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lettre sauvage broadside & chapbook comp

September 19, 2008

lettre sauvage is a sweet little letter press outfit in my neck of the woods run by a couple and their precocious 5 year old.

They are holding a broadside and chapbook contest–submit 13 pages by Nov 1. The judge is Mark Irwin, a nationally acclaimed poet and four-time Pushcart Prize winner who has been described as a “descendant of William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane.” The author of five collections of poetry, he has also translated several French and Romanian works. Irwin teaches undergraduate and graduate poetry workshops at USC (see an excerpt from an elegy below; learn more about Mark Irwin here). The reading fee is only $10.

They do beautiful work and they are wonderful creative people who I have known for many years; in fact, I have just contacted Fiona about doing a letterpress run for Art Predator business cards and maybe a bookmark too! They offer cards, workshops, broadsides, chapbooks, and my personal favorite, matchbooks which have notepaper within perfect for writing Eileen Myles style poems (see above).

Here is one of Mark Irwin’s elegies (in honor of Read Write Poem’s elegy prompt!)

Point Nine     (Excerpt: 1st of 10 parts)

Memory—hardly through the dusk
do the letters of that word break.
A boy calls his brother.
What the other boy walking home thinks
tossing the white ball up from the mitt –
then catching it,

the wandering present of the day’s events
that in twenty years
will stray through the past
the way twilight strays toward the end of a street
then simply disappears
like the aggregate of shadow through leaves,
or the color of space beneath his bed.

I will never forget
the first time I touched a leaf
etched in stone. The faint stir
like a wing through my spine. I
pressed it hard against my cheek
and hoped the mark would stay.
In half an hour it had vanished.

Now, even the sand imprint
blurs on that fossil.

Like history, we grow tired of things.
And they grow tired of us.

Near Pompeii, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius,
lies Herculaneum, the small village, now museum,
once buried in lava. A man and wife were found
embraced, caught in the soft stone.
(stanza break)
As though love were the fossil of desire.

I stare at the zero ocean,
think of its vast decimaled floor.
How sun eases through the surface
diffusing light with darkness
in this mildly shuttered room
where indistinguishable bands of blue
fade to violet.

And as you descend further
what you believe to be lack of color,
what you believe to be black
is only the depth

the perfection of violet
until within the eye
only the vague tint lingers
within the breathing gills of the iris.

And whether you travel up,
or whether you travel down into water
you will learn
about space through the same shades of color –
blue both circle and center.

Mark Irwin
from Against the Meanwhile (3 Elegies), Wesleyan University Press, 1988
Originally appeared in The Kenyon Review

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2008 5:19 am

    Cool, that’s a lovely poem. Count me in, that would be a wonderful prize. Now how long do I have and what do I need to do? I need a personal assistant, I can’t keep track of all these things anymore as well keep up my whiskey consumption, somethings got to go but this looks like a lovely prize.

  2. September 19, 2008 5:33 am

    13 pages of poem thingys by nov 1 postmark. i will volunteer to be you PA

  3. September 19, 2008 6:05 am

    Oh that’s very kind, I appreciate it but you have so much of your own stuff to look after which is just as important. I really need someone who could commit 24/7 to looking after me, speaking of which, this glass is empty, again.


  1. Lettre Sauvage Chapbook & Broadside Contest: Due 11/15 « art predator

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