“If you are no stranger to wild winds and wilder horses, ravens and roadkill, waves of mountains and seas of grass, then the poetry of Wyoming and the West is a language you already speak. If you have ever ached for words to describe something beautiful or terrible or both, the struggle a poet makes to speak truly is one you already know.” – Poet B.J. Buckley
Western Wyoming Community College and the Wesswick Foundation are pleased to welcome poet B.J. Buckley, author of the collections Artifacts, Spaces Both Infinite and Eternal, and her latest, Corvidae, and poet/illustrator Dawn Senior-Trask, who co-authored the book Moonhorses and the Red Bull with Buckley, to the Rock Springs campus on Thursday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m. for the next Visiting Writers Series event. Buckley and Senior-Trask will discuss their work and read poetry inspired by the life and landscape of the American West. This program is free and open to the public.
Buckley will also give a writing workshop Thursday afternoon from 1 – 3:40 pm in Room 1439. The workshop is free and open to the public, but it also may be taken as a one-credit course, ENGL 2495. Contact Mustang Central at (307) 382-1677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Also, Senior-Trask will present a slideshow and discussion for students in Western’s Fine Arts program on Thursday afternoon.
Buckley is a Wyoming and Montana poet and writer who has worked in Arts-in-Schools/Communities programs throughout the West for more than 35 years. She is currently Writer-in-Residence for Sanford Arts at Sanford Cancer Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. and is a teacher of visual arts workshops at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art in Great Falls, Mont.
Buckley’s poems have appeared widely in both print and online magazines, including CutThroat: A Journal of the Arts; Big Sky Journal; Green Mountains Review; American Arts Quarterly; Epiphany; Owen Wister Review; and Visions International. Her work also appears in several anthologies, including Woven on the Wind, Crazy Woman Creek, and Birds in the Hand: Fiction and Poetry About Birds. Buckley has received many awards, including: the 2012 Comstock Review Poetry Prize; The Joy Harjo Poetry Prize from CutThroat: A Journal of the Arts; The Rita Dove Poetry Award from the Center for Women Writers at Salem College, Winston-Salem, NC; The Cumberland Poetry Review’s Robert Penn Warren Narrative Poetry Prize; a Wyoming Literature Fellowship; and residencies at The Ucross Foundation and The Vermont Studio Center.
In her review of Corvidae, Jane Elkington Wohl says that Buckley “uses chants, rhymes, poetic forms, and free verse to create mythology that is both old and familiar and, at the same time, stunningly original.”
“Her poems speak to a reverence for not only the birds themselves but that which is numinous in human experience. Reading these poems changes how we see these beautiful birds, and changes how we see the mystical and spiritual in our lives. These poems should be savored,” Elkington states.
The following is an excerpt from Buckley’s latest collection, Corvidae, in honor of Spring weather:
XXI. The Cruelest Month
wet-henned, us, be-
oh! This spring
whirlwinds, wests, and
waterspouts, the fields
as it were,
all coots and
ing the morning,
Look! – sump-sodden
wing, the damp
in their rickety little
Senior-Trask, who illustrated the cover for Corvidae, has been illustrating stories and poems since she could hold a pencil. She was taught the craft by her father, Willoughby F. Senior, who was a graduate of the National Academy School of Fine Art in New York City. Under his tutelage, Senior-Trask began making linoleum and woodblock prints when she was just 12 years old; they continue to be one of her major art forms. Senior-Trask is also a poet, and she co-authored Moonhorses and the Red Bull with Buckley.
Please join Wyoming poets Dawn Senior-Trask and B.J. Buckley at Western Wyoming Community College on Thursday, March 31, for an evening of poems and shared conversation about the Western life and landscape everyone knows, wrestles with and loves. This reading is free and open to the public.
The Visiting Writers Series is sponsored by the Arlene and Louise Wesswick Foundation and Western’s English Department, with additional support from the Best Western Outlaw Inn and Open Range Restaurant.