Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Poetry

Hanford
Fall 2012

Poem: Hanford Reservations

Near Vernita Bridge—where the Columbia River flows eastward on the “Hanford Reach,” and the Department of Energy signs forbid all access—and say:

Arid Lands Ecology Reserve
All Plants and Animals Protected
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
Ask the sagebrush now to tell
What the river carried
In its waters to the sea.
Ask the river or the sun
What strange things were here begun,
What they all could well
Reveal, having witnessed what was done.
Here the mighty river’s run
On its westward journey to the sea,
Reaches toward the rising sun…
» More …

Summer 2012

Video: Plume, by Kathleen Flenniken

Kathleen Flenniken ’83 describes and reads from her second collection of poetry Plume, published by the University of Washington Press in 2012, in this video produced by her son Alexander Flenniken ’11.

Set off by images of the Atomic City, Flenniken’s hometown of Richland, Washington, she documents her coming of age and eventually her work at Hanford in the heart of the nuclear age.

Recently Flenniken was named Washington’s poet laureate for 2012-14. She teaches poetry and is a co-editor and president of Floating Bridge Press. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

» More …

Power lines over a field on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation
Summer 2012

Coyote

 

Pronunciation: kī–ō’–tē, chiefly Western kī’–ōt

After years away,
I met you again on the tongue
of an old friend from home. Kī’–ōt.

Trotting through sagebrush. Wild
by any name. I’d moved to a green isle city
that pronounced you kī–ō’–tē

and abandoned you by the side of the road.
I’d forgotten your silver, slope-shouldered form
and gaze.

You’re not a citizen of language or memory,
but I am. Changing your name
was a betrayal of home

born of living among outsiders,
born of looking back through outsiders’ eyes
at interchangeable houses landscaped

with … » More …

Summer 2012

The atomic landscape

 

Seven decades later, we consider our plutonium legacy 

Works considered in this article:

Plume
Kathleen Flenniken
University of Washington Press 2012

Made in Hanford: The Bomb that Changed the World
Hill Williams
Washington State University Press 2011

Making Plutonium, Re-Making Richland: Atomic Heritage and Community Identity, Richland, Washington, 1943-1963
Lee Ann Powell
Thesis, Department of History, Washington State University 2007

 

Reactor B From State Route 24 east of Vernita … » More …

Fall 2011

A Chinaman’s Chance

9781877655715_cov.indd

Alex Kuo
Wordcraft of Oregon, 2011

WSU English professor Alex Kuo’s newest collection of poetry, A Chinaman’s Chance: New and Selected Poems 1960-2010, will sadden, fascinate, and unexpectedly jar its readers into a fresh perspective of the sometimes terrifying world that we live in. This collection of Kuo’s poems provides a nice poetic balance, as readers are able to experience lyrical, narrative, and prose poetry all in the same book. Kuo’s writing conveys ideas about … » More …

Spring 2011

Black Leapt In

blackleapt-cover

Chris Forhan ’82
Barrow Street Books, 2009

In Chris Forhan’s latest collection of poems, Black Leapt In, the writer draws upon his childhood in Seattle, using striking natural images and startling honesty and insight. He balances straightforward description of the environment he grew up in with an older, wiser voice that recollects, sometimes sarcastically, that time in his life. Forhan dedicated Black Leapt In to his father, who died in 1973, and many of the … » More …

Winter 2007

Kathleen Flenniken – You have to say what's true

Kathleen Flenniken (née Dillon) ’83 writes about her children and vacuuming, about sex and death, about fame and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s husband (“Oh the beauty of his wretchedness.”). Her poems are tight and clear and smart and often very funny. While she was at Washington State University, she studied civil engineering.

A career in engineering that evolved toward poetry may not be typical, but it’s a fine match, says Flenniken. In engineering, “you can’t hide behind your language. You have to say what’s true, and if it’s not true, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed.” And with that, you are ready to … » More …

Winter 2002

The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers

How to describe Robinson Jeffers, now 40 years deceased? Visionary or reactionary? Hard-eyed realist or Romantic throwback? The West’s answer to the East’s Robert Frost? California’s anti-type in poetry and politics to John Steinbeck in fiction and politics?

Jeffers’s raw “inhumanism,” along with his defiance of government meddling, seems the essence of fabled American independence and individualism. In one of his anti-Modernist screeds, “Poetry, Gongorism, and a Thousand Years” (1948), which Tim Hunt, former professor of English at Washington State University at Vancouver, includes among other prose in the Selected Poetry, Jeffers advises young poets that a “posthumous reputation” is “the only kind worth considering.” … » More …

Spring 2008

New Poets / Short Books, Volume One

Three collections of poems, by Gwendolyn Cash, Boyd W. Benson, and Lisa Galloway, each numbering something over 20 pages, comprise the first volume of Lost Horse Press’s New Poets / Short Books series under the editorship of renowned poet Marvin Bell, who connects the present undertaking with the Scribner series, Poets of Today, edited by John Hall Wheelock between 1954 and 1962. In his introductory comments Bell indicates that the “3-in-1 series” is “intended to sample a range of poets who have yet to publish a book,” and he adds that “It will not be run as a contest, nor will it accept submissions.” Bell … » More …

Winter 2002

Down Along the Sunset

In this slender volume of 29 poems Benner Cummings (’51 Speech & Hearing Sci.) pays homage to the romance of surfing. Based upon Cummings’s years as surfing and swimming coach at San Clemente High School, the poems celebrate the beauty, grace, daring, and freedom inherent in the pursuit of surfing—often in terms that equate surfers with mythological figures:

Like the playful sea god Triton, He arose from out of the sea.

While these verses might lack the polish of a Robinson Jeffers, they nevertheless ring with the authority of Cummings’s deeply felt response to the magic of riding the waves. Perhaps no other lines exemplify … » More …