Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Book Give-A-Way In Thanks for One Raven of a Year

The Raven's Gift turns ONE today!

My little novel turns one year old today in the US. It took five years to get it here in America and that wouldn't have happened without several small miracles, the country of Canada and the folks at Pintail and Penguin, and dare I say some seriously ravenous readers and booksellers both in and out of Alaska.

From landing on the Washington Post 50 notable novels from 2013, cool keynote engagements like the United Way Cruise for a Cause, a Rasmuson award for the screen adaptation, and just this week being voted #2 on the top ten Alaskan books in an Alaska Public Radio poll that includes several of my own favorites, the year has been something more than I could have ever dreamed for my first novel.

And while these accolades have been humbling and exciting and pretty much mind-blowing for a kid from the tundra, the real Raven's Gift for me has been in the outpouring of kind and powerful responses to the story that I have received since publication. So, in thanks for the fun 1st year in the USA, I would like to offer up a chance for you to win one of ten copies of the novel for yourself or a friend.

How can you win? Easy!

You will do this by thanking someone who has been a "gift" to you in your life. Did they share some special knowledge with you? Save you from the apocalypse or just credit card debt? Or have they just always been there leading you when you were unable to see the way? Who do you owe a word of thanks?

One of two ways to win:
1. Share this page and your "gift" of words to that person via Twitter or Facebook and email a link or confirmation at
2. "Like" The Raven's Gift facebook page and tag it when you share your words of thanks with the person who has been the gift in your life!

Easy, right? Enter early and enter often....

What are you waiting for?

(Contest ends July 12th).

And Quyana! (Thanks!)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let Go

Somewhere outside of Kotzebue, Alaska

Let Go

when you stand
in that spot where the earth curves
tomorrow sitting on the horizon
a blade of grass tall as a mountain
the sun a cold white eye
watching your every move
remember you are not a deity
control beyond your grip
let go

when you stand
in that spot where the earth curves
remember to cry out when
she turns you upside down
gently pats your buttocks
and holds your feet tight
swinging you through space
let go

[That is it! Poem #30 for April. Thirty poems, one a day for National Poetry Month! Thanks to all for sharing my work! See you next year? Perhaps you'll write too?]

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Fear and Hope of Salmon

A photo of a painting by my sister, Beth Hill.

The Fear and Hope of Salmon

when the river ice rots
if the conditions are just so
perfect sun, wind, warm
the sheets become crystals
millions of thin cold daggers
one rubber boot kick and an ice pan
disintegrates with the sound
of chandeliers coliding
into mirrors and

the feeling
as that ice rushes
past the riverbank
is sadness and excitement
winter all but a desiccated corpse
summer just days away
and fear and hope
the salmon will fill
the void the ice left behind

[Poem #29 for National Poetry Day! Yup, a poem a day for a whole month. I'm all but there!]

Monday, April 28, 2014

Death By Social Media

Death By Social Media

you should have seen her facebook
when she found out her instagram had died
her world began to tumblr
the beat of her heart reduced
to a twitter, just a flickr
she couldn't pinterest 
the source of her pain
a dark soundcloud followed
she no longer felt linkedin
didn't write in her livejournal
the netflix of her life, reduced to cobwebs
without a friendster
she felt herself snapchat
she found only the wordpress to write:
mylife is over, there is no one to yelp
then she wrapped a lifeknot
around her bebo
and jumped into myspace 

By Don Rearden, 4/28/14

[Poem #28 for National Poetry month.  That is right, twenty-eight poems in April, two to go. They are all here on this blog for your reading pleasure and/or pain.]

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Samurai Sword Glassmen

 Samurai Sword Glassmen

In silence sitting on sills
in buckets and baskets
on beaches and bobbing in bays
treasures, trickets, trash
Japanese fishing net floats
from another era
half a hemisphere away
on turbulent seas
from samurai sword glassmen, 
to a life drifting
beneath and above zeroes
sunken ships and skeletons of
Aleutian battle heroes 

we all long to find on the shore
a glass bottle with a message 
of hope, love, or fortune
but the recycled sake ball
contains only old air
crack one open and for
an instant smell the daphne,
tatami, fresh ramen, or charcoal 
trapped an eternity 
doomed to never return home
like so many soldiers
on this shattered coastline

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Peacefully at War

our wars are over
we no longer 
have to sacrifice
the space on our bumpers
or cover our trunks
with yellow ribbons

peacetime now
no need to 
support our troops
with stickers and flags

peacetime for now
no more moments 
of silence before games 
or cell phones for soldiers

our wars are over
no more rationing 
or restrictions of
our anti-war sentiment

we are at peace now
at least until the next 
as we are best at being
peacefully at war

Friday, April 25, 2014

For Cliven Bundy and his Citizen Soldiers

citizen soldiers where are you
when the poor need protection
when children are battered or beaten
by big brother or bullies

citizen soldiers where are you
when white men hurl insults
and bottles at women with skin
the color of the boots
with which you kick and stomp
their sons

citizen soldiers where are you
when the country you claim
comes first, comes last
for everyone but your kind

citizen soldiers where are you
when your constitution is colored
not by compromise or care
but by fear and despair

citizen soldiers, gather
like cattle with your cloven shepard
in the desert and claim
that country for your own
and stay there