From A Bird Who Seems to Know Me
In The Silence
The ruby-red cluster of false Solomon’s seal
berries stud their dangling mustard-yellow leaves.
After its shadow crosses mine,
a marsh hawk perches high on a pine limb;
the guttural clicks of its call repeat,
the glint of eyes backlit against the sunset.
I listen to the crickets answer each other
all night, savor the ringing of their sprockets.
In early September cold, their voices pause,
then cease after the first hard frost.
“Wally Swist always surprises me with what wildness he notices everywhere. Even the most streetwise of birds seem to know more than we do, always. Wally Swist believes that. His poems capture awe and that feeling that birds barely tolerate or notice us. This is wildness at its best – as Swist writes, ‘The aloneness almost too much / for one man.'”
Editor, Appalachia Journal
About the Author
Wally Swist has published over forty books and chapbooks of poetry and prose, including Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012) selected by Yusef Komunyakaa as co-winner in the 2011 Crab Orchard Series Open Poetry Contest, and Daodejing: A New Interpretation (Lamar University Press, 2015).
His translations have been and/or will be published in Chicago Quarterly Review, Chiron Review, Ezra: An Online Journal of Translation, and Transference: A Literary Journal Featuring the Art & Process of Translation, (Western Michigan Department of Languages), and Woven Tale Press.
More from Ex Ophidia Press
Winner of our 2021 Poetry Contest, this collection engages science and cultural history to explore the complex nature of the vanishing American prairie.
To Speak in Salt
For many years, Becky Thompson has brought poetry to refugees in Greece, and they have brought poetry to her. To Speak in Salt is a testimony to that exchange, packed with poems keenly observing people and places where “barbed wire doubles as a fence / a clothesline for diapers.”
In this collection, winner of the 2019 poetry prize, noted poet Karina Borowicz creates a world within a world. The poems range over many aspects of life, yet are connected by a sense of coherence, continuity, and deeper meaning.
The poems in Charles Wyatt’s 2017 Poetry Prize winning collection conjure up Rembrandt and his world in clear, compelling poetry that paints a portrait of the great painter in words.
Old as Rainfall: Nature and People
The 2016 winner of the Ex Ophidia Press Poetry Prize by Heidi Morrell focuses on nature and people ranging from locales as disparate as Hawaii and Paris. The balance and intersections of the people and place are masterful.