Literature 4-10-2006

What Light: This Week’s Poem

April, National Poetry Month, marked the launch of’s new series “What Light,” sponsored by Magers and Quinn Booksellers.

Wang Ping
Ray Gonzalez
Cindra Halm

“What Light” selects and publishes poems from all over Minnesota. Every Monday we’ll post a new poem on the website along with a profile of the poet. Readings at Magers and Quinn will present the poets to wider audiences, and we’ll publish a book featuring the 50 poets eventually selected.

Poet and critic Lightsey Darst is coordinating the program, and jurors will include many notable writers, editors, publishers, and readers, such as Wang Ping, Ray Gonzalez, and Cindra Halm. Calls for poems go out quarterly; the first round of poems has been chosen, and the second call will go out in May. The program seeks to find excellent work and make it known both to the publishing and poetry world and to the general public.’s radical democracy has opened, through “What Light,” another door for Minnesota writers, and for readers, a window onto the world of writers’ perceptions and insights.

The Jurors

Ray Gonzalez is the author of nine books of poetry including Consideration of the Guitar (2005). His other titles from BOA include The Hawk Temple at Tierra Grande (2002), a winner of a 2003 Minnesota Book Award in Poetry, Cabato Sentora (1999); and The Heat of Arrivals (1996), a winner of a 1997 PEN/Josephine Miles Book Award. He is the author of two books of nonfiction: Memory Fever (1999), a memoir about growing up in the Southwest, and The Underground Heart (2002), which received the 2003 Carr P. Collins/Texas Institute of Letters Award for Best Book of Nonfiction. He is also the author of two books of short stories: The Ghost of John Wayne (2001) and Circling the Tortilla Dragon (2002). His poetry has appeared in the 1999, 2000, and 2003 editions of The Best American Poetry and in The Pushcart Prize: Best of Small Presses 2000. He is the editor of twelve anthologies, most recently No Boundaries: Prose Poems by 24 Poets. He has served as poetry editor of The Bloomsbury Review for twenty-five years and founded LUNA, a poetry journal, in 1998. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature from the Border Regional Library Association in 2003 and is a Full Professor in the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Wang Ping was born in China and came to the United States in 1985. Her publications include American Visa (short stories, 1994), Foreign Devil (novel, 1996), Of Flesh and Spirit (poetry, 1998), all from Coffee House Press. She edited and co-translated New Generation: Poetry from China Today (1999), an anthology of Chinese poetry published by Hanging Loose Press. Her most recent book, Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China (2000), is from the University of Minnesota Press. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the New York State Council for the Arts for poetry, and the Minnesota State Arts Board for fiction.

Cindra Halm’s poetry chapbook, Inflectional Weather, was published in 2003 by Press of the Taverner. Her poems, prose poems, essays, and book reviews can be found in The Bellingham Review, Say . . ., Paragraph, Rain Taxi, and elsewhere. In 1998, she was one of three winners in Border’s Flash Fiction Contest. She is also an instructor at the Loft Literary Center. She loves rhythm and sound, Lake Superior, and dance in all forms.