My review of Thomas Peacock’s first novel, Beginnings: The Homeward Journey of Donovan Manypenny, is in the latest issue of Wisconsin People & Ideas. Peacock is one of the most important writers and thinkers about American Indian education in the country, and his wonderful novel, published by Holy Cow! Press (one of my favorite publishers), has “the resonance of truth telling” in its pages. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the deepness of native culture and how that deepness draws people into and back to the place where the universe began.
I am also pleased to be published in Wisconsin People & Ideas, the most important publication containing the best of Wisconsin culture and thought in the state. The publication of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters explores Wisconsin’s intellectual and natural environment with a substance that helps define the state’s true spirit.
My daughter, Sonja Bingen, tried to get the Academy to name me a Fellow, but that didn’t happen, so this publication made me especially feel good. The magazine and the Academy is one of the best things about Wisconsin.
I wrote a novel for young adults, 9-14 and up, a long time ago. It was completely sold out, so Four Windows Press is re-releasing it. I am hoping some of the followers of this blog might consider purchasing it in amazon or at their favorite local bookstore.
Salt Bear is a story taken from the mythology of the American west. It is filled with mythological animals such as salt bear, jackalopes, cactus bucks, blind ravens, a snow owl, bears, and an evil mountain lion. At a recent WFOP meeting I was informed by a young attendee that it was one of his very favorite books ever. I’ve had quite a few young people tell me that since its first release.
The wild tale begins:
Salt Bear did not like the idea. Not one little bit.
Buddy, a jackalope, one of Salt Bear’s best friends, had started calling him George.
“Salt Bear’s a kind of bear,” Buddy had explained when he first started using George. “It’s not a name.”
“But why George?” Salt Bear had asked. “That doesn’t fit a salt bear. Why not Salty?” He brightened up. “That could be a good name for a salt bear.”
Buddy had scratched behind his right pronghorn just above his big, floppy ear. He looked like a jackrabbit. His brownish-pink nose was set off by a handsome set of whiskers, and he had powerful hind legs. Two slender black horns stuck out of his head above his ears.
“Salty’s a name for a bird,” he had said scornfully. “Besides, I would have liked to have been called George. Not Buddy.”
Salt Bear had shaken his gleaming white fur, and then blinked tan eyes in bewilderment. For a bear he was small, although he was full grown. He stood a little over three feet high. . .
I’m pretty sure you might remember the excitement you had reading The Wind in the Willows, Watership Down, or the Redwall books. I certainly had an enormous amount of fun writing the tale down.
a villanelle by Thomas Davis
“Beside the cottonwood,” I start to say.
She looks at me. Words fade out of my head.
What now? I think. I focus on the way
She’s standing by the massive tree, the gray
Streaked through her hair a halo that has wed
Her essence to the glinting interplay
Of light and shadow dancing leaves that sway
And flutter in a breeze that seems to tread
Out from the tree into the fields of day.
The sudden silence morphs into dismay,
Confusion, even, maybe, just a hint of dread.
What if, inside a moment, disarray
Has somehow found our lives and cutaway
The passion in our hearts that’s always led
To moments that are glorious and fey.
But then she smiles. The tree’s roots dig through clay
And living sustenance flows to the spread
Of branches reaching to the sky, the play
Of light her spirit as my spirit’s quay.
A new bookstore has opened on Third Avenue in Sturgeon Bay! We used to have two bookstores, but they have closed. Now Margaret Magle has opened a new bookstore on Third Avenue downtown. She is, right now, featuring books by Ethel Mortenson and Thomas Davis. We are hoping both tourists and local folks visit the store at 41 N. Third Avenue since we are hoping Margaret succeeds in her new endeavor.
Bennison Books, the publisher of my new book, The Weirding Storm, A Dragon Epic, has just released a new international anthology of poetry called Indra’s Net. Ethel is honored to have three poems in this important anthology. I was fortunate enough to have two poems accepted.
Carol Rumens, the Poetry Editor for The Guardian, one of the United Kingdom’s most important newspapers, wrote in the forward that:
The title of this anthology, Indra’s Net, was suggested by one of its poets, the late Cynthia Jobin. She explained: “Indra’s net is a metaphor for universal interconnectedness. It’s as old as ancient Sanskrit and as ‘today’ as speculative scientific cosmology. It’s what came to mind when thinking about nets and webs and interconnectedness … and jewels and poems.”
All proceeds from the anthology’s sale will be donated to the Book Bus, a “charity [that] aims to improve child literacy rates in Africa, Asia and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them.”
I hope some of those who read this blog and Ethel’s and my Facebook postings will purchase what is a worthy project well worth everyone’s support.
To get more information on Indra’s Net to go to: https://bennisonbooks.com/2017/07/13/indras-net-all-profits-to-the-book-bus-charity.
The Weirding Storm, A Dragon Epic has been published by Bennison Books. It is now available at amazon.com.
The U.S. Amazon address is:
The address for Bennison Books, a UK publisher, is: https://bennisonbooks.com.
I am hoping that anyone who purchases the book from Amazon, either U.S. or U.K. Amazon, will also review the book. That helps publicize it in the amazon universe.
I am really excited about this publication. Bennison Books publishes some of my favorite poets and to be part of their stable with one of the best books I have ever written gives me an euphoric feeling. I hope some of you will be willing to be transported to another world where dragons and humans still co-exist along with witches, warriors, and battles, to paraphrase Terence Winch, one of the U.S.’s greatest poets.
Both Ethel and Thomas have had recent publications. Ethel’s poem, “Love Songs,” one of the best poems she has written that has not found its way to publication until now, has just been published by Bramble, the new literary magazine of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (WFOP), at http://www.wfop.org/love-songs. Bramble (http://www.wfop.org/bramble-lit-mag) is a new effort by WFOP, and this is its first issue. The poems in the first issue are well worth reading.
Tom has just had a sonnet published in Ariel Anthology 2016, Inward and Outward, “Of Those Who Could End the World — So There Osama bin Laden, ISIS, and the Archbishop of Treves!” This is the third year his sonnets have been published in Ariel, which is arguably the best anthology published in Wisconsin. This year’s anthology also contains two black and white drawings by Ethel, “Electric Horse” and “Night Sounds.” Ariel can be ordered online at https://www.amazon.com/Ariel-Anthology-2016-Inward-Outward.
Tom also had two children’s poems published in an anthology by Brick Street Poetry, Inc., Words & Other Wild Things. The poems were “Milk Maid” and “The Fisherman.” The anthology can be ordered online at https://www.amazon.com/Words-Other-Things-Street-Poetry.