April is National Poetry Month! #npm16

Happy National Poetry Month!

NPM-Poster-2016

Two years ago, I did a marathon blog of posting one poem a day for the entire month.  It was a blast, but a little nuts.  Check out the archives for April 2014 starting with the one linked here to read the great poems that I posted with the help of a lot of fellow poets and writers.

Also, you can click on the banner below to find 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month.  I’m celebration by buying a book of poems.  (Bought one two weeks ago, but Darn! it wasn’t April)

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Enjoy this month of poems and I’ll leave you with one from the new Shredded Orphans book out soon, The Shredded Orphans and the Space Pirates.

This Mine is Mine

You might own me,
but I own this mine
Because this mine is in me
It burns through my skin
It fills my lungs
This mine comes alive within me

Red dust
Red dust
Tap a vein
Red flows
Red flows
Liquid gold

Swallowed by darkness
I travel inside
Scraping the life from within
Spilling my guts
And gutting the mine
This duel has come to a draw

Red dust
Red dust
Tap a vein
Red flows
Red flows
Liquid gold

You take my life
I take what’s mine
My blood is in the soil.
You can not own
What you do not know
Forever this mine is mine.

Forever this mine is mine.

Passing of Phenomenal Woman

Today Maya Angelou passed away.  Here is a little remembrance.

 

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
—Maya Angelou

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/05/28/147369802/maya-angelou-poet-activist-and-singular-storyteller-dies-at-86

Why We Dance – National Poetry Month day 29 with Rebecca Wolf-Nail

Welcome to National Poetry Month day twenty-nine.  Today I have fellow belly dancer, author and poet Rebecca Wolf-Nail.  I love her comparison of dancing and poety.  After reading the poem below, check out her website for belly dancing, mysteries and murder.  Enjoy!

First of all, thank you Sonya for this wonderful blog and the opportunity to contribute.

For me, poetry picks up where prose leaves off. It’s like the difference between dancing and walking—walking gets you someplace, but dancing taps into your very soul and conveys much more. We can describe many things in traditional, full-sentence writing, but poetry gives us the chance to break free from the rules and write what we feel or see.

.

Why we dance

It’s not because we are happy

We dance when we’re sad

It’s not because we are sad

We dance when we’re happy

It’s not because the sun shines

We dance in the dark

It’s not because of the dark

We dance in the light

We dance

Because the music calls us

We dance because we are alive

You might as well ask

“Why do you breathe?”

.

Rebecca Wolf-Nail Copyright 2014

Bio: I am a writer, composer and belly dancer. I recently published my first murder mystery, Murder at the Arabian Nights—A Belly Dance Mystery!

Website: www.bellydancemysteries.com Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wolfnail Facebook website and blog: www.facebook.com/bellydancemysteries

Twitter: Rebecca Wolf-Nail @RebeccaWolfNail

My Writing Life | AR in the Daytime – National Poetry Month day 28 with Sonya Rhen

Welcome to National Poetry Month day twenty-eight.  Today’s poet is once again… ME!  Hello.

I have double booked myself, which goes to prove the old saying “When it rains, it pours.”  So today’s blog will be my poetry contribution as well as a blog hop on “My Writing Life”.  I immediately thought of the following poem which is found in my book “Requite Me: Poems of Love, Jealously, and Angst.

I love the irony of pairing this poem with me writing about my writing.  (Did I spoil the irony by actually writing about it?)  I wrote the poem below in high school and I’m pretty sure the “AR” stands for “Artificial Reality”.  I seem to remember, at the time, one of my favorite movies was Altered States.  (Yes, I know that dates me, but less because I watched it as a VHS rental.)   After reading the poem below, you can read about what and how I write.  Then click on the links to hop to other writerly blogs.  Enjoy!

Requite Me Front green

AR in the Daytime
My world has become a nightmare
Based on my perceived reality
I have become dissociated from my past
My friends are Complete Utter Strangers
I throw my soul upon the ground
And crush it with the heel of determination,
The need for success, striving to be the Best,
It isn’t me, It isn’t me
It Is Not Me
Not Me
Not Me
Me me…

 

My Writing Life

Thank you to all of you who followed me from Liz Fountain’s Point No Point blog: http://lizfountain.wordpress.com/author/lizfountain/  If not, check out her blog to find out about her writing.

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1. What am I working on? 
I am currently working on book 2 in my Shredded Orphans series about a seismic rock band that tours to different planets.  I am on about pass three of rewriting.  Although, I’ve skipped around a bit, so some sections might be on pass eight or nine.
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2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I think my work is different since it is humorous science fiction about a rock band.   I don’t find that combination very common.  Even humorous science fiction seems to be a smaller genre than most.  Many people have described my book, Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans, as Firefly with a band.  I also have a mystery book and literary fiction novel that I’m working on.  I have tried to add humor to those as well.
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3. Why do I write what I do?
I am definitely influenced by television shows I love.  The Shredded Orphans series, comes out of my love of the shows, Red Dwarf, Farscape and Firefly.  I also grew up on Star Trek and all it’s incarnations.
The mystery book I’m working on comes from my love of mysteries and belly dance.  The literary fiction book is a semi-autobiographical look at the death of my mother.
I like writing humor, because I think laughter is good for the soul.  You should do it at least twice a day.  😉  I believe that there can even be laughter in the most terrible times.  For proof, just see the movie “Life is Beautiful“.
Humor makes us human.
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4. How does my writing process work?
As of today, I only have one published novel and one published poetry collection.  For the novel, I wrote the rough draft as a 50,000 word NaNoWriMo novel (National Novel Writing Month).
I put it aside for awhile and then when I went back, I re-read it through once with no corrections to see the flow of the work.  Then I read it through and checked grammar, punctuation, point of view and formatting while adding scenes to help the plot.  Next I went through and tried to make all the writing flow better.  I worked on dialogue and took out and moved around scenes.  I went through one more time and tweeked words and scenes.
At this point I felt comfortable allowing a few friends to read it.  I probably sent this and posted it, so that about twenty people had access to it.  I had two people actually read it and I took their notes and made some final revisions.  I spent about 6 months working on the formatting and getting the book cover set up, all the while tweeking at words and scenes here and there.
It took me four years and ten revisions to get to where I felt comfortable with self-publishing it.  The other five novels were also written as NaNoWriMo novels and are in various states of rewrite.  I’m hoping to significantly cut down the rewrite time for the remaining novels.
Thanks for taking the time to read about how I write.  If you have any questions leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them.
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Blog Hop To Here:
Next week, Monday, May 5th, be sure to hop by the following blogs to see “My Writing Life” for Ottilie Webber, Roderick Hart, and Eric Ian Huffman or check them out now to see what they’re working on!  🙂
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Ottilie Weber
Ottilie Weber
Ottilie Weber grew up in Wall, New Jersey, not far from the beach. She always has a book in her hands or nearby, despite her dyslexia. She graduated from The College of New Jersey, earning a degree in History Secondary Education and is currently in grad school at Georgian Court University. Ottilie has a passion for writing, where she is always ready to take on the next project. Her family and close friends are there to help her take on the bumps or potholes in the road.
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Roderick Hart

I grew up in St Andrews (Scotland) and went to the University of Aberdeen.  Since then I have worked in education, mostly in audio recording and editing. I have written poetry over the years and published quite a lot of it, though none recently. I concentrate on prose now – novels and short stories. I am married with two children. My daughter lives here in Edinburgh, my son in New York.
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Eric Ian Huffman
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My name is Eric Huffman. I spent much of my late teens and early twenties up all night in a small room, scribbling smudgy words in wire bound notebooks. Life took me away from writing for over twenty years, until last year, when I began posting poetry, prose, and short stories online. I was encouraged to do more with my writing by many of my online followers, and the credit, or the blame, for any books that I publish belongs to them. I am currently writing a novel.

Who Will Stay? – National Poetry Month day 27 with Eric Ian Huffman

Welcome to National Poetry Month day twenty-seven.  This is the fifth and last week of National Poetry Month and I will have the guest poets Eric Ian Huffman, Rebecca Wolf-Nail, Shenanigan Cheesefield, me and YOU!

Today I have returning poet Eric Ian Huffman with a wonderfully thoughtful poem.  I definitely encourage you to check out his website link where he has more great writing.  Enjoy!

 

Who Will Stay?

Who will stay
Until we are old, pale, and grayed, bodies fallen?

Who will stay
When we are broken, when we haven’t words
Knowing our silence, taking our hand as we are stilled by fear?

Who will stay
Through our whispering insanity
Finding forgiveness, though unfair, their crucifixion?

Who will stay
Cut by razor-tongue
Bleeding from confusion’s wounds, yet still drawing us near?

Who will stay
Through the rain’s gray pain
Until distant morning sun gifts us hope again?

Who will stay
When summer’s butterflies are gone
When perched love birds know only lonely songs?

Who will stay
Through the tumors, illness, through disease?

Who will stay
Longer than a warm, summer evening’s dream?

Who will stay
Who will prove themselves not a fantasy?

Some may look the sky
Their question, merely, why?
All I ask, tell me, please
Who will stay?

Copyright 2014
Eric Ian Huffman
http://www.ericianhuffman.com

Loved and Lost|Merlot Heart|Death Star – National Poetry Month day 26 with B.G. Bowers

Welcome to National Poetry Month day twenty-six.  Today I am very honored to have Twitter friend, fellow WordPress blogger, author and poet B.G. Bowers.  In fact I asked Bianca first if she was interested in doing a post.  If she had said no, I probably wouldn’t have taken on the endeavor.  So much thanks go to her for the great experience this has been!  Below are her insightful thoughts on poetry and publishing and three of her moving poems from her new book.  After reading check her website for her contribution to National Poetry Month with guest bloggers on the topic of “Poetry Belongs to Everyone”.  Enjoy! 

death-and-life-front

Thank you, Sonya, for inviting me to participate in National Poetry Month.

Sonya shared an interesting perspective on poetry as guest author on my blog for NPM. She used a story to illustrate how poetry is often judged as good or bad, and at the end of her story she offered one of her own, earlier, poems “with no apologies”.

I have to say that I admire Sonya for her ‘no apologies’ stance, because we poets have this sub-conscious notion that, as a rule of thumb, poetry does not sell, and, any poetry that does see the light of traditional publication is reserved for academics and/or elitists.

While I currently don’t agree that the best poetry is traditionally published, I admit that I imposed that dogma on myself for decades and remained a poet-in-hiding as a result.
Let me explain…
I have been writing poetry since my teens, but only shared it publicly when I started my blog in May last year. I had no idea whether my closely-guarded words were capable of resonating with anyone other than me, but for the first time in decades, the courage to try outweighed my fear of failure.

Nearly 12 months on, I’m so grateful that I did come out of hiding and find the courage to try. One of the first poems I shared, Loved and Lost, was such a simple poem. Simple in both its length and message, but for some reason it struck a chord with a large audience and I enjoyed numerous reblogs and followers as a result. The reason I tell you this story is because I would never consider submitting that poem for publication, and I know that poetry elitists and academics would likely dismiss it as a ‘bad poem’. Yet, it begs the questions:

  1. What yardstick do we use to judge good poetry over bad?
  2. Should we be judging it at all?

I’m inclined to say no, we shouldn’t judge it. At the end of the day, different readers appreciate different genres, writing styles, levels of difficulty etc. What is gold for academia may be plastic to everyday readers, but neither have the right to be judged one way or another.

Furthermore, what is more important – impressing a publisher or resonating with an audience?

Sharing Loved and Lost and witnessing the effect it had on complete strangers illustrated the importance of resonating with an audience versus impressing a publisher, and 10 months later, I’m proud of my first self-published poetry book (even if academia and traditional publishers judge me otherwise).

I believe that Poetry has a place on every bookshelf, and I urge all the poets-in-hiding to forget about what you think is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ poetry and please, find the courage to try.

The sheer number of poetry blogs and readers of poetry blogs tells me that there is certainly an audience and readership for poetry; an audience with different appetites for different types of poetry.

With the rise of self-publishing, events like National Poetry Month, and supportive readers like yourselves, maybe, just maybe, Poetry might very well reach more bookshelves in the future.

I leave you with 3 poems:

  1. Loved and Lost, a 20 year old poem about unrequited love
  2. Merlot Heart, a recent poem about love
  3. Death Star, a revised poem about the fear of failure, and, how that fear kills our dreams if we never have the courage to try.

Bianca x

… 

Loved and Lost

 

I have tried so hard

I have given so much

bared my soul

and exposed my heart

 

You have manipulated

You have been devilishly cruel

and calculated

 

I have loved and lost

You have merely lost

… 

Merlot Heart

 

My merlot heart. Seduced.

By mythic tales of thousand year old sun-worshippers.

Gazed directly into that fiery star

– too long –

Traded moon boots for gravity

And now

the surface gloss of decades,

belies the grain

of light years below.

 

My merlot heart,

once pulsing to a haunting melody,

now labours to a tired tune.

Unable to recreate the elation of that moonwalk.

Euphoria. Inaccessible,

beyond the space between dreams

and that black hole

of indelible memory.

 

My merlot heart,

bleeding its colour

in a disappearing world,

where the sun is but a star,

and the moon a whole planet.

Death Star

 

A galaxy dwells inside us

stars of prospects and possibilities beckon

unimaginable adventure awaits

yet lulled by the security of gravity

immobilised by the death star

 

borderless horizons beckon our intent

but the death star looms in our imagined universe

exploration limits are not decided,

they levitate at our beck and call

the death star reigns without sovereignty

 

gravity keeps us earth-bound

while our destiny floats in space

resistance fuels the death star’s power

where meteor showers are commonplace

and shooting stars are improbable as unicorns

© 2014 B.G. Bowers, from Death and Life .

About the Author

B.G. Bowers was born in South Africa and left at age 23 with nothing but a suitcase. She has since lived in New Zealand, United Kingdom and Australia. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree, with double majors in Film/TV/Media Studies and English. Her poems have been published in America and New Zealand, and you can find her at bgbowers.com

Links:

Website: http://bgbowers.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bg_bowers

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00JK513P2

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/bgbowers

 

 

 

Stay Little – National Poetry Month day 25 with Kristy Lloyd

Welcome to National Poetry Month day twenty-five.  Happy National Arbor Day!  Plant a tree or just get out and enjoy the beauty of one.

Today I have dear friend, mother of my son’s friend and poet Kristy Lloyd.  Parents out there will understand the sentiment.  Enjoy!

 

Stay Little

 

I want you to stay little, but don’t you listen to me

It would be selfish of me to keep you frozen, a child

But I am selfish

 

You will fly as most girls do

I will be your safe place to land

When you go far into that great beyond

Don’t forget the baggage from home

Meant to be tools for you, heavy as they are

 

You there, looking in the mirror

A reflection of what you see, not who you are.

Take heart

 

You are more than today’s fads and fashions

I am a spectator; watching you try on different hats.

To be honest, every single one is cute on you,

I can still see you burning through it all

 

You’re an ember

Lucky is the one who gets burned

 

by Kristy Lloyd

Better Self – National Poetry Month day 24 with Michael O’Connor

Welcome to National Poetry Month day twenty-four.  Today I have fellow blogger and poet Michael O’Connor returning for a second poem post.  I am especially pleased to post today on Michael’s 50th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Michael!  I am in awe that Michael has found so many words to rhyme with “inside”.   Enjoy Michael’s introspection and when you’re done reading check out his website which has a unique collaboration of artistic endeavors.  Enjoy!

Introduction:

I started writing poetry quite by accident, and it almost always rhymes. I usually set out to write song lyrics and see what I’m left with. I’m most influenced by songwriters, who I consider to be today’s most inspiring poets. My poems tend to be somewhat obscure and vague, by design. I like people to have their own interpretations. Anyway, I’ve selected this one because it takes on special meaning for me as I turn 50. It started as an intentional exercise to rhyme every line. I share writing credit with my friend, Catherine Pedersen, who was instrumental in helping me edit it. Thank you, Sonya for allowing me to share it on your blog.

 

Selection:

 

Better Self

My better self is locked inside

Each escape has been denied

Despite the fact that I’ve relied

Upon my faith to turn the tide

Of evil feelings that won’t subside

And though my heart is open wide

The painful scars from tears I’ve cried

Are in plain view and cannot hide

From evil eyes that always spied

I fear my better self has died

But my soul is shrinking from its pride

The Grace of God will now decide

To whom allegiance is allied

And lift the burden of worries sighed

The evil, vanquished, starts to slide

From where it’s chosen to reside

And frees my better self to abide

 

© 2014 Michael P. O’Connor. All rights reserved.

 

 

Bio:

Michael O’Connor is the founder of OCEnterprises Inc., an incubator for creative development. Publisher of several blogs on Blogger, including The Twilight Blue and The Reason 87, he expects to self-publish The Twilight Blue: Volume I and Live Life On Purpose: A Handbook for Achievement in 2014. Connect with Michael on social media through his website www.ocenterprises.weebly.com

 

 

Tell Me Direction – National Poetry Month day 23 with Jessica Lindly

Welcome to National Poetry Month day twenty-three.  Today I have fellow Meetup member and poet Jessica Lindly.  Below is her thoughtful  poem.  Enjoy!

 

First off, I’d like to thank Sonya for this wonderful opportunity to contribute to an amazing month of blogging.

 

Poetry is kind of like tearing yourself open and seeing all that you have inside, and then taking that and being able to communicate it.

 

 

Tell Me Direction

Please tell me that there is something better than bitter

That I can take bitter

And kill it

That’s all I need to hear

Please tell me that the sun knows why it shines

That it gives its rays direction

And that it’s possible

That I could get some of that direction

Let me know why the mouse squeaks

Because as someone who has felt like a mouse

And barely made a sound

This is the most important question

Let me know that the moon is worth more than what the sun gives it

That it has its own light beyond the sun’s rays

Because reflection is certainly worth something

 But even I must question if it is worth enough

But how could it be true

When the sun rises every day

And I still walk lost

 

Jessica Lindly Copyright 2014

 

Note: I just got on Twitter: Jessica Lindly@WrittenOn

And see my shiny new tumblr at poetryfingers.tumblr.com

Endangered Species (Sublime Planet) – National Poetry Month Day 22 with Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Welcome to National Poetry Month day twenty-two.  Happy Earth Day everyone!  Volunteer to clean up a park, pick up some litter, or just get outside and enjoy the outdoors.

Today I have Twitter friend, fellow author and poet,  Carolyn Howard-Johnson.  I met Carolyn on Twitter and if you are a writer, you must visit her website.  She is very generous and has a wonderful newsletter that is filled with writerly advice.  Enjoy the following poem!

I am pleased to be part of Sonya’s poetry month blitz. I took the long road to poetry–from journalism through public relations (the writing of media releases), copy writing, fiction, and finally–only recently–poetry.  I hope you like this poem that won the Franklin Christoph prize of $1,000. I used it later in a book of poetry called Sublime Planet.(http://amzn.to/SublimePlanet). It was coauthored by Aussie poet Magdalena Ball and we wrote the book with Earth Day in mind, though it is good reading for anyone interested in Planet Earth or the Universe.

Sublime Planet

Sublime Planet

Endangered Species

A dragon, hiding as dragons
do, to pounce upon prey, shock

them into submission with forked
tongue, spiked tail, blue-green

scales, brimstone breath. But not
a sea dragon, this—nearly misnamed

a seahorse—dainty—
disguises herself in briny

fronds, sways with the current.
her delicate horn-shaped

snout trumpets silence.
Long like a dragon,

long as a water-lily stem,
soft, and—presumably,

slick. She flourishes
her leaf-like fins, the translucent

shade of her underwater forest
of amber seaweed pads, exactly,

matches her dance to that of the kelp,
ballet in slow motion

so the visitor to her underocean
home will not see her. She will take

them by surprise
with tenderness.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Accepted in Poets & Writers prestigious list of published poets, multi award-winning novelist and poet Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list “14 San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. She was an instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program for nearly a decade. In addition to Tracings, published by Finishing Line Press, she and Magdalena Ball coauthored the Celebration Series of chapbooks including Cherished Pulse (www.budurl.com/CherishedPulse) for someone you love, Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions for the men in your life (www.budurl.com/Imagining), She Wore Emerald Then (www.budurl.com/MotherChapbook) for mothers and other women, Deeper in the Pond, for the feminists in your life— both men and women (www.budurl.com/DeeperPond), and Blooming Red (www.budurl.com/BloomingRed), to use as Christmas cards or incidental holiday gifts.  You also will find an entry intended to please the tree-huggers in your social circle. Sublime Planet is at http://amzn.to/SublimePlanet and the selections for Sonya’s blog today is from that book.

 

 

 Suzanne Lummis, UCLA poetry instructor and LA’s unique contribution to the poetry world says, “Sublime Planet begins with Carolyn Howard Johnson’s love poems to the living world, rapturous poems, expansive in spirit yet precise in detail: ‘An impossible moth,/dark eye at its center, opaque//helicopter blades buzz and blur… .’ In Magdalena Ball’s darker meditations, hurt and thirst have entered the world facilitated, in part, by the machinations of civilization. While Howard-Johnson’s poems praise, Ball’s seem to sound a low warning. I recommend Sublime Planet particularly to those individuals who reside on the planet.”