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Monday, March 14, 2016


by Joan Colby

“Indiana University Press will release the first five titles in a series of adult coloring books, titled Color Your Campus this summer. The five campuses featured are Indiana University, Harvard University, Louisiana State University, Stanford University, and the University of Notre Dame. In a surprising move for a university press, Indiana University Press joins the adult coloring trend to the early delight of college students, parents, fans, and alumni alike. Hobbyists will take pleasure in transforming artists’ black and white masterpieces into colorful flagship campuses while indulging in the comfort of a childhood stress reliever.” —Indiana University Press blog, March 4, 2016. Image source: Global News.

This is what we’ve come to in our dread.
Thumbs fed up with texting.
Vibration in the pocket
Like an IED. Someone’s head
Cut off on TV with a sword.
Red hands of history. So many dead
Of casual bullets. We are consumed
With terror, Sharia law in the hymnals,
Shoe bombs under the bed
And the demand for specialized knowledge,
Who to vote for,
What to buy next.
The world is dishonest. The wiring
In the house not up to code.
Floods on the coast and the caldera
Of Yellowstone that might explode.
We pick up the crayons
Carefully staying within the lines.
Making sure the colors are right.
Blue skies. Green grass.
The sun a peculiar yellow . . .

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.