Neile Graham (neile) wrote,
Neile Graham

Neile's almost on time Week 5 Clarion West Write-a-thon Report

This went out today to those who either emotionally or financially sponsor my Clarion West write-a-thon commitment. If you want to see the full poem, please send me a message here or through facebook or my email to let me know you want to support me, or you can sponsor my efforts financially through my write-a-thon page by donating to Clarion West there.

Hey, all--

Thank you once again for your support here at the time-delayed version of the Clarion West Write-a-thon. I'm almost on time this week!

Samuel R. Delany was our fifth week instructor. This is the third time I've been with him in the classroom, and each time I'm struck both by how warm and delightful he is--and how brilliant. The students had another challenging, fun week.

Still no hands-on fiction work but I've been doing some planning for this major revision of The Empty City, which I hope and believe will stop me getting so stuck on each sentence as I was this spring when I first started working on it.

My poem this week is about St. Kilda, a small group of isolated and now-abandoned islands off the west coast of Scotland. For thousands of years the population there scraped a living off the islands, mostly by means of the vast populations of wild seabirds, but by the 1930s too many had left the islands and their lifestyle was no longer sustainable. The remaining people were all moved to the mainland. The islands are now a bird and cultural sanctuary and still very difficult to reach because of the wild seas and weather. I've been haunted by the story of these islands since I first heard it.

Thank you again for your support.




St. Kilda's

They stitched their clothes with feathers.
They hitched themselves unwinged
over the cliff-side dripping with guano
for the harvest of birds.
Gannets and guillemots and gulls,
fulmars, snipe, bonxies, plovers and puffins
and the pterodactyl skuas
fastening them to the ground
and to gray bounds of both sea and sky.
Trusting their lives not to slip.


If you want to see the rest of the poem, please let me know by email, messaging, or Write-a-thon sponsorship (see link at the top of this message).
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