Friday, November 29, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

Love Totem
By Amy Cunningham

Dream—
I will meet you at Talking Log
when Daffodil rises
and Mud sticks to boots.

Sun—
I will meet you at Talking Log
when Stream has Moon
and Dog perches on Flat Rock to drink.

Music—
I will meet you at Talking Log
when Leaf becomes Sea
and Sound brushes jingle dress.

Fire—
I will meet you at Talking Log
when Snow freezes Time
and Shadow whishes as we walk.

Peace—
I will meet you at Talking Log
when West Wind rages
and Deer hides behind Tree.

Death—
I will meet you at Talking Log
and Thunderbird will be our guide
and Great Spirit will carry us.


Amy Cunningham was one of the wonderful poets I encountered on MySpace. She wrote this beautiful poem when she was 10! (Which was in 1977.) She was a lot older than that when we connected, and I don't remember why she chose to share it on MySpace, but I thought it an astounding piece of work from a child that age. (I wrote poems as a child too, but not of that calibre!) I think it extraordinarily accomplished, and I loved it better than the poems she was writing as an adult, which were in a more experimental style.

Unfortunately she was one I lost touch with after MySpace, and when I tried Googling her for this post I couldn't find her. There are lots of Amy Cunninghams, but not one listed as a poet, and no sign of her poetry anywhere online.  I looked very carefully, and none of them has her face either, so it's not as if she is present in some other capacity.

If anyone knows of her, please let me know too. (As you may guess from the poem, she was American.) Meanwhile, when we were in contact she gave permission for me to share this poem with the people in my writers' group, so I trust she would not object to my sharing it with this rather larger writers' group too. 

And I still think, if I can give you only one poem from this poet, this one is THE one.


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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Verse First ~ Walk in Gratitude

Verse First ~ Walk in Gratitude


Welcome to VERSE FIRST, where simple notions prompt amazing poems.
Today's notion?

WALK IN GRATITUDE



Today's is another simple prompt. Take a walk. On that walk, observe your surroundings with an eye of gratitude. When you return to your writing table, quickly write down your observations, then refine them; burn away the dross to reveal a poem that will imbue your readers with gratitude, too. 

Post your poem on your site, then link it here. Please! Share original work and honor the Poets United spirit of community by visiting and commenting on others' contributions.


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Monday, November 25, 2013

Life of a Poet - Kim Nelson

In our series of staff interviews, kids, today we have our inimitable Kim Nelson, who brings us such great prompts every Wednesday on Verse First. This busy poet can be found at Kim Nelson Creates, and she has been wildly busy these last months with a Total Home Renovation. I was stoked when she made time to meet with us.




P.U.: Let’s start off with an update, Kim: I know you and your husband’s recent move was a big change in your life. Tell us a little about your new house (and where you are located, generally, on the planet). What was living in the middle of a renovation like?


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Poetry Pantry # 177

             


Thanksgiving Postcard 1900




Greetings, Poets!  


Glad to see each of you here this week. Hope you each had a poetic week & also will share one of your poems here.  It is always fun to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same. 

This week I have a photo of a Thanksgiving postcard from 1900, which is in the public domain. This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, so there will be a lot of celebrating and, traditionally,  eating!  I just thought the postcard showed a little bit of light-hearted fun!

I will issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to dixibear@aol.com letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

Anyway, with no further adieu, this is one of my favorite spaces to post poetry each week.  I hope you look forward to it too.  An older one or a new one, it's your choice.

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.


Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

Also, don't forget to visit Poets United other days of the week.  For example, every Wednesday Kim posts a new "Verse First" prompt.  Hope you will join us there as well!  Sherry Blue Sky does a feature (it varies) on Monday, and Rosemary Nissen-Wade does "I Wish I'd Written This" every Friday!

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Enjoy!















Friday, November 22, 2013

I Wish I'd WrittenThis

Lead Dog


The sled is ready
yet even its whip
depends   on you
to see over ice
that sun forgets

At harness
the other
dogs wait
for the urge
of leather
that sparks

with you

How do you find
the track before 
the footfall?

How do you find
the heat before
the flame?

How do you find
the will before
the thought?

From The Snow in Us,  © 1988 and republished in  Kiss and Tell: Selected and New Poems 1987-2002. A second edition of The Snow in Us was released by Interactive Press in 2013 in both print and ebook versions.


I have copies of both the books in which this poem has been published, one printed and the other on Kindle. The Snow in Us grew from time the poet spent with the Inuit people in Canada. I love how this poem is rooted in the physical, sensual and practical whilst simultaneously almost mystical. The questions it poses seem to come from a very natural curiosity about this animal which does its job so well — and at the same time they are much broader and deeper than that.

David Reiter is an award-winning poet, writer of prose and transmedia artist based in Brisbane, Australia. We Aussies like to claim him as an Australian writer, but he was born and grew up in the United States and then lived a number of years in Canada before migrating to Australia in 1986. He studied at universities in both the USA and  Canada, and has taught at universities in Canada and Australia. He has also been involved in publishing, with environmental, sociological and literary focuses. He now runs his own business, IP (Interactive Publishing) as well as being a workshop leader and public speaker. 

I also have his excellent book of short stories, Trianglesas an ebook. It was runner-up in a major national award, and I can quite see why. One of his poetry books, Hemingway in Spain, has been made into a film. His latest book, My Planets, a fictive memoir, won the Western Australian Premier's Award for Digital Narrative. You can find more of his books on his Amazon page. He is just now putting the final touches to the fourth book in his Project Earth-mend Series of environmentally-conscious novels for children. It will be released in 2014.

In a short article like this, it's hard to do justice to the work of such a productive author. I've only scratched the surface, so I hope you check out some of links. For one final treat, here he is on YouTube, reading from My Planets.



Any poem or photo used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remains the property of the copyright holder (usually its author).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Verse First ~ The Work is Not About Place

Verse First ~ The Work Is Not About Place


Welcome to VERSE FIRST, where simple notions prompt amazing poems.
Today's notion?

THE WORK IS NOT ABOUT PLACE

Writer's often assume they must be in a particular place, using specific tools, with just the write atmosphere to write. I challenge that. Today, do not allow yourself to follow you own ritual and routine. Go to a place where you've never before written. Then write. 


One poem.
7 lines in length.
Make it perfect. 

Post your poem on your site, then link it here. Please! Only share original work and honor the Poets United spirit of community by visiting and commenting on others' contributions.


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Monday, November 18, 2013

Life of a Poet - Sreejit Poole

I hope your passports are up to date, kids, because today we are going on a very special trip, to hear about a life so inspiring and heartwarming you will not leave this interview unchanged. I asked Sreejit Poole of The Seeker's Dungeon for an interview, suspecting he would have an interesting story. But I wasn't prepared for just how interesting. This has to be one of the most amazing life stories I have had the privilege to impart.




Poets United: Sreejit, first of all, would you give us a snapshot of your life – a small portrait of the poet?



The Seeker

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Poetry Pantry #176

             

British Columbia, 2012

British Columbia, 2012

British Columbia, 2012

British Columbia, 2012


Greetings, Poets!  


Glad to see each of you here this week. Hope you each had a poetic week & also will share one of your poems here.  It is always fun to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same. 

This week's photos were taken by Sam Edge.  They are photos of his snowmobile trip - Mount Timothy, Caribou Region, British Columbia, Canada,  the winter of 2012. Thanks, Sam.  You let us all know what we have to look forward to!

I will issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to dixibear@aol.com letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

Anyway, with no further adieu, this is one of my favorite spaces to post poetry each week.  I hope you look forward to it too.  An older one or a new one, it's your choice.

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.


Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

Also, don't forget to visit Poets United other days of the week.  For example, every Wednesday Kim posts a new "Verse First" prompt.  Hope you will join us there as well!  Sherry Blue Sky does a feature (it varies) on Monday, and Rosemary Nissen-Wade does "I Wish I'd Written This" every Friday!

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Enjoy!















Friday, November 15, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

Purple My Heart
By Odilia Galvan Rodriguez

            for dad
purple my heart
at nine years old
watching the man I loved
more than anyone in the world
sitting in the blue-red light
 
coming through
the picture window
holding in his strong hands
 
the case
 
that held
 
all he had to show
for all those hundreds
 
of lives he’d taken
their spirits brought him
 
countless sleepless nights
or took him in and out
 
of the other side
 
with night sweats
 
the wake up screaming
 
nightmares
full of those violet faces
of his ghost sickness

purple the heart
my father won in Korea
 
then this trophy case
 
shattered and split
with dried seeds of blood
 
on still clenched fist
all his medals torn apart
ripped and wrinkled ribbons
 
resting on splintered glass
meaningless medallions
 
tossed aside in disgust
 
he, repeating over and over
I did this for what?

purple the oath
of loyalty
 
my father took
pledged his life
to defend his country
from the Reds
but after all was said
 
the speeches of good will
could not quell the visions
of ones that looked up at him
from charred fields of death
where his big guns had buried them
mirrored back were faces of kin
they claimed him more
 
than the white man did
when he returned home
from Korea
jobs and housing
barred from him
and his kind

purple the smoke of
burning cedar and sage
of lavender oil rubbed
 
deep into head, chest
 
hands and feet
elders predicted
there was not enough
 
their medicine could do
no amount of ceremony
 
could wash away
 
that amount blood
the sickness
 
would have to fade
 
like the signs
of fire, flood or
 
earthquake
with the years
he’d have to pray
 
away the madness
 
await his destiny
 

purple the sorrow cloth
lining his coffin
 
covering the mirrors
 
after his death
rain through
 
street lamp glow
the sunset
ripple clouds
in a sky so blue
amaranth  amethyst
heliotrope  lavender
lilacs  lupines  crocuses new
flowers on a heroes grave

purpled the night's glow
seeping through my window
his candles on the dresser
lighting the dark















Dad, Gilberto Rodriguez Paredes, far left, and friends 
during the Korean "Conflict"  - The Forgotten War.



I first encountered Odilia's work on MySpace. Very artistic, she had one of the most visually colourful and exotic blogs there, and it was full of wonderful poetry. A prolific poet, she did many series of haiku, and I considered her the master of the pantoum (she was experimental within the form). As you can see, she is equally brilliant in free verse.  I'm sure you understand why I chose this particular poem — it's so moving!

Odilia says of herself:

Author Odilia Galván Rodríguez, is of Chicano-Lipan Apache ancestry, born in Galveston, Texas and raised on the south side of Chicago. As a social justice activist for many years, Ms. Galván Rodríguez worked as a community and labor organizer, for the United Farm Workers of America AFL-CIO and other community based organizations, and served on various city/county boards and commissions. She is the author of three books of poetry, of which Migratory Birds: New and Noted Poems, is her latest publication.  Her creative writing has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies such as, The En'owkin Journal of First North American Peoples, New Chicana / Chicano Writing: 1& 2, Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native American Women's Writings of North America, Here is my kingdom: Hispanic-American literature and art for young people, Zyzzyva, The Beltway Poetry Quarterly, La Bloga as well as other online sites. She most recently worked as the English Edition Editor for Tricontinental Magazine, in Havana, Cuba under OSPAAAL, an NGO with consultative status to the United Nations.  She is also one of the facilitators of Poets Responding to SB1070, a Facebook page dedicated to calling attention to the unjust laws recently passed in Arizona which target Latinos, and teaches Empowering People Through Creative Writing Workshops nationally.  

You can read more of her poetry at her blog, feathers from the muse's wings, or in her Facebook Notes, and you can hear her read (beautifully!) on YouTube. The title poem of her book, Migratory Birds, is at Poem Hunter, and you can find the book at GoodReads.


Any poem or photo used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remains the property of the copyright holder (usually its author).



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Verse First ~ The Ordinary

Verse First ~ The Ordinary


Welcome to VERSE FIRST, where simple notions prompt amazing poems.
Today's notion?

THE ORDINARY

Today's prompt is simple and sweet. Write about something quite ordinary. In the words of Natalie Goldberg"Give homage to old coffee cups, sparrows, city buses, thin ham sandwiches."

Post your poem on your site, then link it here. Please! Only share original work and honor the Poets United spirit of community by visiting and commenting on others' contributions.


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Monday, November 11, 2013

Blog of the Week - MindLoveMisery

I'm sure you are familiar with this talented poet. Mindlovemisery lives in Sweden with her husband and small daughter, and explains that her blog's name "reflects the subjects most extensively explored in my poetry". I selected three poems I am especially impressed with from MindLoveMisery, our Blog of the Week. The first one especially knocked my socks off. Enjoy!

   


My bat-like  psyche hangs inverted
From the bough of a restive elm
The stars are my familiars
They anoint and endow me
A shaman poet
I drink of ink and ether equally
*
My eyes are composed of dark matter
They remain poised beneath felt lashes
Dare me and I’ll unmake the world
*
I surrender savage and Mesozoic
To instincts and intuitions
Bone dragons nest inside my entrails
Lungs articulating fire, spleen an oil well
My language is unpalatable
Toxic when combined
With the nectar of a foreign tongue
*
I know the dusk, I have borne her
My vestal daughter courting
Elysian nocturnes, her coronet
Is lined with violets and chrysoprases
She adjusts her moods to my psychophoria
She understands me
But would never knowingly
Become me
Fantastic writing, isn't it, kids? Check this one out:
Your fingers catch on the windowsill
Impatient pulse nailing my coffin closed
In the night you creep, the stars spilling
From your lips, our villainous needs wept
Into silk sheets, beautiful only after the
Negatives are exposed. Beautiful when
Our voices collide like earth and sea
=
I dream only of your sex of these moments
Interred like fingernails in flesh. I’ll never
Let go of your soul, the way we fit, the way
We dissolve, seamlessly. The sun rise deceives,
Twists our words so delicately into elusion, there
Is no forgiving a faithless moon, let’s love each
Other viciously but only when it’s dark, only
When I am blind enough to believe that love
Binds our limbs. I want to be more than misery’s
Daughter, more than salt, more than a Band Aid
Placed carelessly over a lonely wounded heart
=
Warm me in your furnace, make me meaningful,
Make me worthy, just call my name when we rise,
Just call my name like there is no one else at all
I want to be your river, to give you life, to rinse
Away the guilt of too many misplaced consequences
And another:
I cast off my shackles, the hollow-ringed
Anxiety that tethers ankles and wings to an
Inert platform, to a potentiality framed by the
Deformations of dreams left to harden into a
Sparrow-cell of regrets. I have assumed a slavery
So claustrophobic that my breath is measured and
Vilified for its occupation of space and resources.
Primitive and neglected I flap only, the heavens have
Never expressed my higher instincts. The ceiling hangs
So low that I cannot stand with my back erect, I can
Only stoop, humiliated by self-imposed limitations
=
I cast out these euphemistic silences
The bony dialogues rendered unsteady
By a bewitched tongue, the volatile plexus
Of hysterical butterfly nerves that summon
The essence of rose into the morbid pallor
Of flesh. Blushes erupting, volcanic and
Dangerous, irrespective of the provocateur,
Irrespective of the prosaicness of the incident
=
I cast off false grievances the imagined
Scenarios that decimate will, alternate universe
Alternating between gradations of a black hopeless
Panic. I have experienced the most terrible, despicable
Acts of criminality at the behest of my own imagination
Events that bare not the slightest resemblance to life but
To which I nevertheless offer my paranoid convictions
=
I want to embrace a world beyond my cloistered ego, to
Love mightily, madly and with ruthless abandon let this
Ubiquitous womb of a mind, this bone-guarded architect
Break free like the entrails of a pumpkin scooped cleanly,
Spaciousness allowing for the passage of light. Happiness
Is orange, invigorating it does not last but it will come again
And again if the door remains open, even a window would do
What a glorious feast of words! Thank you so much, Mindlovemisery, for your participation at Poets United. We appreciate you!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Poetry Pantry #175

             


Opera House - Sydney, Australia

Harbor Bridge - Sydney, Australia

Harbor Bridge - Sydney, Australia

Harbor Bridge - Night View



Greetings, Poets!  


Glad to see each of you here this week. Hope you each had a poetic week & also will share one of your poems here.  It is always fun to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same. 

This week's photos were taken by me in Sydney, Australia.  The Sydney Opera House is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of Sydney, followed by the Harbor Bridge. I was in Sydney on the day they celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Harbor Bridge.  The bridge was closed for some hours that day to auto traffic, and they had a Harbor Bridge Walk so people could walk over the bridge.  This had only happened twice previously.  Once when the bridge opened in 1932.  Once when it had its 50th anniversary.  And then when I was there on the 75th anniversary.  I was excited about being there that day, and I participated in this walk & have a Harbor Bridge Walk T-shirt to prove it.  Smiles.

I will issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to dixibear@aol.com letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

Anyway, with no further adieu, this is one of my favorite spaces to post poetry each week.  I hope you look forward to it too.  An older one or a new one, it's your choice.

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.


Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

Also, don't forget to visit Poets United other days of the week.  For example, every Wednesday Kim posts a new "Verse First" prompt.  Hope you will join us there as well!  Sherry Blue Sky does a feature (it varies) on Monday, and Rosemary Nissen-Wade does "I Wish I'd Written This" every Friday!

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And now...here is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.

Enjoy!

















Friday, November 8, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

The Hospital Window
By James L. Dickey (1923-1997)

I have just come down from my father.
Higher and higher he lies
Above me in a blue light
Shed by a tinted window.
I drop through six white floors
And then step out onto pavement.

Still feeling my father ascend,
I start to cross the firm street,
My shoulder blades shining with all
The glass the huge building can raise.
Now I must turn round and face it,
And know his one pane from the others.

Each window possesses the sun
As though it burned there on a wick.
I wave, like a man catching fire.
All the deep-dyed windowpanes flash,
And, behind them, all the white rooms
They turn to the color of Heaven.

Ceremoniously, gravely, and weakly,
Dozens of pale hands are waving
Back, from inside their flames.
Yet one pure pane among these
Is the bright, erased blankness of nothing.
I know that my father is there,

In the shape of his death still living.
The traffic increases around me
Like a madness called down on my head.
The horns blast at me like shotguns,
And drivers lean out, driven crazy—
But now my propped-up father

Lifts his arm out of stillness at last.
The light from the window strikes me
And I turn as blue as a soul,
As the moment when I was born.
I am not afraid for my father—
Look! He is grinning; he is not

Afraid for my life, either,
As the wild engines stand at my knees
Shredding their gears and roaring,
And I hold each car in its place
For miles, inciting its horn
To blow down the walls of the world

That the dying may float without fear
In the bold blue gaze of my father.
Slowly I move to the sidewalk
With my pin-tingling hand half dead
At the end of my bloodless arm.
I carry it off in amazement,

High, still higher, still waving,
My recognized face fully mortal,
Yet not; not at all, in the pale,
Drained, otherworldly, stricken,
Created hue of stained glass.
I have just come down from my father.

I have long loved this beautiful poem, because it reminds me of visiting my father in his nursing home when he was dying. The circumstances were different — no high floors to come down from, no waving through windows —but in some ways the feeling was the same, including the unspoken yet mutually conveyed knowledge that we were saying goodbye.

Regarded as a major American poet of his time, Dickey thought there was a poet buried in everyone, but that only some people felt the need to find and release that poetic spirit. After serving in the Air Force and then working in advertising, when he released his own poet he won awards and held prestigious positions — notably Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress (later to become the office of Poet Laureate).

He was known for experimentation with language and syntax, and for contrasting our violent animal instincts with the supposedly safe veneer of civilisation. Some critics regarded him as deliberately eccentric. So it may seem that this poem about his father must be gentler and more accessible than most. But when you look at the others, it's not so. I think that by now poetry has been through so much experimentation, and addressed such confronting subjects, that Dickey's no longer strikes us as extreme. In fact later critics refer to his work as having 'intense clarity' or being 'deceptively simple'. You can judge for yourself by the pieces at PoemHunter.com or you can find his books at Amazon.

He was also a novelist, and the author of the best-selling Deliverance, which was made into a highly successful movie.



Any poem or photo used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remains the property of the copyright holder (usually its author).