Language within Silence
For a person who has never visited Scandinavia, it’s easy to imagine a land of farm and field and sea, where pine trees thickly forest the deep, narrow inlets of countless fjords, and where history happens discreetly.
We could be lulled into believing all this is true, and we would be partially right. Until we read the work of Norwegian writer, Per Petterson.
Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses was chosen as one of the ten best books of 2007 by the New York Times Book Review, and received the 2006 Independent London Foreign Fiction Prize. Winner of the Nordic Council’s Literary Prize for To Siberia, The Norwegian Critic’s Prize for Literature, and the 2007 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Petterson gives substance to silence, creating characters who reveal personal history within the larger context of commerce and world politics.
“If you consider it,” says Petterson. “What you say has less importance in your life compared to what you think. The words you say are also outnumbered by your thoughts.”
In Petterson’s hands, words become spare, gorgeous prose, casting a spell over the reader, luring us into the forest, into silence, until we hear the clear voices of his characters.
Trond, the main character in Out Stealing Horses, sits at his desk in his cabin in the woods listening to the news, and thinking, “Maybe there is something wrong with the news, the way it is reported, maybe there’s too much of it. The good thing about the BBC’s World Service…is that everything sounds foreign, that nothing is said about Norway, and that I can get updated on the position of countries like Jamaica, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka in a sport such as Cricket; a game I have never played…”
When, in the novel To Siberia a young Danish girl—in the wake of her grandfather’s suicide and the Nazi occupation—dreams of the cool beauty of the tundra as a place of refuge, Petterson allows her story to unfold as though it is happening within the limits of real time.
Petterson, who participated in the third annual PEN American Center’s World Voices Festival, spoke with Wild River Review about writing, nature, and what shapes him and his characters.
WRR: When did you know you would become a writer?
When I was eighteen. But I did not know that I was going be a writer. Until then I had only read books, heaps of them, all kinds; I was reading all the time, and never gave a thought to why it was so important or what a writer was, really.
But then, when I read Hemingway’s early stories I realized a writer did something special to make me feel the way I did when I read a book.
I discovered style. For the first time, there was a difference in quality between the books I read. And then I suddenly wanted to be a writer, desperately. I wanted to do what the good writers did, and I knew that if I didn’t succeed, I would become an unhappy person.
So then I was a part-time, unhappy person for seventeen years because my first book was published when I was thirty-five.
WRR: You were a bookseller before you sold your first book. What did you learn about writing and publishing during those years?
During my twelve years as a bookseller I did not learn much about publishing apart from it being a risky business. The publishers would constantly buy and sell each other. I was head of import, especially from British and American publishers, and each time I had a rep coming, he or she would probably not be the same as the one that came the last time. Also, they did not quite represent the same conglomerate because each time the conglomerates grew bigger.
When it came to writing, it was two-sided. In one way, being a bookseller postponed my debut as a writer. I was awestruck by all the quality literature that was written, especially in the US at the time. It was the eighties, and it did scare me a little.
By I can also say it was a great inspiration. I was reading Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff, Grace Paley, and especially, Jayne Anne Philips. She has the voice.
And I read people like Paul Bowles and his Moroccan protégés. I read the classics. I made a point of not recommending a book I had not read myself. That took a lot of reading.
WRR: In your work, nature is as much a character as your human creations. Given Norway’s striking geography, how did your relationship with nature evolve?
It is true that in several of my books, the landscape is very important. And that, of course, is because it is very important to me. It always has been.
When I was a boy, each Sunday, my father would take my brothers and me into the woods. Sometimes we hated it, of course. But I learned to love it eventually. We became great observers of the changing seasons. You must realize that each big or small city in Norway is surrounded by forests or mountains or the sea. There is no escaping nature.
So, when some reviewers suggest that I use the forest or the sea (as in To Siberia) as symbols, that is not so. It is simply there. I never consciously used a symbol in my life. What I really do not want to do when I write is what the romantics did, and that is to infuse the human soul into nature. You know, the sky is crying and all that stuff. I think it is the other way around. Nature seeps into us, changing the way we observe life. Humankind tries to avoid this, of course, by destroying nature.
WRR: You create characters who are engaged in daily life, but remain very much alone. You lost your mother, father, brother, and your niece in a ferry accident in 1990. You had already established yourself as a writer before that event. How has that loss shaped your work since then?
Well, daily life, that means work. And it seems to me that work has become almost extinct in modern novels, as if a wall has fallen out of the house of literature, a wall that should mirror all parts of the human experience.
Work is, of course, important to all of us—good or bad—and therefore ought to play a part in literature. Myself, I love physical work, and I love to write about it, although perhaps some of it belongs to yesteryear’s way of life.
I know about being alone. But I would not always call it loneliness. Solitude is as good a word, sometimes. I think talk is a little overestimated in books.
What happened in 1990 was so massive that it is a little difficult to explain and measure its influence on my life as a writer. I had published two books before that, and death was present in both of them, mostly because the existence of death always did worry me as a boy, the knowledge that everybody I loved one day should die.
And then, when they prematurely did die, it was mind-blowing. I don’t think I could have written any of my books after 1990 ignoring the things that happened. They would have been different books, lighter, perhaps. I don’t know.
WRR: Where and how do you write?
I have written everywhere: beside my bed, at the kitchen table, in the living room with my children crawling around my legs.
Now I work in a cabin 100 meters from my house. Living in the forest, I have the space I did not have before.
Usually I sit at my computer (a Mac, always) and start with a notion of something, a few sentences that I feel have some sort of substance. I never plan anything; never plot my books. In fact I do not know how to do that. I write when I can, hoping for the best and try to take things as they come.
WRR: The title of your book, Out Stealing Horses, carries a double meaning, whose significance is revealed as the story unfolds. How did the Nazi Occupation of Norway translate into the plot of your novel?
Well, like I said, I do not plan, so that double meaning came up when I needed it. That is disappointing to some readers, I know. But for me it shows the strength of art. It is like carving out a sculpture from some material. You have to go with the quality of the material and not force upon it a form that it will not yield to anyway. That will only look awkward.
Early in the book, in the 1948 part, I let the two fathers (of my main characters, Jon and Trond) have a problem with looking at each other. And I wondered, why is that?
So I thought, well, it’s 1948, only three years after the Germans left Norway. It has to be something with the war. And then I thought, shit, I have to write about the war. You see, I hate research.
Well, take it easy, I thought, something will eventually turn up. And it did.
When you are of my generation, you have heard stories about the German occupation most of your life.
WRR: At the age of sixty-seven, Trond, the main character in Out Stealing Horses, has gone to the forest in an effort to reconstruct the story of his life. To reconstruct that story, he must do so in the context of his father’s story. Your portrait of father and son was poignant and compelling. What were you aiming to achieve in creating that relationship?
I don’t think Trond really wants to reconstruct his life. I think he wants to get away from it all, and just live in some Buddhist way, doing ritual things to mark the passing of time. But then, when he meets his new neighbor, he cannot avoid it because a blast from the past hits him.
In my previous book, In the Wake, there was a father-son relationship full of misunderstandings, a shyness, and general unwillingness to understand, at least on the part of the son. And then, in the new book, I wanted it to be clear from the first page that the father and the son loved each other, clear to us, and clear to them, too. And that when the book ended, it would still be so.
I did not know at the time how the book was going to develop. And of course neither did I know what kind of price would be paid to sustain this kind of love.
WRR: The father is never given a name.
I do that often. In To Siberia, my female heroine has no name. Some characters just resist being named. They are who they are, not what they’re called. Trond’s father is the father. Although he is a full man, maybe even a beautiful man to many others. He is here simply in the capacity of a father, not “Frank,” or “Johnny,” or whatever.
WRR: You portray two sets of twins. One set are the sons of the father’s lover. One set are the brothers of Trond’s mother. In each set, one brother dies. Can you talk about those relationships?
I cannot really. In a way those two sets of twins are there to make the book symmetrical. Early in my life, I was very grateful for not being a twin, because I knew that one of us would have to die, and it probably would be me. It was my firm belief. I don’t know where I got it from.
WRR: Trond’s mother does not appear as a character until the very end of the book. And yet she is much stronger than one might think. Why did you wait until the end to introduce her?
It was not her book. I mean it.
But then, when I knew I was close to the end, I realized that she too, of course, had been so badly and unexpectedly betrayed. I thought it was unfair not to let her have her fifteen minutes. And I don’t mean in the Andy Warhol way. I mean to really be there, to make some difference, to be somebody. And she did, I think.
WRR: You have won numerous awards for your work. In 2006, Out Stealing Horses won the British Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, which gained you a wider audience. You’ve been traveling the globe lately. How has that affected your writing schedule?
It has been very damaging, to tell you the truth! It has been hard to concentrate for any length of time. My only excuse is that I didn’t know it would come to this, when I started to say yes to so many requests. Of course, it has been an honor, and a lot of fun, too.
WRR: Your writing has reached an English-speaking audience through the translations of Anne Born. What is the process you use to bring your work into English?
Well, Anne starts with a first draft of the book. And then I use my machete on it, because, although I could not have translated it myself, I have a clear opinion of how it should no sound in English.
Then it goes on to our editor and publisher Christopher MacLehose (the best there is) who will try to make some peace. Anne has been very generous to me, letting me have full access. Not all translators would have, I know.
WRR: What are you writing now?
Well, the proper question would perhaps be: What am I trying to write now. What has happened with and around Out Stealing Horses has taken me quite by surprise and has repeatedly thrown me out of my new manuscript.
Last year, I was hardly able to write anything at all. I just gave up. I am not so good at drawing the line around me. BUT, I am writing a new novel, and am more than halfway through, I think. It’s about a son and a mother’s relationship.
Sons and fathers is not my only theme, you know. I return to my “hero” from the novel In the Wake, Arvid Jansen. Nervous as always, not in harmony with the world, and far from the Norwegian version of Buddhism I think one can find in Out Stealing Horses. I love writing it. When I am allowed to.
In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy; and in 2009, they founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC. With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
In addition, she is Senior Editor for Wild River Books and has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, Host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.
In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.
In addition, she has written extinsively on her travels in Greece and Turkey. Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Stocke and Brenner are currently working on a cookbook, Anatolian Kitchen, to be published in 2016.
Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013). The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.
She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently writing a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Penninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.
Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
COLUMNS – THE MYSTIC PEN
FOOD & DRINK – ANATOLIAN KITCHEN
FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir
LITERATURE – BOOK REVIEWS
LITERATURE – ESSAYS
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..
Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson
UP THE CREEK
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
WRR@LARGE – WILD COVERAGE
UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul
WRR@LARGE – WILD ENVIRONMENT
WRR@LARGE – WILD FINANCE
WRR@LARGE – SLOW WEB
WRR@LARGE – WRR BOOKS
In 2006, Kimberly Nagy founded Wild River Review with Joy E. Stocke; and in 2009, they founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC. With more than twenty years in the field of publishing, Nagy specializes in market outreach and digital media strategies as well as crafting timeless articles and interviews. She edits many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
Kimberly Nagy is a poet, professional writer, and dedicated reader who has interviewed a number of leading thinkers, including Academy-Award winning filmmaker, Pamela Tanner Boll, MacArthur Genius Award-winning Edwidge Danticat, historian James McPherson, playwright Emily Mann, biologist and novelist, Sunetra Gupta and philosopher Alain de Botton.
Nagy is an author, editor and professional storyteller. She received her BA in history at Rider University where she was influenced by professors who stressed works of literature alongside dates and historical facts–as well as the importance of including the perspectives of women and minorities in the historical record. During a period in which she fell in love with writing and research, Nagy wrote an award-winning paper about the suppression of free speech during World War I, and which featured early 20th century feminist and civil rights leader, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.
Nagy continued her graduate studies at University of Connecticut, Storrs, where she studied with Dr. Karen Kupperman, an expert in early contact between Native Americans and the first European settlers. Nagy wrote her Masters thesis, focusing on the work of the first woman to be accepted into the Connecticut Historical Society as well as literary descriptions of Native Americans in Connecticut during the 19th century. Nagy has extensive background and interest in anthropological, oral history and cultural research.
After graduate school, Nagy applied her academic expertise to a career in publishing, in which she worked for two of the world’s foremost publishers—Princeton University Press and W.W. Norton—as well as at Thomson, Institutional Investor Magazine, Routledge UK, and Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.
Kimberly Nagy in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
ARTS – ART
ARTS – FILM REVIEWS
ARTS – MUSIC
ARTS – PHOTOGRAPHY
The Triple Goddess Trials: Fire in the Head: Brigit’s Mysterious Spark
The Triple Goddess Trials: Introduction
The Triple Goddess Trials – Meeting Virginia Woolf at the Strand
The Triple Goddess Trials: Me and Medusa
The Triple Goddess Trials: Aphrodite and the Lightbulb Factory
The Triple Goddess Trials: Goddess of Milk and Honey
The Triple Goddess Trials: Kali’s Ancient Love Song
ASHLEY – Renee Ashley: A Voice Answering a Voice
BELLI – Giocanda Belli – The Page is My Home
BOLL – Pamela Tanner Boll: Dangerous Women: An Interview with Academy Award Winner Pamela Tanner Boll
DANTICAT – Create Dangerously- A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat
CHARBONNEAU – A Cruise Along the Inside Track: With Le Mobile’s Sound Recording Legend Guy Charbonneau
de BOTTON – The Art of Connection: A Conversation with Alain de Botton
GUPTA – Suneptra Gupta – The Elements of Style: The Novelist and Biologist Discusses Metaphor and Science
HANDAL – Nathalie Handal – Love and Strange Horses
HOLT – Rush Holt: An Interview with Rush Holt
KHWAJA – Waqas Khwaja: What a Difference a Word Makes
MAURO: New World Monkeys: An Interview with Nancy Mauro
MOSS – Practical Mystic–Robert Moss: On Book Families, Jung and How Dreams Can Save Your Soul
OGLINE – BEN FRANKLIN.COM: Author & Illustrator Tim Ogline explains why Ben Franklin would be a technology evangelist today
OLSEN – Greg Olsen – Reaching for the Stars: Scientist, Entrepreneur and Space Traveler
PALYA – Beata Palya – The Secret World of Songs
SCHIMMEL – Moonlight Science: A Conversation with Molecular Biologist and Entrepreneur, Paul Schimmel
SHORS – Journey into the Male & Female Brain: An Interview with Tracey Shors
von MOLTKE and SIMMS – Dorothy von Moltke and Cliff Simms: Why Independent Bookstores Matter, Part I
WARD – On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part One, and
On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part Two
WILKES – Labor of Love: An Interview With Architect Kevin Wilkes
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
The New York Public Library at 100: From the Stacks to the Streets
Paul Holdengraber: The Afterlife of Conversation
That Email Changed My Life: Rolex Arts Initiative. Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Tracy K. Smith Celebrates Rolex Arts Initiative
First Editions / Second Thoughts — Defending Writers: PEN and Christie’s Raise One Million Dollars to Support Freedom of Expression
ON AFRICA: May 4 to May 10 — Behind the Scenes with Director Jakab Orsos: Co-curated by Award-Winning Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Page is My Home: Giaconda Belli – Nicaraguan Poet, Writer and Public Intellectual
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
The Power of Conversation: David Grossman and Nadine Gordimer – The Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture
NEW FROM WILD RIVER BOOKS – Brief Eulogies at Roadside Shrines
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library
Wild River Books Announces the Stoutsburg Cemetery Project: The Untold Stories of an African American Burial Ground in New Jersey
Wild River Books: Surprise Encounters by Scott McVay
Wild River Review and Minerva’s Bed & Breakfast Presents – “BITTER” Writing in a Weekend: How to Write About the Things We Can’t Change
ALLEN – Quarks, Parks, and Science in Everyday Life: Filmmaker Chris Allen’s Documentary Where Art Meets Science in a Vacant Lot
MANN – Boundless Theater: An Interview with Emily Mann
Keeping Time: A Conversation with Historian James McPherson
WRR at LARGE – WILD ENVIRONMENT
Type designer, librarian, and systems engineer, Saad D. Abulhab, was born in 1958 in Sacramento, California, and grew up in Iraq. Residing in the US since 1979, he is currently Director of Technology of the Newman Library of Baruch College, the City University of New York. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic University, and a Master of Science in Library and Information Sciences from Pratt Institute, both in Brooklyn. Involved since 1992 in the field of Arabetic computing and typography, he is most noted for his non-traditional type designs and the Mutamathil type style which was awarded a US Utility Patent in 2003. Designed more that 16 fonts families since 1998 and wrote several articles in the field of Arabetic typography and scripts.
ALL ARTICLES BY SAAD ABULHAB:
Opal Palmer Adisa, Ph. D, diverse and multi-genre, is an exceptional talent, nurtured on cane-sap and the oceanic breeze of the Caribbean. Writer of both poetry and prose, playwright/director, professor, educator and cultural activist, Adisa has lectured and read her work throughout the United States, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Germany, Spain, France, England and Prague, and has performed in Italy and Bosnia. An award-winning poet and prose writer, Adisa has sixteen titles to her credit, including the novel, It Begins With Tears (1997), that Rick Ayers proclaimed as one of the most motivational works for young adults.
She has been a resident artist in internationally acclaimed residencies such as Arte Studio Ginestrelle (Assis, Italy), El Gounda (Egypt), Sacatar Institute (Brazil) and McColl Center, (North Carolina) and Headlines Center for the Arts (California, USA). Opal Palmer Adisa’s work has been reviewed by Ishmael Reed, Al Young, and Alice Walker (Color Purple), who described her work as “solid, visceral, important stories written with integrity and love.”
Following in the tradition of the African “griot” Opal Palmer Adisa, an accomplished storyteller, commands the mastery and extraordinary talent of storytelling, exemplary of her predecessors. Through her imaginative characterizations of people, places and things, she is able to transport her listeners to the very wonderlands she creates.
A gifted diversity trainer, literary critic, and proud mother of three accomplished children, Opal is the former parenting editor and host of KPFA Radio Parenting show in Berkley, California. Columnist for The Graduate Parent for the “Healthy You,” website and wrote a bi-monthly poetry column for The Daily News, St. Thomas. Adisa has published hundreds of articles on different aspects of parenting, writing and poetry and is currently completing a book on effective parenting.
A Distinguished professor of creative writing and literature in the MFA program at California College of the Arts, where she teaches in the Fall. She has been a visiting professor at several universities including, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and University of the Virgin Islands. Her poetry, stories, essays and articles on a wide range of subjects have been collected in over 400 journals, anthologies and other publications, including Essence Magazine. She has also conducted workshops in elementary through high school, museums, churches and community centers, as well as in prison and juvenile centers.
Opal Palmer Adisa is a vivacious, motivational speaker who will enthrall and mesmerize you with her words.
Phyllis Carol Agins
Phyllis Carol Agins’ fiction includes two novels: Suisan and Never the Same River Twice, as well as numerous short stories, published in Kalliope, Paragraph, and Lilith Magazine (Fall ‘06), among other journals. Her children’s book, Sophie’s Name, has been in print since 1990, and she also co-authored One God, Sixteen Houses, an architectural study. For many years, she served on the board of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and taught writing at Penn State Abington. Lately, she divides her time between Fairmont Park and the Mediterranean coast. She has completed a comic novel about young widowhood and is polishing a literary mystery centering on the Shakespeare authorship question. Her next book will follow a Jewish family as they leave Algeria to make a new life in France and America.
Born in Jos, Nigeria, Angela Ajayi holds a B.A. in English literature from Calvin College and an M.A. from Columbia University. She is currently a freelance editor and writer living in Minneapolis. Her essays have been published in the Star Tribune, Wild River Review, and Afroeuropa: Journal of Afroeuropean Studies. She is working on her first book, a childhood memoir.
All Articles by Angela Ajayi
PEN WORLD VOICES
Bill Alexander is a published fiction writer for Venture Magazine, Spectrum Magazine, and Drumbeat Magazine. As an intern for Wild River Review, he contributes to the column Wild Table, sharing his thoughts and insights on food and culture. Born and raised in New Jersey and a New Orleanian at heart, Bill is an avid storyteller and devoted writer who believes strongly in originality over faddism.
Works by Bill Alexander
Chris Allen became interested in filmmaking during High School, and has pursued it ever since. He studied Bhakti Yoga (which he still practices) in Chicago before receiving a degree in Film and Television from New York University. After raising three children and producing videos in corporate America, Allen started his own film company, Open Sky Cinema, writing and producing documentaries. They include “The Delaware and Raritan Canal,” “Lost Princeton,” “A Warm and Loving Look — The Poetry of Stephen Kalinich,” and “Open Sky.”
In his documentary, “Quark Park,” Allen filmed and interviewed dozens of scientists, artists, sculptors, landscape architects, and architects in collaboration with Quark Park’s creators Peter Soderman, Kevin Wilkes; and with the Wild River Review.
Works by Chris Allen
Renée Ashley is the author of five volumes of poetry: Because I Am the Shore I Want to Be the Sea (Subito Book Prize); Basic Heart (winner of the 2008 X.J.Kennedy Poetry Prize); The Revisionist’s Dream; The Various Reasons of Light; and Salt (Brittingham Prize in Poetry, University of Wisconsin Press), as well as a novel, Someplace Like This, and two chapbooks, The Museum of Lost Wings and The Verbs of Desiring. Ashley teaches poetry in the low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing and across the genres in the MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators. She has received fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in both poetry and prose and a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A portion of her poem, “First Book of the Moon,” is included in a permanent installation in Penn Station, Manhattan, by the artist Larry Kirkland. She has served as Assistant Poetry Coordinator for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and, for seven years, as Poetry Editor of The Literary Review. Her new collection, The View from the Body, was published by Black Lawrence Press in March 2016.