Friday, January 31, 2014

Apeiron Review - Issue 5 - Winter 2014

A big thank you to the editors of Apeiron Review who
selected two of my poems for inclusion in Issue #5 -Winter
2014 issue.

The issue can be viewed at  on their web site at Apeiron Review 
or  here on Scribed where it can be seen and or downloaded.

My two pieces are Appreciation 105 & In Bed 106. 

Lots of work in this issue, I've not had tome to digest everything yet but will be reading  this weekend!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Test Driving Other People's Poems or Becoming Someone Else's Noun

Last night I tried climbing into another poet's poems with the idea of taking them for a text drive. How do they Feel?

I kicked the tires to see if any lines fell off. I put myself in the place of the people or things [in the poems]. I became a number of different nouns. How did being a Birch tree make me feel in these circumstances? I need to do this exercise more often.*

*Journal post the morning of 1-30-14

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Juggling Edition

Dear Reader:

It's been a marathon of MLB video games, 3 more submissions, one rejection and one new book to poetry library since my last confession.

I confess that some of the submission platforms frustrate me. Not all, but some submission protocols  make it impossible to withdraw say two poems and leave a third for consideration. Or any combination for that matter. The only recourse is to withdraw everything sent to them at the same time. I do appreciate the places who have put enough forethought into the process to allow for individually withdrawing work from a batch that was sent.

I got out to a reading Friday night. I haven't been doing enough of that. There was a time when I had two to three evening poetry events on my calendar each week but I've gone through a period that I simply tried to not be away from home so much at night. I confess some of my pull back was due to the fact that I was just out there too much. A person can do that you know. I'm wanting to strike more of a balance this year.

I confess that I very much wanted to attend AWP this year in Seattle but it is just not to be. My wife has suggested I start saving  now to make sure I can make it to Minneapolis next year. There are so many awesome poets that grace the Northwest landscape that it would be nice to meet some of them in person. Sure some may be at AWP next year but  there are a number of people with new books that are being launched at the event this year. I confess I'm a little sad about this.

I've been juggling poems this past week. That's right, it's not enough that I'm a poet, now I want to be an entertainer too. Okay, not really. I'm not really tossing  poems or anything in the air and catching them, but I am trying  to organize work; make a poem fit  here and there with other work in a manuscript. At times it's enough to make me want to throw everything  into the air and stand back.

Hey, did you know that it's only 18 days till Giants Pitches & Catchers  report to camp? Just typing this here makes me smile.

I've finished reading Suzanne Frischkorn's book Red Paper Flower and I'll write a review of it in a few days when I can carve out some time to do it. I will say up front I loved it and I confess I must read more of here work.

So many books, not enough time or big enough budget. (sigh)

That's it for this week....

Monday, January 27, 2014

Not Writing Daily?

Not writing daily?  Even 15 - 25  minutes devoted each day is a prescription for growth in your writing. Besides, it establishes writing as a habit. Do more when you can, but give it at least 15 minutes each day.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Mag 204: Winter Comes to the Old Mill

The Mill - 1964 - Andrew Wyeth

The old Mill is lost
in my snow blindness

eyes watering 
from the cold

looking through the wetness
the blur is magnified 

by the power of headache
that splits my forehead

my skin curls from the cold
and once inside my arms reveal

a pattern of raindrop goose bumps 
up and down the extremity of epidermis 

Michael A. Wells

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday - Potpourri

Last night I was at the Downtown Neon Gallery  for Music, Poetry and Art. It was good to hear  David Arnold Hughes read, I had not heard David in a while. There was music & other readers as well. The event is co-sponsored by The Writers Place and produced by Martha Gershun.

Yesterday, I added a new poetry book to my poetry library; Red Paper Flowers by Suzanne Frischkorn  I'll update you on the book in a day or two.


"The best poets inhibit the world with quicker senses then most of us. In town or country, they see, smell and hear more." - Margaret Drabble The Forward Book of Poetry, 1994

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Confession Tuesday - 4 Day Weekend Edition

Tuesday & time to confess. Won't you come with me to the confessional?

Dear Reader:

It's been one concert, three accepted poems, 4 rejections, one disappointing football game and two new books since my last confession.

All and all I can't complain much about the past week.  I've
had disappointments but those have been balance by the good and the result  is a week that offered a lot to be thankful for.  I confess that I turned the weekend into a four day weekend by taking a vacation day Friday and adding MLK day and Presto - like magic four days off!
It was had to go back to the office today, but it wasn't  too tough of a day.

Over the week I accumulated homes for three poems and 4 rejection letters. I'll take that ratio any week. Perhaps this is why I came out of these four days feeling a poetic high. Lots of writing done. and it may sound funky but  I decided my home office (where I write) could no longer be called my office. Having an office at my regular job I hated the duality of the word office as it  interchanged in meaning from home to workplace. So I though about it and decided my writing  room at home would henceforth be known as my writing studio and not an office. As trite as this might sound to anyone else, I confess it was a big deal to me.

Watching the 49ers - Seahawks game on Sunday was a disappointment. I wanted the 49ers to win but I confess it was a good game to watch. Both teams played hard and there were perhaps two plays in which the outcome hinged.  Of course one was the tipped pass in the end zone that was intercepted.  Either of these teams could have won this game. I confess that I was proud of the way San Fran played in a very tough venue and the way the defense held Seattle in the red zone.

I received two books in the mail this weekend. I confess I could be a book slut. There are few things that turn me on like getting a new book in the mail. Right now I have so many that I want and I have to be really careful in budgeting my resources given the size of my want list.

While this is not a secret if you have read my blog posts for the week but I am a big Kenny G fan. Friday night Cathy and I attended the Kenny G concert at the Kansas City Center for Preforming Arts. I cannot begin to tell you how awesome that place is. Last time I saw Kenny G was at the municipal auditorium back in the late 1990's. Acoustically I have never seen a place like this. Kenny was magnificent. I confess I felt blessed to hear him again in concert and was especially excited to share the experience with Cathy. Last time I went by myself.  I do take a lot of grief from my kids about Kenny G. I keep telling them I'll make them listen to him at my wake. They remind me when I'm dead I won't  know if they are there or not.

So my week was really a positive one overall. I know they can't all be like this, but I confess that I appreciate both the downs and the upside of  life. Without the downs there is not as much to appreciate on the upside.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Kansas City Area Poetry Events Coming Up

I-70 Review Contributors Meeting
Tuesday January 21st, 2014
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Central Resource Library
9875 W. 87th ST.
Overland Park, KS  66212

Music - Poetry & Art 
Downtown Neon Gallery
Friday, January 24, 2014
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

1921 E. Truman Rd.
K.C., MO 64127

Writers Place Salon - Open Mic
Monday, January 27th, 2014
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
hosted by Sharon Eiker

3607 Pennsylvania
K.C., MO 64111

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

3607 Pennsylvania
K.C., MO 64111

Sunday, January 19, 2014

MAG 203: Arise

Musician in the Rain by Robert Doisneau

Melancholy skies smear this day
to dampen plans

The human spirit resilient 
as it is, goes on.

Traveling about, final brush strokes
to canvass, standing under an umbrella.

There is music to be made, 
the day gets no sympathy from the symphony.

There are glum mouths to be raised 
like recovering sunken ships.

The spirits will rise
it is the arts that awaken us;

it is humanity
at it's beast.

Michael Allyn Wells

Two Orphan Poems Find Homes

I never cease to be excited when I get news that poems I've written have been offered new homes. You send these out into the world... a big world that has lots of other orphan poems to pick and choose from so when the word comes I just get silly happy.

  • I Listen to My Cereal
  • I Stole Your Voice 
These two are going to the same home for publication in mid-March.  Yeah!

Mail Bag - Books! Yeah!

What is better then books in the mail? Well if you are waiting  for my answer don't hold your breath unless you look well in  blue.

The Saturday Mailbag contained:

I'll let you know what I think of them in a later post. 

Friday Night at The Center for Preforming Arts - G Man

Friday night  Cathy and I attended Kenny G's performance at at the Center for Preforming Arts in Kansas City and I have to say this is a magnificent venue. I'be long been a fan of Kenny G's music and first saw him here in Kansas City at the Municipal Auditorium back in the late 1990's. Excellent performance then as well but no comparison in the acoustics in the two places. 

The Arts Center is elegant from inside to out. Very contemporary architectural design - actually I go further and say it is avant-guard.  Nearly all of Kenny's music was played on a soprano sax with a little deviation for some bass sax.

Besides the music, Kenny  was entertaining in the side show of banter with our symphony conductor. By the saw, the symphony plus the four music ensemble that travels with Kenny were so well synchronized, no small feat for playing with a solo performer who provides the platform the orchestra must build around.  

Regardless what your musical tastes - if you can see it and hear it the the Center for the Preforming Arts - it will only enhance the experience.  We were in Helzberg Hall
one of two separate venues within the center. 

I have to give kudos as well to conductor Aram Demirjian.

Overall an excellent evening  and on a side note I got to
share this experience with my wife, Cathy. Last time I 
was unaccompanied.   

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Mega Muffin Edition

Dear Reader:

It's been one another week since my last confession. How did that happen?

Sunday I went to my son's house to watch the 49ers playoff game. I brought BBQ wings. I confess that I realize that I don't have enough one on one time with my kids. Three of the four are in town and I really  ought to make it my goal to get together with each of them periodically even if it is just over a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Needless to say Mike and I were very happy with the outcome of the game, but it was also nice just to catch up on other things going on.  They all have busy lives and I can't always expect them to take the initiative to get together though this one was an invite from my son.

I received 4 rejections letters this past week. I'm totally cool with it. I got off several submissions on Saturday so I just keep them moving. There were some new ones going out for the first time. It felt especially good to have new work going out.

My birthday was Friday and on Monday the office had belated birthday muffins to celebrate. I confess that it's hard to enjoy the super-sized muffins knowing they have carbs out the wazoo. It's like if I eat one I have to forgo lunch unless I want to be zoned out all afternoon as my body works to process the blood sugar.

I ordered two books today with an Amazon gift-card from Cathy Ann - my daughter in Tennessee. I confess they were poetry and art related. Big surprise.

I've not had any Diet Coke since the day before Thanksgiving. I confess this weekend I almost stopped and bought one but I resisted. I am however seriously thinking of giving up giving it up for Lent. Does that make sense?

Well, it's later then I intended to be doing this and I'm calling it a night.

Take care & have a great week.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Journal Bits... Slices of jottings since January 1, 2014

A slice from my journal:

  • January 2 - [in] 2013 I submitted 129 poems for publication and had an acceptance rate of 9.1%. I still have 53 submissions awaiting answers.
  • January 3 - cream soda as a hairball remedy/turkey bacon caught off guard/Mr Tambourine man, play a song for me/I need to be wandering along/in this Halachic place and time
  • January 8 - A fan circulates the discomfort/that we might equally share /in the misery
  • January 12 - I opened the door ajar it was God. I know I had never seen him not even/pictures, but it was him. He has capital G monogram look. 

Mag 202: Predatory Waters

Phare de La Jument off the coast of Brittany by Jean Guichard

With a ravenous roar a hungry ocean
tries to swallow it whole. White saliva waves
encircle and crash against it.  Again and again

the waters engulf the phallic structure.
Over and over  the waves bash and bluster
in stormy anger, but the man made pillar survives.

The sea retreats in exhaustion.  Smaller waves
lap at the sides now as if to tease. Gentle 
massaging motions as if to lull to sleep-

but the ocean will try again. An unrelenting
predator that will build up it's strength
as well as hunger for anything within reach.    

Michael A. Wells

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Confession Tuesday - Shivering Edition

Dear Reader:

It's been one Arctic Vortex (too many), one night of frozen pipes, one fractured tooth & filling, 4 submissions, and  one overdue library book since my last confession.

I can't  bitch too much about the Arctic blast that came through Kansas City these last couple days because so many others in the Mid-west have suffered the some of the same sub-zero to single digit temperatures we have and those in the Northeast are have it really bad. I confess I was taken by surprise when I realized our pipes were frozen early Monday. Fortunately I was able to identify the problem where the main lines comes into our garage and able to thaw it out pretty quickly without any damage to pipes. I really feel fortunate because I'm sure there are people who were not nearly as fortunate.

The cold was not all that  unnerved me this weekend. I discovered a very sharp edge one a tooth and upon further examination I discovered it was broken. It dawned on me that it was probably the same tooth that some years back was really sharp and I had a filling that they had to use a band on when filling it. I confess at the time I was fearful that it was beyond filling. Upon exploration of the damage at the dental office this morning it was determined that it was the previously filled tooth and that both the tooth and the filling were now fractured. The tooth is now a candidate for a root canal. Never had one and I confess just the two words together sound like a bad thing. Anyway, I'm waiting on a call to schedule the next appointment.

The transformation from 2013 to 2014 hasn't seemed all that great. I mean it's not been catastrophic or anything like that but it hasn't been a panacea of emerging hope either. I need to remind myself that 7 days is no way to judge the future any time, much less a new year.

As it is, I'm ready to embrace that  there is some good coming  right around the corner. I know I have two poems that are coming out  mid-month and there is that to look forward too. Meantime, I will plug along ready to embrace good.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

The Mag 201 The Ebb of Nightlife

New York At Night -Vivienne Gucwa

The magenta of day
now sullied by mist and streetlight.
The streets fill like a drawn bath.
Clubs and restaurants swell
in song and dance as sponges  
soaking in the crowds;
to be spit out by two a.m.
and the streets drained. 

 Michael A. Wells

Saturday, January 04, 2014

In Case You Missed Any Of These...

From around the Internet a few things I found interesting this week.

  • Nin Andrews interviews Shanna Compton, editor of Bloof Books.  READ HERE
  • Fritiancy - Nancy Friedman discusses her Words of the Year READ HERE
  • Under Rated Books in 2013 from Salon READ HERE
  • A New Twist To Writer Residency READ HERE
  • Bob Dylan - Songwriter or Poet?  READ HERE
  • A Year of Favorites - Mairead Case READ HERE

First Submission Saturday of the New Year

My muse is reminding me that I need to  whip out some new submissions. Thankfully I have a couple of new pieces ready. Gotta get crack'n or she gets pretty pissed.

Have you submitted any work yet this year?

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Crunching the numbers for 2013

Just as a point of reference for me to look back on next year.... I ended the year having submitted a total of 129 poems to various publishing venues. Of those, 53 poems remaining pending. My acceptance ratio for the 12 month period was 9.1%

Still a lot of work out there awaiting  word.

Upcoming Poetry Events in The Kansas City Area

Riverfront Reading: Mary Bunten & Gary Lechliter Friday, January 10, 2014 8:00 PM

Fiction writer Mary Bunten and poet Gary Lechliter read from their work. Mary Bunten's work has appeared in SAVEUR, The Houston Press, Art Lies, The Austin Chronicle, and elsewhere. She currently works as the director of The Writers Place.

Gary Lechliter's poetry has recently appeared in Main Street Rag,New Mexico Poetry Review,Straylight, Tears in the Fence, and Wisconsin Review. He is the editor and publisher of the I-70 Review

Blue Monday @ the Uptown Arts Bar, Monday, January 13, 2014 8:00 PM
Five minutes of fame at our open mic, hosted by David Arnold Hughes, Uptown Arts Bar - 3611 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64111 816-960-4611