Spring is here and so are two new books from Sixteen Rivers Press. We are excited to share these new titles with you, and to let you know about upcoming readings and events. We hope to see you at one or more readings and to include you in the celebrations of our new books! Read on to find out more, and enjoy the poem at the end of this newsletter from Jacqueline Kudler’s new collection, Easing into Dark.

We are pleased to introduce Easing into Dark, Jacqueline Kudler’s second book with Sixteen Rivers Press. Of this book, David St. John writes, “The power and consolations of family resonate throughout all of the poems in Kudler’s moving and deeply reflective new collection. . . . Joy is generational and renewable, making the slowly encroaching ‘dark’ more tolerable and even, at times, something to honor. Mature and wise, replete with the pleasures of the natural world, Easing into Dark is a volume to savor again and again.” Read more of Jackie’s work here.

We are also excited to introduce Judy Halebsky’s chapbook, Space/Gap/Interval/Distance, the winner of our first Poets Under Forty Chapbook Contest, which was judged by Forrest Hamer. He writes, “Space/Gap/Interval/Distance engages the reader in rapt translation—between languages, among the visual, the semantic, and the kinesthetic—by way of a poet’s journey of return and what remains unsaid. What singles this work out is that after reading each poem, we are left with evocative images that initiate journeys of translation continuing long after we leave the page.”  Read more of Judy’s work here.

Jackie and Judy will be giving readings all around the Greater Bay Area. You can catch them in Oakland, Modesto, Corte Madera, Menlo Park this spring, with additional readings coming in the fall. To find out more about these readings, check the Readings and Events page on our website.

Our 2012 catalogs, featuring Easing into Dark and Space/Gap/Interval/Distance as well as our entire backlist, have been mailed. If you did not receive one, but would like to, please contact us at info@sixteenrivers.org. We would be happy to send one to you as soon as we can. We count on annual subscriptions to our new titles as well as  donations to keep the press alive.

May 1, the deadline for our second Poets Under Forty Chapbook Contest is rapidly approaching. If you are a poet in that age group, please consider sending us a manuscript; if not, we’ll hope you’ll get the word out to your age-appropriate poet friends. The book will be published in spring 2013, and all poetic styles and forms are welcome. The winner will receive $500 and 25 copies of the chapbook. The winner will not be required to become a member of the press, though he or she must commit to giving three or four readings in the Greater Bay Area to support the chapbook. The final judge for the manuscripts will be Camille Dungy. For more information, see our guidelines on the Submissions Page.

Congratulations to Christina Hutchins (The Stranger Dissolves, 2011). Her book is one of four finalists for the Audrey Lorde Poetry Award from Publishing Triangle. The Stranger Dissolves has also been nominated for the Lambda Literary Award. The winner will be announced in June.

Jeanne Wagner (In the Body of Our Lives, 2011) has won the 2012 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize from Smartish Place. And her poem “My mother was like the bees” was featured in column 366 of Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. You can read it here.

Gerald Fleming (Swimmer Climbing onto Shore, 2005) will read in the Hanging Loose Press/Magazine 100th Issue reading at the Brooklyn Public Library on April 25. The next night, April 26, he’ll read with Bob Hershon and Steve Shrader at the NYU bookstore, 726 Broadway in Manhattan, at 6:30 p.m. More information can be found at http://hangingloose.blogspot.com/.

Gillian Wegener (The Opposite of Clairvoyance, 2008) has just been named poet laureate of Modesto, California. Gillian will read on Saturday, April 21, at 7 p.m. with Connie Post, James Maughn, and Ed Colletti, all poets who curate poetry reading series. The reading is hosted by Katherine Hastings of Word Temple poetry and will be held at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 6780 Depot Street, Sebastopol. Find out more at http://www.wordtemple.com/blog/?page_id=14 .

The annual benefit reading for Sixteen Rivers Press will be held on November 17 in a private home in San Rafael and will feature Jane Hirshfield. Stay tuned for more information in the late summer. This will be an evening you will not want to miss.

And now for a poem from Jacqueline Kudler’s new book, Easing into Dark:

After the Long, Bitter Season

Each day in April, they are here again,
high on the open slopes, under the pine,
beside the suddenly garrulous streams,
pushing up from last summer’s cemeteries:
the iris, the lupine, the baby blue eyes.
And we are waiting for each new appearance—
each new signal of redemption—
the earth returning to us again
after the long, bitter season.

I want to talk about the Calypso orchids,
here this Wednesday all at once—
two days of the sun’s touch just enough
to coax them out from the cold.
Winged pink petals on leafless stems,
they grow where least expected,
the ground rocky, inhospitable, shrouded
with sparse dead pine shards.

Each year we think to find them
in a kinder context, the new, tender
grasses of a meadow, perhaps, but no,
this is the soil, the shade, the hardship
that sustains them.
I want to sit down on this stony hilltop,
in the middle of this bitter year,
watch how the orchids
launch their pink parachutes out
between one darkness
and another.