Monday, August 31, 2015

Poems of the Week ~ The Power of Nature

In summer, we bask in nature's warmth and beauty, gather in lusciousness from our gardens, watch flowers blooming, hummingbirds humming, nature outdoing herself,  showering us with her goodness and bounty. I thought in this lush season we might enjoy reading a few poems about nature, written in recent weeks. Three that caught my eye were written by C.C. of Conscious Cacophony, Truedessa of  True Wanderings, and Gabriella of Gabriella's Writing Corner.  Let's dive in!

Sherry: C.C., would you tell us a bit about how your poem "Wildflowers" came about?

C.C.:  I can give a bit of background to it. Typically, Nature is soothing and healing for me and can always ground me in her embrace. But I went through a particularly difficult time towards the end of my marriage, during which even Nature was incapable of lifting me up....I was just so stagnant and my soul so broken. 

It's been three years since I left my husband. I wrote this poem to signify the end of that season of my represent that it's time now to let Nature do her work in me again, to allow the joy to flow, to grow....for those wildflowers to bloom once again. It's time for something different. Enough with the stagnation!!

I flay myself out upon the earth
bruised and bleeding
but she does not buckle, ever,

under the weight of my grief

I should be grounded
in her steady embrace
but I stumble and trip
upon my rocky
jagged soul

after years of drought
dried up yesterday’s
luscious, fertile hope
my stony heart
a fallow ground
for Joy’s seeds

now, more crumbled
than Fall’s leaves after
an icy Winter beating
I finally surrender
to Nature’s wisdom

seasons are for change
and it is time
for something different
Let the wildflowers bloom.

Sherry: Let the wildflowers bloom, indeed, my friend. I especially love "my stony heart a fallow ground for Joy's seeds." Hopeful and brave, a turning towards life and joy again. The power of nature to heal, both herself and us. Thank you for sharing with us the meaning of this poem. It enhances the reading of it for the reader, for certain.

Now let's take a look at Truedessa's poem, "Finding Rhythm on Rockin' Waters".

First, I would like to say I am honored to have my poem featured at Poets United. "Finding Rhythm on Rockin' Waters" was inspired by the picture I took on a recent trip. The moment was captured on my camera and in my heart. It was a beautiful day and I was feeling reflective. I walked along a cliff wall taking in the sights and sounds. How many had taken this walk before me? My poem is about resilience, our inner strength and faith, that keeps us moving much like the rockin' waters. It is about believing in dreams and following them, even if you have to fall a time or two. More importantly it is about healing and finding balance in the journey.

Sherry: Such an important message, my friend. Nature and we humans both require balance, to be well.

Sometimes in life we skin our knees
on jagged rocks in the journey
making our way to healing waters

Rocks of various colors and shapes
the very bones of mother earth
each joint holding us together

Tranquility as blue water waves
hello, come rest your weary soles
let your thoughts flow freely

Wash away yesterday's sorrow
off a rocky coastline a ship
of dreams billowing sails

Chatty seagulls tell a story
dolphins splash offering a song
healing body, mind and spirit

Once again finding rhythm
with each breath of salted air
standing on solid rock

Sherry: I especially love "making our way to healing waters" and rocks being the "bones of mother earth". I can see the ship of dreams, and hear the dolphins' songs. Your use of such beautiful imagery is uplifting, and it also reminds us of our connection to the earth, which grounds us when things get rocky!!

I was really blown away by Gabriella's recent poem, "Apocalypse". Gabriella, how did the idea for this poem come to you? 

Gabriella: The poem was born out of concern for climate change and the fact that I find that politicians worldwide seem to be only moderately worried and ready to call for action, as well as take necessary and urgent measures.

Sherry: I share that concern, as you know. You wrote this for a dverse prompt to write in the style of Emily Dickinson, which you achieved wonderfully. Were you satisfied with it on completion? 

Gabriella: My writing was very much impacted by the form. I wanted the poem to be short and include as many Emily Dickinson techniques as possible. I wished to write in common meter since it is a meter that is quite characteristic of a lot of her poems. Obviously I was then limited to using iambs and this is a challenge, when your first language is not English, even if you know where the stresses are in each word.

I also wanted one or two images. The blue moon was an easy one as I had seen mentions of it during the day as this rare occurrence was to take place on Thursday night. The ‘muffled birds’ and nature choking came rather easily when I wished to express the idea that the air was too polluted for anyone or anything to breathe any more. When I used ‘prevails’, I thought of sail for the rhyme and the last image came almost instantly. I pictured a vast and empty ocean where the last sailing boat was folding its sails.
I then proceeded with the dashes for pauses and eventually capitalized some words that I deemed important. 

I do not remember reworking the poem but, as I mentioned, I struggled with the meter. I was happy to have encapsulated my main thoughts within the scope of two stanzas, as I was not certain I could have added another powerful one.

Sherry: I think you achieved your objective flawlessly. It is an impressive write. Do you feel the future is as bleak as this poem foretells, or do you hang onto hope that humanity will get it together in time to turn things around?

Gabriella: I hope that we humans will wake up before it is too late. Sometimes it is hard to hang on to that hope though.


what ever will remain when all
is Gone - the last blue moon
observed - when lights are Out
and muffled birds just Swoon

who will be left to testify -
when Darkness falls, prevails -
feel nature Choke and see
this planet fold its sails?

Sherry: The impact is stunning, Gabriella. Thank you so much! The power of humans to upset earth's equilibrium, the power of nature to respond.

I agree, it is hard to hang on to hope. Tough legislation was needed years ago; they are moving far too slowly, while global warming is accelerating. Yet we need to go on hoping. Mother Earth is so beautiful, and generous, so deserving of our love and gratitude. And our protection.

I hope you enjoyed these three wonderful offerings, poetic friends. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you! 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Poetry Pantry #267

Pelicans at the mouth of the 
Fox River, Green Bay, Wisconsin
by Elizabeth Crawford

Good Sunday, Poets!  Welcome to yet another Poetry Pantry.

Today we have Elizabeth of Souls Music to thank for the photos.  Very impressive.  Thank you!

I have photos for the next two weeks, but if you have some photos you'd like to share, please send them to me.  Smiles.

Tomorrow Sherry is featuring three poets who have written poems about nature.  They will all be familiar to those of you who participate here.  So be sure to stop back tomorrow!

Did you see Rosemary's Friday feature "I Wish I'd Written This" this past week? This week she shared poems by 6 poets.  At least one of these poets will be familiar to those of you who spend time in the Pantry & Midweek Motif.  If you haven't read the article, please scroll back.

For Midweek Motif this week Sherry is prompting us to write about "Watershed Moments."  We are very happy that Susan has been sharing her writing.  She will be back prompting as soon as she can! We miss you, Susan!

If you have Facebook, do think about following Poets United on Facebook.  That way you are informed of each new feature.

With no further delay, hope that you will enjoy the Pantry today.  We always enjoy it if you leave  a short comment when you post.   Do be sure to visit the links of others as well.  It is sort of like knocking on the doors of others, I think.  When we leave a comment, we let someone know that we enjoy having them among us.  The blogosphere IS quite a neighborhood, isn't it?

Do have a good day & a poetic week!  Thank you for making Poets United such a successful site!

Friday, August 28, 2015

I Wish I'd Written This

(I mean these) ... and I wish I'd depicted them too.

Some of these are haiga (haiku with pictures, forming not an illustration so much as a complete work of art). One is a slightly longer poem incorporated with a picture, and the others — as you see — are haiku and photos published together.

This blending of art forms delights me, so I thought I would share some with the hope of delighting you too!

From top to bottom, they are by Salih Bechar, Delaina J Miller, Gillena Cox, Pat Geyer, Prem Menon and Mohammad Azim Khan.

Gillena, Pat and Prem created their own wonderful visuals. Delaina used someone else's photo (made freely available to her) and altered it to her own requirements. 'The Ripple Effect', which Mohammad used, came from the website Video Hero.

the pearl in the shell –
shimmers among thick dark clouds
rising winter sun

— Prem Menon

calm lake..
mother kisses her daughter
endless ripple

– Mohammad Azim Khan

These poets are all my friends on facebook. I met them all through poetry, Pat originally at MySpace, Gillena most recently via her blog, and the others on facebook itself.

Born in 1967, Salih Bechar, in (Sulaymaniyah - Iraq), is a Kurdish poet and writer who is well known for his romantic and erotic poems, and so, tens of his poems have been sung by a number of singers. Being a bookseller back in the early 80's was the beginning to get to know about the majority of Kurdish poets and writers of the time, and hence, this led him into the world of poetry and writing. His first poem was published in 1983 in Hawkary newspaper, and ever since, he has attended and participated in most of the poetry activities and has been awarded many times. He has been the founder of a number of newspapers, among which, Haftanamay Zanko, and Badirkhan. He has a number of books published which are : They are Humans before being Aged; which was published by HelpAge organization, White Angels; about the role of nurses in community, Environment Friends; an opera for kids, and the collection of his poems; which will be published soon.

Delaina J Miller is one of my three collaborators in the anthology She Too, and is a partner in the business ContentXDesign, which published it. CXD also created cover designs I am very happy with for my two most recent chapbooks. Delaina has written and published ebooks of her own, not all of them poetry. Her Amazon page tells us: 'Delaina's hobbies include photography, mystery novels, and glasses of good red wine. Currently residing in the Midwest with her wife, Delaina has paired up with contemporary artist, Elizabeth Spillman Nord, to hang poetry and art side by side in a variety of galleries making poetry more visible in our lives and in art.'

I have known Pat Geyer since we found each other on MySpace through haiku, then (like so many others) eventually migrated to facebook. After a career in sales and marketing, involving both writing and travel, she now focuses on daily haiku writing and photography which she loves putting together as haiga. Though she describes herself as an amateur at both arts, she has been published in several journals. She sees her haiga as her expression of the relationship between the image and the poem.

Gillena Cox is one of my newer friends. Her blogging profile tells me we have a few things in common besides poetry: I am an ex-librarian; she describes herself as a retired library assistant.  She likes movies about King Arthur and Camelot, jazz music, and among her favourite books are The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Me too! Gillena lives in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and has several poetry blogs, predominantly — but not only — concerned with haiku. Although she says, 'My writing is non professional and purely from the standpoint of  a hobbyist,' she has two books available at Amazon: Moments, a book of haiku poems, 2007 and Pink Crush, a volume of poems written in different forms, 2011. Her digital art, which she likes to combine with her poetry, she regards as another hobby. Her most prized occupation is grandmother of a two-year-old girl.

Prem Memon is an academic living in Amritsar in the Punjab, India, and is currently on an extended visit to family in southern Australia. We are hoping to meet up for coffee when I am in Melbourne soon! Prem told me: 'I've collected about 3000 of my haiku but not online. R.W. Watkins used 5 of mine in the 'Reboot ' issue of The Morning Dew a year back, Andrew O Douglas published one two months back in Haiku Scout. I have 3 poetry books to my credit but those are in PUNJABI language

Mohammad Azim Khan says, 'I am from Peshawar, Pakistan. I graduated from Peshawar University with Master degrees in English Literature and Economics. I retired from United Nations World Food Programme and served as Head of Programme  Unit in Peshawar. My job was mainly to provide humanitarian assistance in the form of food aid to victims of war and natural disasters. Also worked for post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation.
Compassion was the keynote that impacted my outlook on life, to help and serve human beings in distress. 
I took to poetry writing during school days and recently have developed special interest in haiku and tanka writing. I enjoy reading haiku in fb groups and contribute regularly. Now leading a retired life and keeping busy with gardening, reading, collecting vintage ceramics, interaction with old colleagues and friends and of course writing poetry especially haiku.

For more treats from (some of) these poets, here are links:

Salih Bechar

Delaina J Miller

Gillena Cox

Pat Geyer

Prem Menon and Mohammad Azim Khan post their work to facebook haiku groups; perhaps you'll find them there. Haiku on Friday, for instance (where Pat Geyer also posts) is a public group, and in addition Prem has started his own public group: Sanam Haiku &micropoetry.

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Midweek Motif: The Joy of Poetry

"Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance."
Carl Sandburg

"A poet is a nightingale,
who sits in darkness and sings
to cheer its own solitude
with sweet sounds."
Percy Bysshe Shelley

"We write to taste life twice,
in the moment, and in retrospect."
Anais Nin

"A poet doesn't write because she has a solution.
She writes because she has hope."
Hannah Gosselin

Midweek Motif : The Joy of Poetry

Why do we write poems? What do we love about writing them? What keeps us writing? What do we hope for, when we pen our poems?

Our challenge: to write about poetry, 
any facet of it that appeals 
to your imagination. 
I offer two examples, for your inspiration.

Poetry by Pablo Neruda

    And it was at that age ... Poetry arrived
    in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
    it came from, from winter or a river.
    I don't know how or when,
    no, they were not voices, they were not
    words, nor silence,
    but from a street I was summoned,
    from the branches of night,
    abruptly from others,
    among violent fires
    or returning alone,
    there I was without a face
    and it touched me.

    I did not know what to say, my mouth
    had no way
    with names,
    my eyes were blind,
    and something started in my soul,
    fever or forgotten wings,
    and I made my own way,
    that fire,
    and I wrote the first faint line,
    faint, without substance, pure
    pure wisdom
    of someone who knows nothing,
    and suddenly I saw
    the heavens
    and open,
    palpitating plantations,
    shadow perforated,
    with arrows, fire and flowers,
    the winding night, the universe.

    And I, infinitesimal being,
    drunk with the great starry
    likeness, image of
    for myself a pure part of the abyss,
    I wheeled with the stars,
    my heart broke loose on the wind.

    (Translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reid)

I came across this other cool statement about poetry just the other day. Ms Alexander is currently the chair of African American studies at Yale. You can find out more about this highly accomplished poet here, and here, if you wish. She has written a memoir called The Light of the World, which looks very intriguing, about the sudden death of her husband. She says while it begins with what looks like a catastrophe, it is a love story. My kind of book! I love her voice in this poem.

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe

Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry
is where we are ourselves
(though Sterling Brown said
“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I'”),
digging in the clam flats
for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.
Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way
to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)
is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.
Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,
and are we not of interest to each other?

            - Elizabeth Alexander

Please share your poem using Mr. Linky below 
and visit others in the spirit of the community.   

(Next week Sherry's Midweek Motif will be Watershed Moments)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blog of the Week - An Update with Kaykuala

We have a special treat for you this week, my friends. We are visiting with  Hank Pilus, who writes at Rainbow. Hank lives in the beautiful country of Malaysia. We last interviewed Hank in 2012. We decided to stop by and see what he has been up to since then.  Hank has been a loyal member of Poets United since its very beginning, and we appreciate him so much.

Sherry: Hank, it is so lovely to be talking with you again. Please give us an update on your growing family. In our interview with you in 2012, you had five grandchildren. How is everyone?

Norman and Kimie

Hank: There are no additions still 5 grandees! All are in high spirits. They have been travelling. Not very far but just. The elder two, Norman and Kimie, had among others been to the Legoland in Johore, a stone's throw from Singapore.

From left Nabil, Gramps Mohd Said, Sara Ayesha, 
Naqip and mummy Qaty

Our 3 younger ones Nabil, Sara Ayesha and Little Naqip are emulating their Gramps and parents. They are now into cycling. The last we heard the family was in a road race of sorts in Ipoh about 200km north of Kuala Lumpur. Week-ends have been cycling days lately for their parents. The kids are caught in the  fad and have their own 'races' among the other kids as well.

Sherry: It sounds like a happy, busy life, my friend. Tell us a bit about living in Malaysia. The physical beauty of the place is stunning.

Hank (second from the right) at our Royal Military College 
alumni Annual Gathering in June 2015

Hank: This reminds me when Hank was in Kashmir years ago. Even going along any of the country roads one was presented with the natural beauty of the Kashmiri landscape. Sparkling streams of rivulets upon reaching the end of molds of rocky hillocks would tumble down in gushing sprays that glittered in the morning sun. We stopped the taxi and just stood by the roadside to marvel at the exquisite panorama that unfolded in front of our eyes. Time stood still among the greenery and snow-capped mountains in the distance. When we remarked to the driver how fantastic the beauty of nature that was, he retorted back to say he had seen 'all these all his life' Nothing to excite him anymore.

It all goes to show, Sherry, Ma'am, you would have to make a bee-line to Malaysia to savor nature's offerings here. Hank can only echo the Kashmiri driver who was not overly excited of what beauty really was in his homeland! Not so when one is in another country. Hank was stunned years ago to stand on the Rainbow Bridge, to marvel at the Niagara Falls in the distance and later to sneak behind the Falls below ground. Something not seen before would always astound  oneself. It was just exhilarating, but perhaps not to the folks there. Hank can double as a tourist guide whenever you are here, a promise!

Sherry: I would come in a heartbeat, my friend, if wishes were airline tickets, LOL. During our last interview you explained how writing came to you later in life, when you began blogging. You told us you began blogging narratives, as a means of record-keeping. I believe our friend Ninotaziz had a hand in encouraging your foray into writing poetry.  How has blogging impacted your work?

Hank: Ninot is such a wonderful lady. We were introduced by a common friend, Pak Cik, and she led the way for Hank to venture into poetry. Ninot gave all the support.

Hank's first book can be reached here

In fact, Ninot did Hank the honor of poetry-reading during the launching of Hank's first book Rainbow Poetry and Prose in Nov 2013' Rainbow' comprised a collection of poetry and prose of 400 pages written from 2010 up to 2012.

Sherry: Ninot is  wonderfully encouraging. It was she who showed me how relatively easy it is to put a book together. I now have several on my shelf, thanks to our wonderful friend! 

Hank's second book can be reached here

Hank: Hank's second book 'Pearls That Shine,' of 300 pages, followed last year. It comprised blog postings of 2013. Both are available as a Kindle version on the 'Net. Hank will embark on a third book of postings written in 2014 shortly.

Sherry: Congratulations on your two books, Hank. They both look absolutely beautiful! We look forward to the third. You are working hard! You must be very happy with the way your work is evolving.

Hank: Happy with my writing? Oh yes, a discovery rather late in the day. There is so much to know and to write about.The two books are structured into Free Verse, Haiku, Limericks, Micro Fictions, other forms and Prose. Variety it is thought should invoke a certain amount of interest in its reading. Variety should attract the desire to read. Otherwise it will be boring..

In recent times Hank takes a fancy to creating free verse from Wordles. One can write Wordles practically 5 times in a week through Sunday's Whirligig, MLMM's, APED, Real Toads and even CARPE DIEM. Wordles can go any direction, writing metaphorically, once the theme is selected. It is fun! Blogging certainly is a fulfillment!

Sherry: It is indeed, Hank. You have a second blog for narrative writing, birdhouse. While I was looking around your blogs,  I discovered you now have a third blog, Easels and Colours, where I was excited to discover you have branched out into painting with acrylics. People talented in one genre so often explore other creative pursuits. Tell us about your painting.

One of Hank's painting hung up as part of the exhibition 
during the book launching

(Hank was a one-time golfer now retired)

Hank: Yes, Hank started with 'birdhouse' before 'Rainbow'. Sadly, though, 'birdhouse' had been neglected for so long. One dries up on ideas when writing prose, especially narrating events. There is still a way to salvage it by writing Fictions perhaps Short Stories and novella. Short Stories should be a better option at around 1500 words or so. Hank might just do that to get 'birdhouse' moving.

Sherry: That sounds intriguing, Hank. 

An acrylic painting entitled 'The Beak'

A pastel painting of a Green Pepper

Sherry: Your paintings are wonderful, Hank. That pepper looks good enough to eat.

Hank:  Hank's drawing blog Easels and Colours also needs to be rekindled into activity. Hank went into a frenzy of acrylic paintings and held an exhibition during the book launch. Hank could produce about 12 paintings in a space of 14 days days prior to the launching then. Hank slept 4 hours on certain days just to complete them. But sadly the passion and motivation are not sustained. Something drastic ought to be done perhaps.

Sherry: More paintings are laying in wait, I am sure. Tell us what you love about writing poetry? How does it differ, the way you feel on completion of a poem, or a painting?

Hank: Writing poetry in reality is writing about oneself or of one's experiences. The advantage of experiences cannot be measured by the number of years but the variety of activities covered. More activities would mean more information to draw from even in shorter number of years. Hank is handicapped here as Hank was not active in writing poetry before. The poetic language of bloggers who did heavy poetry when young could be seen and felt immediately. There are a number of our current bloggers who are in that category and who write brilliant poems

The feeling is the same on completion of a poetry or painting. The feeling is one of exhilaration, satisfaction and wonder. One wonders how they could be completed. One also wonders if the next one can come easy to match those earlier ones. One plays catch-up on one's conscious efforts. 'What if the poem or painting currently on the plate turn out to be a flop?' There is always that frightful feeling! The feeling is the same for both. 

Sherry: That is interesting to contemplate.  Hank, would you like to select three poems we can include in this feature? And tell us a bit about each?

Hank: Let me start with one that I used to like before, but unashamedly neglected in the recent past. It is a form, in fact, not a poem as such. It is Limericks! I like Limericks, not just for the short poem that it is, but more for the humor. One must really be inspired to trap the humor, the underlying attraction of a Limerick. These are some of my old ones The first line in all instances was given by Madeleine Kane. We had to complete the rest.

The Limericks

A fellow was planning to wed
A lass who was playing hard to get
Tried as he might
With all that he had
Excepting him the rest she grabbed

A woman who always seemed game
Had a fearful reputation to her name
A guy tried to get fresh
Was on the behind thrashed
She was of a black-belt Tae-Kwon-do fame

A fellow who telecommunicated
Was doubly fast when he tweeted
Thumb worked on the HP
Crossed the road in a jiffy
Pall bearers later had him hoisted

A woman who felt she had been had
Getting even not an option she thought right
They had a pow-wow
Exchanged know-how
Never to regret it since - blissful heavenly nights

Limericks have that uncanny affinity for soft sensuous humor It can even get away with hard obscene ones but better to avoid such. Humor is base if obscene but witty if spiced with good-natured and acceptable soft sexual encounters.

I have not done Limericks these days except for playful ones at Pat Hatt's. Nice to go for revisits at Mad Kane's, as they provide real Limericks challenge.

Sherry: I enjoy the humor of them, Hank.

Hank: More of a challenge, too, is the form pantoum, which is derived from the Malay pantuns. We used to see them feverishly thrown back and forth during weddings before. The first participant would pose a question as a riddle in pantun form. The opponent would have to respond likewise with a witty answer immediately, and it would go back and forth.It was done in quatrains and this would go on through the night. There were lots of laughter, as they were spiced with humor and rhyming that one wondered how the participants could respond fast on their feet. It was amazing. But it is not frequently seen these days, as weddings take new forms now. To know more about the pantun it is most opportune as Ninot had only in the weeks before  presented a 2-part series at d'Verse: Classic Pantun part 1 and Classic Pantun part 2.

Hank's pantoum below is actually taking a jab at the get-rich-quick schemes that used to make the rounds before. It is presented in that lighter mood just so to show our disdain at such Ponzi efforts to hoodwink nice folks.

A Scheme

He came with a little smile, a toothy little smile
Broader it became as he got a little closer
Broke into a small laughter and all the while
A quizzical stance hidden behind the laughter

Broader it became as he got a little closer
Seen this act a few times had seen it before
A quizzical stance hidden behind the laughter
Scheming intention, a suspicious one I gather

Seen this act a few times had seen it before
Upon reaching an extended hand in friendly gesture
Scheming intention, a suspicious one I gather
Responded likewise not wanting to create a furor

A quizzical stance hidden behind the laughter
Began with a few good words without a falter
Scheming intention , a suspicious one I gather
The sling bag  is opened its contents spilled over

Began with a few good words without a falter
All the charts, the legs, the returns, too familiar
The sling bag  is opened its contents spilled over
I knew it, a ‘get-rich-quick’ a Ponzi as it were

All the charts, the legs, the returns, too familiar
Broke into a small laughter and all the while
I knew it, a ‘get-rich-quick’ a Ponzi as it were
He came with a little smile, a toothy little smile

Sherry: Oh, I can see that toothy little smile. I can't imagine how quick-witted one would have to be to expound in pantun on the spot. That is impressive!

Hank: A Kyrielle is a poetry form of rhymed quatrains, maintaining 8 syllables in each line  and with a repetition of the last line. This Kyrielle was written to record one episode of Hank's grandchildren when growing-up. In this case it was when one of their regular friends had to go back to the US. It would remind them later in life of what had been and what they had been up to years before.

The neighborhood kids would very much miss young Daniel whose family moved out to L.A. They had been friends for some years, playing together at the nearby field, cycling around, or were just a noisy lot during their PS3 playing sessions ( PS3 sessions were precious as these were only allowed during the school holidays) Norman and Kimie are now more determined to go to the Anaheim Disney. The boys made a pact to meet there perhaps sometime next year. There are more reasons to go, now!

Been in the offing quite some bit
None would want to think about it
Young minds might not realize the pain
They knew good friends would meet again!

They knew young Daniel would move out
To L.A. it had been touted
The neighborhood kids took it plain
They knew good friends would meet again

They cycled with all shrieks and squeals
Or kicking football on the field
They were around with all the din
They knew good friends would meet again

The day came sadly last Tuesday
The day young Daniel went away
PS3 now played with restrain
They knew good friends would meet again

Norman and Kimie set their minds
Next stop would now be Anaheim
Parting was temporary pain
They knew good friends would meet again

Sherry: I love "they knew good friends would meet again!" Wonderfully hopeful. Your grandkids will read this years from now, and remember. Hank, is there anything else you’d like to share with us? Thoughts on life and love? Wisdom gained from the journey? What would you tell a young fellow starting out?

Hank: Yes, Hank wants to share the anxiety he went through before deciding on compiling the books. Everyone should have the intention of compiling their poems into a book. Otherwise one writes for the love of it. The poems remain in blogosphere till kingdom come and eventually get obliterated in time.There is something tangible that can be held in the hand if the poems are all in a book. Nothing spectacular, really.To self-publish a book is simple, but many are put off by uncertainties. Hank had a fair share of the same feeling for quite some time. The questions initially faced are, 'is it the thing to do' and 'how to go about it'.

For a young fellow starting out, there are things to remember. First thing is never to have to rewrite whatever was posted. There should not be double work. This can be taken care of by posting one's poem as it would appear in the book. For a Free Verse it should not be too long. Just enough for a one page of reading duration. Enough to maintain interest. In the case of a haiku or tanka not to just have one stanza. It is too short for a page! Write at least 3 stanzas. Regarding images, Hank feels safer not to use any from the internet even if the copyright restriction is waived. Use your own pictures or sketches perhaps 20 images in total. One is not expected to make money and be a millionaire but a book can be peddled on the internet just the same. The idea is to have one's book available for posterity even after the author's demise. It can be attracting royalties for our loved ones. A Kindle version of 300 pages can go for USD2.99

The second phase is the publishing part. There are many publishers available who can do both the publishing and the marketing aspects. Pick a publisher, pay a one-off payment of about USD1200 or so and you are on (the fee varies).

To maintain discipline with less headache, decide on the structure say Free Verse followed by haiku and so on. Then start to email to the publisher say 25 poems of Free Verse every 2 days followed by the rest. Make sure to erase all references to other specific blogs in the postings before sending. Make sure to make corrections on grammar and spelling before sending. It will cost time and money to make corrections from the draft they sent back to you. Unlike other Fiction writings, poetry writing needs only self-editing.

In the meantime the publisher will work on the Front and Back Cover images,which will be sent over to you later for approval. In between emailing the poems one also sends over the Dedication, Acknowledgement, and Back Cover narration.

That's it! Within a few weeks the publisher will email a draft copy of the insides in PDF format for corrections. It will have the Contents page and will follow one's structure all done nicely. Following corrections after about 2 weeks a brand new book with one's name as the author will be posted to the home address. All told it will take about 8 weeks from the day payment was made.

One may not have to follow the above. If confident enough, one can do all of the above oneself through certain publishers like Lulu, Smashwords, among others. They charge less but it will be tedious.

The beauty of self-publishing is that one can have reprints of one copy, 10 copies or even 1000 copies within 10 to 15 days. No necessity of an initial 2000 copies mandatory for economies of scale, as was the case with traditional publishers before.

Sherry: I highly recommend using one of the self-publishing online companies. They are easy to use and, as you say, you can order one book, or any  number, as needed. The cost is extremely reasonable. I use, and am very satisfied with it. I remember when one used to be able to "self-publish" only through publishers. The cost was prohibitive to many. This is an interesting tangent, Hank. Maybe it will encourage some of our readers to try it.

In closing, my friend, is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Hank: Yes, thanks so much to everyone in PU who have been most supportive, and Sherry, Ma'am, for extending this invitation to Hank for this interview. It is most refreshing!

Sherry: You are most welcome, Hank. It is my pleasure. Thank you, for being such a loyal long-time member of Poets United. Your presence - and reciprocity - are very much appreciated.

Well, my friends? Wasn't this an interesting update? We will have all of you feverishly churning out books, LOL. (I am such a slave-driver!) Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

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