Monday, February 15, 2021

Shann Ray

Shann Ray is a poet and writer who teaches at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. His first poetry collection Balefire (2014) won the High Plains Book Award for poetry, and his short story collection American Masculine (2011, Graywolf) received the American Book Award. He also writes social science as Shann Ray Ferch. His work has appeared in such publications as Poetry, Esquire, and McSweeney’s, and has received numerous awards besides those already mentioned.

Shann spent part of his childhood on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Southeast Montana, which is reflected in his writing ― including in his novel American Copper, which deals with issues of the horrific colonization of the Cheyenne people.

His new poetry book Atomic Theory 7: poems to my wife and God (2020, Wipf & Stock) also features the work of visual artist Trinh Mai.

The following poem previously appeared in Diode, and is from Atomic Theory 7.

from sundown

two things dostoyevski said:
beauty will save the world
and nothing is more beautiful than Christ

tell us of your stark trees Christ
standing cold with their limbs to the sky

place our hands into the coarse black coat of winter wolves

we cannot un-name you God
what does Christ even mean
she and i cannot un-remember you

tell me of your sky a red field behind the trees
and how you drink water through rock

Lord of wonder Lord of night
where dark smudges the world rim
blast us with wind and light

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.