took on new shapes, new shapes every day as we went to the stream every day.

Our hearts took on the shape of well-defined riffles and pools, clean substrates, woody debris, meandering channels, floodplains, and mature streamside forests.

Our hearts took on the shape of the stream and became riffled and calmed and muddy and clean and flooded and shrunken dry.

Our hearts took on the shape of whirligigs swirling across the water.

We shaped our hearts into the sycamore trees along the side of the stream and we let into our hearts the long pendulous polygamous racemes of its small green flowers, the first-formed male flowers with no pistil and then the later arriving hairy ovary with its two curved stigmas.

We let ourselves love the one day of the adult life of the mayfly as it swarms, mates in flight, and dies all without eating.

And we shaped our hearts into the water willow and into the eggs spawned in the water willow.

Our hearts took on the brilliant blues, reds, and oranges of breeding male rainbow darter and our hearts swam to the female rainbow darter and we poked her side with our snout as she buried herself under the gravel and we laid upon her as she vibrated.

We let leaves and algae into our hearts and then we let the mollusks and the insects and we let the midge larvae into our heart and then the stonefly nymph and then a minnow came into our heart and with it a bass and then we let the blue heron fly in, the raccoon amble by, the snapping turtle and the watersnake also.

We immersed ourselves in the shallow stream. We lied down on the rocks on our narrow pillow stone and let the water pass over us and our heart was bathed in glochida and other things that attach to the flesh.

And as we did this we sang.

We sang gentle now.

Gentle now clubshell,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now warmouth, mayfly nymph,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now willow, freshwater drum, ohio pigtoe,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now walnut, gold fish, butterfly, striped fly larva,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now black fly larva, redside dace, tree-of-heaven, orange-foot pimpleback, dragonfly larva,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now purple wartyback, narrow-winged damselfly, spruce, pirate perch, threehorn wartyback, sumac,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now pine, stonecat, kidneyshell, plum, midge larva, eastern sand darter, rose,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now creek heelsplitter, mulberry, crane fly larva, mountain madtom, oak, bank swallow, wabash pigtoe, damselfly larva,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now pine grosbeak, brook stickleback, river redhorse, locust, ebonyshelf, giant water bug, maple, eastern phoebe, white sucker,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now whirligig beetle larva, hickory, sparrow, caddisfly larva, fluted shell, horse chestnut, wartyback, white heelsplitter, larch,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now white bass, predaceous diving beetle, hawthorn, scud, salamander mussel, hazelnut, warbler, mapleleaf, american eel, hemlock, speckled chub,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now stonefly nympth, dogwood, warbling vireo, sow bug, elktoe, elm, marsh wren, monkeyface, central mudminnow, fir, gray-cheeked thrush,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now longnose gar, brook trout, chestnut, killdeer, river snail, giant floater, chokeberry, gray catbird, rabbitsfoot, slenderhead darter, crabapple, american robin, creek chub,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now king eider, river darter, sauger, burning bush, common merganser, limpet, mayfly nymph, cedar, turkey vulture, spectacle case, flat floater, cherry, red tailed hawk,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now black sandshell, ash, american bittern, harelip sucker, yellow bullhead, beech, great blue heron, dobsonfly larva, water penny larva, birch, redhead, white catspaw, elephant ear, buckeye,

don’t add to heartache.

Gentle now, we sang,

Circle our heart in rapture, in love-ache. Circle our heart.


It was not all long lines of connection and utopia.

It was a brackish stream and it went through the field beside our house.

But we let into our hearts the brackish parts of it also.

Some of it knowingly.

We let in soda cans and we let in cigarette butts and we let in pink tampon applicators and we let in six pack of beer connectors and we let in various other pieces of plastic that would travel through the stream.

And some of it unknowingly.

We let the runoff from agriculture, surface mines, forestry, home wastewater treatment systems, construction sites, urban yards, and roadways into our hearts.

We let chloride, magnesium, sulfate, manganese, iron, nitrite/nitrate, aluminum, suspended solids, zinc, phosphorus, fertilizers, animal wastes, oil, grease, dioxins, heavy metals and lead go through our skin and into our tissues.

We were born at the beginning of these things, at the time of chemicals combining, at the time of stream run off.

These things were a part of us and would become more a part of us but we did not know it yet.

Still we noticed enough to sing a lament.

To sing in lament for whoever lost her elephant ear lost her mountain madtom

and whoever lost her butterfly lost her harelip sucker

and whoever lost her white catspaw lost her rabbitsfoot

and whoever lost her monkeyface lost her speckled chub

and whoever lost her wartyback lost her ebonyshell

and whoever lost her pirate perch lost her ohio pigtoe lost her clubshell.


What I did not know as I sang the lament of what was becoming lost and what was already lost was how this loss would happen.

I did not know that I would turn from the stream to each other.

I did not know I would turn to each other.

That I would turn to each other to admire the softness of each other’s breast, the folds of each other’s elbows, the brightness of each other’s eyes, the smoothness of each other’s hair, the evenness of each other’s teeth, the firm blush of each other’s lips, the firm softness of each other’s breasts, the fuzz of each other’s down, the rich, ripe pungency of each other’s smell, all of it, each other’s cheeks, legs, neck, roof of mouth, webbing between the fingers, tips of nails and also cuticles, hair on toes, whorls on fingers, skin discolorations.

I turned to each other.

Ensnared, bewildered, I turned to each other and from the stream.

I turned to each other and I began to work for the chemical factory and I began to work for the paper mill and I began to work for the atomic waste disposal plant and I began to work at keeping men in jail.

I turned to each other.

I didn’t even say goodbye elephant ear, mountain madtorn, butterfly, harelip sucker, white catspaw, rabbitsfoot, monkeyface, speckled chub, wartyback, ebonyshell, pirate perch, ohio pigtoe, clubshell.

I replaced what I knew of the stream with Lifestream Total Cholesterol Test Packets, with Snuggle Emerald Stream Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets, with Tisserand Aromatherapy Aroma-Stream Cartridges, with Filter Stream Dust Tamer, and Streamzap PC Remote Control, Acid Stream Launcher, and Viral Data Stream.

I didn’t even say goodbye elephant ear, mountain madtorn, butterfly, harelip sucker, white catspaw, rabbitsfoot, monkeyface, speckled chub, wartyback, ebonyshell, pirate perch, ohio pigtoe, clubshell.

I put a Streamline Tilt Mirror in my shower and I kept a crystal Serenity Sphere with a Winter Stream view on my dresser.

I didn’t even say goodbye elephant ear, mountain madtorn, butterfly, harelip sucker, white catspaw, rabbitsfoot, monkeyface, speckled chub, wartyback, ebonyshell, pirate perch, ohio pigtoe, clubshell.

I bought a Gulf Stream Blue Polyester Boat Cover for my 14-16 Foot V-Hull Fishing boats with beam widths up to sixty-eight feet and I talked about value stream management with men in suits over a desk.

I didn’t even say goodbye elephant ear, mountain madtorn, butterfly, harelip sucker, white catspaw, rabbitsfoot, monkeyface, speckled chub, wartyback, ebonyshell, pirate perch, ohio pigtoe, clubshell.

I just turned to each other and the body parts of the other suddenly glowed with the beauty and detail that I had found in the stream.

I put my head together on a narrow pillow and talked with each other all night long.

And I did not sing.

I did not sing otototoi; dark, all merged together, oi.

I did not sing groaning wounds.

I did not sing otototoi; dark, all merged together, oi.

I did not sing groaning wounds.

I did not sing o wo, wo, wo!

I did not sing I see, I see.

I did not sing wo, wo!


Juliana Spahr was born in Chillicothe, Ohio in 1966. Her books include This Connection of Everyone with Lungs (U of California P, 2005), Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You (Wesleyan U P, 2001), Everybody's Autonomy: Connective Reading and Collective Identity (U of Alabama P, 2001), and Response (Sun & Moon P, 1996). She co-edits the journal Chain with Jena Osman (archive at http://www.temple.edu/chain) and she frequently self-publishes her work (archive at http://people.mills.edu/jspahr/ and http://www2.hawaii.edu/~spahr/).


Jane Sprague

from The Den of Ships

Catalogue of Earth Works

one lone serval free roams                        (January Hollywood Hills)

Bengal tiger tracked to death                      (February Ventura County)

waterbirds wash up dead oily                     (March Seal Beach)

Great Blue Heron storm wrecked / wracked
fluffed feathers           a great blue great coat      dead awful     still standing

                                                                    (Winter Storm Belmont Shore Beach)

dead Chihuahua (chee-hoo-uh-hoo-uh) washes up out to sea

                                                                                          and back again
                                                                    (Winter Storm Long Beach)
flames of the port sky shot
                                          orange cone
                                                              riot the sky
                                                                           daytime nighttime unending
(we three see this separate same time)

this goes on for days and days                   (Spring Long Beach)

    RULES OF THE PORT: Pacific engagement: Dislocate the facts: Report:
    SAN PEDRO: Filipino community takes in sailors adrift

SPECIFIC ENGAGEMENT: Rain          dead grebe          dead pelican
dead dog          oil clog          ocean        soft mollusk       gone sun side   up


                        but could only see DYSTOPIA no perfect vision COUNTING
                        the dead no perfect vision no clear field no dream of a
                        BETTER bettor                what we inherit             what do we
                        OUR BROKEN our soil(ed) PURCHASE our
                        empty              endless             BLAH BLAH


Jane Sprague publishes Palm Press. She began and curated the West End reading series in Ithaca, NY as well as the 2004 conference "Small Press Culture Workers." Her poems and reviews are published in numerous print and online magazines including ecopoetics, Columbia Poetry Review, Kiosk, Tinfish, and Tarpaulin Sky (V2n2-3). Recent poems are in the current issues of How2 and Bird Dog. Her manuscript, Halocline, is in circulation; her current writing project is The Port of Los Angeles from which "The Den of Ships" has been excerpted. She lives in Long Beach, California


Steve Timm

from Round 12 of Bout


So say you were going to stay on a mountain stay in mountains in color in a color in one color each day a color another one and each night a color too a color of night through thin of tent you would sleep underneath each night a color another one not as other as the next color the next day was other than the color of the day before the next day supposing primary colors as the day colors but secondary too you were going to stay more than three days your red your blue your yellow green a good guess maybe white color not color but colors and the nights the tentbellied nights a color of the tent’s underbellied burrowed into by you black not black not quite just about slate near black gray of fainting the moment before completely fainted near black or a color moonblued in eerie freshness unnamable as air a crickety color the color of what crickets sound long like if they can stand even summer mountains in the west not the smoothed ones of the east the night colors different that way too a color of a crevasse a color of high scrub pines and you were going to wake up first in the tent and then outside the tent in the sky if you looked up first and then or else in the pines needles trunks a color and then or else down brown needled dirt the same every morning waking range of directions for looking inside the tent and outside the tent every waking another color a lot or a little other color and then another and another as you looked up or down or down and up or straight ahead with your head in erect posture the way you make it so every morning in or not in or on mountains or could have been in the same order every waking if not the color the sound of it if not the sound then the order of the looking as same as the names of calendars unless it rained or something sudden, but then you couldn’t



All the shuttings and openings all the leavings-ajar and tamperings all the pushings and glowings the shovings and shorings all the rappings and lookings the knockings and ringings all the heavings and landings the beckonings and foregoings the nearings and farings all the retreatings and haltings the pausings and holdings all the pairings and cleavings the parings and agglutinatings all the graspings and lettings-go all the elbowings and turnings-back the resurgings and inquirings all the checkings and pointings the pourings and ascendings the shapings and polishings the takings-up and arrangings the pressings and implementings all the gapings and withholdings all the servings and stillings all the findings and resortings all the beddings and traversings all the returnings and calmings the drawings-to and cuppings the forkings and instigatings all the perambulatings and declinings the cranings and limpings all the sniffings and rollings the duckwalkings and havings all the tearings and meanderings the proppings and closings the cradlings and brushings the leanings and tricklings the recoilings and flavorings the concatenatings and steepings all the frontings and absorbings the dosings and assignings the forsakings and robings the enshrinings and shoeings all the jumpings and creasings all the alleviatings and creatings all the passings and raisings the lickings and siftings the speculumings and endearings all the meetings and dopings the molderings and satisfyings the fragmentings and intubatings the clearings-off and mortarings all the chillings and piquings the zoomings and appropriatings the maximizings and yellowings the deepenings and thrillings the ladlings and dryings the goings and reducings the gainings and fracturings the zippings and directings the nudgings and phalanxings the pettings and diggings, all the reachings and ravelings the replacings and rattings all the catchings and drivings the caromings and marchings the facings and the dyings



That Thing She Does

Well it gives her something a name for I don’t know or isn’t one I don’t ask suppose fear or won’t understand the words of there is no name for it where the soul is unasked what goes on unasked what is the limit unasked the sound unasked or if it’s sounds unasked and so a harmony unasked or else a dysphony unasked or a combination in alternation thereof unasked or a capitalized light unasked or more a vision unasked perhaps a visioning unasked though most likely not an envisioning unasked the body tiring unasked at once unasked or by degrees unasked to say nothing of the mind unasked the location of the mind unasked the condition of the mind unasked the achievement of that uncanny stillness unasked the method of the achievement unasked the acquisition of the method unasked the degree to which the achievement and the effects correlate unasked the effects unasked whether saying effects is appropriate in the present case unasked whether saying case may be offensive unasked though certainly present is eminently so meaning appropriate not offensive unasked whether and if so to what degree the present is sensed if sensed is the right term unasked whether to what degree is different for each instancing unasked whether to what degree is a variable or is fixed within a given instancing unasked whether the uncanny stillness chanced upon by me is constant throughout a given instancing unasked whether the uncanny stillness if it is constant within a given instancing is replicable or indeed replicated or progresses toward some greater stillness whether steadily progressing or intermittently so as in so-called fits and starts or varies without any perception of overall progress unasked whether the presence or absence of change in either or any direction within and longitudinally across a given or a set of given or a given set of or a given set of given or random instancing or instancings correlates in any way with whatever if any effect or effects unasked and would it be OK if I asked unasked


Steve Timm lives in southern Wisconsin. A chapbook, Averrage, appeared in 2004 from Answer Tag Home Press. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Notre Dame Review, Word/For Word, Antennae, Gam, Bird Dog, Sidereality, and Moria, among others. He teaches English as a second language at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A short film of him performing a sound poem was shown at the 2004 Wisconsin Film Festival.


Sasha Watson


Variously sized trees line the corner outside Rite Aid.
A girl tells her son they are “hugging together” there and he looks.
They are wrapped tightly in a plastic net. Both are tuned
to the frequency of strangers' conversations and to the possibility
of remaining among trees.

Grilled hatches open from the ground at regular intervals
while avenues extend from a structure at the city center.
In outlying territories there is a softening of grade.
Expectations are troubled and dissipate.
Travel becomes less difficult.

In the street, circles of attention and imagination intersect.
The girl becomes a wooden shape, her family contained
inside the heaved motion caused by a storm.
In a world that holds the moment of its inspiration
she explains, “It is a kind of weather unique to this place.”


The Photographer

A tour of the horizon begins at 2770 meters, chalet-hotel, and continues through valleys, where absence creates depth, each peak marked by a small black arrow. From a tower, a number of sheep, each in relation to each other, pulling the landscape into balance. Through this picture I see another picture: body crouched and tense dragging the desert for light, extracting rigorous form. In the mountains, an animal wakes, snow melting from its back. The moment is recorded in a book in sketches, notes, and light, primary matter of the document. Chalet-hotel at 2770 meters. The animal is an ox. The animal is a black goat with a broken leg carried on a boy’s back. Two heads move evenly across the frame. Light freezes on the banks of the river, a fragment of the expedition which, over time, becomes detached from the real. “Sometimes you get it wrong.” Here in the body where vision meets the world becoming object. Through this picture I see another picture: crouched and tight, caught in the shuttered language of the image. Obstinate way in which the photographer reveals.


Sasha Watson is a writer, translator, and teacher based in New York. Her poetry, translations, and reviews have appeared in Bird Dog, Common Knowledge, Triquarterly, Bookslut, Nerve, and the Poetry Project Newsletter. She is currently working on a Ph.D. in French literature at NYU.


Tarpaulin Sky Editors

Founding editor: Christian Peet. Prose Editors: Eireene Nealand and Julianna Spallholz. Poetry Editors: Michael Boyko, Lizzie Harris, and Jonathan Livingtson. Production Assistant: Sarah Roberts. Copy Editor: Dimon Hunter: Readings Coordinator: Elena Georgiou.

Christian Peet's recent poetry and transgenre work appears or is forthcoming in Bird Dog, Cranky, Fence, Parakeet, Pom2, Shampoo, SleepingFish, Spinning Jenny, Word For/Word, Unpleasant Event Schedule, and elsewhere. He teaches at Brooklyn College, CUNY, and has worked in the past as a carpenter's apprentice, sheet metal fabricator, goat milker, organic sprout grower, maintenance man, landscaper, and convenience store clerk. He received a BA from Bennington College and an MFA from Goddard College.

Christian Peet's upcoming readings (in reverse chronological order):

Saturday 22 October
Host: Tarpaulin Sky Fall 05 Reading Series (link), w/ Barbara DeCesare, Elena Georgiou, Joan Larkin, Ada Limon

Saturday 15 October
w/ Elena Georgiou & Selah Saterstrom
West End Reading Series
Lost Dog Cafe, Ithaca, NY

Saturday 1 October
Host: Tarpaulin Sky Fall 05 Reading Series (link), w/ Amy King, Dan Machlin, Paul McCormick, and Jonah Winter

Saturday 24 September
Host: Tarpaulin Sky Fall 05 Reading Series (link), w/ Dan Chelotti, Mary A. Koncel, Jeffrey Levine, and Fred Muratori

Thursday 15 September
w/ Michael Boyko & Julianna Spallholz
Artwork by Barry Jones
Holden Gallery Reading Series
Warren Wilson College, Asheville, North Carolina

Saturday 10 September
Tarpaulin Sky Fall 05 Reading Series (link), w/ Jen Benka, Josh Corey, Michael Gottlieb, and Heidi Lynn Staples

Saturday 16 July
Host & Reader: Tarpaulin Sky Summer Camp 05 (link)
w/ Robyn Art, Michael Boyko, Barbara DeCesare, Elena Georgiou, Jeffrey Levine, Paul McCormick, Heidi Lynn Staples, Sasha Watson, & TBA.

Sunday 15 May
w/ Heidi Lynn Staples
Representing Unpleasant Event Schedule
A Celebration of New Jersey's Literary Journals
West Caldwell Public Library, West Caldwell, NJ

Friday 6 May
w/ Aaron Zimmerman
NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) Writing Aloud Reading Series
Prince George Tea Room
14 East 28th Street (b/w 5th and Madison), NYC
$6 ($3 for NYWC members)
7:30 PM
(All proceeds benefit NYWC’s creative writing programs, one of the largest community writing organizations in the country, whose members include residents of supportive housing, people with HIV/AIDS, adults with mental illness, people affected by cancer, domestic abuse survivors, retired adults and economically disadvantaged youth and teens.
For more info: www.nywriterscoalition.org)

Tuesday 29 March
For Pom2 Issue 6 Release
Dixon Place, 258 Bowery, Second floor--NY, NY
6-8 pm

Eireene Nealand won the Ivan Klima Fiction Fellowship in 2004, and topped off her European tour by appearing as an extra in a rap video in London. She has work published or forthcoming in Thin Air, Five Books, Fourteen Hills, Transfer, and Tight Magazine among other places. To her current degrees in Political Science and Political Theory from UC Berkeley and UCLA, she hopes to add a Ph.D. in Literature from UC Santa Cruz.

Julianna Spallholz's work appears or is forthcoming in Gargoyle, Cranky, Harness, and Folio. Prior to becoming an editor, her work also appeared in Tarpaulin Sky. She has given readings of her work in New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Seattle, Vermont, and Tucson, Arizona and has taught at Warren Wilson College and at the University of Pennsylvania Writers Conference.

Michael Boyko's work appears or is forthcoming in The Denver Quarterly, SleepingFish, Chain, WebConjunctions, Pinstripe Fedora, Pom2, and Harness. Prior to becoming an editor, his work also appeared in Tarpaulin Sky. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.