Literature 7-14-2009

mnLIT presents: Dan Pederson

"From the Windy Trees" by Dan Pederson is one of the winning pieces in this year's What Light Poetry Project competition within's mnLIT program. All 38 winning stories and poems will be published on in the months to come.


From the Windy Trees

(For Bryn)

The autumn swirl skirts the bridge during the descending daylight
fixing a transitional decision upon me, sitting beneath it.
Was that the summer I lived on a scratch-off ticket?
Or, rather, were they the days I loved a phantom mural painter?
Night times tracing the edge of cornfields, five past midnight,
with ouija under candles predicting the mistakes of youth.
Perhaps after the winter winds that sent me over on the ice,
the months where the flask and hollers were my ballast?
This was all before, anyway–now passing by as I watch the water
collecting leaves from the skyline of trees, and it’s still early.


Juror commentary:

“From the Windy Trees” is one of juror Connie Wanek‘s selections. She writes, “I like the way this poem flips between scenes in the same way one’s memory does. The notion of a summer financed by a scratch ticket appeals to the Bohemian in everyone, surely. And who couldn’t love a phantom mural painter?”


Dan Pederson says, “I have lived in or around Minneapolis all my life, save for a few months in Delano, but I won’t get into that. Such a sleepy place. I did film school for a few years at MCTC, where my interest drained out and into screenwriting and then into fiction and poetry. It was an expensive realization. But, that’s how I do. This is my first poetry submission, and I am in a hell of a good mood.

About his work, Pederson writes, “I don’t particularly seek any certain structure while writing. The language itself has enough inherent boundaries and rules to screw with, as is, right? In any case, what I like to write is just what I recall. Nostalgia drapes everything in dramatics, whether it is something I have personally experienced or perhaps just read about, and I like that.”

______________________________________________________ is a joint project of the Walker Art Center and the McKnight Foundation

Membership on is FREE. Find step-by-step instructions for how to join and how to use the free resources available on the site. If you need assistance, contact Will Lager at Any Minnesota resident is eligible to participate in’s mnLIT competitions for poetry and fiction; there are no entry fees, and writers at all levels of skill and experience are welcome to enter work for consideration by a revolving panel of established authors and publishing professionals in mnLIT’s blind adjudication process.


Join us for a live reading by the What Light winners on Sunday, July 19 5 pm at Magers and Quinn Booksellers in Minneapolis. Click here for all the event details.