Wednesday, March 2, 2011


The steelhead season has been frustrating for me this year. First, the river was blown out. Then, when it was finally fishable, I blew out my ankle wading in the river my first day out.

These things seem to happen more frequently as I wade deeper into middle age but, as is usually the case, there was a silver lining to the dark cloud that descended on my spey rod and I that morning.

Between applications of ice and heat, my friend James Den Boer and I explored the iMovie software. We'd been talking about doing so for quite a while. Jim is the managing editor for Swan Scythe Press and a poet, translator, independent scholar, and rare books dealer. In other words, a good guy to go exploring with.

The result of our iMovie explorations is a promotional video, about a minute and half long, for a new book from Swan Scythe Press. The book is the winner of the 2010 chapbook contest. It's by Hmong Poet Burlee Vang and the title is, The Dead I Know: Incantation for Rebirth. His poems are wonderful.

"After Our Honeymoon in Laos" genuinely captures my imagination. Fortunately, Jim had captured some footage of Burlee reading that poem at the Sacramento Poetry Center and we included it in the video.

The poem is written in the voice of the wife. She tries to assure her husband there's nothing to be concerned about when he says he's turned into a tiger and "the jungle is calling my name." I know exactly how he feels.