“Valentine”

The mail has come, as I was thinking of you

I was wondering about the man that delivered your letter

 

when the dogs barked, I didn’t think anything of it

was his day suddenly made inexplicably better

 

but I meant to say earlier that I didn’t miss it

when your letter fell into his bag 

 

when you said I should watch for the mail,

perhaps his shoulders suddenly happy and relaxed 

 

only I didn’t know quite what you meant

and the dog down the street didn’t jump the fence 

 

I just held onto it, slipped it into my pocket carefully.  Now

I bet his wife suddenly called and said something kind

 

I have a sweet mouth that is a little on fire –

the rain held off and he could even turn off the heat 

 

it must be all the way up into my eyes as I write this.

because it warmed up more than predicted.

 

Chocolate, chilies, cherries.  I can hardly write.

Now his feet don’t hurt and he’s even humming a tune

 

But if I could get to you right now, if I could get to you,

he hasn’t thought of in years- probably jazz– 

 

I would surely kiss you all the way to next week,

and he hums and smiles and maybe whistles, too

 

until your lips were raw, ‘til you begged me to stop

even when he turns the corner

 

to let you breathe, to let you eat, or speak

he keeps smiling, his heart light

 

and you will taste like chocolate and chilies and cherries, too

all the way, all the way, all the way home.  

 

***

First published in Pine Song. Winner of first place for the 2016 Thomas H. McDill Award, judged by James McKean, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

***

 

 

 

Congratulations to Iman Dancy, 2017 North Carolina Poetry Out Loud Champion

I’ve just gotten back from the 2017 National Finals for Poetry Out Loud, held on April 25-26, 2017 in Washington, D.C. at the Renaissance Dupont Circle and Lisner Auditorium on the GWU campus. What an incredible event.

With Sharon Hill, Arts in Eduction Director at the NC Arts Council, Iman Dancy, Juliet Shepard.

Our North Carolina state champion, Iman Dancy, did an excellent job performing her poems. (“Learning to Love America” and “On Virtue.”) In the regional semi-finals, she made the first cut and had the chance to recite her third poem, “I am Offering This Poem.”

I was inspired to select “Learning to Love America” because it really allowed me to step into the shoes of someone vastly different than me. As an African-American sixteen year old living in twenty-first century North Carolina, it can be difficult to imagine or relate to the experiences of an immigrant mother living in California during the latter twentieth century. But getting to recite Lim’s poem gives me a look into her life that I would not be granted otherwise. I selected “On Virtue” and “I Am Offering this Poem” because the light, positive writing styles (and beautiful simplicity of the second poem, especially) really drew me in. — Iman Dancy

She did not advance to the finals but did an outstanding job in the regional semifinals. For a first appearance at nationals, she held her own with her tremendous talent and poise.  We look forward to many great things from this amazing young person, and also congratulate Samara Huggins, the national winner from Georgia.

Watch Iman recite “I am Offering This Poem, by Jimmy Santiago Baca.

Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. There are many, many partners who work together to support this transformative program, and the kids who get involved often say that the experience touches so many places in their lives, helps build their confidence and gives them opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

We are already thinking toward next year’s state championship. If you are a North Carolina high school English or theater teacher, consider this worthy program for your students. Read praise for this incredible program, and here’s a handy FAQ to see how Poetry Out Loud can fit in your classroom and lesson plan.  Feel free to contact me with your questions.

 

 

Women Writers of the Triad Hosts Poets and Open Mic with Tate Street Coffee

GET THIS ON YOUR CALENDAR!3_Wordpress_WWOT_Logo_White

Second Saturday, September 14th, at Tate Street Coffee House, at 7:00pm.

Featured poets are Ann Deagon and Michael Gaspeny. This is going to be WONDERFUL.

Michael Gaspeny won the 2012 Randall Jarrell Prize for “Shore Drive.” His latest chapbook Vocation is available from Main Street Rag.

Ann Deagon

Ann Deagon‘s work includes There is No Balm in Birmingham, The Polo Poems, Carbon 14, and Poetics South. She was named Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for 2011-2012.

After the reading, an open mic follows. Bring a poem, bring a song, or just come and grab a coffee or a glass of wine and listen. We had a huge turnout for open mic last month so space may be limited. Bring your best work and get there early!

Join here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/698475600169186/

For June, a writing and art workshop on gratitude

On the theme of gratitude:

Saturday, June 15, 9:30 am-4:00pm.

A visual and writing arts workshop on the theme of Gratitude, with Kim Goldstein and Donna Anthony guiding the group in making soul collages and Judith Behar and Melissa Hassard guiding the group in writing prose or poetry about their soul collages.

Place: Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 S. Mendenhall St., Greensboro.
Cost: $10 to Women Writers of the Triad and Writers Group of the Triad members; $25 to non-members.

Pre-registration is required: Contact Judith Behar at jbehar@triad.rr.com or (336) 294-4904.

You may bring your own lunch or pre-order lunch (cost: $10) at time of registration. Coffee and tea will be provided.