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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Joe Wilkins

Joe Wilkins
The Fragments of the World Seek Each Other
Careful. The white belly roll of water’s quick
                                and the cutthroat quicker yet. Cast
back of that erratic, in the slow flume and eddy. See
the arcing, silver spinner wink sunlight
over river, love
the way water takes this offering—
                                gentle tug and slip,
and suddenly you are in the river, and the river
blues inside you. Listen now to nothing
                                            but this water’s taut
and rocky words, and tonight, before you dust
the trout with cornmeal and lay them in the pan, see
how fire eats the wood you feed it. Know
flame and water, salt and light,
how they come to matter.

Joe Wilkins is the author of a memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers: Growing up on the Big Dry, a 2012 Montana Book Award Honor Book and a finalist for the 2013 Orion Book Award, and two collections of poems, Notes from the Journey Westward, winner of the 17th Annual White Pine Press Poetry Prize, and Killing the Murnion Dogs, a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the High Plains Book Award. A National Magazine Award finalist and PEN Center USA Award finalist, his poems, essays, and stories have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, Harvard Review, Ecotone, The Sun, Orion, and Slate, among other magazines and literary journals. Of Wilkins’ work, Deborah Kim, editor at the Indiana Review, writes, “The most striking component of it is its awareness of ‘the whole world.’ What is ordinary becomes transcendent. In places derelict and seemingly unexceptional, Wilkins compels us to recognize what is worth salvage, worth praise.” Though born and raised on the high plains of eastern Montana, Wilkins now lives with his wife, son, and daughter in western Oregon, where he teaches writing at Linfield College.


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