Peter LudwinPeter Ludwin is the recipient of a Literary Fellowship from Artist Trust.  He was the 2007-2008 Second Prize Winner of the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Awards.  For the past twelve years he has been a participant in the San Miguel Poetry Week in Mexico, where he has studied under such noted poets as Mark Doty, Tony Hoagland and Robert Wrigley.  His work has appeared in many journals, including The Bitter Oleander, The Comstock Review, Nimrod, North American Review and Prairie Schooner.  His first book, A Guest in All Your Houses, was published in 2009 by Word Walker Press.  His second, Rumors of Fallible Gods, was a Finalist for the Gival Press Poetry Award in both 2010 and 2011, and has been published by Presa Press.  He has been nominated multiple times for a Pushcart Prize.  Soundings Review named him the winner of its spring/summer 2011 Reader’s Choice award for his poem, “A Convocation of Crows.”   The Comstock Review designated his poem, “Trial of Compassion, Baker City, Oregon” a Special Merit Recognition recipient in the 2012 Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Awards Contest.  An avid traveler who has visited remote Indian families in the Ecuadorean Amazon, hiked in the Peruvian Andes, hitchhiked in Greece and bargained in the Marrakech market, he spent nearly a month in 2011 in China and Tibet. He lives near Seattle.

Here we find an artist at the peak of his powers, where vision and craft conjoin “to inhabit the transparent pearl, the drop/in perpetual motion that spells a history.”  When you pick up Peter Ludwin’s book, put on your traveling shoes—you’re going on a journey…
—  Joseph Stroud
There are many doors to the underworld.  One can be found in the incurable ache of lavender, another in trumpets saddened by water, another below a little stone bridge in San Miguel de Allende.  Once down there, you enter a changed world inhabited by jaguars who recite Garcia Lorca, by an anchorite tending ravens in his beard, and by a long dead bandit who’s the patron saint of drug traffikers.  Here you find the rooted flowerings of Frida Kahlo and the lush erotic fruits of Pablo Neruda.  Here in the undermind is the poetry of Peter Ludwin—mythic, strange, amazing.  This book is a key or a map or even an entrance itself to the way…down. …
— Tony Barnstone
 

Three poems from Rumors of Fallible Gods:

Mayan Women Balancing Bundles on Their Heads, Guatemala
         
You would see them along the highland roads
or gracing Calle Santander in Panajachel,
movements like blue water, clouds you could gather up.

You thought of earth, of bark and honeycomb,
volcanic dreams suddenly seeded with ash.
How the dyes of their clothing beckoned

to the sluggish stream calcifying your bones.
How it quickened, then flooded the fields with silt.

published in The Bitter Oleander

Terezin Concentration Camp, Bohemia

Near the railway spur
bones still cry for water.

And the ashes?
Who can say what roots they nourish,
what borders they have crossed?

Here the ship never sails,
the shawl cannot cover.

Tell me silence isn’t the loudest voice.

When the open mouth forgets itself,
the straw man drinks his shadow.

And the moon?
Gracing a wanted poster,

an impossible price on its head.

Coal-faced, it shuns the cattle cars
rolling east on tracks of tallow.

Absence.  Isn’t that the surest
footprint of a crime?
The song the mockingbird teaches its young?

This rain grazes the skin like rust.      

nominated for a Pushcart Prize, published in The Raven Chronicles

 

 

Inside the Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Say the word aloud, say blue,
and the mind teems with guests:
Renoir, Vermeer, Gainsborough’s Blue Boy,
Picasso’s Blue Period, the lines
from a Mark Doty crab poem:
a shocking Giotto blue.

Say blue, and a marlin taildances on the water,
a slide guitar spells heartache in plural.
Woke up this mornin’, I believe I’ll dust my broom.
Frida lives on in la Casa Azul.
And the beggar trapped in a hash dream
haze hails bands of blue men from the Sahara.

Say blue, and doors swing wide open.
To speak it here adds yet another
tile to the thousands already present.
Did Gershwin divine such a rhapsody?
Such a dazzling faience mosaic?
Or is blue encoded in our cells,

a script for the primal color of being?
Look around.  When you left your shoes
at the door, didn’t you slough off
your skin so blue could breathe,
could curl phantom-like among the pillars,

a counterpoint
to the slow, steady rhythm
of a cobbler tapping out his blood
beat in the bazaar, circa 1650?
Blue.  It haunts the back alleys,

a companion for the road, for the long haul,
for daughter and courtesan a final recumbent address.
First water, last silence, the country in between.
Blue Danube.  Blue bayou.  Cordon bleu.
The heron and the kingfisher.  Blue.   

published in Nimrod

 

2013 Peter Ludwin


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