Featured Poets Nancy Austin & James A. Gollata
Two award-winning poets.
James A. Gollata's minimalist poetry has appeared in several journals, including Modern Haiku and Howling Dog. His "In Viaggio" won First Place in "The Muse Prize" from the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets in 2018. In the same year his work appeared in the anthologies Trace: Art and Poetry Collaborative, and Last Call: The Anthology of Beer, Wine & Spirits Poetry.
Who was that dark-haired
Who led us down alley and aisle?
We trailed her angelic white cape
As we would a beacon, Followed
Her every gesture.
What was the name of that
Sainte of virginal memory
Who gave her finger to God?
The digit we saw in the glass case
In that chapel in Roma, Forever
Thumbing its way to heaven.
Remember that beautiful
Begging woman who sat on the steps
Outside the church?
The one who held her swaddled bundle
In postpartum pretense, As she
Looked up, her hand held out to us
The voice that she used to call
For alms, The most mournful sound
That anyone could ever bear.
— James A. Gollata.
In Viaggio: (Italian). "In Passing," as in traveling through a place, experiences, etc. First Place "The Muse Prize," awarded by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets in 2018.
Nancy Austin was born in Whitefish Bay, WI, has lived on both coasts, but prefers the land between. She relishes time to write in the Northwoods. Austin’s work has appeared in journals such as Adanna, Ariel, Gyroscope Review, Midwestern Gothic, Portage Magazine, Verse Wisconsin, Writer’s Resist, Wisconsin Poets Calendars and Zingara Poetry Review. She has collections titled Remnants of Warmth (Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books, 2016),The Turn of the Tiller; the Spill of the Wind (Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books, 2019), and a collaboration anthology with the PaperBirch Poets called Stitching Earth to Sky (Water’s Edge Press, 2019).
The Secrets of Trees
Three birch trees stand in a cluster, lend contrast to the forest,
cast catkins to the playful vole, the red squirrel.
Three birch trees rooted together, black on white bark
easily stripped, bent and sewn into service.
One tree is courted by a woodpecker, pileated, powerful,
he whittles and riddles her slender trunk with holes
that drain her sap wells but draw sips from tiny acrobats
that hum, hover and flash jewels to bless her.
The middle tree lacked sunlight, grew slowly as others soared.
Afforded a view like no other, her barren, leafless canopy
extends jazz hands to the spirited sky, sun and gypsy clouds—
wonders that outweigh the shadow-talk of cutting her down.
The third tree’s flesh is pulled in opposite directions by three
metal feeders laden with seed that swing from brackets nailed
to her trunk, but elicit trills of orioles and chipping sparrows,
and the thrill of a thousand feet and feathers.
Three birch trees stand rooted in amity, share unspoken secrets.
Rest comes when darkness drives away suitors, limbs entwined
like sleeping sisters that rouse at the other’s sudden shiver.
They lean in, hold each other up, sorelle per sempre.