Monday, January 6, 2014

Blog of the Week ~ SUSAN CHAST

Kids,  the last in our series featuring Poets United staff spotlights our newest staff member, Susan Chast, who will offer a weekly prompt every Wednesday under the title Mid-Week Motif, beginning this week. (It sounds intriguing, doesn't it?) I interviewed Susan in more depth in August of 2012, should you wish to find out more about her. Her story is very interesting.

Susan, as you know, is a talented poet, one very active in the blogosphere. We are thrilled to have her join our team. We are anticipating some cool prompts, to get our creative juices flowing, now the new year has begun. Susan blogs at Susan's Poetry, where she writes most days.

It is always fun to wander around someone's blog, plucking poems to showcase here. I found one that will give you a sense of Susan's whimsical nature, and her reverence for small beings. Enjoy!

“Nicely spun” my readers say and instantly I become Charlotte, using my web for the welfare of others while waiting for the two facts of life: offspring and death.

I am told they come at the same moment and  remind myself that though I am a spinster I am not a spider.  Spider is just my avatar.

Whereas, in truth, my house is home to multiple spiders whose webs hold it together, and whose yarns I overhear from the edge of sleep:
Do we truly have a safe harbor?  A human being who asks first and shoos later?  Who has a brush for a hand instead of a rock?  Who cares more about the yarn than the trap?  And can we stay and un-spin our luggage shouting as if from Whosville: listen, listen, if only, hear us and meet us and do not eat us and we will spin your tales into gold, and decorate your bookshelves?   World without end!
My tenants have already traced their paths from children’s books into poetry and the classics.

One recent waking dawn they asked me to write a play in which Charlotte, Anansi, and Ariadne meet for a beauty contest with a human judge.

I said I am not interested in world politics, and they said, this is our home, and we are your blessings, speak. 

And my tuffet became their daily hang out and drop in while I spun with ink as my yarn or the word processor on.

Nightly too, I spin and spin, then let words steep … and spiders move my fingers while I sleep.

I so love this poem! And here is another gem, timely for the beginning of this new year:


I fear expectations that I write extraordinary
poems for year’s end and for the new year, too,
creating blocks on blocks and more so.

Building with blocks instead of ideas—
with concrete objects instead of abstract—
I start with roads, add shoes, tires, brakes and drums.

And next thing I know I have Rhodas and Rhodes
on straightaways, and they don’t hesitate
to shoo off anything that tires or breaks.
The drums' beat keeps builders moving so fast
It’s a blast dropping, breaking active verbs,
characters and unmotivated plots.

Whew.  Playing with blocks is most dangerous
when inside the house, brain, heart, threshold of
fear, window sills and medicine cabinets

where I store my  preferred daze and numbness. 
Whew.  That was before.  What if  I wrote love
instead of fear?  Then how could blocks be near?

"What if I wrote love instead of fear?" How perfect is that? And, as she does so well, Susan elucidates the writing process in the following poem, too. Enjoy!

Words are just so many snowflakes
disappearing on warm roads,
each a cold miracle
that touched one
child too slow
to capture
it by
but Jack
Frost captures
numbers of them
 on glass in a lace
language difficult for
poets to translate and print
as their poetic  proof of God.
As a child awed, I stood in
flurries trying to catch
one by mouth and fin-
ger tips, eyeing
falling flakes
see gems,
crystal ice,
rainbow colors
that formed the so-white
drifts around me and made
the differences blend in 
as if the long immigration
of each one never happened,
as if no one witnessed
the twinkle twinkle
of joy in each
But I
saw and I
kept childhood
alive inside
until I could find
pen & voice & paper
in a quiet December
day like today.  And testify.

Poems just don't get much better than that! I thought to include a photo of Susan's cat, Miracle, just because she is such a beautiful creature!!!!!

Do check out Susan's other blog, Susan, Continued........ There are wonderful writings to be enjoyed there, as well.

Susan, welcome aboard our little bobbing acorn boat! We are so happy to have you joining us, and we look forward to many wonderfully inspiring prompts at Mid-Week Motif!


  1. What wonderful writings of Susan you have included, Sherry. I think, Susan, my favorite of the three would be "Blocks on Blocks" which really makes me think about expectations. But then again I enjoyed "Crystal Clear" and the idea of always keeping childhood inside...which is important for a poet, I think. Looking forward to writing to your first prompt, Susan.

  2. Wonderful to see Susan's blog featured here. You have acquired a valuable member of your team. Best of lick for 2014.

  3. Sherry and Susan,

    A most interesting poet and with a fresh and lively approach to her work.
    Looking forward to participating at Mid-Week Motif.


  4. Great to see Susan's work featured ~ I have been a fan since way back ~ Thanks Sherry and looking forward to Mid-Week Motif ~ Cheers ~

  5. Welcome from me too, Susan. A cat lover, and someone who respects spiders and equates them with creativity — a kindred spirit for sure! :)

  6. Ah, so witty and so magical... I read the interview of 2012, and these poems today ...thanks for sharing with us, Sherry and Susan! Very excited to hear about Mid-Week Motif, congratulation, Susan!

  7. I am excited about Mid-Week Motif, and am looking forward to it. Two more sleeps!

  8. Lovely sharing it with us Sherry! Looking to colour the fragrances offered by Susan here! Happy new year everyone. i have been away fro sometime now, away from writing and from my routine too! Hope to trace my steps back soon! :) Happy writing people!

  9. Sherry, Thank you for featuring my blog. I am honored. I can see it's no use trying to slide into the Wednesday prompts slowly and without notice! And thanks for the warm welcome, Poets United. See you Wednesday!

  10. Thanks Sherry for featuring Susan's blog and the wonderful selection of her poems......
    looking forward to Mid-Week Motif....

  11. susan is good people...and its been fun to see her development the last couple years...she will make a valuable addition to your team.....

  12. Wonderful to see Susan featured here. I always look forward to reading her work. GREAT addition to PU!

  13. Congrats Susan! I always love reading her offerings and insight-she always paints vivid worlds~

  14. Congrats Susan I look forward to your prompts your poetry is amazing =)

  15. Congratulations Susan! And thank you Sherry for including her work here!

  16. Wonderful news for Poets United. Congrats, Susan! I've really enjoyed getting to know you through your amazing writing.


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