Thursday, September 1, 2016

Commit To

Image of the Day:  Grey day in the city--and traffic, construction, utility work.  Driving just sucks.


What I'm reading:  Security Mom by Juliette Kayyem.  Landscape with Headless Mama by Jennifer Givhan.  Poems and fiction in the journal Cherry Tree, which I highly recommend.

I've got stacks and stacks of books I really want to read and yet can't seem to successfully read one completely.  I start reading a book, am enjoying it, and then hear about a book that sounds fantastic and go buy it on Amazon and then it sits in a pile in my house. I really don't see this changing any time soon, either.  I annoy myself.

So I took an on-line course for the month of August and didn't do very well in it.  I managed to write two poems out of the assigned four, and didn't comment nearly enough on the other participants' work.  Fail.  I think a weekly on-line course is as much time as I can commit to.  I've gotten a slew of rejections, but many have been very kind, asking me to submit again.  I also have a few acceptances which is also nice.  I have three poems here at Border Crossing, which is filled with amazing poems and writing. 

But I've started another Poem-A-Day group for September.  I've been getting like four or five poems from these monthly spurts of poetry and then stop for various reasons.  Which is something, I guess.


The Truth You Heard


The truth you heard is wrong, is happy-hung
absurd inside your dumb and rusty heart,
love-sick and goat-jaw at the seams, wet tongue
of God a quick surprise of stop and start
and does-not-care, and if inside the breath
on which you fall asleep a prayer abides
within your chest, the crusty shibboleth
of violent ends, of trust in smallish lies,
perhaps you start to doubt the stumbled halls
of dreams that render in dissolve, in mise
en scène
of box inside of box, so small
and so serene. So, then, the lie: a tree,
a sin, a careless whim, a flesh of rain,
and so the world, the loss, the lovely pain.


John Blair

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

For All You Returning Teachers

To the Student Who Asked Why He Earned a "C" on an Essay about Love
       
Because love has its own grammar,
its own sentences,
some that run-on too long,
others just fragments.
It uses a language
not always appropriate
or too informal,
and often lacks clarity.


Love is punctuated all wrong,
changes tenses abruptly,
relies heavily
on the first person,
can be redundant,
awkward,
full of unnecessary repetition.


Every word is compounded.
Every phrase, transitional.

Love doesn't always know the difference
between lie and lay,
its introductions sometimes
lack a well-developed thesis,
its claims go unfounded,
its ad-hominem attacks
call in question
its authority.


With a style that's inconsistent,
a voice either too critical
or too passive,
love is a rough draft
in constant need of revision,
whose conclusion
rarely gives any sense
of closure,
or reveals the lingering
possibilities of a topic
that always expects high praise,
and more often than not
fails to be anything
but average.


Clint Margrave

From Verse Daily Archives

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Strewn All Over

Image of the Day:  The mugginess felt on my skin and the cicada's metallic whine, like a hot wire searing my brain.

Happy July--it's hot and humid and the bugs are fierce--especially the black flies in the woods where we take our dog for her daily walk.  I haven't posted in a while--summer is particularly difficult to do so. 

But I won a scholarship to the Poets on the Coast writing retreat and I'm thrilled!! This is my very first writing retreat and I'm excited about going.  It will be quite a journey, both physically and mentally I'm sure.  I keep thinking of all the things I want to bring and how I want to write every second I'm there.  I know that's not possible and I have no idea what I am going to write, but at least I'll have time to explore. 

And I also purchased my very own (another first!) writing desk and know exactly where I want to put it in my house.  I have been using the kitchen island as my spot to write, but that's not exactly working.  I'm excited to have a place to put all my tools together--books and journals and computer--and have them not strewn all over the house. 

I've gotten some rejections recently:  from Adroit journal, but they at least singled out a poem they particularly liked; from Apple Valley Review, which had no commentary at all about my poems; and Outlook Springs, which included an amazing amount of nice things said about my submission.  So that was nice.  I got an acceptance from an anthology so we'll see how that comes along.

I've also signed up for a MOOC class on Whitman and Writing about War.  I haven't had a chance to finish viewing the first class, but what I've seen so far seems interesting.  Also I signed up for an on-line class at the Poetry Barn which starts in August and I hope I get a few poems from that. 

by Gregory Kimbrell
Nocturne (Tremors of the Earth)
       
Dear shadow, electric lights burn once more
throughout this remote valley, though night
arrived hours ago. Darkness will be restored
shortly. My only photograph of my brother
fell from the bedroom mantel and woke me
from the dream in which I visited his grave.
I always wanted to believe that the dead lay
in undisturbed sleep. You, shadow, become
still, listening to the footsteps and blunders
of the fearful who retire one after the other
in their homes above you. In the plane tree,
the owl straightens its feathers, compacting
its prey into a sphere of bone and gray hair.





Saturday, June 4, 2016

Just Yet

Image of the Day:  The large white swans in a nearby town's pond, sailing about like small white skiffs.


I received my contributor's copies from Zone 3, where I have my poem, "Abandoned Girl is Full of Words" and read a marvelous poem by Alyse Bensel about Plate 18 of Marie Sibylla Merian's .  So I sent her a fan letter via Facebook.  There's also a fabulous poem, "Bone Woman" by Aimee Baker that knocked my socks off.  I really love poetry and finding new poets.


Today I wrote another poem, sent of a packet of poems (coincidentally, three poems about Marie Sibylla Merian) for an anthology, and revised some of my other poems.  No rejections just yet.




Some Glad Morning





One day, something very old
happened again. The green
came back to the branches,
settling like leafy birds
on the highest twigs;
the ground broke open
as dark as coffee beans.


The clouds took up their
positions in the deep stadium
of the sky, gloving the
bright orb of the sun
before they pitched it
over the horizon.


It was as good as ever:
the air was filled
with the scent of lilacs
and cherry blossoms
sounded their long
whistle down the track.
It was some glad morning.





Thursday, June 2, 2016

Keeping Track

Image of the Day:  Buds of the Japanese purple irises, unopened and blade-like.


I'm trying to keep track of things I do (especially in the summer) to keep my poetry in motion, so to speak, on a day to day basis.  I do this in another area of my life, my karate, that helps me keep confident I'm working on my stuff while I learn new things and get tested on it. Otherwise, I'd feel overwhelmed and out of focus. So I'm hoping this makes me accountable to the poetry part of my life. 


Today I wrote in my daily journal, wrote a poem, sent out a book submission, a chapbook submission, and poetry subs to four journals, and commented (very briefly) on two other poems.  I also revised my poems while submitting.  I need to read some poems, next. Oh and last night, I got rejected from Sugar House Review.


All this is kind of rare for me.  But I am trying to follow Entropy's list of where to submit on a monthly basis. And I'm trying to send out my work to more places, more often.  I feel that I haven't been doing a very good job at that.  Also, I'm following Jac Jemc's blog which is all about where she gets rejected and that has made me feel better.  Other people get rejected all the time, and better writers, so I just need to suck it up. 


Another thing I'd like to be doing is applying for writing residencies, but that whole artist statement and reference part of it makes me hesitant.  But I'm going to set my sights on that in July and work towards getting to one of those.  We'll see how it goes. 




Maybe; maybe not


When I was a child I spoke as a thrush, I
thought as a clod, I understood as a stone,
but when I became a man I put away
plain things for lustrous, yet to this day
squat under hooves for kindness where
fetlocks stream with mud—shall I never
get it clear, down in the soily waters.


Denise Riley

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My Poetry Today

Image of the Day:  Little red squirrel in my Asian Dogwood tree, squeaking continually. 


I joined another on-line poetry group today, but have not been able to write a poem of the day.  Trying to think of what I want to write about. 


Read some prompts from various books:  Wingbeats and The Daily Poet.  Read some poems from a Crab Orchard Review. 


Got an acceptance to Pittsburgh Poetry Review.  This week, I've gotten rejected from Tahoma Literary Review and Devil's Lake.


Submitted my manuscript to Black Lawrence Press's Open reading period. 


Checked on Duotrope--who's open and who's accepting/rejecting.  Was interested in one press, but bothered by some of their requirements about telling them how I am a poet.  The beginning of the month is always a good time to review what's going on.


Watched my submissions on Submishmash.  Slowly, slowly. 


Feeling that I need to be writing in my daily journal much more often than I am.  Feeling that I need to read much more poetry than I am.  Finding inspiration.






We Return Sparkling
 by Felicia Zamora
       
Spun                this tendency to whirl, tendency to fall
gossamer. Thread what must pull back: my muscle mimics
your muscle gorges energy & loves nothing, loves nothing.
Axis of spine, gravity possesses                              imprints
Brief on lungs, vocal cords, belly: a charcoal sketch
against the light                              silhouette wipes
in the turn.        We burn out of & skin another universe
encases this                headache inching outside the head. Our
once watery lungs                      the revolving lure of sea
brine in our nails, ocean of aortic sack—feel us beating: waves.
A sky is a sky is blue veins. We return                sparkling
& out of breath              tethered to gorgeous rules.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Last Day of April Last Day of Poetry Month

Unfinished
 by Sharon Olinka
        
Your dream voice emerges.
I'm getting ready, love. Warmth
of your mouth. Sunlit orange
butterfly wings. And weight
of your belly against mine.
As if you never fell.
Your cane, painkillers.
Finally, talk of a wheelchair.



Years later, I fell
on my face and hands.
Permanent damage.
Weakened left hand.
Somewhere, if you still breathe,
your mane of hair
white now. Almost eighty.



In this city of dust
my plants drink, never get enough.
With my good hand,
I do what needs to be done.
Carefully lift a cup of water
to each plant on my patio.
Caterpillars ate
my passion flower vine.
There was one
butterfly. I never saw it.