Archives for posts with tag: Southwestern U.S.

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THE DESERT RANCHER ON SUNDAY
by Jeffrey Alfier

Winds release clouds from the tread of drifting
but buoy the arcs of loitering hawks.
 
It’s so quiet he swears he hears sunlight,
Chihuahuan sage blossoming in clusters.
 
Where his footfalls impel a warbler’s flight,
distant church bells summon their own echoes.
 
He kneels, presses palms to parched tractor ruts
that angle off into wind-runneled fields.
 
Thin soil keeps him for another season,
the ground made of nothing his hands won’t hold.

…”The Desert Rancher on Sunday” appears in the Silver Birch Press release The Wolf Yearling, a collection of poems by Jeffrey C. Alfier, available at Amazon.com.

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MY GREAT AUNT SPEAKS OF NIGHTS IN HARDIN COUNTY
by Jeffrey C. Alfier

Preachers said God made Texas nights this dark.
That’s no comfort to girls home by themselves.
She could hear tongues and praises loud outside;
old wives, children, men of coal or lumber —
lots of folks shouting and carrying on,
given more to water-witching than prayer
come first light. It’s how folks fought loneliness.

 
Beyond the plank steeples rising in swamps,
this fur trader’s daughter spent nights alone,
her father trudging forgotten dirt trails 
impassable to anything with wheels.
Bound for some reclusive trapper’s cabin
he’d return by way of any roadhouse,
stumbling past the decay of tenant shacks.

 
She recalls those nights squinting through windows
waiting for his shadow to reemerge
soaked with rain and pelts — a feral hunter.
The last time I paid her a call, blindness
was slowly dimming her central vision.
Sometimes a stray voice makes her turn and look,
rain tapping glass like a startled stranger.

PHOTO: Jeffrey C. Alfier reads from his collection, The Wolf Yearling, at the Poetry Society of Texas Poetry and Music Festival (Midland, Texas, May 2013). Find The Wolf Yearling at Amazon.com.

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Jeffrey C. Alfier acquired a keen poetic vision from years of living and traveling throughout the Southwest. Composed mainly in syllabic verse, The Wolf Yearling (Silver Birch Press, 2013) exhibits strict attention to tightly controlled language that renders, in rich imagism, American deserts and mountains, the plains of the Trans-Pecos, border towns, and the sandy soils of east Texas.

Poem from THE WOLF YEARLING…

LATE LIGHT IN THE SANTA CRUZ VALLEY
by Jeffrey C. Alfier

If you can dismiss the moon’s pale ascent
you might hear wingbeats in the fading light,
dusk calling hawks to perch in cottonwoods
and toll a deadpan vigilance eastward
toward sierras that ruddle to shadows.
 
These hawks are connoisseurs of what it takes
to die when small prey barters noonday sun
for nightfall’s cooling of dry riverbeds,
waiting out the heat under my trailer.
Canted on one wheel, it tilts back to earth.

REVIEWS: 

“Alfier’s sharp lyrics come upon you like a door slammed by a hot desert wind might wake a lonely man into a new life. They are demotic, lived, and, without being sentimental, hopeful that our little span of being human matters after all.” DOUG ANDERSON, Poet-in-Residence at Ft. Juniper, Amherst, Massachusetts, instructor in poetry at Emerson and Smith Colleges

“If the forbidding and starkly beautiful American Southwest were condensed to the nuances of language, Alfier would be its quintessential oracle...I know of no poet writing today who handles the demanding form of syllabics (while consistently maintaining line integrity) with the consummate artistry of Alfier. Without any hesitation whatsoever, I give this fine collection of poems my highest recommendation.” LARRY D. THOMAS, Member, Texas Institute of Letters, 2008 Texas Poet Laureate

“Each poem is a testament to Alfier’s unflinching observations and hard-fought love of the Southwest. This is a rich portrait of a stunning landscape…The Wolf Yearling is a gift.” KEITH EKISS, author of Puma Road Notebook

Find THE WOLF YEARLING at Amazon.com.

Silver Birch Press congratulates Jeffrey C. Alfier for his 2013 Pushcart Prize nomination. 

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THE DESERT RANCHER ON SUNDAY
by Jeffrey C. Alfier

Winds release clouds from the tread of drifting
but buoy the arcs of loitering hawks.
 
It’s so quiet he swears he hears sunlight,
Chihuahuan sage blossoming in clusters.
 
Where his footfalls impel a warbler’s flight,
distant church bells summon their own echoes.
 
He kneels, presses palms to parched tractor ruts
that angle off into wind-runneled fields.
 
Thin soil keeps him for another season,
the ground made of nothing his hands won’t hold.

…”The Desert Rancher on Sunday” appears in the Silver Birch Press release The Wolf Yearling, a collection of poems by Jeffrey C. Alfier, available at Amazon.com.

For his inspired poetry in The Wolf Yearling, Silver Birch press will nominate Jeffrey Alfier for a 2013 Pushcart Prize. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeffrey C. Alfier is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and was a 2010 nominee for the UK’s Forward Prize for Poetry. In 2012, he was nominated for a Breadloaf scholarship. In 2006, he received honorable mention for the Rachel Sherwood Poetry Prize, and in 2005 won first place awards from the Redrock Writer’s Guild of Utah and the Arizona State Poetry Society. He holds an MA in Humanities from California State University at Dominguez Hills. Having served twenty-seven years in the U.S. Air Force, he is a member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). Alfier’s poetry has appeared in many literary journals and his chapbooks include Offloading the Wounded (2009), Before the Troubadour Exits (2010), The Gathering Light at San Cataldo (2012), and The City Without Her (2012). He serves as co-editor of San Pedro River Review

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THE DESERT RANCHER ON SUNDAY
by Jeffrey Alfier

Winds release clouds from the tread of drifting
but buoy the arcs of loitering hawks.
 
It’s so quiet he swears he hears sunlight,
Chihuahuan sage blossoming in clusters.
 
Where his footfalls impel a warbler’s flight,
distant church bells summon their own echoes.
 
He kneels, presses palms to parched tractor ruts
that angle off into wind-runneled fields.
 
Thin soil keeps him for another season,
the ground made of nothing his hands won’t hold.

…”The Desert Rancher on Sunday” appears in the Silver Birch Press release The Wolf Yearling, a collection of poems by Jeffrey C. Alfier, available at Amazon.com.