Back in September, at the Provo Pride Festival, peculiar shared a booth with Rock Canyon Poets where copies of both peculiar and Orogeny were sold. There was also an easel set up with paper and marker for Provo Pride attendees to add a line to a community poem. That community poem has since been published in Rock Canyon Poets’ newest chapbook, Inspired, under the title “Kaleidoscope.”
The chapbook was the result of a series of workshops, sponsored in part by Utah Humanities and Pioneer Book, where participants were asked to write a poem in response to another poem or literary work that inspired them. Rock Canyon Poets recently had a launch party and poetry reading to celebrate Inspired‘s release, covered by KBYU. Copies can be purchased online for only $5.
Inspired also contains poems written by peculiar co-editors Aaron Gates (“Sketchbook Girl” and “One Part Vinegar, Two Parts Bleach”) and Jack Garcia (“On Nights When I Am Your Wife” and “Three Pearls”), as well as Matthew A. Jonassaint (“Excerpts from Drafts for a Lost River”), who was featured in peculiar‘s first issue and will be published again in the upcoming second issue.
Alyssa Pyper, who graced us in our first issue with the poems “Archaeologist” and “The Hierophant, Reverse,” is not only a phenomenal poet, but an accomplished musician. Her peculiar bio reads: “Alyssa Pyper is an integrated studies major with emphases in music and creative writing. When she’s not in class, she works as a writing tutor, violin teacher, and plays in bands Quiet House and Bat Manors. She also has a solo project under the moniker of Night Wings.”
Her solo project was recently featured in the video series The Sound of Provo in their third episode entitled “Night Wings.” The film, directed by Melody Chow, won the Best Non-Fiction Award at Brigham Young University’s Final Cut Film Fest. You can watch the short, four-minute film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyaV9Z0OT7g&feature=youtu.be
Alyssa feels her documentary segment is about finding a safe community within a Latter-day Saint culture, which can often be difficult. “Human to human. Can I show you the place where my soul is fragmented?” she asks in a recent Facebook post. “The terrain I circle endlessly. The community from whom I have sought communion. Can you hear me above the call of policy and principle? Can you look at me, and see me? Can you understand that I, too, am a Mormon girl?”
Both her music and her poetry touch on these themes. In her poem, “The Hierophant, Reverse,” Alyssa writes, “Wading through the complexity that is culture, the confusion that is structure versus heart versus conformity versus authenticity—here I find her, hanging from this delicate thread, a thread that is to question all that one has ever come to know—”
Alyssa’s creative work is like that delicate thread. You can hear more of her music on Bandcamp, and can read her poetry in volume one, issue one of peculiar.