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Meet the Featured Poet: Jack Callan

28 May 2016 | admin | Featured Poets

Jack Callan is the co-founder of the Little River Poetry Festival. He will be reading and conducting a workshop at the festival!

Jack Callan has been a carpenter all his life. As a craftsman, he learned how to fit things together to make them work. As an artist, his vibrant, often startling paintings, speak of his love of color and his love of life. With this background, it was only a matter of time before he began stringing words together. As a poet, he manages to capture vivid images and sensitive imprints that live on in the minds of his audience, long after hearing his poetry.

Jack is the author of two books of poetry that challenge and delight the reader – the eclectic, “Knucklehead Poems,” and the more pastoral, “Little River on the Milky Way.” One cannot come away from his earthy, yet sensitive, portrayal of “life in the earth, according to Jack,” without the realization that one has been in the company of a good man – a trusted friend and companion for the journey we all share.

From the archives…

Thunderstruck
by Jack Callan

Like an egg, speckled warm from the nest,
a farm sifts in shadow and elegance.
I slip along the in-between to light petals
that hang from a dogwood,
cupping, like a breast, this edge of pasture.

The knob, ‘cross the way, funnels wind off the river,
sends birds into Sufi-ecstasy, and I,
a butterfly, from cup to cup dancing.
Barbed wire sprinkles holy water on unrepentant locust posts,
while a raven circles overhead, then five –
high and unforgotten, silent, so serene,
barrelin’ across the gap, not a break of wing, then gone.

This farm is a jewel in a crown of blackberry thorns,
locked in sunlight and moon cycles,
sweetsong and stubby slivers of grass.
The silence here holds many noisy voices,
snuggled under thunderheads and blue.
Hope holds to the top of the hill; I try
to imagine the red dirt a ‘runnin’, thunder,
buzzards and water thoughts,
as silence calls to rumble-groan, two deer
a snap of branch,
hissing as they climb away, turning once
in challenge, hissing,
then hissing as they go.

Might be a night of fog and light’ning,
half calm, half puttin’ on.
All things work together for green, a purple
shade on everything,
but grey will have a say in this,
blue a soft scent, and night,
still as a photograph,
hushed and wet-tender – a fragile peace.
I hold my prayer to glimpse within, such stillness,
as lightening fills the horizon from end to end.

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The Little River Poetry Festival is a retreat for poets to enjoy the beauty and scenery of Floyd, Virginia for a weekend in June.

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