The Dryland Fish
Dryland Fish, edited by Matthew MacLeod is the winner of the Chelson Award for Poetry Iowa 2003. The Chelson is awarded annually to the most distinguished literary talent of the year by the Association for Literary Arts, a division of 1st World Library - Literary Society. "The Dryland Fish...what the hell is that?" people ask. I'd always wondered so myself. Actually, until about a month ago I'd never heard of the thing. I had nearly finished sifting through the hundreds of poems I received for a contemporary anthology of Iowa poetry but was without a title. One night I was sitting in a booth at the 2nd Street Cafe ...."Do you have any dryland fish?" he hollered towards the swinging kitchen doors and then, before anyone could answer, stormed out the door, exposing a sliver of prairie sky. I never saw the man again and soon forgot the details of his face but Dryland Fish swam about in my head for days. I didn't know what Dryland Fish meant following week I learned that Dryland Fish is another name for "morels," the mushrooms which Iowans search the woods for, high and low, each spring. For two weeks in late April or early May nearly everyone collects morels which are these large, sponge-like mushrooms considered to be a mid-west delicacy. They sell them across local radio stations, on street corners from the open backs of run-down pick-up trucks and at local farmers markets.....
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