Happiest of holidays to you.
I’m very pleased to share my poem “Heritage,” which is up over at Mojave River Review, Vol. 3 No. 2, confronting both violence against women and the our long legacy of violence in the South.
I hope you like it.
I just happened across this video and hadn’t realized it was up. Back in April of 2014, I was invited to read “At the End,” which won an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition and was first published by ONE, by Jacar Press out at the beautiful Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities.
I was honored to be included with the other winners in 2014:
First Place: Alan Michael Parker, Davidson, NC
First Runner-Up: Maureen A. Sherbondy, Raleigh, NC
Honorable Mention: Melissa Hassard, Triad, NC
Honorable Mention: Kathryn Kirkpatrick, Vilas, NC
It was fun to think back on 2014. I have dear memories of time spent at Weymouth, and cherish those days.
I am thrilled and honored to have “What Catches the Light” up on Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal this month. Love and gratitude to founder and managing editor Stephanie Bryant Anderson, along with editors and staff E. Kristin Anderson, Deidre Sloss, and KB Ballantine, for including this poem alongside fine work by poets Avra Elliot, Erin Elizabeth Smith, Jill Khoury, and Nicole Rollender. Read it here.
Publishing just five poems a month, check out this beautifully artful microjournal. Red Paint Hill also publishes chapbooks as well as full-length collections. Check them out.
It has been a deep honor and pleasure to work on The Gathering of Poets the past two years with Richard Krawiec and Jacar Press. The Gathering of Poets will be held March 24, 2018 in Winston-Salem, NC at The Historic Brookstown Inn.
Following is the lineup of terrific workshops that weekend. If you would like to attend, visit Jacar Press’ Gathering page, on Facebook, or e-mail Richard for upcoming announcements and how to reserve your space.
Lynn Emanuel –
Obsessional Poetics: No One Writes Just One Poem
“All obsessions are extreme metaphors waiting to be born.”
– J. G. Ballard
In this workshop, we will examine the ways a few modern and contemporary poets turn and return to a place, person, image, form, or event as a way of exploring and unearthing a subject. What can these forms of return teach us about our own poems? How can we mine our own repetitions or obsessions for new work? How might we delve more deeply into our own habits of writing and feeling? If you can, please bring a couple of poems to workshop that you might use as a resource for exploring your own poetic obsessions.
Patricia Spears Jones –
Basic and Bold: The Uses of Contemporary Poetry
This Workshop is designed to engage participants with contemporary poets and the different strategies to generate new work. While the focus is on African American poets, a range of poets will be under review. The Workshop will be in two parts:
1. Participants will look at poems in the packet and discuss the work of those poets with whom they unfamiliar.
2. We will use vocabulary from two or three of the poems to generate new work.
We will use two or three poems as catalysts for new works. Poems by Gregory Pardlo, Ada Limón, Marilyn Chin, Maureen Owen, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Adam Fitzgerald and Charif Shanahan will be part of the packet. Participants must be prepared to read and write, write and write. At the end of this workshop, it is my hope that participants will have created poems that they feel good about and have learned about.
Zeina Hashem Beck –
The Ghazal and the Poetic Leap
In this workshop, we will focus on the ghazal as a poetic form: beyond talk about the shape of the poem, the radif (refrain), the qafia (rhyme), and the poet’s signature, we will look at how the ghazal’s couplets can both exist as independent units and relate to one another and the poem’s whole. We will discuss how this quality allows the poet to create juxtaposition and make poetic leaps within a ghazal. Participants will also write.
Maggie Anderson –
The Poet in the World: Writing Political Poetry
In this workshop we will examine the ways in which our poems can be made from the intersection of local and global political events and our own lives as poets. Why is the term “political poetry” often seen as a pejorative? Can the necessary evidence, documentation and witness in political subject matter be expressed through poems that are also highly attuned to metaphor and music? What makes a “good” political poem? If you can, please bring with you one poem by yourself or another poet that you consider both “political” and “poetic” that you might use as a source or model for writing from your own political feelings, fears, and understandings in these times.
Gary Fincke –
Everything Matters: Deepening Experience in Narrative
We will explore ways of opening narrative poems, not only to move beyond simply “close observation of what happened,” but also to broaden the personal by associative connections to what’s learned in any number of ways—history, science, the arts, culture, politics, and the oddities of trivia. Bring along a few of your own narrative poems to re-examine for the possibility of entering again from another angle.
Sandra Beasley –
What We Talk About When We Talk About Voice
Voice is the most elusive element of strong writing. How do we craft language that feels compelling and unique? We will unpack constituent elements of voice—the recurring decisions made in terms of point of view, tense, image, sound, structure, and diction—and read examples of effective voice from noted contemporary authors of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. This seminar includes an extensive handout of texts and a generative prompt.
Because of my finances, I haven’t traveled with the kids as much as I’d have liked to. As a child, I grew up traveling quite a bit and know the deep value in understanding that the world is both bigger than you think, but at the same time, also smaller –
The last time we were at the beach all together, we were with my mother. Andrew was a toddler, and we’d gone to Emerald Isle. I have some pictures somewhere I’ll try to find. A few years ago, there was the overnight, emergency, much-needed sanity-seeking beach trip here to Topsail – a getaway to just anywhere – so Katie, Andrew, and I decided to come down and look for megaladon teeth, since it had been reported that year that the locals were finding them. J. was living full time with his father that year. Later, there was the two-night at Ocracoke Spring Break with Katie and Jack. (A. on Spring Break with beloved friends.) J. literally laid down in the sand as soon as we reached the beach that first day and didn’t move, didn’t venture down to where Katie and I laid our towels, or swim, or look for shells.
Part of the reason we are here this year is that at some point, I have to disperse my mother’s ashes, but I don’t exactly have a plan. I am old enough now that I am not afraid of a mess, of getting my hands dirty, of doing the work – but if I’m honest, I know that this deep sense of dread I am carrying has to do with fear.
Maybe it has to do with dealing with the macabre, the death and skin of her, the ash of her, the small bones, the unknown. This part of death I haven’t handled before. The soil of her, the loam of my mother from whom I sprang. It is said we begin as dust and that is where we end, and here I am with her dust …
And maybe it also the finality, that I am letting her go along with all the questions, all the answers I’ll never have. She died and we didn’t really know each other, and won’t — all her secrets and truths she so tamped down in her life will now be sent back into the wind.
At least the wind is constant.
My muscles ache from walking on the sand, the good ache, the necessary one. But I am heartweary from worrying about my beloveds, from carrying loss with me, and the fears of losing more, from how harsh this world can be –
And yet so filled with beauty at the same time. I watched the moonrise last night over the ocean – a deep orange lifting right out of the water and fooling us, behind black ropes of clouds –at first we weren’t sure what it was but supposed it some kind of ship with orange lights, til it grew brighter and brighter and then leapt from the black water, still in her veils, but finally J. asked, “Is that the moon?”
And it was, and it cleared the ocean, the black wisps across her face dissipating while she came more clearly into view.
I always forget and then remember how the moon pulls the tide back like a curtain and lays the wet sand bare, and I think of how tender our hearts, how we are made vulnerable by grief, how if we strip back the anger, the fears, the petty resentments, we uncover the truths: we are all made to love and to hurt, that we all hold desires, hopes, and dreams for ourselves and for those we love – and the wet sand is waiting for those moments when all the walls and devices we use to protect ourselves are dissolved, pulled back. Waiting for answers, maybe, and waiting perhaps for us to dare to love each other again, for us to let go of losses and fears and be pulled right along with her into what is beautiful: a soft night, the roar of ocean, a sky speckled with stars.
I’m really honored to have had the opportunity to work on this project, and proud of the book. An important and timely issue — though not an easy one, to be certain — this is a beautiful book and I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy.
If you’d like a copy for review, please contact me.
Red Sky: Poetry on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women
For more information, including a full list of contributing poets and how to order, please go here.