Thursday, December 28, 2023

Memorize More!

 Image of the Day: Birds in my backyard, scrambling in the rain for seed. 

Happy Holidays! I have a poem here at One Art, Hiking Cadillac Mountain at Sunrise. I still can't believe we actually did that. It was years ago. This poem means a lot to me, both because of its content, but revising it was something that came to me fairly easily. I wish I could revise other poems the same way that I revised this one--half asleep, the poem memorized, and lines just kept coming to me. I finally had to get up and out of bed to write them down so I wouldn't forget. It reminds me that I should really memorize more of my poems in order to have them in my head so that lines will come. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this poem and many good wishes for a Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Keeping Track of My Poetry Submissions

 Image of the Day: The damp, yellowing leaves of my Asian Dogwood tree.

So I wanted to describe my way of keeping track of my poetry submissions. Everyone has their own way, but sometimes it's useful to find out how someone else does it. Here's how I keep track of mine:

On my computer desktop, I will have a folder with my name and the year. In that folder I'll have multiple sub-folders, one titled cover letters. In this folder I will again have two subfolders, one titled Acceptances and the other, you guessed it, Rejections. I will have all my current cover letters in this folder and once I get a response, I will copy and paste the response from editors on my cover letter from the journal and then move it into whichever folder it belongs to. 

For example, when I got a rejection from 32 Poems, I copied what they said--good luck placing these elsewhere--and placed it into my rejection folder. The reason I copy and paste is so that I can look back and find out if any of these responses are tiered--suggesting I send again, or if the editors singled out a particular poem, as the editors from Thrush kindly do. When I need to withdraw a poem from a packet, I will make a note on the cover letter how and when I withdrew my poem. 

For example, when I got an acceptance from Up the Staircase Quarterly, for my poem, "Self-Portrait as Chihuly Glass Flower," I went to my cover letter for Bear Review where I also had the same poem out for submission and wrote at the top that I withdrew that poem from submission via Submittable, on the note and message tab, and withdrew it on September 17, 2023. That's just in case I need to remind the editors that yes, I did withdraw it. And obviously, to keep myself informed and updated. 

I also have an Excel spread sheet where in the left column of cells, I will write out the titles of the poems in submission, and in the following right cells, write out the journal titles where I've submitted the poem. Usually, I try to have my poems out to five or six places at the same time. When I get a rejection, I will change the font of the title of the journal to red, and green for acceptance. When I have to withdraw a poem, I will change the font to yellow. This helps keep me informed as to how and where my submissions are at a glance, in case of an acceptance or rejection.  

It's a lot of work to keep track of so many poems and journals, but this system works well in keeping me informed so that I can keep my editors informed quickly and correctly. 

I'd love to hear how other poets keep track of their submissions! Drop me a note if you get a chance. 

Monday, November 6, 2023

Different, Somehow

 Image of the Day: Juncoes flitting in the fir trees.

Yep, the juncoes are back. I'm both glad and sighing, because that means winter is coming. And I don't know what has happened to the chickadees in my neighborhood--I haven't seen any! The bird population seems different, somehow. 

I have officially forty submissions out for review! That is a lot for me and means getting to 100 rejections next year might be pretty easy. But many of those are for my manuscript, An Accidental Species, that I keep throwing out there. I submat to a new journal today, Big Wing Review, and to another place SoFloPoJo, where I've sent before with no luck, although the rejections are very nice. 

I did get an acceptance to Potomac Review--yay! I will post here when available. Yesterday I was able to continue writing a poem of my Acadia National Park series, but today, no. I'm still trying to write as many as possible to create a chapbook. It would be nice to get something like that together and send out. 

Here's a poem of mine up at Inscape Journal. Hope you enjoy

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Getting Back

Image of the Day: A tired fly, buzzing against the screen of my skylight. 

So I'm finally writing again, after taking almost a year off. I retired two or so years ago as my college got acquired by another college and my department was desolved. I've tried getting a few other jobs, but nada. I think that time took a toll on my creativity. But, last month I  joined another write a poem everyday group and found a topic to explore. So I'm happy. Still trying to write more poems about Acadia National Park, which is my theme in these poems. My family stayed there in October and apparently, it made an impression on me. 

Also, I created a website through Weebly, but have had such a hard time getting back into the desktop to revise it, I thought I'd post my poems here, so at least they're visible on-line. I think I'll stay with Weebly for the year, and then create another website. Ugh. I'm also creating a monthly planner wherein I keep track of what journals open throughout the year and when they close. It's really hard to keep track of that, so I thought creating my own would be helpful. Many places open in September; November, not so much. Or at least journals I'm familiar with. 

And speaking of poems, my poem, "Self-Portrait as Chihuly Glass Flower" is at Up the Staircase Quarterly.  Check out the art of Koss in that issue. Really gorgeous. 

Sunday, January 1, 2023

 Image of the Day: The freshly filled birdfeeders, waiting for the birds to remember where they were.

Happy New Year! I've been gone from this space, but decided to try writing in here more to see if it helps my other private writing. My family and I have been traveling and meeting new people, which reminds me that connecting with new people opens my heart and mind up. When I click with my kind of people, it reminds me why I love the things I do, and why they are so important. I'm such a recluse, now that I'm in what I call forced retirement, that it's really easy for me to be too alone, if you know what I mean, and too easy for me to forget to engage in the things I love. 

So some of my writing resolutions, or reminders to myself of what I want to do more is:

Write in my journal more often, and when I do, set a timer for 15 minutes to push myself out of my safety zone. I usually just write about a page, and feel like I've done enough. 

Write out other people's poems that I may find uncomfortable, or that I don't understand and see if that expands my experience of what my poems can be, or do. 

Find a weekly time to write a draft of a poem, to revise other poems, and to submit. 

And also, my word for this year is accept. Accept how I write my poems and accept their imperfections. Accept that I may not be the poet I wish I were but that I am one, at least. 

And that even if my word is accept, accept the fact that I will keep pushing myself, that I will be discouraged sometimes, and that I will not be writing sometimes. 

You can read a recent poem of mine here. And here is one of my favorite poems. I hope the new year brings you what you joy, happiness, and what you most need.

blessing the boats

                                    (at St. Mary's)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back     may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

from the Poetry Foundation

Friday, April 17, 2020


Image of the Day: The sound of a leaf blower and the small chimes in my front yard.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig. Well, I'm starting to go a little stir-crazy. How are you all doing? I'm so glad it's at least Spring, and we can enjoy the beautiful daffodils and other blooms just starting. I think if this Coronavirus happened during, say, November, it would have felt ten times worse--all that darkness just amplifying our solitary-ness.

I have a poem here in Midway Journal. I tried to do a poem a day this month, as it is National Poetry Month, but did not make it. I got a handful of poems, luckily, but it felt particularly onerous to try and write daily. I'm working from home and feel chained to my computer anyway. Maybe May or June will be a good month for that. Who knows when we're ever going to be able to hang out at a bar again, soon.

Another Sunday

Tina Schumann

The bacon laid to rest. The belly of the dishwasher satisfied
at last. Oh, satiated coffeed world with your mind
how have I come to you again?

In the crash of weekday waves breaking
that hefts this ball of earth, its rotation part ritual,
part benediction. How I covet the hours

of banal and quiet tasks; picking up the magazines,
shaking out the doorstep's mat.
or fathom a future form. From here it's nothing

more than alliteration of motion. Though the calendar
all attempts at formulation remain null.
Tomorrow I will don my grease-coat of complaint,

and admire the way the shore so soon becomes
the ocean floor.

And the eggs have been broken.

in reverse and your soft body bound in flannel sheets,
on the splintered porch, in the gravity and weightlessness
we will spend in the endless hedge grove

In the yellow state I am in I cannot divine the day
pinned to the kitchen wall gapes in silent notation,
my lab-wear of ego. I will stand in the doorway

from Verse Daily

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

This Shifting Landscape

Image of the Day: the green shoots of daffodils.

I hope you all are doing well in this shifting landscape. My son and I are working/schooling from home. I'm trying to get outside and run/walk my dog everyday--at least the sun has been shining and the weather fairly warm.

Three poems of mine are up at Apercus Literary Journal. It feels odd sharing poems at this time, (well, odder than usual) especially these poems that seem relatively frivolous and not, well, more timely or more serious.

My brain is full of Coronavirus news as I'm sure yours is as well. My work is frantically trying to shift to an online format, so I'm learning new stuff, like how to have a meeting in Zoom. I'm reading Station Eleven, which is very apropos for right now. It's hard to not keep thinking that the worse hasn't even started yet! So many of my favorite places are closed for business for the unknowable future. But then I think how healthy I am, at least right now, and try and breathe.

Here's a lovely poem by Kelli Russell Agodon, from Verse Daily.

Love in the Age of Broken Constellations
In the planetarium,
the universe is everywhere.

The man who controls the stars
has pressed the wrong button

and the milky way spins
around the ceiling, across the viewing

chairs and onto the floor.
A girl holds hands with Orion.

She is the first to unbuckle his belt.
The universe has never been

so close, never been part of her skin.
Her boyfriend reaches over her shoulder,

Vega is under his fingernails.
She leans in to kiss him

and the room lightens.
Where there were hands, now

there is emptiness, where there were stars—
white paint returns, the bare curve

of the dome missing its verses.
And what remains—

a mural of the virgin praying
for darkness, a saint whispering

for night to circle again,
to land quietly in his lap.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Good Kiss

Image of the Day: The dark ducks fluttering in the cloudy morning early November, black shadows in gray sky.

I'm not being very successful keeping this blog updated. This blog, like my poetry, happens sporadically, I guess. Yesterday, I received two rejections, which brings my grand total for the year up to 58. I'm really hoping I can get into the mid-sixties by the year's end, but we'll see. I think I got 6 poem packets accepted, so that's on par for my usual stats. I will be attempting a Poem of the Day in December and January, when things are quieter for me. I did one in October and got a handful of poems, but not much.

I do have a few Origin Poems out. One is here in Mom Egg Review. Two others are in Lily Poetry Review, a new-ish print journal, which I'll add here. Not the best picture.

Here's a poem from Verse Daily by Amie Whittmore. 

Kissing Meditation
        —after Adam Phillips
If kissing is the mouth's elegy
to itself, let me always mourn:

at dawn, when sleep frosts lips;
at noon, mouths indiscreet

as unlocked rooms, or at dusk,
lips two fading fires

quenched by each other.
Best, perhaps, midnight's kiss,

redolent with dream-craft,
or those drunken tongues

sloppy in their tangos.
There's bitter plum

of last kiss, unknown until
it's past, half kiss and sly kiss,

clumsy firsts and toothy
near-misses, forgotten ones

floating back unexpectedly
like snapped water lilies—

mouths cannot be tamed
and thankfully so.

No kiss completes.
Multiple as self,

they abate narrative.
Lawless, we unfold.

If you've enjoyed this poem, you might want to check out A Constellation of Kisses, edited by Diane Lockward. It would make a great Christmas present for someone, well, pretty much everyone, I think. Who doesn't want a good kiss?

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Have the Sunshine

Image of the day:  The creamy blossoms of my Asian Dogwood Tree lit up in sunshine.

It's so nice to have the sunshine after this miserable Spring of rain.  But the sun's here now, baby!  We had a special visitor to our suet feeder today in said dogwood tree--a pileated woodpecker!  It was the size of a small hawk and had a very pointy red head.  Gorgeous!  I'm going to try and keep that suet feeder full all the time because we get such interesting birds:  the pileated woodpecker, Baltimore Orioles, a rose breasted grosbeak. So many birds in their gorgeous colors!

I have a poem here in the fabulous Redheaded Stepchild Magazine.  You should definitely peek at all the other poems in there because there are some that pack quite a punch.  I've joined yet another write every day group and I'm trying to write in a series about my uterus.  We'll see how that goes. I haven't been writing or reading much poetry at all so I need to get back to it.  I've got Martha Silano's Gravity Assist right now which is awesome.  I need to get to a good library.

The God That Shares My Body 
        For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
        Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
        Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that
                quiver in the sun,
        So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth .

we've become a split
in the sky & the earth

        doesn't drink of our blood
        today, only our fresh

water. only joy that is deeper than
us, only small rivers

        of gospel cutting themselves
        into the ground after a storm

From Verse Daily

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Owl Isn't There

Image of the day:  Upon pulling up my blinds in my kitchen window, a barred owl sitting in the Asian Dogwood tree, not five feet away, turned its brown head and looked at me.

This wasn't todays image, though, it was last Saturday, but that was so awesome to see that owl and to just stare at each other for a few minutes.  I called my family over and they got to see it to.  The owl could hear us talking--it turned its head as each of us said something and looked at us.  Now, every morning, I'm disappointed because the owl isn't there.

I have a poem up at Mom Egg Review as part of their Mythology Vox Folio.  I'm super excited--this poem is from a series I wrote in February during a Poem A Day thingy.  I was writing poems with the title "Origin Story."  I'm hopeful that more of them will find their way to being published as well.  And now, I'm gearing up for April's Poem a Day, too.  April being National Poetry Month usually brings a lot of chances to find prompts and groups to write with.

There are so many poetry books that I want to read.  It's funny how sometimes, I can't find anything that interests me, and then suddenly, there are way too many books to possibly read.  Looking forward to Ada Limon's The Carrying, Martha Silano's Gravity Assist, and Jennifer Richter's Threshold, which has been out for awhile, but I haven't got it yet.  Soon.

Fascinating, the Parts of Us

that attain immortality before we do,
as if we'd sculpted ourselves into skyline
against the first gasp of night. I want to steal
the hair of everyone I've ever loved, shave it
right onto the pillow from their unsuspecting sleep
and carry it to the top floor of my obsession.
I have trouble letting go, it's true. In an elevator, I'm
the last to push my floor, and I drink five bottles of water
at a time, scattered all over the house, afraid that if I finish
them, I'll die. Same with books. Lately I've been
reading about President Antonio López de Santa Anna,
who ordered a full military burial for his
amputated leg. He dug it up
to transport from one home to another,
paraded it in an ornate, royal coach.
I dream of sparrows lifting the ten pounds
I lost last spring to the sun, pinking the edges of the city
with what I used to be. Body that I can barely keep up with,
you owe me nothing, not even your parts. Yet, I'm so hungry
for the vanishing lamps of your intelligence
I could eat my own tail,
could pull my own lightning from the sky.

XVI Fall 2018
From Poetry Daily

Sunday, February 17, 2019

My Four Beating Green Hearts

Image of the day:  Quick bird-shadows skating across the sparkling snow.

It's been awhile since I posted here, but thought I'd try and do so a little more.  I haven't had a lot of poetry acceptances as I took a "Top 25 Challenge," submitting my poems only to the top 25 tiered journals this past year.  A fun challenge but relatively futile.  This year, I'm aiming for 100 rejections again and this article explains the reasoning for attempting to do such an ambitious submissions project.  It certainly does inure one to rejections, which is a good thing when submitting poems.

I do have a poem here at Radar Poetry, with a reading (not my best) that doesn't match up to the published poem. (The art matched with the poem is spectacular, though!) I submitted an early draft of a poem that got accepted, but I had since revised said poem, and when they asked me to record it, used that version instead, by accident.  So here's the revised poem you can read and see what revisions I made:

Self-Portrait as Burgeoning New England Summer

I begin as pine tree rubbing myself against another pine

making noise like an opening of many forest doors

I begin as terra cotta pot of hot-pink impatience petals

            waiting for the hummingbird’s sword-like beak to enter me

I begin as a finely woven trick of web catching the sun’s lit thread

            and the hunting roly-poly bug

I begin as the yellow shooting star of cherry tomato bud

             a promise of juice inside your mouth

I begin as the fledging phoebe begging in the birch tree

            feed me  feed me  feed me

I being as the eager breeze chasing the apocalyptic horse-fly

I begin as the innocence of a pea-pod, ready to be peeled and reveal

            my four beating green hearts

I'm reading Tunsiya / Amerikiya now as well as The Line Becomes a River.  I've just started both so we'll see if I actually finish them.  

Your Quiet Outpost

And here is the sea and the agave already in flower
and along the colorful embankment teeming with life
are thick beehive tombs built into the cliff wall
and I look inside at timeless laughing girls
with dark, damp-stained hair. A similar girl
flanked your Ionian coast (a bee glistening with honey
shone in her eye), and she left
scarcely a trace of her name in the shade
of olive trees. There's no one to save you:
From the look on your face, you know
that one day is the same as others.
A sudden light transfigures
and closes us in this lonely circle
of empty moon—where Hades
rushes past your quiet outpost.

Salvatore Quasimodo
translated from the Italian by Julia Older
Mid-American Review
Volume XXXVIII, Number 2

Memorize More!

 Image of the Day: Birds in my backyard, scrambling in the rain for seed.  Happy Holidays! I have a poem here at One Art, Hiking Cadillac Mo...