New Project

For National Poetry Month, I labored fiercely over a self-imposed project of writing “letters” to poets using a specific form that I concocted by piecing together a couple of different odes. It was nothing short of a brain buster! I’ll admit I’m glad I finished it, that it’s over, and I can move on to letting myself operate in a different way.

Challenges like that are good, in my opinion: I feel like it’s healthy to make myself create within a restricted framework every so often.

BUT NOW woooooo much to my delight I am doing what I had originally planned to do during the month of April, which is work from the book that you see in the photo above. A friend of mine recently taught a workshop and this is one of the texts she used. The truth is I couldn’t justify spending the money on the workshop, although I sorely wanted to, so I got a copy of the book instead and am carrying out the exercises on my own.

The “journal” is divided into lots of smaller sections that are focused on specific aspects of poem writing. Each section is prefaced with a short list of poetry by known authors; they are all available online but I have been printing them out because 1. I don’t like to read things on a screen and 2. I want to be able to write on the paper.

So far, I have only worked through one and a bit sections, but oh my: I don’t know if my brain was just ripe for this work, the stars are aligned correctly, the wind is blowing the right way, or the Lord is endorsing this path (possibly all of them at once) but I am writing some things as a result that I am really proud of. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you!

The sharing, however, will start another day, and will probably happen mostly on Medium, but I wanted to put this book out there to all of you who might be looking for a new writing companion. I would highly recommend it!

Hello, Again!

instant film self portrait by author

HI there! I have been absent for quite a while, and here’s the reason: I was planning on phasing this website out. Having gone back to writing on Medium (and enjoying it! I missed my peeps), I didn’t think it made sense to have this online presence as well – not from a time or a financial perspective. I decided not to renew the domain and I let the subscription pass. . . . .

AND THEN things started to happen that I wasn’t expecting: the kinds of things that made me realize that this website is probably a good idea after all, maybe even a necessity.

So, I’m back. Hi!

Medium has been very kind to me lately, boosting a couple of my poems which in turn has really picked things up for me on that site in terms of readership and interaction. For National Poetry Month I made a project of writing “letters to poets” – which weren’t letters at all, but poems, odes, written in a very specific way.

HERE <——– you can read about it

It was a lot more challenging than I expected it to be at the outset, but hurrah I finished it and one of the poems (this one) got a boost. So I would consider that project a success!

A couple of days ago, when I hastily decided I ought to revive this website, I also received the good news that I will be taking part in a month long poetry challenge over at Tupelo Press. That’s not until August, however, so I don’t have more to say about that just yet and of course there’s plenty more writing that will happen between now and then!

Next up: I’ll share news and thoughts on my new project, which I haven’t been able to get very far with but am hopeful that in the next couple of weeks I will have the time to get it rolling for realz.

Thanks for reading!

Prophecy

iPhone photo by author (Hipstamatic app)

Foretold
I told you before
you remember that time
we did that thing
well, this is like that

No, this is not like that at all

Forewarned
you were told before
so where are your arms?
bare in the winter wind,
unguarded
defenses down for the count

The news is disarming anyway

Remember cracking open
the fortune cookie
and reading something telling
on the slip inside:
“the best prophet of the future is the past”

it was the present, then
it is the future, now
it is the present, now

the past is always in sight



Another in my series of Advent poems from my Medium page. Thank you for reading!

Prophet

New Mexico | Polaroid photo by author

Prophetic nature
sending signals of a change
it’s our choice to see
free will lets us stay asleep
free will lets us take notice

At the door: a knock
an announcement of a change
waiting for our ears
if we choose, we can listen
if we choose, we can open


Further to yesterday’s post, here I am sharing the Advent poems I’ve put on Medium this year. Thanks for reading!

John

Rio Grande | Big Bend National Park | Polaroid photo by author

The wisest ones are always called crazy
ratty and preoccupied
pockets full of proclamations
muttering their way through the crowd
with bits of wilderness stuck behind their ears

Possibly he could carry on
in that fashion forever
if people didn’t start to listen,
gathering with hesitation
that turns to alarm
and then conviction
around his street-corner sessions,
each day a new rambling
making more sense
answering the questions
they had forgotten they needed answers for,
lulled as they are into sheeplike acceptance
of the status quo

But once a flock grows,
the state takes notice,
grows its own alarm,
makes its own convictions
to reinstate the order it prefers,
brings its fist down to scatter the people
again, driving with their ruler
to compel them apart
again, reinstating complicit silence

nipping wisdom’s voice in the bud
cutting hope off at the head


So I’m writing on Medium again, but as many of you (most? of you) aren’t members there, and I want everybody who would like to read what I write to have access to it, I’ve decided to share those poems here too. Right now it’s all Advent all the time!

The Waiting

iPhone photo by author; hipstamatic app

On the cusp of Advent
with the fires lit
but the bells still stowed away
in closets, cabinets, boxes, and shelves
all decoration trembling
like tinsel in a soft breeze
waiting for the starting whistle

the blessed season stirs in its slumber
subtle movements behind the eyelids
show signs of awakening

the dawn holds its breath in anticipation
heralding that midnight long ago
when the stillness ripped open
with rapture to the sound
of angel voices

the halls begin to rouse
in humble preparation
to be decked out like a bride
pine-scented for the birth
of her long-awaited groom


I’m a little late posting this, since Advent started on Sunday. I wrote it beforehand, however, sitting around impatiently waiting to celebrate Thanksgiving so I could start decorating the house! I have been extra impatient for this season to start this year. . . . Thank you for reading!

Remembrance

Diana Instant Square image by author

Nostalgia is a warm soft bed
downy, drowsy, a burrow
well insulated by last year’s leaf-fall
the earth turned and fragrant
welcoming a snug hollow
where memory can dwell

what slept all year awakens now
brought forth by the changing light,
the yawning season stretches and emerges
bedhead crazy wild with
prolonged hibernation,
stuck with twigs and leaves like an old nest

the kitchen fills with smiling anecdotes
taken down carefully
one by one from their storage places
at the back of high cabinets

the table is laid,
the feast waits for preparation

a gathering is called
and so the flock assembles
drawn by a scent of recollection
drifting with woodsmoke
through the air, descending
with its own soft reassurance

window light beacons
reminders reach out from the
padded soil, stone markers
etched with names and house numbers
map out the path
for each synapse to follow

each passing moment carries
the breath of belonging
long forgotten
but transported forward
and held dear again
for a time
for the present’s gift


All this week I have been sharing this poem in pieces on my Instagram, along with instant photographs made on one lovely November afternoon when I let myself have a day of rest and creativity. Thank you for reading!

Cyanotypes & The Graves of Poets

Mega thumbs up for this post!!

John Wreford Photographer

Standing in the cold lifeless air of Westminster Abbey, surrounded by marble morbidity, the good and great and privileged interred at every turn, monarchs at the head of the table and poets consigned to a dim corner, and there, amid the flag stones of the nave lie the mortal remains of Charles Darwin, a three lined epitaph for the founder of the theory of modern evolution, we need little explanation of who he is or what he contributed, your attention soon wanders, you glance at the neighbouring grave, so close they could be related, the Latin inscription reveals little and you could be forgiven for wandering off in search of dead poets and princesses.

The obscure tomb suspiciously close to that of Darwin’s is that of Sir John Herschel, astronomer, biologist, chemist, and mathematician. He was a mentor and source of inspiration for Darwin. Herschel came from good stock, his…

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