Tag Archives: Iris Jamahl Dunkle

CPR Best of Volume 16 Now Available

CPR Volume 16 Front CoverAfter more than a week of stuffing envelopes, the hard-copy “Best of Volume 16” Cider Press Review is on its way to contributors, subscribers, and former Book Award contest entrants.

The “Best of” issue features poems by Rebecca Baggett, Carol Berg, Jennifer Jackson Berry, Maggie Blake, Ace Boggess, John Bradley, Christine Butterworth-McDermott, Sharon Chmielarz, Lisa J. Cihlar, Joan Colby, Michael Collins, Gemma Cooper-Novack, Jimmie Cumbie, Carol V. Davis, Paul Dickey, Iris Jamahl Dunkle, Carol Ellis, Sarah Estes, David Eye, Evelyn Clark Farbman, Shawn Fawson, Janice Greenwood, David Hathwell, Gary Hawkins, Sara Henning, Brian Patrick Heston, Louisa Howerow, Ann Hudson, Amie Keddy, Heather Lang, Susanna Lang, Mercedes Lawry, Bernadette McBride, Amy Meckler, Colleen Michaels, Nancy Carol Moody, Carolyn Moore, Mary Moore, Susannah Nevison, Amy Newday, Autumn Newman, Sharon Olson, Mary Elizabeth Parker, Lynn Pedersen, Kevin Phan, Katherine Rauk, Geri Rosenzweig, Michael G. Smith, Heather Sommer, Sarah Sousa, Joannie Stangeland, Kelly Terwilliger, Lisken Van Pelt Dus, Ryan Vine, Donna Vorreyer, Chelsea Wagenaar, Mark Wagenaar, Marq Wilson, Laura Madeline Wiseman, Anne Harding Woodworth, Matthew Zingg. Book reviews by Ken Hada and Gary Leising.

To order your own or extra copies, please visit the CPR Bookstore.

Sweetbitter
by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

1
In 1700s Prince Carl of Denmark eats Gravenstein apples while visiting the dappled shade of an orchard in Italy. Its rigid trunk offered the cuttings of an idea that would take to graph at his summer home: a white castle on the blue lip of the Baltic Sea. Seeds planted, then tended until great orchards bloomed across the flat low lands where the sea seeps in slowly, where salt, like history lingers on the air. Tart-sweetness bulging from a red-barred orb.

2
By the time the orchards grew into vast bounding fields, the Germanic spoken legends of the North Sea were receding like the tide as were the resources. Whole islands of stories were swallowed whole in a storm.

3
For a century gardeners cut and grafted the bone-barred heart of the fruit to perfection: until it tasted bittersweet enough, until it kept long enough to travel long distances. Then, the seeds and cutting were slipped into the trunks of steamship passengers. Tiny seedlings kept moist across long passages. Until the Gravenstein seedling was carefully unwrapped from its moist, burlap coverings
to be planted here, in Sebastopol, on freshly clear-cut hills that rolled to the sea.

4
In the 1850s, those who didn’t find gold farmed. Orchards covered the bare hills as fast as they were cleared of scrub oak and pine and Miwok. And the years seeped in. The horticulturalists grafting to win a longer market, a higher yield. But, what the apple bore was memory: a long traveled, bitter-sweet taste that can’t be bred out or baked out or forgotten.

Red lines that bind the fruit to the hands that pick to the stories that still whisper on the low roll of a long travelled sea where salt, like history, lingers on the air.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 16, Issue 4.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle’s debut poetry collection, Gold Passage, won the Trio Award and was published by Trio House Press in 2013. Dunkle received her B.A. from the George Washington University, her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University, and her Ph.D. in American Literature from Case Western Reserve University.

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Geography as Seen from the Tall Ships,
by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

From lull of dank, wet wood and passage, too many bodies
pressed together; our clothes bleached and worn thin
from sun’s glare and winds incessant blowing.
From the sway that had pooled and gathered in us
like a brackish bilge until we were unable
to understand land, that line of shore defining an end,
then from it the green hills pouring back into
what we were meant to discover. From the weak legs
that strode from the small boat into icy
surf came uncertainty and doubt. The weight
of cargo carried across then dragged off
the ship and over the grassy dunes
to the waiting wagons. There were no maps.
Only ideas and a strange man standing by
the wagons. Still wet we gathered again
close, but far away from what we knew of
ourselves in the rough wood cabs. Two rutted
tracks leading a dusty path out from months
of salt and sway, over the roll of hills.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 3.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle’s debut poetry collection, Gold Passage, won the Trio Award and was published by Trio House Press in 2013. Dunkle received her B.A. from the George Washington University, her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University, and her Ph.D. in American Literature from Case Western Reserve University.

See all items about Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Visit Iris Jamahl Dunkle’s contributors page.