Thursday, May 1, 2014

Writers - Need an Editor? Check Out "The Poetry,Fiction & Creative Nonfiction Editor for paupers and starving artists who need affordable help." Bev. Jackson- "My fees are low, but my expertise is professional and my earnest interest in aiding writers is genuine."

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thoughts:The Arts and Elitism/ Nancy Pelosi suggested it is a good thing for people to not work. They can then pursue things like poetry and art. Hmm. The Arts and Patrons and Confessional Poetry.

I love this article in Poets & Writers by Rachel Zucker

I came upon it while searching the web on the topic of  is poetry an elitist activity? Nancy Pelosi suggested it is a good thing  for people to not work.  At least that is the sound bite I have heard repeatedly lately on the news concerning healthcare and food stamps. The jobless (those not tied to having to work to gain these benefits ) can then pursue things like poetry and art or other interests. Hmm, I thought. I've been writing and creating art for my whole life and believe me I  have not lived an elitist life as an adult. I also think work is a good thing and creating art and writing is a lot of work. Imo most art worth (has an impact or affect) viewing, hearing, or reading is created by some type of struggle or passion, appreciation or question and the process is not  for people who like "easy." Ms Pelosi makes the arts seem like frivolous fluff only the rich can do. That may not have been been  what she meant but it sure sounded like it.

Who Makes Art, Why and Financially How?

 It is true many writers and artists have had charmed lives (they did not work or work in the traditional sense, 40 hours a week) and it is also true many have not. I don't thing Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt or Sylvia Plath had charmed lives fianancially or emotionally. Since money is the topic I am sure there are many artists who struggled with money while creating art whose lives I know nothing about.

Some artists and writers have had patrons as in the Renaissance  period. Lorenzo Medici was a patron of the arts in the 15th century. The patron could be the government or the church or anyone with disposable cash.

Charles Erlandson writes about art patrons through the ages in The Lost Art of Patronage. Erlandson does expouse a "religious" connection to making art in his essay which I  don't  think applies to all  artistic creations. However if you dig deep enough into a poem or painting or piece of music there is a world view and a view of creation if not direct, it is implied.  You can read his essay to  further examine the idea of who funds the arts and why and is art a frivilous  past time with no meaning other than self indulgence. which lead me to the Zucker confessional article (read more on this at the end of the post).

Charles Erlandson writes:

"The concept of the patron which is still with us originated in the times of Rome and designated a Roman citizen who was a protector (the patronus) of a foreigner who had settled in Roman territory (the cliens). The relationship between the patron and his client (clientala) was an especially close one and involved many of the terms found in feudal contracts between lords and vassals. This Roman concept of the patron was extended into the medieval and Renaissance times, during which artists were afforded protection and sponsorship by various nobles and merchant princes.
In contemporary society the word 'patron' has lost some of its original connotation. Today we usually reserve the term for one who is specifically a "patron of the arts". Certainly, the closeness of the original relationship between a patron and his client is no longer implied in the term.
To better understand how a patron might or should function in our contemporary world, I would like to sketch a brief history of patronage through the ages and then examine how we might be able to interpret the role to the patron in the past to our present. But before I turn to my sketch pad, allow me to offer a brief apology for the necessity of the patron." 

 More About How Artists Supported Their Art in the Renaissance

"Serving Patrons
But artists were still a service business. Unlike today, artists did not create whatever they liked then put it up for sale. Art served specific functions, which were mainly religious at the beginning of the Renaissance. Artists were paid to produce exactly what the patron wanted."

 Many contemporary artist have been employed as teachers, professors, doctors, commercial artists, store clerks and laborers at times in their careers or in these occupations as full time money makers. Then there are women artists who create while being mothers using the sparse time when kids are asleep or at school to further their craft. Artists also can apply for financial support from  federal,state and local government grants like the National Endowment for the Arts in the U.S. This is a form of patronage in some ways similar to that in the Renaissance times imo.

The poet William Carlos Williams was a doctor and writer.
The abstract expressionist painter Ronald Rauschenberg was a graphic designer.

 Making art costs money and or making art requires the time to create. In my opinion art is never frivolous as an act and an object.

 The article about confessional poetry by Rachel Zucker looks at  writing poems from the "I" perspective. Is that self indulgent is one of the questions that comes up. I guess for me work, relevance, government, patronage, money, motivation, and process  are the words for the day as related to the making of art.

 The Zucker article includes a quiz to find out if you a confessional poet.

A Brief Guide to Confessional Poetry


"Confessional poetry is the poetry of the personal or "I." This style of writing emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s and is associated with poets such as Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and W.D. Snodgrass. Lowell's book Life Studies was a highly personal account of his life and familial ties, and had a significant impact on American poetry. Plath and Sexton were both students of Lowell and noted that his work influenced their own writing.
The confessional poetry of the mid-twentieth century dealt with subject matter that previously had not been openly discussed in American poetry. Private experiences with and feelings about death, trauma, depression and relationships were addressed in this type of poetry, often in an autobiographical manner. Sexton in particular was interested in the psychological aspect of poetry, having started writing at the suggestion of her therapist."


Sunday, November 17, 2013

HEArt Online- "Promoting the roll of artists as human rights activists." I LUV this Publication. Check it out.

The arts educate, inspire and entertain us. Words, images and sounds have the possibility to alter the human psyche for a moment or for decades. The arts show us who we are as a society and as individuals.  The arts show us what kind of personal or public space we have created and want to create.

We are bombarded by words, images and sounds daily much of which is from advertising on TV,  our computers and phones. It is powerful stuff and as people in a society it benefits us to understand how all this shapes our views and consumerism, our relationships, everything. Being conscious consumers of images, sounds and words is important so we can make our own decisions about our lives and not be subconsciously directed by the power of sound, words and images to embrace their underlying message if it is not in harmony with how we feel or what we want to create.

Do you react  first with a feeling? Do you react  by thinking?  Do you listen to the tone of a politician's voice and ignore the content if the tone is sweet or powerful or angry ( if you like anger)? Do you vote for him or her because you like how they dress? Do you gather information about what foods to eat not by the nutrition content on a label but by the color or texture of the food or an ad that shows smiling happy people eating the food? Are you an intuitive person who just knows what is right for him or her and your choices are much of the time right? If you are an intuitive you are fortunate. On the other hand are you  totally influenced by others and never give your choices a thought?

What does this all have to do with the online magazine HEArt? For me this publication focuses on the idea that we do have choices and we need to consciously choose. We need to consider choosing  "fairness and equality"  if we want peace in this world. What "fairness and equality" means can be different things to different people. For me it means recognizing our shared humanity and the suffering discrimination can bring to those whose humanity is not respected. I believe poetry and fiction, all the arts- dance included, can humanize people awaken them and hopefully when this happens encourage us all  to create a  peaceful world where respect and fairness ( basic human rights) for all exists. When you see or read that another person is just like you, you begin to see them less as an enemy or force to oppose than as a fellow human being living on this "crazy" planet who is trying to survive and live a life of happiness or at least one where the struggle for daily survival is not so all consuming there is room for nothing else.

HEArt online has a mission.  It is a one of a kind publication.

Fall Frigg Issue 42 is Online! Powerful Fiction and Poetry- Four Poems by Elizabeth P. Glixman

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Interview by Lynn Alexander at PRATE with Novelist, Poet, Small Press Publisher, Editor Leah Angstman

"Leah Angstman has been at this for years, producing books and spaces and relationships between writers and artists. Some of the answers cover things you know, and some might just surprise you. We threw Leah a few curve balls here because we knew that she would rise to the challenge and we knew that she would bring her independent spirit to the process and we weren’t disappointed. Interviewed by Lynn Alexander, for Full Of Crow, December 2012. 
LA: I’m sure many people want to know, in your words: Why do you want to be part of the small press?..." 

Read the rest of the interview at

Monday, September 23, 2013

"This date in science: Pablo Neruda and the beauty of the universe" from EARTH SKY

"September 23, 1973. Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-1973). Michael West, Director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory, sent this image. He wrote:
Astronomical imagery often figured in Neruda’s poetry, for example one of his poems begins: Every day you play with the light of the universe. Another poem titled “The Future is Space” describes black space with room for many dreams.
In the attached composite image (made from photos I took in Chile) I’ve included a portion of Neruda’s poem titled “La Poesia” in which the Nobel Prize winner described the feeling of discovering poetry as a youth, comparing it to the beauty of the universe."
 Read the rest

Sunday, September 15, 2013

9/16/13 If You Enjoy Reading Short Stories, Check This Site Out! Go Read Your Lunch. Today's Story If Only Her Husband was a Member of The Brotherhood of Flying Things- by Elizabeth P. Glixman

"Go Read Your Lunch  is an online journal of excellent, kick-ass, thought-provoking, tear-jerking, hernia-inducing, side-splitting, gruesome, wholesome, inspiring, heartbreaking literature by various authors, delivered lovingly to you every Monday, at just the perfect length to last you your twenty-to-thirty-minute lunch period. We want to make your lunchtime meaningful and put some feeling into your weekday mastication! Check back with us every Monday for a new piece."

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Guest Poetry Editor Linnet's Wings Summer 2013

There is a lot of good writing  and art in the summer issue of Linnet's Wings: flash fiction, short stories, micro fiction, photography, creative non-fiction, poetry. I was the summer Guest Poetry Editor.  Poets included in this issue are:

 Sheila Black
 Changming Yuan
 Howie Good
 John Saunders
 Joan Colby
 Larry D. Thomas
 Steven Jacobson
 Paul Hostovsky
 Colm Scully

 Diana Ferraro wrote an article Buenos Aires: A Literary City .
 I now know about the literary richness of Buenos Aires and the Tango Poets. Don't miss  this read

 About Linnet's Wings

"The Linnet's Wings was inspired by the ideas and writings of Maria Edgeworth, Lord Byron , Oliver Goldsmith, Jonathan Swift, Padraic Colum and many of the other fine voices-of-old who once lived in and graced the surroundings of this small village.

The Linnet's Wings is supported by an international team of editors who are based in, Republic of Ireland, US, UK and Canada.

Their aim is to showcase writers and artists whose work stimulates and challenges the sensibility and imagination of its readers, and to provide a seedbed of inspiration for writer/artists and readers both, just, as was done by the voices of the past."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Watersongline- Music, Prayer, Indigenous Sacred Songs- All Poetry

Indigenous music (including prayers and chants from many native traditions) is poetry to me.  Prayers, chants, blessings come from the heart of the creator and are presented in ceremonies with clear intentions to fill a need, to extend hope, to connect with the spirit of the land, the air and  water to uplift. They are clear sound from the yearning human soul. In this way they connect the person saying or singing them or hearing them to what is true and "real" about human need and desire, about connection and co-creation.

 Indigenous people


Sacred songs have always been away of our ancestors communing with the all above, giving gratitude, calling in the healing and renewal of self, family, friends, loved ones, communities and all our relations.
Many sacred songs are learned in ceremony. Some have been passed down for millenniums and others arise from the heart of the person. Many of the songs words may not have exact meanings, the meaning is in the intention behind the sacred sound. It is the vibration of that sound combined with the intent of the singer that holds the healing. Therefore, know that we all have sacred songs in our hearts. We can ask for them to come forward through our  prayers, meditations, and dreams. When a sacred song comes forward always remember to give gratitude to the divine source from which it sprang.
The following sacred prayer songs have been kindly shared with us. Look out as more are added."

 Read the rest and Listen....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tony Hoagland Poems

Reading Moby-Dick at 30,000 Feet

by Tony Hoagland

At this height, Kansas 
is just a concept, 
a checkerboard design of wheat and corn

no larger than the foldout section 
of my neighbor's travel magazine. 
At this stage of the journey

I would estimate the distance 
between myself and my own feelings 
is roughly the same as the mileage

from Seattle to New York, 
so I can lean back into the upholstered interval 
between Muzak and lunch,

a little bored, a little old and strange.
I remember, as a dreamy
backyard kind of kid,

tilting up my head to watch 
those planes engrave the sky 
in lines so steady and so straight

they implied the enormous concentration 
of good men, 
but now my eyes flicker

from the in-flight movie 
to the stewardess's pantyline, 
then back into my book,

where men throw harpoons at something 
much bigger and probably 
better than themselves,

wanting to kill it, 
wanting to see great clouds of blood erupt 
to prove that they exist.

Imagine being born and growing up, 
rushing through the world for sixty years 
at unimaginable speeds.

Imagine a century like a room so large, 
a corridor so long
you could travel for a lifetime

and never find the door, 
until you had forgotten 
that such a thing as doors exist.

Better to be on board the Pequod, 
with a mad one-legged captain 
living for revenge.

Better to feel the salt wind 
spitting in your face, 
to hold your sharpened weapon high,

to see the glisten
of the beast beneath the waves. 
What a relief it would be

to hear someone in the crew 
cry out like a gull, 
Oh Captain, Captain! 
Where are we going now?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hyperbole- Big White Lies

I am sure you’ve all met people prone to exaggerating who aren’t  intentional writers or poets.  In  conversation they use hyperbole to emphasize the largeness or smallness of  their feelings and observations, to comment on  a situation, to get attention and to entertain. They make an overstatement. They may use hyberbole to express the need for  immediate action. I will pee Lake Michigan in this car if you don't stop at the next rest stop. 

I think tantrums (usually overstated cries for immediate action) can also be hyperbolic. Is that a word?
Oh yes it is 
Nice sound to it.  Hyperbolic tantrums are something to think about when you are with a three year old. Tell the crying kid he or she sounds like a poem having a hyberbole. I wonder if that will get you anywhere. It may if the kid likes poems.

Children's stories and poems are filled with hyberbole.  Pre- schoolers often laugh themselves silly listening to poems where whales are as big as a house ( reverse hyberbole) or where someone  says I am so hungry I could eat a horse. How about when a kid says I  love this story so much I could listen to it one  million five thousand seventy- two times?  Then they tell you their love for you is bigger than the distance to the moon.Young children  laugh because they are making sense of the world and know the comparison  is an exaggeration and they realize the silliness or the "realness" of the emotion behind the stretching of truth

Sarah Cynthia Slyvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out!
She'd scour the pots and scrape the pans,
Candy the yams and spice the hams,
And though her daddy would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out.
And so it piled up to the ceilings:
Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
Brown Bananas, rotten peas,
Chunks of sour cottage cheese.
It filled the can, it covered the floor,
It cracked the window and blocked the door
With bacon rinds and chicken bones,
Drippy ends of ice cream cones,
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel,
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,
Pizza crusts and withered greens,
Soggy beans and tangerines,
Crusts of black burned buttered toast,
Grisly bits of beefy roasts...
The garbage rolled down the hall,
It raised the roof, it broke the wall...
Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,
Globs of gooey bubble gum,
Cellophane from green baloney,
Rubbery blubbery macaroni,
Peanut butter, caked and dry,
Curdled milk and crusts of pie,
Moldy melons, dried-up mustard,
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,
Cold french fries and rancid meat,
Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.
At last the garbage reached so high
That finally it touched the sky.
And all the neighbors moved away,
And none of her friends would come to play.
And finally Sarah Cynthia Slylvia Stout said,
'Ok, I'll take the garbage out!'
But then, of course, it was too late...
The garbage reached across the state,
From New York to the Golden Gate.
And there, in the garbage she did hate,
Poor Sarah met an awful fate,
That I cannot right now relate
Because the hour is much too late.
But children, remember Sarah Stout
And always take the garbage out!

Love poems are also home to hyberbole. Those overcome with love can't help themselves. Give them time. Then they will write he or she done me wrong or how much money I got or didn't get from the divorce settlement hyperbolic poems and what's love got to do with anything anyways poems.

Here is the dictionary definition of hyperbole

"A hyperbole is an extreme exaggeration used to make a point. It is like the opposite of “understatement.” It is from a Greek word meaning “excess.
Hyperboles can be found in literature and oral communication. They would not be used in nonfiction works, like medical journals or research papers; but, they are perfect for fictional works, especially to add color to a character or humor to the story.
Hyperboles are comparisons, like similes and metaphors, but are extravagant and even ridiculous."

Here is all you want to know about exaggeration and the answer to my question about  psychological  hyperbole.  Thank you, Wikepedia.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lyrics as Poetry-Joni Mitchell

Where is poetry in our lives?  I think it is everywhere. One obvious place is in song lyrics. I chose to make this post about Joni Mitchell since she has a book out (well, its been out a long time) entitled The Complete Poems and Lyrics of Joni Mitchell. I've  linked a You Tube video of her singing one of her songs/ poems (not sure if it is in the book).   Read  All I Want.  Then listen to the song. Is it the same experience? If there was no music to the words, is this a poem?

 An Amazon Editorial  Reviewer  wrote 

" The sweeping imagery and confessional tone of Joni Mitchell's lyrics have made her a pop icon for decades. Her writing, like that of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, helped legitimize song lyrics as poetry by adding sophisticated shadings and nuances that earlier rock and folk music often lacked. What's more, as a woman writing in a medium dominated by men, Mitchell became an important role model for young women trying to make sense of their lives during turbulent times.Given her importance as a pop poet and the care and craft with which she approached her craft, it is a treat now to have her work compiled in one volume. Mitchell's has been an aural art, but having the words to read on the page without benefit of melody heightens one's appreciation of the lyrics as poems."

Joni Mitchell: The Complete Poems and Lyrics

Joni Mitchell: The Complete Poems and Lyrics

 Lyrics and Video from You Tube

  All I Want by Joni Mitchell

I am on a lonely road and I am traveling
Traveling, traveling, traveling
Looking for something, what can it be
Oh I hate you some, I hate you some
I love you some
Oh I love you when I forget about me
I want to be strong I want to laugh along
I want to belong to the living
Alive, alive, I want to get up and jive
I want to wreck my stockings in some juke box dive
Do you want - do you want - do you want
To dance with me baby
Do you want to take a chance
On maybe finding some sweet romance with me baby
Well, come on

All I really really want our love to do
Is to bring out the best in me and in you too
All I really really want our love to do
Is to bring out the best in me and in you
I want to talk to you, I want to shampoo you
I want to renew you again and again
Applause, applause - life is our cause
When I think of your kisses
My mind see-saws
Do you see - do you see - do you see
How you hurt me baby
So I hurt you too
Then we both get so blue

I am on a lonely road and I am traveling
Looking for the key to set me free
Oh the jealousy, the greed is the unraveling
It's the unraveling
And it undoes all the joy that could be
I want to have fun, I want to shine like the sun
I want to be the one that you want to see
I want to knit you a sweater
Want to write you a love letter
I want to make you feel better
I want to make you feel free
Hmm, Hmm, Hmm, Hmm,
Want to make you feel free
I want to make you feel free

Friday, April 5, 2013

"Life is a Mess and Art is Form" Conversation With Poet Billy Collins (Cortland Review Link)

Is life really a mess as someone told Billy Collins?  An enlightened being once said life is how you see it. Then there is that old familiar line about its not what happens to you but how you react to it that determines the quality of your experience. I think both are true. I also think personality, genetics, family systems and some luck play into  how we react to our lives. I do think it is hard to change basic things about yourself like if you are a half empty person or a half full one. Some people get rattled by everything, other people are laid back about  most things. The laid back people call the rattled people over- reactive and the  over- reactive people call the laid back people simple or procrastinators or insensitive. Is life a mess? I  go back and forth between the half empty and half full glass. In a "good"  poem the glass of life is always full for me. That is why I read and write poetry. It is an affirmation.

So where is my rambling leading me when it comes to the Billy Collin's interview?  When he mentioned that writers spend their time lying to people in a way to make them think the work is about the reader when it is really about the writer set me to thinking. When he said poets need only one story (their own) that they  vary  in each poem bells and whistles went off. That is what I do.  I tell my story over and over again with few exceptions. If I am not telling an actual story of mine every poem reflects my pov on all things.

Recently I  have been reading lots of  current poetry and find I don't like much of it.  Why? Well, I am not really into poetry that is so dense you need a jungle guide to plow through it or poetry that waxes poetic about life and death or poetry that is nature oriented that describes the breezes blowing or narrative poetry that could have been written as  prose.  Then there are the extremely crafted poems, I feel like they are in a straight jacket. I am looking for something new. I yearn for newness, freshness of language and vision. Not everyone feels this way about the poetry that is out there today. I don't mean to sound like the styles or themes of poetry I mentioned can't be inspiring or even great.  I meant to say that it is originality  within the style or theme I am seeking. Sometimes I find that newness or originality in prose poetry with its element of magical realism and sometimes I find it in Billy Collin's poems. He often just gets to the heart of an emotion and experience and it is clear and plain. I feel  yeh, that is life.

 Poets need to energize the word.

If anyone wants to suggest a poet to me, I'd be grateful. I want to find some nitty gritty down to earth poets or poets who are so sublime in their use of words or vision that I am  left breathless for a moment. The element of surprise is what I am seeking in a poem  these day.

The form  of a poem is vital as Collins said in the interview. That is perhaps what I am writing about, how to make the form vital and new and connect it to relevant content. It is a difficult task. It is often what is left out of the poem, the silent part that holds the most surprise. It is the part the reader has to fill in and this is where the poet  artistically lies to the readers skillfully pulling them into the poem until  they are almost hypnotized.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Poems, Never Read Them. They Have No Relevance to My Life.

 I want to ask people who never read poems or think poetry is some wacky esoteric thing, what is it in your life that fills you with happiness, peace, curiosity, anger, rage, envy if only for a moment? Because in that moment there is poetry and a poem. You have to be kidding.  No, I am not. Poetry is  about  how we respond to the moments of each of our lives whether it is about our reactions to external events or our inner feelings and thoughts. Isn't poetry about things no one thinks about like the significance of flowers and daffodils? It could be but it doesn't  have to be and anyways what is so irrelevant about thinking about flowers? Remember the time you bought a bunch of flowers at the grocery store or from a  florist or you picked them outside in  a field or you planted them? Flowers are part of existence and everyone has an opinion about them if only they would stop and smell the roses.

I think people are uncomfortable with poetry because  they have to stop and be thoughtful when confronted with language that is not a sentence or in a song. Granted some poems have so many metaphors in them and the language has no obvious or any content or the sound is more important  than the content that it is a hard to grasp what the writer is saying. Even readers  who enjoy poems  just close the book or website. I mean if you need a book to decode a poem , well, I agree who needs poetry unless you  like intellectual challenges. The poetry that works for me and I think for anyone who will give it a chance expresses universal feeling, thought or experiences. These poems are like great songs that you can't stop singing and of course one song or one poem is one person's treasure and another person's huh?

I'm going to write more posts about poetry and why I believe people avoid reading it or go blank when asked about a poem they've read, deciding it is not  relevant to them.  I think it is a cultural thing and it is also the result of the educational system that does not encourage students to value the arts. By devaluating the arts we are devaluating our humanity. I am not saying everyone needs to read poems or love them. Everyone has valid priorities.  But it is like beets. When I was young I hated them. I  never tasted them. I didn't like the color. I was beet prejudice. Perhaps poetry has been cast typed like the beets. Poetry is for people who have a lot of time and beets are for people whose mothers make them eat them.  That is so far from the truth.  I love beets now that my mother stopped telling me to eat them. If you have the time to watch the  news you have the time to read a poem.. Poetry has been at heart of many cultures even our modern one. It is just that not everyone knows it.

< a href=>poemaboutdaffodils

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring is Coming

 Yesterday I  heard a cardinal singing.  What a beautiful sound.

Everyone Has An Opinion -"Richard Blanco's inaugural poem for Obama is a valiant flop | Books |"

Much of how we see the world (our reality) is subjective. That is a good thing when shared respectfully, many voices to be heard, many point of views, many possibilities for creation.  I often  marvel at how certain we are that our view is the right one. Often the only one.  There is no room for another's vision. It is like this big time  in our political climate today and also in the world of literature.

 I find myself " feeling" if a poem works for me or if it doesn't but that is my point of view based on my subjective experience of life, my preferences etc. I  think there are standards that make a poem  successful whether it resonates with a reader or not. Even if a poem doesn't resonate with me I  try to honor  the poet's craft, vision, experience.  I am not a great reviewer. I don't like to trash anyone's work.

 Richard Blanco's inaugural poem.

One Today


 Richard Blanco 

"One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.
All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches 2
as mothers watch children slide into the day.
One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.
The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.
Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello| shalom,
buon giorno |howdy |namaste |or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound 3
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together"

Blanco's poem was well received and praised by people who love poetry and those who never read poems. I think the poem has lovely moments and sentiment. The one thing I didn't like was the reference  to the Connecticut school tragedy. I felt it diminished the poem by injecting what has become a political symbol of what causes violence in our society and how to resolve it. This line felt out of place to me in the poem but this is my point of view.

"or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever."

 Did this poem work for me. In some  ways it did. I will read more of Blanco's work. There is enough emotion, story, beautiful imagery and use of language and unity of thought in this poem to make me curious about his other poems. He was given a gargantuan task to write this public ceremony poem.

 Now read another person's point of view.
"The celebratory public poem is an extinct genre in our sceptical postmodern times, and probably ought to stay that way. It presents the writer with insurmountable challenges in form, tone and content. How do you praise your nation wisely – with honesty and caution? How do you root that public voice in the personal and private spaces where thoughts grow? How do you write a mass-market poem?"

 Read the rest of the article

 What do you think? 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Robert Pen Warren and W.B. Yeats Quotes on Poetry

The poem is a little myth of man's capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see --it is, rather, a light by which we may see -- and what we see is life. 
  Robert Penn Warren

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry. 

 W.B. Yeats

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

" What's Love Got To Do With It?" and Other Lyrics and Poems About Love. Happy Valentine's Day. May the Love Force Be With You.

 A Drinking Song

WINE comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

"What's Love Got To Do With It?" sung by
Tina Turner
You must understand
That the touch of your hand
Makes my pulse react
That it's only the thrill
Of boy meeting girl
Opposites attract

It's physical
Only logical
You must try to ignore
That it means more than that

Oh what's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a second hand emotion
What's love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken

It may seem to you
That I'm acting confused
When you're close to me
If I tend to look dazed
I've read it someplace
I've got cause to be

There's a name for it
There's a phrase that fits
But whatever the reason
You do it for me


I've been taking on a new direction
But I have to say
I've been thinking about my own protection
It scares me to feel this way


What's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a sweet old fashioned notion
What's love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

Etta James sings "My Funny Valentine"

"My Funny Valentine" is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. After being recorded by Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra, and Miles Davis, the song became a popular jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists."

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Yet youre my favourite work of art

Is your figure less than greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But dont change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is valentines day

Is your figure less than greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But dont you change one hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is valentines day

When I Was One-and-Twenty

By A. E. Housman
When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard a wise man say,
“Give crowns and pounds and guineas
       But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
       But keep your fancy free.”
But I was one-and-twenty,
       No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard him say again,
“The heart out of the bosom
       Was never given in vain;
’Tis paid with sighs a plenty
       And sold for endless rue.”
And I am two-and-twenty,
       And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.
Source: Father: An Anthology of Verse (EP Dutton & Company, 1931)

Poem to an Unnameable Man
By Dorothea Lasky
You have changed me already. I am a fireball
That is hurtling towards the sky to where you are
You can choose not to look up but I am a giant orange ball
That is throwing sparks upon your face
Oh look at them shake
Upon you like a great planet that has been murdered by change
O too this is so dramatic this shaking
Of my great planet that is bigger than you thought it would be
So you ran and hid
Under a large tree. She was graceful, I think
That tree although soon she will wither
Into ten black snakes upon your throat
And when she does I will be wandering as I always am
A graceful lady that is part museum
Of the voices of the universe everyone else forgets
I will hold your voice in a little box
And when you come upon me I won’t look back at you
You will feel a hand upon your heart while I place your voice back
Into the heart from where it came from
And I will not cry also
Although you will expect me to
I was wiser too than you had expected
For I knew all along you were mine

Hear audios of love poems 
at the Poetry Foundation

Friday, January 18, 2013

"The Voice of a Manuscript" Blog Post by Poet, Editor, Teacher Jessie Carty

Jessie Carty is a talented poet, teacher and editor. In this linked blog post she presents her thoughts about putting a poetry manuscript together whether a chapbook or full length collection.

''I’ve written fairly extensively on this blog about the process of putting together a manuscript: chapbook and full length. Even so, I find myself continuing to struggle a bit with the final organization for my second book (it will be out in September from Sibling Rivalry Press). Well, not so much the organization as which poems to leave in versus which ones to take out.''

Read the rest.

 Notice this- 

"I also finished Elizabeth P Glixman’s chapbook from Finishing Line I Am the Flame which is a strong example of how to put together a shorter manuscript. These poems about maternal lineage were strong portraits that had me thinking even more about family."

This is great feedback. Thanks, Jessie!

Here is a list of Jessie's books.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hot Off the Press -I Am the Flame Poetry Chapbook Now on

I Am the Flame can be purchased at


Yes, my chapbook with poems that focus on my ancestors, mostly the women: aunts, grandmothers, great grandmothers, great aunts, is hot off the press from Finishing Line. Here is what I believe and why if you enjoy poetry, history, women's rights, are interested in immigration and inner peace or really loved your great Aunt Rose, you could find my chapbook a source of joyous remembrance, a reflection  on family and life cycles. We all have ancestors, some we know and see often, some we know and never want to see (eva) and others we never knew who lived long ago in places we never visited. We are connected to them all via DNA, learned behaviours, culture, hopes and dreams.The poems in I Am the Flame are universal. They show what  connection can mean. Perhaps after reading my poems you will write one of your own.

Monday, December 10, 2012

12/10/12 Grand Mal: Dennis Mahagin's Poetry Collection on Amazon. "Hip, eclectic poetry for lovers of smart literature" Time to Expand Your Minds and Read Poetry

"This review is from: Grand Mal (Paperback)
This briskly paced but well-thought-out book of poetry offers a twisty ride to clever, challenge-seeking readers willing to get aboard. No slight chapbook, "Grand Mal" is a full-length, 120-page softcover book that includes 50 hip, eclectic poems, many of them good-sized, and all of them packed with allusions and references to music, movies, TV, art, celebrities, writers, pop culture, newsmakers, history, places (notably Portland and Seattle)--and (seriously) a lot more.

It would be helpful to come to this book as a reader who has some knowledge about a lot of stuff--being a bit of a dilettante might, in this case, work for you--even still, there may be things you'll want to Google. (I, for example, had to look up the familiar-sounding name "Marcellus Wallace," and I found out--oh, yeah!--he's the gangster played by Ving Rhames in the movie Pulp Fiction.) Mahagin's pretty quick, he keeps you on your toes, and some of his zingers might get past you, but, after having read the whole book twice, and some parts of it more than that, I decided not "getting" all of it was OK. There's a line in the poem "Layers & Layers of Meaning": "Sometimes you don't have to know what someone is saying to understand everything."
  Read the rest.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bug Poems- Fall is a beautiful time of year. Along with trees changing colors, the animals and insects are getting ready for winter. Elderbox bugs invaded my space in fall last year and stayed the winter

Boxelder, Elderbox Bug Poems

Elderbox bugs invaded my space last year. This year there are fewer.  I feel bad for them. They are trying to keep warm, but hey, a person's gotta do what a person's gotta do.  I don't smuch bugs or spray them. I remove them peacefully from my space. Call me Ghandi. These poems were written when I was considering changing my name to Clint Eastwood. I won't post a picture of these little suckers.  They might think I like them and decide to stay around.

*I show them a pamphlet on insecticides
and the paper towel in my hand

Five elder box bugs are on the window
There is a blizzard on the other side
Their black red lined wings and long
thin muscle wasted legs crawl the glass
I don't understand what they are looking for
There is no heat
Why are you still here I ask them
as if they know English
I've been kind since fall
when they moved in with me
only taking out three of the multitudes
leaving the army of fast walking hibernators
alone watching them running from me
But today my warrior appears
This is my frozen kingdom
I tell them love doesn't live here anymore
hasta la vista baby


*The Invasion

Elder box bugs have invaded my space
There are groups of them
on the bathroom ceiling
on the phone receiver
in the shower.
When I turn on the lights.
I am in a movie about infestation
A.H.'s The Birds or 
I am  in the painting Edvard Munch’s
The Scream

Black and red bug bodies with wings
stay stationary until I poke them
I am not a swatter or smacker
They flutter fly do their kamikaze thing
I jump up
I am a yellow belly cat in a movie about infestation
A.H.'s The Birds or
I am  in the painting Edvard Munch's
The Scream

I call the maintenance men
They say Oh those bugs are everywhere 

Don’t worry honey be happy
They don’t bite or damage wood
They are not dangerous
There is nothing we can do

When it gets cold they will die or
You can kill them big squish
I am in a movie about infestation
A.H.'s The Birds or I am  in the painting

Edvard Munch's  
The Scream

I pray for the little flutterers to be gone
I hate flying and death
I  want  a real estate agent
to entice them to move
into a vacant condo streets away .

Tippi Hedren has nothing on me
except bloody
beak bites
blonde hair
a good job
a convertible
I am in a A.H. movie The Birds or in the painting
Edvard Munch's  
The Scream

from the poetry chapbook THE WONDER OF IT ALL by Elizabeth P. Glixman 

* Poems copyrighted by E.P. Glixman.  Permission must be requested for usage in a commercial or educational venue