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Thursday, October 02, 2014


by Joan Colby

Discovery has set November 2 for Nik Wallenda’s Chicago skyscraper tightrope walk. Using dozens of cameras positioned across the city and on helicopters, Discovery will follow Wallenda’s attempted two-part walk, without net or harness, at night, in one of the windiest sections of Chicago. For the first part of the crossing, Wallenda will walk about two city blocks – uphill rising to a 15-degree angle – from the iconic Marina City’s west tower to the Leo Burnett Building at more than 50 stories above the Chicago River. It will be the highest skyscraper walk in the history of the “Flying Wallenda” family and the first time Nik has attempted a tightrope walk at such a steep angle. The second part of the walk will span from the Marina City’s west tower to the east tower. --Deadline Hollywood, September 16, 2014

The windy city in blustery November
Is what he’s chosen, desiring like Houdini,
The drama of the unattainable.

Cables strung between Marina Towers,
Two wedding cakes of glass and steel.
Difficult placement for right angled

Dwellers, but he’s struck with the motif:
Midwestern schmaltz inviting round beds
Reminiscent of the center ring

Where his forefathers erected human pyramids
In vaulted air and learned the sentence
Of failure could be irrevocable.

A triple feat is what he’s devised,
Another wire stretched across the river
To a skyscraper square as the equation

He plans to solve. Famous as a wind-tunnel,
This route will test the nerve
Of trembling watchers

Whose challenge
Like his, is what
In the world they long for.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press) and Dead Horses and Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press. Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize.  Properties of Matter was published in spring of 2014 by Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2014: Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press) and Ah Clio (Kattywompus Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press.