February 4, 2016
I was just selected to be the Artist (poet) in Residence for the Lincoln School for a couple of weeks, responsible for teaching poetry to grades K – 12 and putting together an anthology of student work. I’m planning to model my tenure after Billy Collins Poetry 180 Project. In creating it, Mr. Collins says, “I had hoped the program would suggest to young people that poetry can be a part of everyday life as well as a subject to be studied in the classroom.” The program asks that a teacher or other interested person read a new poem every day over the PA system to the entire student body for the entire school year! Our school enrollment is only 124, so of that perhaps fifty students will write poems or desire their writings to be read aloud in this way. Other accessible modern poems could fill in if the school wishes to continue the practice after I am no longer directly involved. On my first day I will read a poem I wrote for the occasion. Keep in mind these words need to be clear and maybe intriguing to children as young as six but still be a poem that any age could appreciate.
This will occur on March 10-17. Please contact me if you are interested.
at dawn the valley glistens,
snow becoming fused with stars.
elk rise up and speak in tongues.
bears in their dens sleep on.
in the village children waken.
who knows whether wolf or dog made that cry!
a poem waits –
not here in my voice –
a line that everyone will remember,
a dream or a secret out at last.
listen feel your own words
tumbling on the edge.
write them ‘til they scream
write them for the world
or for your own scared heart.
write them because you can.
the teacher opens the window,
you must gather the light.
Elizabeth Cain February 3, 2016
December 29, 2015
The land is deeply white; the trees are flocked; 200 elk bed down in our pasture at night. They let me get within 50 yards to photograph them – magnificent, ethereal creatures, watching, so wild, ready to depart, young ones leaping over the nearest fence, not used to humans yet, but watching until it’s too dark for us to see each other. We feel fortunate beyond words to live in this beauty and peace that surrounds our Montana home. We wish this for all living creatures that desire beauty and peace and brotherhood and preservation of the earth for the new year, 2016, and always.
Books you won’t soon forget:
Avenue of Mysteries – John Irving
Mendel’s Dwarf – Simon Mawer
The Tiger – John Vaillant
The Book of Mychal – Michael Daly
Part Wild – Ceiridwen Terrill
December 2, 2015
Season’s greetings from beautiful, snowy, COLD Montana! Great days for writing. I hope you like the improvements to my website. I had lots of help from people who know how to do these things, including my husband, Jerry, and my social media guru, Shawna Vanhuysen, and I’m very grateful. While they are clicking buttons and sliding texts, photos, and book reviews here and there, I am trying to find the most startling, joyful, controversial, responsible, and dangerous place for a teen-ager from Tanzania to dream her dreams and stand up for what she believes in in her first experience in America.
The girl’s name is Kivuli. She has a Maasai/British father and a British mother who’s had a black, lesbian lover as long as Kivuli can remember. But that’s another story. Kivuli has accepted her unusual and sometimes shunned family, but she has deeper questions and thinks she’ll find the answers on the ranch in Nevada where her African great-grandfather lived most of his life. She is walking in the old man’s footsteps to discover the meaning of his Catholic faith, his love for his American patrons and friends, and his sacrifices for them.
Kivuli faces racism, homophobia, bullying, a demented criminal, and serious omissions in her high school texts, but she chooses and is molded by love, generosity, great teachers, horses, an African priest, interracial friendships, gay friendships, and a unique, volatile relationship with the jailed child molester whom she personally seeks to rehabilitate. Kivuli wants to know: is there a path to redemption for such a woman? If there is forgiveness for terrible acts, who should give it? How does God figure into all of this?
If you are intrigued or even disturbed by these questions, I hope you will read What Love Has Done, coming in 2016.