Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life of a Poet ~ PattiKen and the Muses

by Sherry Blue Sky

Hi kids. I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving and are all refreshed and ready to plunge back into the world of poetry again. This week’s poet claims she isn’t one, but I beg to differ, as I have been enjoying her poetry for a long time now. We are sitting down today with Patti, of PattiKen and the Muses.  For Patti,  I envision, (as it turns out, accurately),  a table at Starbucks,  some foamy lattes, and frequent ka-ching noises from the busy cash registers. Let’s gather ‘round.
Patti and friend

Poets United: Patti, thank you so much for sitting down with us.
Patti: Thanks again for asking me to participate.  The title threw me a bit. I have never seen myself as a poet. I sit down to write and sometimes a poem-like piece emerges, which always surprises me. Any poetry I manage to produce is an accident. Yes, that feels more like it:  The Life of an Accidental Poet.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Poetry Pantry Is Now Open! - #77



The Poetry Pantry
2nd Chance Poems or 1st time shares

Anything goes!! All Poems, all Poets, All Week!!

Do you have a poem you would like to share? Something that you just felt inspired to write and want others to read. Perhaps it’s a poem that didn’t get as much exposure on your blog as you would have liked. Maybe it’s a poem that you wrote a long time ago that you would like people to revisit. That’s what this section of Poets United is for.

Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to anything you want us to read, anything at all related to poetry or prose found on your own poetry blogs. It will remain open all week so that you can show us your writings and thoughts. You can post links weekly should you chose to do so. What poetry you put here is up to you so don't be afraid to share with us!!


There 3 simple rules:

1. Don’t link to more than 3 poems per week.

2. Please visit some of the other poems linked here when you link to yours.

3. Leave a comment after you have posted
your link.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Poetry Pantry Is Now Open! - #76



Poets United will only have the pantry through out the holiday week so that all the folks behind the scenes here can have a great time with their families.    

The Poetry Pantry
2nd Chance Poems or 1st time shares

Anything goes!! All Poems, all Poets, All Week!!

Do you have a poem you would like to share? Something that you just felt inspired to write and want others to read. Perhaps it’s a poem that didn’t get as much exposure on your blog as you would have liked. Maybe it’s a poem that you wrote a long time ago that you would like people to revisit. That’s what this section of Poets United is for.

Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to anything you want us to read, anything at all related to poetry or prose found on your own poetry blogs. It will remain open all week so that you can show us your writings and thoughts. You can post links weekly should you chose to do so. What poetry you put here is up to you so don't be afraid to share with us!!


There 3 simple rules:

1. Don’t link to more than 3 poems per week.

2. Please visit some of the other poems linked here when you link to yours.

3. Leave a comment after you have posted
your link.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Classic Poetry - “'kitty'. sixteen,5'1",white,prostitute” by E.E. Cummings



Chimneys XII: “'kitty'. sixteen,5'1",white,prostitute”
BY E. E. CUMMINGS

ducking always the touch of must and shall,
whose slippery body is Death's littlest pal,

skilled in quick softness. Unspontaneous. cute.

the signal perfume of whose unrepute
focusses in the sweet slow animal
bottomless eyes importantly banal,

Kitty. a whore. Sixteen
you corking brute
amused from time to time by clever drolls
fearsomely who do keep their sunday flower.
The babybreasted broad "kitty" twice eight

—beer nothing,the lady'll have a whiskey-sour—

whose least amazing smile is the most great
common divisor of unequal souls.

Want to know more about the man touted as the most innovative of 20th century poets? Click on over to The Poetry Foundation for a fascinating brief biography of E. E. Cummings.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Wish I'd Written This

Fireworks and champagne

I pass among you disguised, you’ll scarcely see me
in this slack envelope, unremarkable,

heavy with the dull purviews of age,
warmth, the next meal, the next step.

Ah, if you knew, I am in my second childhood,
each flower incandescent, the sky bluer and bluer.

Spring is a star-burst, the trees whizz up like rockets,
the children are jumping-jacks, girls are fountains.

Such colour and sound, I shall shatter with joy,
leach into rivers, blow on the wind.

You can sweep me up, walk through me,
I am winning, I am becoming invisible.



Barbara Giles at the launch of the La Mama Poetica anthology 1998. Photo Pamela Sidney ('unofficial' photographer of the Melbourne poetry scene in the eighties and nineties) from her blog, Melbourne Poetry Gig Guide.

Poet, author and children’s novelist Barbara Giles was already elderly when I met her, but full of vitality and sharp intelligence. She seemed to burst into prominence suddenly in the late seventies, as a loved and respected poet, an authoritative figure in Australian poetry. She was chief editor of Luna, a poetry magazine run by women, known for both its cutting edge and its high standards. She was one of the founders of Pariah Press Cooperative (the members of which were kind enough to invite me to join so as to publish my first book) and she was prominent in the Melbourne Branch of the Poets Union of Australia, later Melbourne Poets Union. An indefatigable promoter of good poetry wherever she found it, and a mentor to many including me, Barbara was also my good friend. I’ll never forget her great kindness in a time of need. Sadly, she developed Alzheimer’s Disease when she was very old, and died in care at the age of 94 — but as you can see from the wonderful piece on ageing above, for most of her life her mind was rich.

Her books are listed here (the home improvement volumes co-authored with Carl Giles are by a different Barbara) but I can’t find her poems online except for some humorous stuff for children, so I’ll treat you to a couple more of my favourites:

In the park, looking

I’m not too old to like the shape of a man,
his walk, the set of his head on his shoulders,
the strong legs, well fleshed and that bright
black-browed glance. There’s a nose that I like,
admiring blank-faced. If you saw me at all,
you’d think I’m reminded of someone,
husband, son, grandson, not that I look at you
as a woman looks at a man who stirs her.

The heart lifts, it’s good to see a fine man,
to think, there goes a man I could love.
I’m looking at you, not remembering.
But as I well know, you don’t see me,
old women are almost invisible. If I do catch your eye,
likely enough you’ll be thinking, ‘She has a look of my mother.’


And, on a rather different note, an earlier piece:


Eve rejects apple

In serene sixties strolling in the Louvre
I am accosted, and being old enough
I answer, to have him take my arm.
‘Voulez-vous promener? I am Michel.
I come from the South. Are you alone in Paris?
Now you have a friend.’ Stating a preference for pictures,
like an old player I elude his grasp.
The swarthy hunter is hot after the quarry, renewing
his clutch on my arm, dangling the ultimate bait.
‘I want to sleep with you, I much prefer
an older woman. The young are acid, raw.
You are alone. No-one will know what you do.
Here is your chance to live!’ My unkind laughter
releases me to enquire of a ripened lady, who kindly
points me the way to the Dürer, and I go,
happy in that I have repelled seduction
entirely in French.



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Thursday Think Tank # 75 - You and Yourself (I...)


We always write about what is around us, the world in verbal color so to speak.  Our poems are about our family, our friends, even nature but we have yet to focus on ourselves.  I figure before the holidays absorb us and pull us in every direction why not take a moment to enjoy who we are (or criticize).  This week start a poem with I.  I am here, I live, I breathe, I whatever. 

Take a deep breath and think about yourself. What is the first thing that comes to mind?  Tell us about you in poetry.  We can’t wait to learn a bit about you and what makes you tick.

We can’t wait to read about you and who you are today, tomorrow or yesterday.

If you have a prompt idea (even a Music or Film inspired one) that you would like to suggest or share with us please send it to poetsunited@ymail.com . We keep a folder set aside with all your suggestions and just might use it one day.


There 3 simple rules:

1. Don’t link to more than 3 poems per week.

2. Please visit some of the other poems linked here when you link to yours.

3. Leave a comment after you have posted your link.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Holiday Schedule and an Anthology Reminder!



A few folks here at Poets United have taken a day off here or there this week to relax and refresh. This means it leaves me at the controls to wreak havoc once again.  Insert maniacal laughter here if you’d like.  But of course nothing bad will come of my ramblings I just figure I would say hey and give a few updates.  So here they are:



The Second Poets United Anthology (yet to be titled) has over 40 submissions currently with only roughly 60 days till the deadline.  If you have not submitted your poetry or are pondering what to submit you better hop to it because deadlines like these can sneak up on you really fast.  With last year’s we published over 50 authors and poems and this year we hope to have 75 to 100.  So hurry and submit your poetry today.  You can find the rules on the top left of page.





Holiday Schedule Time!  With the seasons of Gobble Gobble and Ho Ho Ho upon us many folks will be traveling and visiting friends and family.  We will have a bit of down time the week of thanksgiving and then two weeks during the Christmas/New Years time frame.  The only things that will be posted is the Poetry Pantry and it will be up all week.  Don’t be alarmed we are not closing just taking a much needed break.




Thank each and every one of you for being such great supporters of the Poets United Community and don't forget to tell your friends about us.  


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Poem of the Week - Marauding Hordes (8 November, 2011)




Mary stepped away for a bit this week and left me with the fun of finding the poem of the week.  It didn't take me very long to stumble upon this little gem.  



I called you friend
For so long~
Best often
Fronted the word.

We had an understanding
That no matter what~
No matter who~
We would stand
Back to back
And take on the
Marauding Hordes.

There was little truth
To our arrangement.
You wanted.
You needed.
You took.
I gave.
I did.
I gave.
I did.
I said “no more”
One day.
You said to
Fuck off.
I did,
Wondering
What I did
To
Lose
Your
Friendship.

My need for closeness
Outweighed my sense
Of self preservation.

You ran the well dry
Then moved the pump.

Another source to
Feed
Your Needs.

I stood alone
Against the
Marauding Hordes,
Of which you were one.



I found this to be a truthfully elegant read.  We all have experienced what the poem above describes at one point or another in our lives, a friend who is not so much a friend.  I love the word flow and particularly the two stanzas prior to the last one.  Short but very powerful if you ask me. 

You ran the well dry
Then moved the pump.

Another source to
Feed
Your Needs.

If you liked this poem as much as I did you may want to run over to U Keep Walking Foward's self titled site where I am sure you will find a whole slew of wonderful poems and posts.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Poetry Pantry Is Now Open! - #75



The Poetry Pantry
2nd Chance Poems or 1st time shares

Anything goes!! All Poems, all Poets, All Week!!

Do you have a poem you would like to share? Something that you just felt inspired to write and want others to read. Perhaps it’s a poem that didn’t get as much exposure on your blog as you would have liked. Maybe it’s a poem that you wrote a long time ago that you would like people to revisit. That’s what this section of Poets United is for.

Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to anything you want us to read, anything at all related to poetry or prose found on your own poetry blogs. It will remain open all week so that you can show us your writings and thoughts. You can post links weekly should you chose to do so. What poetry you put here is up to you so don't be afraid to share with us!!


There 3 simple rules:

1. Don’t link to more than 3 poems per week.

2. Please visit some of the other poems linked here when you link to yours.

3. Leave a comment after you have posted
your link.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Classic Poetry: THE HIPPOPOTAMUS by T.S. Eliot



THE HIPPOPOTAMUS
by: T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
HE broad-backed hippopotamus
Rests on his belly in the mud;
Although he seems so firm to us
He is merely flesh and blood.

Flesh-and-blood is weak and frail,
Susceptible to nervous shock;
While the True Church can never fail
For it is based upon a rock.

The hippo's feeble steps may err
In compassing material ends,
While the True Church need never stir
To gather in its dividends.

The 'potamus can never reach
The mango on the mango-tree;
But fruits of pomegranate and peach
Refresh the Church from over sea.

At mating time the hippo's voice
Betrays inflexions hoarse and odd,
But every week we hear rejoice
The Church, at being one with God.

The hippopotamus's day
Is passed in sleep; at night he hunts;
God works in a mysterious way--
The Church can sleep and feed at once.

I saw the 'potamus take wing
Ascending from the damp savannas,
And quiring angels round him sing
The praise of God, in loud hosannas.

Blood of the Lamb shall wash him clean
And him shall heavenly arms enfold,
Among the saints he shall be seen
Performing on a harp of gold.

He shall be washed as white as snow,
By all the martyr'd virgins kist,
While the True Church remains below
Wrapt in the old miasmal mist.




"The Hippopotamus" is reprinted from Poems. T.S. Eliot. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1920
Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, of an old New England family. He was educated at Harvard and did graduate work in philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and Merton College, Oxford. He settled in England, where he was for a time a schoolmaster and a bank clerk, and eventually literary editor for the publishing house Faber & Faber, of which he later became a director. He founded and, during the seventeen years of its publication (1922-1939), edited the exclusive and influential literary journal Criterion. In 1927, Eliot became a British citizen and about the same time entered the Anglican Church.Eliot has been one of the most daring innovators of twentieth-century poetry. Never compromising either with the public or indeed with language itself, he has followed his belief that poetry should aim at a representation of the complexities of modern civilization in language and that such representation necessarily leads to difficult poetry. Despite this difficulty his influence on modern poetic diction has been immense.


by A.M. Trumble


Friday, November 11, 2011

I Wish I'd Written This

My favourite lyric poet, Michael Dransfield, died when he was only 24. There are various stories about his death. One says that, after finally winning a long battle with heroin, he was given morphine for his injuries in a motorcycle accident and got hooked again. Another says he died from tetanus, acquired from a dirty needle. Like many of his readers, I discovered him posthumously.

My very favourite Dransfield poem, for its evocative beauty of language and its musicality, is Patricia’s Raga. (Note: There’s a misprint in the copy at this link. The phrase is ‘sarod and ‘tablas’, not ‘sarod and tables’! ) Nevertheless I don’t wish I had written it, because I wouldn’t want to be so well acquainted with addiction! Many of his other poems, brilliant though they are, speak of sadness and isolation; he tends to place himself as the outsider.

This little love poem, though, I think near perfect.

Pas de deux for lovers

Morning ought not
to be complex.
The sun is a seed
cast at dawn into the long
furrow of history.

To wake
and go
would be so simple.

Yet

how the 
first light
makes gold her hair

upon my arm.
How then
shall I leave,
and where away to go.  Day
is so deep already with involvement.





There is a substantial collection of his poems here. Click on any of them to find treasures. Icarus, Ground Zero, July with her, July Poem, Love (dialogue) poem, Ryokan, Souvenir of Casino, Death as Triumph, To a lover going, O Genevieve sweet Genevieve... Oh heck, read them all!

Most of his books are on Amazon. I recommend the Collected Poems because then you get the lot. Fortunately for the readers he left behind, he was a prolific poet.  I don't think he ever wrote a bad poem!



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).


Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Thursday Think Tank # 74 - Winter


Surprisingly we have never used the topic of winter at the Think Tank before. We have covered every season save for the cold one. With all the current weird early winter storms affecting some folks I figure why not see what it inspires. Some of you may be dealing with warm weather and what not so this will be a great time to test that imagination of yours.

What does winter make you think about? Do you imagine snow filled days as a wonderful thing or do you dread having to shovel for hours just to get your car out of the drive way? Do you envision a gorgeous white sunlit landscape or the ugly grey mush of the city? Maybe it reminds you of a cozy fire with the family during the holidays or maybe it makes you feel alone and long for company. Whatever it makes you remember, feel or imagine we hope this week’s topic will inspire you to write.
We can’t wait to cozy up in a blanket and sit by the computer reading all your wonderful poems about winter.


If you have a prompt idea (even a Music or Film inspired one) that you would like to suggest or share with us please send it to poetsunited@ymail.com . We keep a folder set aside with all your suggestions and just might use it one day.


There 3 simple rules:

1. Don’t link to more than 3 poems per week.

2. Please visit some of the other poems linked here when you link to yours.

3. Leave a comment after you have posted your link.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life of a Poet ~ Dr. Baishali Mitra

by Sherry Blue Sky

Kids, the other day I read a quote from poet Mary Lou Kownacki that said, "Is there anyone we wouldn't love, if we only knew their story?" That is just so true, and is especially so this week, as we talk to our enchanting guest, Dr. Baishali Mitra, the Celestial Dreamz of Moonlight and Dreamz, who cordially invited me to call her by her beautiful nickname, Moon. When I asked her if she would grace us with an interview, she was so charming and humble and warm, she just blew me away. PLUS she lives in India, a place I have long dreamed about. So for this interview, let's pile some colorful cushions on the floor, close by the fire. Do you smell the scent of cloves and cinnamon? We are having a very specially-brewed Indian chai tea, the most delicious tea EVER. Get ready to dream, as we make a too-short visit to the beautiful country of India.

                                                    


Poets United: Moon, I am so happy to be sitting down with you. To set the scene, would you like to tell us a little about yourself? You live in a glorious part of the world, rich in history and culture. Anything you’d like to tell us about life in India? I am eager to hear your story.



                                            [ Moon "feeling one with nature"]

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Poetry Pantry Is Now Open! - #74



The Poetry Pantry
2nd Chance Poems or 1st time shares

Anything goes!! All Poems, all Poets, All Week!!

Do you have a poem you would like to share? Something that you just felt inspired to write and want others to read. Perhaps it’s a poem that didn’t get as much exposure on your blog as you would have liked. Maybe it’s a poem that you wrote a long time ago that you would like people to revisit. That’s what this section of Poets United is for.

Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to anything you want us to read, anything at all related to poetry or prose found on your own poetry blogs. It will remain open all week so that you can show us your writings and thoughts. You can post links weekly should you chose to do so. What poetry you put here is up to you so don't be afraid to share with us!!


There 3 simple rules:

1. Don’t link to more than 3 poems per week.

2. Please visit some of the other poems linked here when you link to yours.

3. Leave a comment after you have posted
your link.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Classic Poetry - "The Beautiful Toilet" By Mei Sheng



The Beautiful Toilet

By Mei Sheng (Circe 14 BC)

Translated by Ezra Pound, for publication in Cathay (1915)


Blue, blue is the grass about the river

And the willows have overfilled the close garden.

And within, the mistress, in the midmost of her youth,

White, white of face, hesitates, passing the door.

Slender, she puts forth a slender hand;

And she was a courtezan in the old days,

And she has married a sot,

Who now goes drunkenly out

And leaves her too much alone.


Ezra Pound won unprecedented praise for the poetry he translated for publication in Cathay, even though the work was criticized for the westernization of Chinese names and for subtle linguistic inaccuracies.

Ford Madox Ford said, "The poems in Cathay are things of a supreme beauty. What poetry should be, that they are. And if a new breath of imagery and handling can do anything for our poetry, that new breath these poems bring . . .”

T. S. Eliot dubbed Pound the "inventor of Chinese poetry for our time" because no other credible translations of ancient Chinese poetry had previously been available until Cathay was published.

I find the poetry amazing because it verifies that people, no matter when or where they live, experience and learn via surprisingly similar struggles and challenges. What do you think?

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Wish I'd Written This

Budding Relationship
by Jennie Fraine

You found this red and blue robot
under a house you had to leave in Kew
and though its fist is empty of the gun
it once waved up and down up and down
you donate it to the toy box; it stands

almost as tall as your alien son
who knows all animals have daddies but not
which man is his own. He hugs the robot
to his chest to carry it outside, tells it
twice and sternly to get up when it falls

face down on the grass; after that,
does not persist. Later, he lays it on
the shiny lounge-room floor, spreads
a blanket over its legs. “Sleep,” he
instructs tenderly. The arms rest

stiffly parallel to the narrow-hipped sides.
He grabs his familiar teddy, sits watching
over the stranger, apparently satisfied
that it’s a law unto itself, a foreign territory
worth further study, or guarding.

As implied in this piece, Jennie Fraine is a single mum — to a son and daughter who are now adults. She lives with her mother and her daughter in a small town within commuting distance of Melbourne and works for Landmark Education, an international personal development company.

I like the understatement of this poem, and the subtlety of the metaphor. I happen to know that Jennie is an earth sign (Capricorn); perhaps that explains the sense of groundedness I find in many of her poems including this one. You can judge for yourself at her poetry blog. The list of her books is there too.

Online information about her is sparse. Neither that, nor what she says about herself at her blog profile, includes the information that her first book of poetry, The Cast Changes, was runner-up in the Anne Elder award the year it was published— a highly prestigious Australian prize for a first book of poetry. I know this because I was the publisher of that book! (Under my Abalone Press imprint, now discontinued.)

In the 1980s Jennie pioneered what she first called ‘on-the-spot’ and later ‘off-the-cuff’ poetry writing, and made her living by it for several years.  She now calls it Interactive Poetry. It involves asking people what poem they would like to write if they wrote poetry, and then writing it for them. Often there is a lot of talking back and forth to get the details, and they are asked if they want it to rhyme. The resulting poem is not just a regurgitation of their own words — it is crafted — but it does use many of their own words and tap into their own feelings, in a way that usually delights them.





Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Thursday Think Tank #73 - The Waning Days of Fall

It is the first Thursday of the month. Time for our photo prompt, # 73.  I for one am thankful, to turn the calendar to November. I might change my mind, when daylight savings is set in place. Spring forward and Fall back into shorter, darker days. I know not everyone has to reset their time yet still the days do get shorter as the seasons change.

I was snapping photos this week, thinking what would inspire you.  Take us on a different path if you will.  I know we have done something similar, but this is an up close look.  I like the variations of color and light.  I would love to read what it inspires in your poetic eye?



Our Monthly "Reflection" photo prompt is provided to us by Ella Wilson . We would like to thank Ella for her inspiring photos and for helping us out here at Poets United. If you would like to know more about Ella, see her other photos or read her poetry please visit the blog below:

If you have a prompt idea (even a Music or Film inspired one) that you would like to suggest or share with us please send it to poetsunited@ymail.com . We keep a folder set aside with all your suggestions and just might use it one day.


There 3 simple rules:

1. Don’t link to more than 3 poems per week.

2. Please visit some of the other poems linked here when you link to yours.

3. Leave a comment after you have posted your link.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life of a Poet ~ Philip Thrift


Kids, we have a quiet, steadfast, long-time member of Poets United and, more recently, of Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, whose turn in the spotlight is long overdue. Today we are sitting down with the extremely interesting and intellectual poet, Philip Thrift, of Poetical Bits. Philip is a man with an interesting mathematical bent and a droll sense of humor. Perhaps because of his career as a mathematician and software scientist, he writes with an economy of words and, I discovered, this applies to interviews, as well :) .

Philip's writing, he tells us on his profile page,  frequently follows themes of technology and science, gay and pop culture, politics and philosophy. He is now beginning to write some plays and scripts as well. What impressed me all to pieces, when I was researching his site, was the discovery that Philip wrote the original code for what became NIMH CORTEX (http://www.cortex.salk.edu/), which  is, apparently, a program for "data acquisition and experimental control of neurophysiological experiments." Wow. Here we go, kids. Let's dive in!




Poets United: Philip, would you tell us a little about yourself, so we can get to know the person behind the pen?


Philip: I hope one can get to know me though my writing through whatever form it comes in. I like to analyze things going on in the world and try to figure things out in a critical way. That's why I like to read about what's happening in science, technology, popular culture and politics. All things current.