Friday, May 13, 2022

5/13/22 The Tragedy of War. We Have A Choice. Why Do Humans Choose War? Moving Poems From Ukraine War Poetry in Ukraine: Serhiy Zhadan and Lyuba Yakimchuk

 There are two sides to everything.  Somethings like night and day we can't change although electricity has allowed our nights to be brighter.  When we have a choice we often choose that which makes our life better. War in human terms does not make  life better  for anyone except perhaps  governments or certain businesses ( war it is said helps economies). 

When you see the destruction in Ukraine and all around the world you wonder what have we as a human collective done to this glorious planet and to ourselves and each other. Who in their right mind would choose suffering over peace for all?  Who could defend bombing magnificent museums, defenseless civilians, children, relics, hospitals, peoples' homes and innocent animals? It really seems to come down to what you believe, have been taught or experienced in your life.

 Isn't it time collectively to stop wars? Don't you want that? Don't you want to experience the earth being free of  man made pollution, new ways to provide food and freedom for those struggling, new forms of governments that promote  freedoms and resources for all? Don't you want to experience  higher states of inner peace and happiness, live up to your potential? See your families prosper?

Lets stop the suffering.

 Remember beyond nationality and race we are  the same. Maya Angelou said

“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”

― Maya Angelou, The Complete Collected Poems

 The  Human Tragedy of War

Poets From Ukraine- W Serhiy Zhadan and Lyuba Yakimchuk

Sunday, April 10, 2022

4/10/22 Check Out Solstice, a magazine of diverse voices

4/10/22 Another Time, Another War Poetry W.H. Auden

September 1, 1939


"I sit in one of the dives

On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,..."

Read the rest at

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

1/12/2022 " Poems for Peace Young people living in conflict use poetry to express their hopes for a more peaceful future."

Mandala for fearlessness. We need to be fearless in our pursuit of inner and outer peace.


Poems for Peace

Young people living in conflict use poetry to express their hopes for a more peaceful future.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

11/23/2021 The Genius of Bob Dylan His Music is Relevant in Our World Today.

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Come gather 'round people, wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone
And if your breath to you is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'

Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide, the chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon, for the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who that it's namin'
For the loser now will be later to win
'Cause the times they are a-changin'

Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call
Don't stand in your doorway, don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt, will be he who has stalled
'Cause the battle outside ragin'
Will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don't criticise what you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'

The line it is drawn, the curse it is cast
The slowest now, will later be fast
As the present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin'
And the first one now will later be last
'Cause the times they are a-changin'

Songwriters: Bob Dylan 

Updated Version 2018 Dylan on Jimmy Fallon Show

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Worcester Review- New Issue. Fiction Poetry. Art. Book Reviews. Checkout Ali Wilding Beech Wood

Frigg Magazine Issue 56 . Editor Ellen Parker Knows How To Select Fiction and Poetry. So Much Good Work . Check Out Helen Beer's Snowfall on Mt Tams and Poems by J.R. Walsh and More

A Brave and Startling Truth Poem by Maya Angelou Inspiring Words. Yes WE CAN Create Peace In This World!

A Brave and Startling Truth

by Maya Angelou

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Kindness "The measure of true kindness — which is different from nicety, different from politeness — is often revealed in those challenging instances when we must rise above the impulse toward its opposite, ignited by fear and anger and despair." Quote from Brain Pickings about Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

11/1/18 Natasha Trethewey on the Importance of Poetry

"It's the way we have to connect not only the intellect, but also the heart, to engage the whole body with breath, with rhythm." Natasha Trethewey, author of Monument: Poems New and Selected (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018), talks about the immense value of poetry...''

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Worcester Review Volume 38 - The Latest Issue Has Great Short Stories, Poetry ( One of my poems is in this issue) and more.

 It is a wonderful feeling to have my poem ''Wool Hats" included in this issue with the work of many fine writers, poets and artists.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

Strange Horizons Poetry Podcasts. August 28, 2017

 I read my poem " The Estranged" that was published in this issue.
 This is my first podcast.
Ciro Faienza read other contributors' works.
 He has an amazing voice! 
  Have a listen to his readings and mine. Enjoy.

Monday, March 6, 2017

New Poems In Frigg Magazine

 Frigg Magazine's issue 48 is all about shame. There are poems, short stories, flash fiction and creative non-fiction pieces exploring this emotion.  Shame is a human emotion  we all feel in different degrees at different times. Some form of shame or lack of it is seen everywhere in our society. 

  Brene Brown has studied shame. She talks about shame in this video.

 shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Gustave Flaubert - Poetry Is Everywhere

There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it.
Gustave Flaubert

Sunday, July 24, 2016

In Remembrance of the Life- New Poetry Book by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

Jane Rosenberg LaForge is one of my  favorite contemporary poets. Check out her new book.


James Esch, Publisher
Spruce Alley Press


West Chester, PA, July 8, 2016 –  Spruce Alley Press today announced the release of In Remembrance of the Life,  a chapbook by Jane Rosenberg LaForge. 

The book consists of 25 elegiac and unflinching poems that harvest a transformative beauty from the fields of memory and loss.

“Poetry at its best engages with the realities of life. Some of the biggies are death, loss, and memory. Jane’s poetry meets these subjects head-on, with refreshing honesty and insight,” said James Esch, publisher at Spruce Alley Press. 

Jane Rosenberg LaForge is a poet and writer living in New York City. Her poetry, fiction, critical and personal essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry Quarterly, Wilderness House Literary Review, Ottawa Arts Review, Boston Literary Magazine, THRUSH, Ne'er-Do-Well Literary Magazine, and The Western Journal of Black Studies. Her memoir-fantasy, An Unsuitable Princess, is available from Jaded Ibis Press. Her full-length collection of poetry, With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, and All Women was published in fall 2012 by The Aldrich Press. She is also the author of the chapbooks After Voices, published by Burning River of Cleveland in 2009, and Half-Life, from Big Table Publishing of Boston in 2010. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.  Follow her on twitter at @JaneRLaForge. Website:

Some reviews of In Remembrance of the Life:

"Rosenberg LaForge points toward the beauty of inevitability; death is less an end than a step toward 'the infinite, and you can/ no longer resist the distance.' Reading these poems is often akin to ‘diving into a rainbow of saffron and petrol,’ where the choices one makes may not be choices at all."
Leslie McGrath, poet and author of Out from the Pleiades: a Novella (Jaded Ibis Press, 2014)

"Reading In Remembrance of the Life is like reading Virginia Woolf if she were writing poetry—one image triggers another appearing to emerge from the unconscious...a book that the reader will return to again and again."
Chella Courington, author of The Somewhat Sad Tale of the Pitcher and the Crow and Love Letter to Biology 250.

In Remembrance of the Life by Jane Rosenberg LaForge
44 pages, Paperback
25 poems
ISBN 9781365002564

Available for purchase at

Also distributed through, Barnes and Noble, and independent bookstores worldwide.

NOTE: Review copies are available (electronic PDF or print). The author is available for interview requests.

Spruce Alley was founded in 2013 by James Esch in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The press is a micropublisher of independent literature, audio, and artwork in print-on-demand and digital formats. Contact James Esch ( or go to

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

“Absolution” by F. Scott Fitzgerald A Classic American Short Story . Have a Read.

 "Absolution" is filled with moments of beautiful prose. It is a story of  three peoples's intense inner conflicts about religious beliefs and  their behaviours. It was written in 1924.
 F. Scott Fitzgerald who wrote the Great Gatsby is the author.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks-Book Review-"Over the Plain Houses is a stunning novel of love, betrayal, madness and change."

Hardcover: 280 pages
Publisher: Hub City Press (May 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1938235215
ISBN-13: 978-1938235214
 "Franks' debut is a thoughtful exploration of one woman's quest to live life on her own terms."-Kirkus Reviews


 Over the Plain Houses tells the story of what it was like to be a woman, wife and mother in rural North Carolina in 1939.  It also tells the story of the gradual disintegration of one woman’s marriage. Over the Plain Houses is a stunning novel of love, betrayal, madness (Brodis thought his wife was a witch and a sinner) and change. It is filled with the rich landscapes and details of earthy country life.

In Over the Plain Houses, we meet Irenie Lambey wife of Brodis Lambey.  We learn first hand how the life of a farm wife married to a former logger turned fundamentalist preacher (whose self declared mission was to spread the word of God) changes when the USDA sends Virginia Furman a modern woman and government employee to Irenie and Brodis’s town to teach the women modern ways of housekeeping as other USDA employees had previously come to town to encourage the men to  grow “modern” crops like tobacco that would  provide  a better income for their families. 
The former simple lives and beliefs of many of the farmers and their wives were challenged by Virginia Furman and her progressive (at the time) ideas. One of  the concepts Irenie struggled with was  Brodis's interpretation of the Biblical Eve and Adam’s relationship.

"Listen. Eve shall be ruled by her husband and in sorrow bear children. She shall spend her life disappearing, and the blue flame shall sputter and shrink into its own self for years to come."

"Do you own Mama?" she asked her father in the midst of her confusion.

 Irenie's mother had said to her, " 'You don't have to be like Vina Jones.' Mrs. Jones had birthed a child every year for seventeen year running."

 What did a woman in 1939 do when she did not want another child, abortion was illegal? What will Irenie do?

Julia Franks' descriptions of nature, the farm animals and the passing seasons adds to the authenticity of the story. The descriptions are filled with sensory impressions that made me feel I was there watching the logs tumble down the falls in the water or I was there when the hounds went on a night walk with Irenie.  I could feel the soil and the night air. I was there in  Irenie’s and Brodis’s bedroom seeing the square of light filter through the one small window at night while they lay under a quilt in a sparsely furnished room where the Bible was by the bed.  Franks’ descriptions of place with visual vignettes is superb. Franks depicted the outer world of this couple with the eye of an artist and botanist and she portrayed the inner world of these two with compassion and the insight of a writer who gets her characters completely. You can’t help feel her empathy for them even if  they act terribly.

The book is constructed like a river that meanders with slow passages and then bursts into volatile inner and outer terrain. The pace invited me to keep reading, there was tension in the story heightened at the right pivotal points. Occasionally I thought the pace was slowed down by endless descriptions of nature.  But later I realized these passages offered a reprieve to the reader to gather their emotions like Brodis and Irenie did.

This book will resonate to women of any age I believe who love a man or love a man they fear. It will resonate to men and their concepts of provider and protector of “their” women.  It is a book for people who love nature and the way of life in the county. It is a book for history lovers. It is a book for anyone who wants to read a story where people are wrestling with cherished beliefs and inner demons, a story of conflict and redemption set in an authentic world that is fading.
 In the hands of a lesser writer Brodis and Irenie could have become one-dimensional characters, a fire and brimstone preacher and a woman who wanted to be free. In Franks’ hands they became conflicted people like many of us wanting to live their dreams.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley- Book Review- Grand Central Publishing

Each time I see the words Breaking News on a TV screen I think no not another disaster.  I am desensitized to disasters from the never-ending images on the 24/7 news cycle. It takes a while to get to the truth and news stations milk this on the hour to captivate viewers, ratings matter.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley is about this 24/7 news cycle and a story they are covering. A plane crashed with two influential wealthy men aboard, Michael Bateman the head of a major news conglomerate and Ben Kipling a Wall Street financial tycoon. Their families including two young children were aboard. These men were powerful movers and shakers with ties to the top levels of government.  A relentless narrative is spun by the anchor of the news station Michael Bateman headed. It concerns the cause of the crash and questions the motivates of one survivor suggesting he may have instigated the crash.

The most compelling thing about Before The Fall was not only the way the book reflects society and the 24/7 news cycle mirroring viewers' insatiable need to watch news to know who is doing what to whom, but the humanity Hawley showed toward each of the characters on the plane whether they survived or not and to the family members not on the plane whose lives were changed.

At moments the news and the horror of the crash became secondary to the way the characters were revealed to the reader. Hawley juxtaposed chapters that moved the main story line forward with chapters dealing with passengers' pasts. As much as I welcomed the information, I feel that the way these chapters were placed in the story was jarring. I found myself wanting the story’s plot to progress. I had to delay this need to know as the remnants of the plane were found and read a chapter about one of the characters on the plane.  Eventually I realized it was worth it since each person from the stewardess to the copilot was humanized, I am not sure how else Hawley could have gotten so much background information in the book without this continual interruption of plot.
Hawley like all good writers told this story scenically. Objects become important in the scenes. Being the bodyguard of a newsman who has threats on his life for controversial views is tense business. Bateman’s bodyguard "slept with his finger on the trigger of a Glock.”  There were other images like this of objects that enhanced the whole thriller aspect off the story as well as believable dialogues often missing from thrillers.

The narrator’s voice added to the mystery of the plane crash and life in general by searching for meaning in the face of tragedy.  One of the character’s hero was Jack LaLanne the fitness expert who is known for his 50’s TV show. The narrator said, “Where Sartre saw ennui, Jack saw energy. When Camus saw pointlessness and death, Jack saw the broad breaking power of repetition.”

When you read the book you will see how Jack LaLanne influenced one of the characters in a way that enabled him to survive.
Before the Fall is the story of people who happened to be in the wrong plane at the wrong time, the story of the need for connection the news provides to the world, the story of  despair and survival. Despite the way the press sensationalized the crash and tried to defame people's character I invite you to see if the power of  love, integrity and truth wins in the end.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

I finished reading Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. After I have had time to reflect on the story, I will post a review. This was quite an amazing   thriller (a contemporary who or what did it  tale)that reflects not only the human response to loss and tragedy but also shows what it is like to be in the news business today. It "ain't" your mama's news anymore.  A disturbing and moving story.