Archive for the ‘love’ Tag

Everyday Poets September 2012   1 comment

New interrobang tattoo

Interrobang tattooed on the arm of a fellow punctuation lover. (Photo credit: Emily Lewis)

Last week I talked about my recent move to Michigan. The reason for the move was because my new husband, the short story writer Gavin Broom, had gotten a job with a subsidiary of his company in that state. Gav and I have been friends for many years, both belonging to the same online writers’ workshop. A native of Scotland, he visited the US in August 2011, and we were able to meet face to face for the first time.

The attraction, which had been building gradually via email, text message, and Facebook, blossomed into a full-blown relationship.  Five transatlantic flights later, we decided our carbon footprint had grown wide enough, and he proposed in the baggage claim of Logan International Airport in Boston.

My poem in Everyday Poets on September 28th, Interrobang, deconstructs our relationship. It speaks of the questions that are brought up when one marries for the second, or even third, time. How two people used to having their own way come together as one, forging new ways of arranging a living room, folding clothes, raising children.

An interrobang is a unique form of punctuation, which is used for something that is both a question and an exclamation. I thought it summed up perfectly the feelings one has right before a move, a wedding. That feeling of excitement, with so many possibilities ahead of you that you feel the need to question every one. It’s the first form of punctuation that I’ve ever written a poem around, though I have challenged myself to write more.

To read the poem, follow this link, feel free to rate it and leave a comment!

http://www.everydaypoets.com/interrobang-by-helen-r-peterson/

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Everyday Poets 2011   Leave a comment

 

Child 1

Children, flexible in all kinds of ways!  (Photo credit: Tony Trần)

 

As anyone who has read my latest book, Melons and Memory will tell you, my role as a mother is at the very center of my being. More than my roles as a poet, librarian, sister, daughter, wife or friend, I am identified by others as being the mother of my daughter and two sons. The first thought on waking and the last fading off to sleep is how can I improve the lives of my children every day. It’s led to some easy decisions, and to others that were not so easy.

 

 

 

One of those tough decisions was made after my daughter was born. I had suffered from HELPP syndrome, and had had to have an emergency c section as my liver and kidneys began to shut down. She was fine, the healthiest and heaviest of the three, but in the process of giving her life, I almost lost mine. At that point I made the painful decision to have a tubal ligation. While I was still pretty young, I had had three children, I had my girl. The potential for more children was too great a risk to the well being of the children I already had.

 

 

 

Three years later, it’s a decision I’m comfortable with. I see my friends in their pregnancies, hold their infants, and that desire to have another one is no longer there. But in the beginning, it was very difficult to wrap my head around such a permanent decision. So, as I do with all the bumps in my road, I ironed it out with writing.

 

 

 

The poem, “Closing Down the Baby Factory”, was so good, Everyday Poets published it last year, and I’m so glad they did. While the beauty and joys of motherhood are so prevalent in poetry as to almost be cliché, the topic of choosing to let motherhood go rarely gets the airplay it deserves, in poetry or the mainstream media. It’s important that every woman can find herself somewhere in the arts. One of the goals I’ve set for myself in my writing career is to give them that through my own experiences, no matter how sensitive or graphic it might be.

 

The Joys of Marriage for Writers   Leave a comment

 

Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Gavin Broom and Helen R. Peterson.

Writers are a fickle bunch. By necessity, we grow a tough skin, but we can still be sensitive to criticism, especially from other writers. I’ve co-edited projects with other writers with whom I’d been best friends before the project began, and no longer on speaking terms with after. It happens. So just imagine living and working with another writer. Co-editing a transatlantic literary journal. Lots could go wrong in that scenario.

It doesn’t always work, sometimes when one of you gets a story accepted in that journal that NO ONE gets accepted into, the other one can’t help but ask, “why not me?” But it’s nice to have an extra pair of eyes in the house to tell you when you’re getting it right, and wrong. It’s good to live with someone who understands, when you’ve got the notebooks and pens out, when the laptop is turned on, they shut the door, take the kids out for ice cream, and give you your space for a few hours.

Gavin and I have, so far, made it work. We were friends when we started working on Waterhouse together, and we’re still friends. More than friends in fact. We look forward to seeing how our life together is reflected in one another’s writing from now on, and seeing how working so closely together will improve the Waterhouse further.

We invite you to share this journey with us, by keeping an eye on this blog, the Melons and Memory Facebook page, and the Waterhouse Review ( www.waterhousereview.co.uk  ). Let’s enjoy this ride together!

A Few Lines Magazine 2012   Leave a comment

 

Refridgerator with character

Who knows what lurks in the fridge? 

 

 

 

 

 

There are times when the influence of the poets that have come before you become very apparent in your work. You write a poem or a story, and you can see Emily Dickinson or Wallace Stevens or Robert Frost in there, somewhere. In my poem, To My Recent Ex, recently published by A Few Lines Magazine, there is a glimmer of William Carlos Williams’ “This is Just to Say”.

 

 

 

There are two very different camps when it comes to the interpretation of Williams’ poem. Some believe it to be a simple and moving look into a loving relationship. The other camp, where I stand, sees the chill and formality within it. Forgiveness is not asked, it is demanded. Ending with the word cold implies, to me, a chilly relationship, where communication is handled solely by notes left on the fridge.

 

 

 

My poem was written at a time when my soon to be ex-husband and I were communicating in like manner, though with us it was texting, we no longer shared a fridge. The isolation in Williams’ poem resonated with me, and I wanted to take it farther, more graphic, more cynical.

 

 

 

And so, instead of sweet fruit, the persona in my poem eats a bowl of spaghetti past its prime instead. The results are stomach turning, in more ways than one.

 

 

 

You can read my poem, and the other great poetry in Issue IV of a Few Lines, by following this link here to the pdf:

 

 

 

http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/4016299/vol1iss4-pdf-may-22-2012-12-13-am-1-4-meg?da=y&dnad=y

 

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature   Leave a comment

Agape

Agape (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

 

In April, Dead Mule published my poem Agape. This is the third poem in the Love triad with Phileo and Eros, both published in February by The Legendary.

 

While an overtly religious poem, I believe Agape offers hope for everyone. It was written, as were the other two, for the friend turned briefly lover, reminding him in the darkest hour of the hope he’d found in the renewal of his own faith, and to keep trudging ahead, no matter the dips in the road.

 

But I find, especially at this time in my life, that I too need this reminder on a daily basis. No matter what life throws at you, there is hope somewhere. Nothing is all bad, you cling to the good to pull you out.

 

My belief in Christ has never let me down, no matter what the circumstances. May you find something in your own life to hold on to and give you peace just as well.

 

http://www.deadmule.com/poetry/2012/04/helen-peterson-agape-a-poem/

The Legendary 2012   Leave a comment

The Legendary 2012

On a number of occasions over the years, I’ve been honored to be included in the pages of The Legendary, edited by the sassy Katie Moore. This year, in February, she published my poems Eros and Phileo.

Both poems take their titles from two of the three aspects of love as defined by the ancient Greeks. Eros is romantic, physical love, and phileo is fraternal love, it’s why we say Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love. There is a third poem in this series, called Agape, on the last aspect of love, but Katie passed on this one and it was published instead by Dead Mule in April, but that’s for another blog post in a couple of weeks.

I wrote these poems towards the end of a brief relationship. After my divorce, I began to date an old friend, someone I had met 18 years ago in high school, and there were times where it was difficult to separate the 33 year old man from the 16 year old boy in the band room.

Writing these poems made me realize that what both of us were looking for was a return to the innocence we’d lost over the years, and the relationship ended soon after. This is one of the advantages of being a poet. Writing gives clarity to the reality that inspires the writing.

To read Eros and Phileo, as well as everything else of mine that the Legendary has ever published, visit their archives here:

http://www.downdirtyword.com/authors/helenpeterson.html

Zygote in my Coffee April 2012   1 comment

Rossetti was interested in figures locked in e...

Zygote in My Coffee April 2012

 

To read the issue, go here: http://www.zygoteinmycoffee.com/100s/issue137contentsradnads.html

 

First, let me just say how happy I am that Zygote came back. They were one of the first to publish me, and so many of those early online zines have gone dark. I’m ecstatic they’ve published my poems, Sapiosexual and Glottophagy, this month in issue #137.

 

Both Sapiosexual and Glottophagy continue the series I’ve been working on of Three Dollar Poems, poems that have long and/or archaic words for titles that then go on in the body of the poem to define the word in some way.

 

A sapiosexual is a person who is turned on by another person’s intellect, and not their physical appearance. Glottophagy is a term that refers to when a language is completely taken over by another, so that the words themselves are lost. This is commonly referred to as language death, but glottophagy, let’s admit it, is a lot more fun to say.

 

I am so excited to see these two poems published together, as they are both inspired by the new man in my life, and the impact these changes have had in both my point of view and in my writing. Glottophagy especially encapsulates this, since I had been in such destructive relationships previously, it was hard for me to reclaim the language necessary to write poems and fiction that reflect happiness and true love. Working through the poem was a gateway for me to a whole new range of images and metaphors that had been closed off to me before.

 

I am eager to see what new poems will be inspired by this amazing new journey in my life, and I can’t wait to share them with you, my fans and supporters. I think, in times like these, we can all use a few more happy poems, don’t you?