Long Night Howling Before Dawn
Not that the wolf is gone entirely from our world. There are still redoubts,
like Wolf Sanctuary in LaPorte, Colorado, not far from the homes of
many of our editors. That is an organization dedicated to the rescue of
captive-bred wolves, the provision of sanctuary land for the species, and
the education of the public about the biological role of wolves in our
environment. It may be that in the future, because of the dedicated work of
such sanctuaries, some of us will hear again the wild cries under the moon.
Once, we told stories like "Little Red Riding Hood," with the wolf serving
as metaphor for the ravenousness of our own people (Jason Mott's poem
"From Death Row" reminds us that this ravenousness is still to be feared
and examined, even if we no longer much fear those wolves that we once
used to describe it). Once, we described raiders from over the sea as
"wolves," or used that term for enemy troops that might plunder a city. In our
own time, though, we call no enemies by that name. The terrorists which
bring fear to many have not been labeled wolves--though Ross E.
Lockhart's short story, "Bitch," imagines a world in which the werewolf
becomes the weapon of choice for those desperate souls who are
(depending on who you ask) guerilla freedom fighters or terrorists.
And now most of us have never heard the cry of a wild wolf, never wakened
at midnight to that fear or wonder. And most of us pay too little attention to
the extinction of the wolf, and so to our shame we neither tremble nor
mourn. What do we do, then, with the stories of wolves, here at this very
crossroad moment, when the wolf as a species might either disappear
forever or repopulate our wild, and when the wolf as a symbol might either
fade from our stories and our music, or repopulate humanity's dreams?
And for that matter, what happens to our hair-bursting-from-the-backs-of-
the-wrists lycanthropy? With fewer wolves present for us to imagine being,
will we have any shortage of werewolves?
Are our wolf-stories only leftovers, like those pale remnants flitting through
the Sanctuary trees?
Or do our stories, our own "howled stories of the wolf," still have the power
to awaken us out of our sleep, to stir up our discourse and our imaginations,
to make us question--question our nature, the line between man and animal,
female and male, reason and appetite, question our fears, question the
conscience of the serial killer, question our bloodguilt for the slaughter of
Full Moon Night asks writers and artists to respond to this question, and
this archive will remain open for submissions and for ongoing conversation.
The pieces you'll find here are brave, urgent, desperate in their grappling
with the ghosts of wolves in our culture. It is our delight as the editors of
Dante's Heart to invite you, our readers, into this wolf-festival.
October 14, 2008
On Full Moon Night
Read Full Moon Night