Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Confession Tuesday - I'm No Gymnast Edition

Dear Reader:

I have been a fallen away confessor. It's true, and I can't recall how many weeks have passed since my last Confession Tuesday or any other day for that matter.

So, I come to you tonight repentant and I confess a little nonchalant.  You see, the time off work for the Christmas holiday and the soon to be New Year holiday is cramping my serious style.

I confess that over Christmas I read leasurly and wrote the same way. Some time I write with abandonment but not over the holiday. And I admit that I enjoyed the more laid back approach that I took. I'm pretty much ready for more of that over New Year's break.

I confess that I love getting reading and writing related materials in the mail. New poetry book recently that I mentioned in my last post. New Poet's and Writer's Magazine and like two days later the latest copy of The Writer's Chronicle. I could be really happy if I only got this sort of stuff in the mail instead of bills. I know, who wouldn't. I get so excited when Poet's and Writer's is in the mailbox I do cartwheels into the house with it. I must also confess that I sometime exaggerate my gymnastic capabilities. I think going up the walk with the magazine in had I may have once tripped and fell forward.

My wife and I went to the half price book store tonight after work. Had a gift card and there was a 20% off sale. I got three items and still have money left on the card. I confess that made the trip (insert a synonym for awesome here).  Couple of years ago - maybe it was last year I forget, but I gave up "that word" for lent (among other things) and I have to say that it has crept back into my vocabulary at an alarming rate. Anyway, it's starting to annoy me again. Maybe this should be a resolution for 2015 - to put the word to rest again. Maybe I should make up my own replacement word. Humm.... something to to think about.

Well, I confess I'm confessed out, but I will be back next week, Promise!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Currently I'm Reading: - Gods of Water and Air by Rachel Dacus

Every once and a while you read a phrase, a sentence or stanza that you wish you had written...

Last night the full moon in perigee
rose, a coin so bright
it could buy back any sorrow. 
From the poem I Live At The Bottom of the Earth 
By Rachel Dacus.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Writing Thought for the Day

“The master said You must write what you see.
But what I see does not move me.
The master answered Change what you see.”

-          -Louise Gluck , Vita Nova

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mag 248: Their Union

Bond of Union - 1956 - M.C. Escher


It seems hard to acclimate themselves.
Each questioning their bearings. 
Each unwinding their individuality.
Each individual struggling to be themselves.

By their union they have unwrapped  
a bit of who they were and have become
yet a third person--

She feels her ball bearings free
and He, his. They seem lost 
and at the same time found.

Sometimes they feel they have left behind
a simpler time. A time when their thoughts
and feelings traveled within a tighter orbit.

It was different then. Not to say it was better.
Not to say it was worse. Just less complex.  




Michael Allyn Wells

Sunday, November 23, 2014

MAG 247 - Snowstorm

Snowstorm - Maurice de Vlaminck


There is harsh
biting winter 
with winds that cut 
your cheeks, water your eyes
blurring your vision.

A winter that numbs
your toes till you think 
they have fallen off.

A winter that stiffens
your back and neck
till you think you are
the only living example
of rigor mortis.

And there is the winter
with bare trees
whose branches lift
the snow in praise.

The winter whose sky
paints a canpoy
with white and shadows 
that cover us for days,
even weeks. 

The ground, the roads,
virgin white at first, 
the metamorphosis 
into sculptured drifts
ashen ruts in streets
a blinding cover
far as the eye can see.


Michael Allyn Wells








Saturday, November 22, 2014

Poetic License

The Bearer of this Poetic License is hereby authorized to split infinitives, dangle participles and misplace modifiers for, but not limited to, literary effect without judgment, penalty, or impediment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Catching Up Edition


Dear Reader:  It's been a month and 4 days since my last confession.

I confess I am a grandfather. To the right you will see Harper. Harper is a little over a month old. It was during my last confession on the October 14 that  we started our watch for Harper but she would not arrive until the next day. Related to Harper I confess the following:

  • I confess I am grateful that mother and granddaughter are doing well.
  • I confess I am releaved that Harper has hair - and lots of it.
  • I confess that I have read poems to Harper but don't tell her mother.
  • I confess she resembles both her mother and father.
  • I confess I can't decide what is cutest - eyes, mouth, nose or fingers. 
  • I confess being a grandfather has not made me feel older (I already felt ancient)
Along with the arrival of Harper October brought the final month of baseball for the year. I have the unique position of living in Kansas City but being a San Francisco Giants fan for many years.  There are some people who actually thought my geographical location would win out and I'd root for the Royals. Some in my family  hinted that  I might consider this though I'm unsure if any truly expected me to be for them. One daughter said one night she was torn, could we be for both. My reply was a swift no! Not since the Civil War has a family  been so divided.

At work on days everyone was going Blue I went Orange. There were people at work that definitely believe I had some sort of obligation to change my allegiance though anyone who knew me knew I was a very avid Giants fan.  

I confess that there were strengths that the Royals possessed that I felt could make for a tough series. I felt the Giants had the advantage in pitching. I felt the Royals were equal or better in defense. The Royals definitely had speed on bases and it was there I was most worried. I felt offensively they were a mixture - Royals more power - Giants greater patience at the plate and likely better batting average.

That it would go 7 games did not surprise me. I thought it might be decided in 6 but never saw it as a 4 game sweep by either team. 

I confess that the entire post season drama was quite a ride. Yes, I allowed it to cut into my writing time. Am I proud of that, no. Would I do it again? under the circumstances, most definitely. 

My normal winter wear is a 2010 Giants World Series jacket. I've actually  worn Giants coats in winter for over two decades so this is nothing new. But in all those years I was just a Kansas City guy wearing another team jacket  that local people associated with nothing in particular. Occasionally people would ask me if I was from the bay area. I'd tell them no, but I love it out there and if I could afford it, I'd make my home there. 

Last night I stopped at the grocery store one the way home from work to do some shopping. As I was getting in line a gentleman and his wife came up to me. The man stuck the palm out in front of me and said, "I want to shake your hand, you have to be one tough dude the wear that coat in this town. That takes a lot of courage." I shook his hand and smiled - never thought of it as courage, just pride. 


Amen. 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Secrets of Creativity


"That's the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: 
you make them follow you.” - Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Autograph Edition



Dear Reader:

As I hit my two week streak of making it to the Tuesday Confessional I amaze myself. I've been so hit and miss (mostly miss) lately that  this feels like a major life accomplishment. I confess that  I'm rather happy with myself for showing up to do this. Mostly because I realize that in anything we do in life, showing up is a big part of making things happen.

After work tonight I caught the Giants - Cardinals NLCS game three and was delighted by San Francisco's win. There was a very cliche MLB ad campaign a few seasons back that  said, "We Live For This."  When my team is in post season play, that is exactly  how I feel. Baseball is like poetry to me. It has the raw emotion that can sometimes change with a single pitch. It's methodical to some degree and that provides the lyrical quality. There are few things athletically that have the grace of a well turned 6-4-3 double play. But this time of year is very bittersweet because no matter how your team  fairs, it will all stop one night with one final play and the field like all the others will go dark and quiet and ultimately be blanketed by snow. And as a fan, you will be faced with no more day-to-day grind. Winter will pass agonizingly slow until finally spring comes with new hope and another season of what we live for.

Tonight, as I write this our family is also awaiting word on the birth of our first grandchild.  My daughter is at the hospital and we have been standing by our cell phones. I confess that  the close proximity to our cell phones is not really new, but the anticipation with each notice that goes off is a bit different then the usual, more casual approach. After all, I confess that  I will get scolded for missing a call because I've left my phone on vibe.

As I mentioned last confession I have once again turned to another poet to coach me on some work this fall. I was anxious to start again until it came Sunday to sending material off. Then I suddenly felt timid. Awkwardly so; like a kid who steps up in line with a baseball to have his favorite player sign it... he hands it to the player and then  just goes blank. Speechless.  Duh... what am I doing?

Being fortunate enough to be working with one of my very favorite poets is awesome, but it also makes the analogy of meeting your favorite player a pretty good metaphor.  I confess that  response to the drafts that I provided were well received. One in particular and that  makes it less awkward moving forward.

No new news yet on the arrival and it's getting  late. Could be a long night.

~0~

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Deep Breath Edition



I've missed numerous Tuesday Confessions. I confess that it has been long enough that I don't know the number of weeks and rather than scroll through my blog to count them, well I just hang my head in shame.

Many things went bad with my day yesterday and they all seemed to spiral from a singular event at work that was the result of someone's  miscalculations and as a result it meant I had to deal with a crisis that sent me home stressed out.  Then I got up this morning and added to my anxiety by thinking I had lost or misplaced my wallet. What actually happened to it  was kind of amusing as i think back on it but it too stressed me out and delayed me this morning.

You know how misery loves company....  well I drug my wife to the office today for her annual flue shot only I screwed up and  was a day early. She drove home, keeping the car and then had to pick me up after work. There is still the matter of her needing to drive in with me tomorrow so I will inconvenience her yet again.

As I sit here writing this tonight I fully recognize that I need to take a few deep breaths, Get some oxygen to my brain.

~0~
                                                                          
I have lots of writing to do this week and I confess that I am both anxious in a good way and apprehensive. I'll explain. I have another poet whose work I absolutely adore, that is working with me for a few weeks coaching. I've done this every couple of years in the fall and I find it beneficial. I confess while I'm always excited about this I realize this person is going to see some of my rawest work. But the idea of course is to use this a growing period. I'll talk more about this over the next couple of weeks.
~0~

On a positive note I confess I had a rejection letter overnight, Positive you say? Yes, it was positive because the letter specifically referenced things the editor really liked in a poem. That tells me it was a thoughtful read
~0~

Well, My San Francisco Giants have a playoff game in about 20 minutes from now so I need to wrap this up. I confess that I feel good about their chances to win this round and advance to the National League Championship Series. If they don't  win tonight they still have another  chance in game 5.

May the baseball God look favorably on them tonight.  ;-)

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Drench me in Loneliness

Moon! Moon! I am prone before you. Pity me, and drench me in loneliness. ~ Amy Lowell

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Southern Oregonian writer Amy Miller recently asked me to join the  My Writing Process Blog Tour. Amy is the author of  several Poetry books including Botanica, Tea Before Questions, The Mechanics of Rescue and Beautiful/Brutal: Poems About Cats.  I though it might be kind of fun until I really started thinking about the questions.  Yes, each participant addresses the same four questions about their writing. Amy Blogs as Writer's Island and her Writing Process Tour post is linked here. I really did have to do some deep thinking about these.




QUESTION #1: What are you working on?

Honestly finding my way out of the forest.

I'm in the very early stages of working on a poetry manuscript themed on a ballpark that is slated for demolition. A ballpark much maligned, but one that I loved and the juxtaposition between the fans hope with its conception and what it came to symbolize. I irony of affection shown for it in it's final home-stand.

I'm toying with some other offshoots of several of the stronger poems I've written in the past - hoping to gain traction  with other themed collections as well. I'm bridging my time reworking older drafts and keeping my mind open to new poems..

I plan to work with another poet this fall on some poems possibly for the ballpark project. Hoping to find my way out of that forest I mentioned.  I've found that it is helpful for me to get some coaching from someone whose poetic voice resonates well with me. It's a little like a therapist seeing another therapist. We all need a head-check at times if nothing else, just to know things are working.

QUESTION #2: How does your voice differ with others of it's genre?

Enough, I hope. This is always a fear of mine.  Make it different, change things up Take the refrigerator  and lay it on the side... think about it differently and hope your readers will see something different.

I believe poets especially are expected to think outside the box. So that's whee it has to start. Finding some originality in your craft.  Part of it is your voice. Getting comfortable in your own skin. Feeling it is safe to take ownership of your voice. A distinctive voice, playing with the tone, the language... putting the "ive" on create.

I tend to bring a big tool box to my craft. I like to use sarcasm, humor, seriousness. Go dark or light sometimes within the same poem. I love art that is has dissonance.  I especially like the abstract but you are more likely to see it sprinkled in my work then overtaking it.

QUESTION #3: Why do I write what I do?  

It happens. Just happens. I've found it works far better to let the ideas come to you than to pick specific things to pursue.  When I've tried to guide the conversation with the poem - things seem forced. I am rarely happy with the outcome. Once I've started on something that has come to me
I try above all else to let the poem say what it wants. I can fine tune in rewrite but it's best if it follows the path of least resistance. The process should be like water and flow downhill to the conclusion.

QUESTION #4 How does your writing process work? 

Sometimes I find it helpful to write with background noise. It can be music. I have a couple of play lists I will write to Spotify.  Sometime I use a program that simulate noise in a coffee shop or just use white noise to drown out distractions and things that would interrupt me.

The biggest help has been my writing studio. I can better control the the climate, the noise, interruptions, lighting, etc. I used to tell myself I could write anywhere, and I could, but the quality of writing sitting in the room with television on really did suffer.

Sometimes I will start on paper, usually in my journal then take it to my laptop to refine. I prefer writing with a fountain pen. Seriously, I feel more creative with one in my hand. I mostly use one on my 9-5 job as well.

Poems on rare occasion will come together quickly - but most of the time the process is more like a fine wine aging and the poems will not be seen anytime soon in the real world.


NEXT:

I was to tag a couple other writes that I wanted to join us on the blog  tour. Unfortunately so many on my list it seems have already participated or did not have blogs (seriously?)

Fortunately one of the first that I thought of was Jessica Smith.  Of those I tagged, I heard back from Jessica and she was delighted to participate. She will join us next Thursday.


In the meantime, here is Jessica's Bio:




Jessica Smith, Founding Editor of Foursquare and name magazines, serves as the Librarian for Indian Springs School, where she curates the Indian Springs School Visiting Writers Series. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she received her B.A. in English and Comparative Literature: Language Theory, M.A. in Comparative Literature, and M.L.S. from SUNY Buffalo, where she participated in the Poetics Program. She is the author of numerous chapbooks including mnemotechnics (above/ground 2013) and two full-length books of poetry, Organic Furniture Cellar (Outside Voices 2006) and Life-List (Chax Press 2015).


Jessica Blogs at Looktouch

Books Incarnate


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Fallen Away Confessor Edition

Dear Reader:

I feel like a fallen away Confessor. I've not been really good about Confession Tuesday lately. I suppose that's where my confession should start.

I confess that  I feel like I should be in bed right now. I came down with a cold yesterday and it was full blown today. The sniffles, chest  congestion, that burning  feeling in your chest and a cough that gives me a headache. When I cough like this I feel like my brain is being battered around inside my skull.

I confess that Diabetic Tussin sucks. It advertises on the package no sugar, no alcohol, no Sorbitol, no fructose and gluten free. I has nothing in it to give it any kind of flavor - and that would be okay if I feel like it was doing me any good. But no, it taste crappy and I don't feel any better for using it.

I'm in a pretty crappy mood to. My wife has maintained for years I do not do sick well. I will acknowledge I get pretty grumpy.

Historically I have often denied sickness as long as I could. I resist  taking a break and work through it. The past few years I have had chest colds the have settled in my lungs and have really knocked me down. Because if this, I tend now to take these kind of things much more seriously.

I confess that I want to be writing tonight and yet I will forgo it because I'm pretty sure I'm just not going to get into it. I never like going long without writing.  Writing keeps my mood balanced. I like getting lost in my writing.

I think I am going to call it a night and go read a couple poems from a book I just pulled out of my book case. Forms of Intercession by Jayne Pupek.  That will be my concession for not writing tonight. Then head to bed a bit early.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mag 237: Snow Blindness





The shear delight in soft white.
A burst of morning on my horizon.
Dangling, delicate, delicious.
Woven  intricacies of light and space.
I am lost in the bright blight of colorlessness.
Entranced in my own snow blizzard




Michael Allyn Wells


Mag 237

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Value of Journaling to a Writer





"Keeping a Diary all my life helped me to discover some basic elements 
essential to the vitality of writing." -  Anais Nin

Saturday, September 06, 2014

SEPT 17 - DAVE SMITH - MIDWEST POETS SERIES




Wednesday, September 17, 2014 @ 7 p.m.

Dave Smith is the author of over 20 books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, His recent books include Hawks on Wires (poems, Louisiana State University, 2011); and Afield: Writers on Bird Dogs (edited with Robert DeMott, Skyhorse Press, 2010).

Smith has served as editor of The Southern Review, The New Virginia Review and the University of Utah Poets Series. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, twice. He recently joined the writing faculty at the University of Mississippi, after 11 years with Johns Hopkins University’s Writing Seminars program.


Admission to the reading is $3 at the door. Books will be available for purchase at the event. A reception with book signing follows the reading. For more information, call the Center for Arts and Letters, 816-501-4607.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Confession Tuesday - I HEART Adjustments Edition.

Dear Reader:

It's been #&*@ weeks since my last confession. Actually I don't recall my last one. I'm thinking it's been over a month.

I don't know how many of you have routine chiropractic treatment (generally called adjustments) but they are a routine in my instance. This because I have a back condition that I've had since adolescence.  For years I endured the pain - trying mostly to treat with various pain medication. These were generally only moderately helpful. Once I started seeing a chiropractor several years ago, my periods of pain relief significantly improved. But I know that this requires ongoing  adjustments to keep my back skeletal structure aligned.

If I may metaphorically speak for a moment (as poets will at times do) I've come to look at my writing in much the same way as my back. I will be writing along and suddenly I become disenchanted with my results. When this happens I begin to question my writing in general. Last year, and the early part of this year I enjoyed a good deal of success with acceptances of submissions to journals. The last few months however have been dry. This too has coincided with  some hyper criticism by myself of what I've been writing over this same period. Then there comes a convergence of past, present and future. It looks something like this:

  • I'm not happy with what I am currently writing
  • I begin to question my earlier successes as flukes and conclude the work is not that good
  • I project all of this negative crap into the future and begin to think I'll never write decent stuff again

I'm sure others may recognize this because I suspect I'm not the only one indulging in this pitiful self-assessment.

There are times in the past when I've gone through this (not the first time) and I have found it helpful to get an adjustment. Not at my chiropractor but by working  with another poet for s brief period of time. I find that it's an excellent way to learn things that will help me and reinforce things I know but begin to question because my anxieties are telling me I must be doing things all wrong.

It's been two years since I've had such a tune-up and I confess (thought I'd forgot the confession part didn't you) that the self doubt has been pretty intense lately and I've decided it's time do make arrangements to readjust  my attitude, work habits and approach to my writing so I've contacted someone who has coached me in the past and plan to get my act together this fall.

I know that I feel better as a person when I'm writing and satisfied with what I'm writing. I confess that when I go through a block or feel the quality is diminished I tend to feel something significant is missing in my life and I'm just not whole.

The good news is that I realize there is help for this too, just like there is help for my back condition.
Good to know!

Amen!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Before The Rain



Something is coming.
Over the hill. 
Through the dark
green nomenclature.

Daylight is inverting.
The sky swells.
Blues darken.

The ambiance shifting.
A quiet calm.
Then air stirs 
right through us. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Magpie #234: Starry Night

Starry Night By Alex Ruiz


Where have I hid from the wonders.
All above me the night is Calypso.
I am Odysseus transfigured.

I, Odysseus am caught by this night,
by each star's twinkle; jewels 
of adornment in your blue hair

flowing all about the shoulders 
of the earth. I am awestruck.
I the captured cannot

capture you on canvass.
My paints, my brushes
are unworthy of such beauty.



Michael Allyn Wells



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Magpie 233: Leaving


Yell Sound, Shetland, 2014, by R.A.D. Stainforth

Overhead the sky is an accordion
as we make way on gentle waves
like a slow dance sashaying
side to side and watch the shoreline
grow thinner like it is starving
for our return...




Michael Allyn Wells

Magpie Tales

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Barry - May 20, 2003 - July 31,2014

Barry - a long-hared Dachshund, became a part of our family in 2003. He was just a stinking cute pup that you could hold in two cupped hands. 

He was a beautiful redhead - his parents were both long-haired AKA registered Dachshunds, one also red and the other cream colored.  



Barry learned at a very early age to offer his hand to shake at the snap of my fingers. He became so proficient at it he would later often come to me and offer it on his own. He especially liked to come ou on the bed beside me when I was putting on shoes and socks in the morning and initiate the hand shake ritual - perpetually offering it even as I had already shaken it. I think he must have believed he could keep me from leaving for work by doing so.


To the left is a younger Barry in Jammies.  He really did not like clothing on - I don't recall how we managed to get this picture. I look at his face on this picture and I can almost hear him saying, "this shit ain't funny."


He slept in our bed at night - sometimes sleeping on top of the blanket between my wife's extended legs. At other times, especially towards morning would come over an burrow under the blanket next to me or if I was on my side he would sometimes sleep resting his front paws and his head on top of my legs,.

If one of us was home sick in bed, he always would come and lay with is as if he was obligated to make sure we were ok. He was a great caretaker.  Below he is seen napping with Mo.



From time to time he would come and sit in my writing studio as I worked. But when I came home from my day job he was always hyper-jubilant and could not wait for me to acknowledge that I knew he was at my feet.

In winter, Barry would move through snow by sort of hopping with his little legs over the white stiff as opposed to walking through it.  The sight reminded me of bunny hops. 




As seen above, with age, Barry would trade some of his red face hair for a cream  or whiter hair.  During the past year he was failing in health - losing weight badly  and we discovered that he had developed Exocraine Pancreatic Insufficiency.  This was a life threatening condition but with an enzyme additive to everything he ate it was manageable. This however resulted in something that would break my heart routinely and the other dogs would get treats he would not be able to. He ate canned food that required to sit with the enzymes while they cultured in the dog foot before feeding. 

Thursday evening - he simply crawled into a kennel in my writing studio where normally Silas would sleep or be crated when necessary. That is where he passed away. 

Berry was survived by two adoptive brothers Klaus and more recently adopted Silas.  He joins Mo another brothers who passed away this past year. 

There is a tremendous hole left in my heart. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Making of a One Week Poet Laureate

While many state governments are busy dealing budgets, revenue shortfalls, pandering to the NRA and trying  to make participating in the democratic process even  more challenging, Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina has managed to create a controversy out of poetry.

Now you may say, who cares about poetry anyway? (If you are actually asking this question, you probably are not  reading this blog) Still, if you must persist with this question, then the simple answer is other poets. I'd like to argue that there is a larger universe of poetry lovers out there then just  poets themselves but  I've heard it said that  poets fair only slightly  better than mimes in terms of respect. That may be true, but I suspect we also rank higher than clowns (sorry they are just creepy), roaches, and congressmen and congresswomen.who are bringing up the rear, no pun intended. But we can hope this improves, for poets anyway and isn't that the point of having  Poet Laureates?

Evidently Governor  McCrory took lightly the responsibility of naming a new State Poet Laureate. Katy Waldman a Slate staff writer indicated it has been suggested that  Governor McCrory may have been trying to ditch the State Poet Laureate program altogether with his controversial appointment of Valerie Macon, whose credentials have been highly scrutinized - in large part due to the fact that the Governor sidestepped the North Carolina Arts Counsel in vetting  Macon as a candidate.

While I don't claim to know how every state that has a Poet Laureate addresses the selection process, I know that many states, my own included have generally relied upon some input of state arts counsels in vetting candidates the Governors to choose from. These things can get sticky as in the past there have been some controversies related to political involvement by some poets. But this case, for many, falls on the merits of the poet's body of work and literary background, not some hot button political issue. Four former state Poet Laureates have been critical of the Governor for his bypass of the Arts Counsel and selecting a person lacking in the kind of credentials one would expect  of a person to represent the state.

I suspect that Valerie Macon is a very fine individual. Of the little I have been able to learn about her I know that she is a civil servant and that she has a passion for helping the homeless.I know that she has self-published two books. I know that poems from them have been purported to have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, though nominations from such publications do not meet the contest rules.  Further, it was reported that she has served as the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the .Eastern Region in 2011.when in fact she mentored under the person who actually held that title.

Valerie Macon resigned two days ago, July 17th, within a week of her appointment. In her letter of resignation she sited concern over the distraction from the function of the Laureate that she had become.
For her part, she says that she remains passionate about the mission for poetry to touch all people no matter what their age, education or social status. Governor McCrory has accepted Macon's resignation but has stated, "Poet laureate position shouldn't be limited to cultural elites.

A couple of observations on my part...

  • It's unfortunate that Ms. Macon was dirtied by the negative exposure. No one likes to become a public spectral.
  • I am amazed that Governor McCrory would appoint anyone to such a position that has almost no discernible record by search engines of any body of work. 
  • What happens next? Will the Governor McCrory consult  those who have traditionally  been a part of the process? Was he genuinely ignorant of that process or did he intentionally by-pass them? 
I find some humor in the idea that a governor would decry elitism since the political hierarchy to reach such an office as Governor generally saturated with it. 

While it seems to me that perhaps there need not be standard template for a Poet Laureate there ought to be at minimum some evidence that the individual has been able to successfully create a body of work that demonstrates a proficiency with the art and successfully publish attain publication.  The stigma associated with self-publication is slowly being broken down, but I should think that at minimum even with self-publication a strong candidate should have publication credits for various journals or reviews. 

I hope that this whole unfortunate mess will not sour poetry for Valerie Mason. It least for the present it sounds like she remains a devotee. I hope that people look past her and recognize that this was not of her making. The ball is back in the Governor's court.



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Confession Tuesday & Gratitude Thursday

Dear Reader:

I hope you will pardon me if I attempt to kill two days with one stone.

Yes, I confess that I missed Tuesday's Confession because of the 2014 MLB All-Star Classic. Since baseball is simply poetry in motion, and poetry is so close to Godliness, I am relatively certain that there  exists a special disposition for significant games, those being any game that occurs between opening day and the end of the World Series. 

So much has happened since my last confession. One being a very traumatic start to the weekend when we were arriving at puppy class Saturday morning and newly adopted rescue dog named Silas got free from my wife and leash trailing behind him dissipated into a large wooded area behind our destination. We were in Gladstone, another community miles and miles away from home.  I confess that throughout the some 12 hours that Silas was missing  I vacillated between optimistic and pessimistic.  Actually I was optimistic he would surface, but not so much that he would be back home that night. 

I have to say we were really blessed by a large number of persons most of whom we do not even know that answered a call put out  by my daughters for help in searching. So many people, some we kind of know by name but not well and others who are totally  strangers to us. As I searched the perimeter streets I cam upon car after car with  stickers in the back window that Identified them with KC PET PROJECT. These people turned out in droves to help with the search.  Late afternoon we disbanded and leafleted and headed home. a few hours later  we were called back o the area because Silas had been spotted.   A couple more hours of search, all of us tired and hot, including Silas, we were reunited and went home.

I confess the number of  KC Pet Project people who came to assist  gave me more hope.  Silas is a rescue dog and he still has some anxiety issues. He is not  likely to approach someone he has no knowledge of. But he is dog friendly so many brought their own dogs on leashes.  In the end, it was my son-in-law Brandon who first  spotted him and my  youngest daughter (great with child) who carried him out of the woods. 



On another note, I am counting my blessings that a trip to my physician seems to have largely, for the time being ended what has been a two month period of ongoing and severe headaches. I confess that these headaches were taking a heavy toll on me. 

On the writing side of life, I confess to receiving one rejection letter this past week, but I now figure I'm due for an acceptance any day now. 

I've been able to take a few hours of vacation time. I'm often so close to my maximum that I'm having to take a few hours every week just to keep from being truncated (losing time)... In fact I got off at 3PM today! Yeah!

So this past week has really been a very good week it turns out. Not without stressors, but in the final analysis it has been one to be very thankful form.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Confession Tuesday on Wednesday - Karma Edition

When I get a headache I take two aspirin and keep away from children, just like the bottle says.


Dear Reader:

Had I not had a splitting headache yesterday (just one of many days lately) I might have made Confession Tuesday on time, But I didn't get it done yesterday and that's my story and I'm sticking by it.

It's no lie that I had a headache. I confess there have been many - almost daily and sometimes for much of the day. I went to the doctor this morning about the headaches as well as other things. When the assistant that comes in before the doctor asked what brought me in this morning as asked it she wanted the short answer, she said that would be fine. I said I was dying. There was dead silence.

I confess that  my assessment  was made not on the basis of any professional experience, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. Anyway, I may have been a bit premature in my demise as they patched me up and asked me to come back in 3 to 4 weeks; which says to be they think I've got at least that much time.

I reported to work following my appointment. A short while after arriving things there went south. I had an afternoon appointment that was rendered hopelessly impossible by virtue of the fact that out computer went down and out IT department was lost at what to do. I could not access our office e-mail, our case-management system, our Internet. We lost  outside phone connectivity and internal phone contact was erratic at best. The final straw came when I went to use the copier which requires us to log in by scanning  our ID card. The scan of course was tied into the computer system and that didn't work. At 3:30 we were told we could leave early. I might have felt this was a gift from heaven, but I confess that the whole situation was embarrassing  as I had an afternoon appointment  and could not even make a photocopy for the gentleman.

I confess that  I do sometimes think that  we have periods where we are blessed by good karma. I also think that  there are days when there is either bad karma or simply the absence of any nearby good karma creates chaos where order is called for.

Leaving early allowed me to get home at almost the normal hour by the time you factor in my stop for new prescriptions.  So  next, I decided to catch-up on the world around me. I confess that  it was reassuring  to find that order still existed in other places and for other people today.

I confess I read a poem after arriving home that touched something of a spirit within. Some people say that rhyme sometimes helps people recall poems. I suppose that is true, but I think people remember poems that touch something inside of them. Those are the ones that  three, ten, fifteen years down the road they recall. So this week has been one in which may days it was difficult to think much beyond the moment I was in. Reading this poem brought me beyond the place I'm at, away from the stress of the moment and transported me to another place and time altogether. Love Waltz with Fireworks is the kind of poem a poet wants to write and a reader wants to read. I confess that  this is a poem that my skin can feel.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Stories We Carry




“Their story, yours, mine - it's what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them.” - William Carlos Williams

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Silas Joins the Family

This is Silas' Forever Home Photo. He has now been adopted and is no longer a foster dog. He is a sweetie.
He joins Barry and Klaus in our household.

We think he is perhaps 6 months old. He like to play. Likes to go for walks. Is still working through some anxieties. He's adorable when he rubs his paws over his nose.

My daughter Meghan initially took him in - you would not recognize him today from how he looked then. Meghan worked wonders with him. I may dig up an earlier photo she took of him  to show the contest.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Full Disclosure Edition



Dear Reader:

Tuesday again...  Here I am ready to enter the confessional for what will be a spontaneous confession as I have not given this much advance thought today. And Maybe that is where I should start. I confess that probably less then half the time I spend much thinking about the confession more then an hour or so in advance of actually showing up here to do it.  So like tonight, I'll take a deep breath and see what I can get off my chest.

Before arriving here I received an email rejection from an editor.  I mention it just for the sake of acknowledging the humbling experience that it is. That and the fact that several others I know mentioned on Facebook today the received rejection in the last couple of days. Perhaps it's the alignment of the stars. But maybe the poems really just were not a good fit. Some days when I am feel especially ridiculous I conjure up the image of the editors standing in front of a mirror trying poem after poem and casting most into one pile for the ones that don't quite fit. Anyway getting today's rejection only make me that much closer to getting one that an editor feels is a stunning fit. I confess to optimism.

Father's Day was Sunday - this is a day that I always have conflicted feelings about.  On one hand, I really have no connecting Father's Day experience as a son. I only know it as a father. In some respects it becomes a day in which I perhaps think of the lack of a father in my life maybe more then other days, though it would be fair to say that much of my life I have been troubled by this fact. My father and I had only minimal contact and that didn't occur until I was of adult age. That I can recall, I never saw him until I was out of high school.

My family has always been very generous with me on Father's day. I often feel that the attention is more then I deserve. None the less, I certainly appreciate it. This year my son gave me two new San Francisco Giants baseball caps. The girls, they went in together and gave me a subscription to Ancestry.com. I've done a little genealogy research in the past, but this will make it easier. I confess that part of my  interest in our family history relates to the minimal contact with my father's side of the family. I confess there is a bit of irony in the gift from my daughters on father's day. And as for my son, he knows he can never go wrong with anything related to S.F. Giants.

My right eye has felt like it has had something on it all day. I confess that efforts to flush it or deal with it in any fashion through the day had me in a cranky mood. I hope it was not apparent to the rest of the office. We didn't have a court docket today and I was in my office for the most part and as is sometimes the case, I had the door closed most of the time. I've put something in it since I've been home and it was a little better but it seems to be wearing  off. If this remains like this tomorrow I think grouchy would my baseline and I'd only  get worse from there. [This post constitutes my full disclosure and warning]

Amen!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Confession Tuesday - on Wednesday Morning

Dear Reader- 

Forgive me for not blogging my Confession Tuesday post last night. You see, I met with other poets last night and it was good. 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Tooth & Tire Edition



Dear Reader:

In's been one blowout, one new tire, one root canal, one rejection letter, 5 days of dog sitting, headaches too numerous to mention (but I guess I just did), several poems written, a lot of journaling, some searching questions about my life, few answers, numerous readings aloud my own manuscript, frequent charging of my cell phone and virtually no television for 5 days since my last confession.

I'm home. I must say that. I made one last trip to let the dogs out and feed and water them after work, but my son should be arriving home about now. I'll say it again... I'm home. I'm Home!  I confess it sounds good.

I stopped by the house yesterday after work to see Cathy for a short bit as well as our dogs. I got to see the dogs but no Cathy. She was called to the hospital yesterday because her step-mother was taken their and she was eventually admitted and I had to leave before she could make it back home.  She was at the hospital much of the day, and I arrived home to find here here and on the way back to the hospital. I'm home but it's just me and the dogs for now.

I confess I spent a lot of time focusing on  work I've written over the weekend though I did find time for a couple of new poems.

I confess I read my manuscript  to no one but myself (the dogs may have listened but offered no feed back) and when I do that in my studio it's one thing. It feels altogether different  in someone else's home, even if no one is there. I confess I wondered at times what I was doing and was tempted to just crash and burn.  My energy level was not  good this week and I feel it especially tonight.

Over the weekend I really did an examination about my own creativity and how it could be energized.  I came up with a couple of simple things to try, but I haven't implemented them yet.

On several occasions patience was really called for at work. I believe I was able to exercise it relatively well. I wish I could be more patient without having  to focus so much on it. For it to just be like natural.

I found myself smiling at some small but funny stuff and the smiles would often last to get me through  the day.

I confess that I have had some anxiety about  something (I won't go into right now) over the past couple of weeks and It weighed heavier on me this week.

I have another dental appointment this week to look forward to. Somehow that sounds funny.  And yet another the week after.

In spite of the upcoming dental appointments, anxiety, and all else going on, I look forward to a better week ahead. More time at home. Actually getting to see my wife and chilling with Barry, Klaus and Silas. Evie or cat is too cool and never needs anyone to chill with her.

That's my week - how was yours?


Amen!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Learning How And What To Expect





Sometimes I get wrapped up in expectations. Occasionally everything goes well but often the expectations do not turn out as I might have expected. I think practicing art any art form with expectations is risky, but that is not an argument against planning and establishing  some level of expectations.

As I write this, I'm currently dog sitting and using this as a bit of a opportunity for a writing getaway. It's quite here, the dogs are pretty low maintenance compared with the dogs in our home.

I arrived last night with a variety of books (I always want books at arms reach when I am writing in case I need to pause and move my mind into something else - perhaps inspirational), my laptop, my  journal and a crispy clean refill for it in case I finish the remaining  pages.  I have my Kindle and the novel I am currently reading. I have a supply of diet cream soda and coffee. I have a hard copy of  my working  manuscript as well as the digital file on my  laptop. The only think missing that I can think of at this moment is I wish I had a glass of Chardonnay.

Yesterday afternoon I arrived. First order of business tend to the dogs. This did not take rocket science and everyone was soon chilling, including me. I found it difficult for some reason to find a rhythm that I felt could get me on track. I was like a pitcher throwing and not pitching. (sorry for the baseball analogy. Okay, you know me better so I'm not really all that sorry. Just a little bit). The difference between a pitcher throwing  and pitching is this - he can stand on the mound and direct the ball over the plate. That's throwing.  He can mentally decide where around the plate he wants to put the ball and how it arrives at the point. That's pitching!

I did not sleep well last night. At 2 or 2:30 I was still awake. Not because I was doing anything, but because I wasn't simply could not get my mind to shut off. Trust me, there was nothing spectacular going on in it. I changed where I was trying to sleep at and recall looking at the clock several times after that and finally at some point gravity got the best of my eyelids and I somehow fell asleep.

When I woke up this morning I was still tired. Got the dogs out and fed them. It was not until maybe 10 AM that I could begin to get on track with writing related tasks. I started the day feeling what the hell, and just try and relax and forget about any expectations. And to that aim I decided just to pick some individual poems at random and read them aloud - slowly, one after one. Soon I felt like moving on to my hard copy of my manuscript and reading each of these poems aloud. There is something about reading  your own work a long time after it was written. The perspective will sometimes shift. Sometimes you like it better. Sometimes not so much.

My point is that I have now eased myself into what I wanted to do after all - work on the manuscript and I found the way to get there in spite of how I got started off. Expectations always expose you to risk. The possibility that you might be disappointed in yourself for one. But that is how art is as well. It risks disappointing.

Sometimes things go as you wish but mostly not so. The important thing is to make the effort. Show up. That's a good part of the battle. And maybe that poem you are trying to write is not the poem that wants to be written. Sometimes our failed expectations provide something serendipitously  better then we had originally sought.    

If you'll excuse me now, my manuscript is calling again.
   

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Confession Tuesday - New Books Edition

Dear Reader:

It's Tuesday and that means confession time. I'll start by acknowledging that it has been two weeks since my last confession.  Call me lazy, call me distracted or just call me late, but yes, I've screwed up and I'm here tonight to get back on track.

The postman delivered books to me today.  Three in all, a poetry trifecta!  They are:  Open Interval by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon (a National Book Award Finalist), Heterotopia by Lesley Wheeler (Winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize) and A Pocket Book Of Forms, by Anna Lena Phillips.  I confess any time I get poetry books in the mail I want to click my heels! Of course multiple books in one day is even better and I want to squeal like a pig!

We are adjusting this week to another dog that has come to visit us. It's Silas and he is a sweetie. Still, it means shifting things a bit to accommodate different feedings and special sleeping  arrangements. I confess he takes a but more time and energy but he is so sweet. I'll share some pictures in a day or two.

I confess that I have a root canal scheduled at the dentist tomorrow. I don't know why but it makes me think of rooting out a clogged drain. I know that's silly but that is the association I make with it.

I'm saddened about the mass shooting at University of California at Santa Barbara and surrounding area. But beyond that I confess that I am quite frankly angry, as are a lot of people, that we are still dealing with mass shootings and the arrogance of many in the NRA. What I want is some responsible individuals to come forward on all sides. I want the House and the Senate to move beyond the gun lobby and pass comprehensive legislation that makes the likely-hood of these repeat sad rampages less likely. There are constructive things that can be done.

But I don't want to end on a down note... Since my last confession I learned that  my daughter who is expecting  is having a girl!  So we will be looking  forward to a granddaughter. This is a first grandchild for us and it's pretty exciting.  With that, I wish everyone a great week and I'll try to be on time for next confession.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Happy birthday Barry

Barry turns 11 years old today! Go Barry, go Barry it's your birthday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Spin Edition

Dear Reader -


Another week whizzed by.  I confess that I feel my head spinning. A little dizzy or woozy.

I had a poetry group meeting tonight and arrived home and my wife had a box of Maple Leaf cookies with maple filling  sandwiched within. Every diabetic's dream. I confess I absolutely  love Maple.  I could easily drink it from a bottle. I don't, but I confess the thought has occurred to me.

After yesterday's Motherload of Poetry Books in the mail, I admit that today's mail was tremendously boring. I knew it was going to be a hard act to follow.

I confess that every night for the rest of the week I have poetry/writerly stuff to do. This both feels good and a bit overwhelming too.

I confess that I totally have a sea of project ideas floating around in my  head. The trick is to pull them out of the spin cycle and begin to put them into play.

I confess that I am confessed out!

Amen

Monday, May 12, 2014

Poetry Mail Bag

In the mail today - The Motherload of Poetry

One Poetry Journal, four poetry books/chapbooks and one poetry CD.

More to come as I dive into these....

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Susan Rich On Her Most Recent Book - Cloud Pharmacy

Interviewed in April 2014

Susan Rich is the author of four collections of poetry and her most recent titled Cloud Pharmacy, published by White Pine Press came out last month. Susan’s work is not new to me as I've read two of her previous works, Alchemist’s Kitchen and Cures Include Travel. She has won the PEN USA Award for The Cartographer’s Tongue (2000). The Alchemist’s Kitchen (2010) won the Washington State Book Award and was a finalist for The ForeWord Book of the Year Prize in Poetry.



MAW: Susan it’s kind of you to talk with me about your newly released Cloud Pharmacy.  As I read this book I felt you were pushing and expanding your poetic horizon for readers.  I’m interested in role that Hannah Maynard played in this book. Can you tell us a little about how this came about and what it meant to this collection of poetry?


SR: I met Hannah Maynard, or rather her work, in the William James Bookshop in Port Townsend. It was Thanksgiving weekend and I was enjoying a day of wandering Water Street – the main artery of the town. The photography section is small but well curated and there are often things that catch my attention. That day it was Magic Box: The Eccentric Genius of Hannah Maynard (1834-1918). On the cover a replica of a sepia toned self-portrait held me rapt. There were three different Hannah’s in this piece: one leaning out of a picture frame, and pouring tea on another Hannah’s head. The third Hannah looked right out at me.

It took more than two years before I found a way into these proto-surreal pieces, work so startling can leave little room to improvise. I was stymied. It wasn't until I wrote a grant to work on a sequence of Hannah Maynard poems that the project began to cohere. I told myself if I won the grant, I would find a way to inside these self-portraits; otherwise, I would quit. Fortunately, I was awarded the grant. This meant I had to really push my abilities to create something I felt was worthy of Maynard’s genius. I needed new approaches to writing poetry; the old ways were no longer enough. What I found was a latent love of the surreal. Not in the vein of the 1920’s Parisian surrealists, but this new found private invention that married surreal images with intense emotional content. During the six years Maynard created these self portraits, two of her daughters died. It doesn't seem too farfetched to see these portraits as an express response to grief.


MAW:  I could not help but notice the words alchemically speaking in the title poem Cloud Pharmacy. Given your repetitious use of alchemist between two of your poetry collections I have to wonder if you don’t feel as a poet you have to practice a bit of such chemistry to arrive at  your destination as a writer. Can you tell us about the connection between your writing and alchemy?

SR: When I was a Senior in high school I read, no I devoured, 100 Years of Solitude by Gabrielle Garcia Marquez. I was in love with his imagination. This novel was like nothing I had encountered before. The part of the book I remember best was the story of the alchemists. This sense that men mixed potions not only to find the recipe for gold but also to further their knowledge of themselves appealed to me – a sense of inner and outer discoveries paired together.

Only with Garcia Marquez’s recent death did I make this connection back to my first encounter with alchemists. So I don’t claim that poetry is the only alchemy --- I believe it is the work of many writers --- as well as visual artists and musicians.


MAW: One of my favorite poems is the one titled, Invention of Everything Else.  You have used color a good deal in this book and blue seems to pop up frequently. I’m interested in the usage of the blue at the end of this poem.   Can you expand on this?

Actually blue is a touchstone word for me. Before I sent Cloud Pharmacy to Dennis at White Pine Press I needed to remove many of the blues from different poems. Sometimes it turned into yellow or green, other times I took the adjective out altogether. Color is an effective way to help a reader visualize a “yellowed cup” or “blue grass.”

I think my interest in ekphrastic poetry may have triggered my use of color in some of these poems. I teach several Film Studies courses and the idea of a colorful image is perhaps connected to the cinematic approach. It’s hard for me to say.


MAW: I know that you are a part of the Seattle area (tribe) poets, an area that seems to have no dearth of poetry talent, and yet this book as well as others by you seem to have a very expansive universe. I almost think of you as poet without borders.  Do you feel that way?  How has life experience informed this view?

Thank you, Michael, I will take that as a compliment. Of course it also means that my roots are not especially deep – although I've now called Seattle, WA home for 15 years.  In many ways I do feel a real part of the poetry community here. I've created organizations such as BookLift  which allows women authors to help “lift” up each others books. I've been an editor at Floating Bridge Press and I’m the co-founder with Kelli Russell Agodon of Poets on the Coast: A Writing Retreat for Women.


MAW: Susan, I’m re-reading Cloud Pharmacy for the third time. Things seem to unveil themselves (if I can use personification here) with each reading. I would recommend this book to anyone but especially those with any interest in the Arts.  Since all three of the books of yours that I have read have been extraordinary can I ask what we might look for next? Any there projects in the works?

Thanks for asking! I've been spending most of my time doing readings and celebrating National Poetry Month at Highline College where I teach. It’s the curse of the poet with a new book to feel she will never again be back at the desk, writing. Having said that, I do have a few new poems out in the world. My interest in the surreal and in photography continues. Really, it’s a bit early to know but I will be grateful for a new project when it appears.

MAW:  Thank you so much Susan for taking the time for this interview and for all your poetry that has been so enriching.


Cloud Pharmacy is available from White Pine Press or Amazon

Visit Susan's Home Page 

Visit Susan's Blog

Susan on Twitter


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Waiting 296 Days for Rejection



Dear Reader:

It's been a week of rejection letters (from two journals to be exact), communicating with Anne Sexton, of giving away poetry books (2)  and numerous broadsides, of winning several books in return, and a couple days with extra dogs in the home since my last confession.

I think I have a pretty good attitude about rejection letters. This in fact may be the easiest form of rejection for me to deal with. I have a rationalization about it that goes like this:  To get things published you have to send work out. When you do that two things can happen. You can get rejected or you can have your work accepted and published but in order for that to happen you MUST risk the rejection. So I generally shrug off rejections as a necessary part of the game. A necessary evil, an occupational hazard. you don't want to be rejected, don't submit, or don't even write. I confess that now writing would be harder then submitting  ever is for me. But back to this week.  One of my rejections was 296 days in the making. Five pieces rejected in one swoop. One very long  awaited - hell, I gave up on hearing from them swoop. The funny thing is two of them have already been published elsewhere and it had been so long that  I had given up on this venue and I confess I did not  notify them to withdraw the two pieces. Frankly, I was no longer holding my breath since blue is not my best color.

There is what I call a good rejection letter. The second one fell into this category. In it the editor write, "I enjoyed it all, and particularly liked 'xxxxxx'  and 'xxxxxxx,' but unfortunately neither fit the theme of our upcoming issue."If the editor takes the time to acknowledge something about  one or more of your poems you know that you work has hope and that you are not off track and two states away. So now I confess that things are looking up because you have to get rejections if you are going to get acceptances.

If only life itself was this simple. I do have a less thick skin when it comes to others forms of rejection. I'm probably no different then the next person when they have been excluded from something of interest or not considered for a position, or  picked for a team. These things do drag me down and I don't deny it.

About Anne Sexton... no I haven't been conducting a seance. Anne and I have had a bit of a special relationship for some time now because she is my dead poet mentor. Before you laugh I suggest if you write you should find a dead writer mentor as well. I confess that at times I've gone to my bookcase and pulled off a copy of her complete poems and asked what would Anne do when confronted with a writing problem.
This past week she was the Poet Tarot card that  came to me and I felt she actually understood some of my recent trials and tribulations. I confess this was a but different because this week I felt like she came to me as opposed to me seeking her out.

National Poetry month seemed very busy to me and I don't for one minute feel bad that it's over. Still, it was a good month. Lots of poetry shared and a poem written every day. I confess that these are not my best works but some of them may be reshaped into something that  has a life.  I was very glad I participated in giving away two books this year in the Annual Poetry Book Give Away.  When I notified the winners, each truly seemed excited. The books went in the mail yesterday and I'm hopeful that each winner enjoys the books selected as well as I have.

I confess, I've lost count of how many books I won this year but will update you one them as they arrive and I read them. Still, I feel most blessed by the sharing of poetry this year. The two books I offered in the drawing and the many broadsides that I have sent out or handed out at readings during the month of April.


Amen~

Saturday, May 03, 2014

The Sun has come out to play...

The sun (if I remember correctly) is screaming through my studio blinds. I'm having  eggs and maple flavored sausage for breakfast while I ponder the very busy day ahead....


  • mow the yard
  • do a newsletter
  • the normal Submission Saturday duty
  • get mail to post office
  • tread mill 
  • write
  • think about what to do with all my free time  ;-)

Thursday, May 01, 2014

May Day - May Day, We have Winners!

The 2014 Big Poetry Give-a-way is now over.  I had 16 people enter the drawing for one of two great books!


  • Unmentionables by Beth Ann Fennelly
  • Saint Monica by Mary Biddinger
These  two books are among some of my very favorite poetry collection by real live modern day poets that if you pinch them they will say, "Ouch!" (in other words these are living poets)

A brand new shinny copy of both books was just delivered to my door  yesterday (great timing) from Amazon. 

I put the slips of paper into a hat (a San Francisco Giants baseball cap to be exact) and drew each name assigning it a number in order drawn. Then I used the random number selector on line to pick numbers a number 1-16. The first one was Marianne Mersereau  who  will receive Saint Moninca by Mary Biddinger. I then repeated the same process. If the same number were to come up in the randomizer I was prepared to run it again to assure we had two separate winners but this was not necessary as the second draw matched the name Andrea Beltran. Andrea gets the copy of Unmentionables by Beth Ann Fennelly. Congratulations to both of you! I will be emailing both winners tonight. I will need them to respond with the address they wish their  book sent.

It was really nice seeing  new people come by the my blog. I wish I could send each a book but those who entered and did not win, if they would like to e-mail me their snail mail address I will be happy to mail each one a Poetry Month  Limited Edition Broadside with one of  my previously published poems.

Thanks to everyone for participating. And a special thanks to Kelli Russell Agodon who master minded this event 5 years ago. It has grown and become as much a part of April as Poem-A-Challenge, or Poem in Your Pocket Day.

I will be mailing  both books within the next couple of days.