Archive for the ‘print journals’ Tag

Fall Open Mic Night at the MSU Writing Center   Leave a comment

Microphones

The Mics are OPEN!!!!!

 

Last night I attended my first open mic reading with my husband since we moved to Michigan in September. It took place at the MSU Writing Center in Bessey Hall, on the Michigan State University campus.

 

We had been invited to attend by members of our writers’ workshop at the East Lansing Library. The group is also sponsored by the MSU Writing Center, and meets every other Thursday. We were happy to see that, as with the writers’ workshop, we weren’t the oldest people in the room at the Open Mic. The performers included several poets, some musicians, and a story teller or two. There was free pizza and drinks for everyone, and each person that got up to read received a t shirt. There was also a raffle drawing throughout the night. I won a 25 dollar gift card to Schuler Books in Okemos, which was a pleasant surprise.

 

The students were very open and welcoming to two old timers like us. There was a poet who went by the name Logic, about our age, who seemed to be a regular in local writing circles, who had a rapid fire delivery and had everyone laughing and shaking their heads at the way he would spin truth into poetry.

 

Overall, it was a good night out, and the perfect way to start November, fresh and inspired and ready to take on that novel I’ve been attempting to write for a year and a half. It’s been sitting dormant for about six months, so it’s time to get writing again!

 

How are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Any great open mics or writers’ workshops in your area? I’d love to hear about them!

 

Advertisements

In Memoriam   Leave a comment

Saint Francis

Image by Two Ladies & Two Cats via Flickr

Today’s post is going to be a little different. Instead of talking about me, I’d like to remember an old friend.

This week, the world lost a good person, who was also a great poet. I met Father Emmett Jarrett about ten years ago, when I first started to become involved in the poetry scene in New London, Connecticut. To the poets who met weekly at Muddy Waters, he was simply Emmett, a poet who had a knack for putting a rhythm on a story, lull you to comfort with the quietness of his gravelly voice, and then drive the ending right through your heart. He could create humor out of tragedy, make you feel and care about people you will never meet, experience places and events you will never witness.

More than a poet, Father Emmett used his words outside the coffee houses and art galleries where the New London School of Poets would gather. His work within the church championed the needs of the less fortunate, shedding a glaring light on the injustices of pur society the rest of us would rather gloss over, ignoring those people who live in the third world right here on the streets of America. Right to the end he was faithful to his message and his life’s work. As fellow New London poet Megan J. and I walked to the front of St. James to say good bye, we knelt at a plain wooden box, not a pricey and polished casket.

As the managing editor of Chopper Poetry Journal, I was honored to publish Emmett’s work twice, in the first and second issue. One of his poems in Chopper 2, “Asleep in a Haystack”, takes on new meaning as the people of New London say goodbye.

Asleep in a Haystack

the taste of light

is the taste of mango juice

sweet and smooth

to the tongue

open eyes two

candles burning

street lamps outside

fade with

the dawn

the pilgrim asleep

in a haystack

dreams his staretz

points to a page

in the book-

“the one in you

is greater

than the one outside”

the taste of light

is smooth as the grain

of wood and the altar

sweeter than–

wake up pilgrim

dreaming of light

there is nothing

to fear

nothing

that is not

mango juice

to the taste

of light under

the haystack

fast asleep

–Father Emmett Jarrett, Chopper 2, December 2007

Goodbye, good pilgrim. Heaven has gained an angel.

To read more about the life and work of Father Emmett Jarrett, click here

The Cartier Street Review   Leave a comment

Exampled of stippled gingiva,

Image via Wikipedia

You can view the issue here

In 2009 The Cartier Street Review published some of my more experimental poems.  Oral Fixation was written on a challenge, to write a poem about going to the dentist. Most of us within the challenge took on the dark side of dentistry, and I was no exception. But instead of the winding narrative typical of most of my work at the time, Oral Fixation is clipped, short, random.

Night.Mare. has more of a story within it, but is still a jarring, disjointed poem. Based upon an incident in my youth, when my horse got tired and decided to lay down and roll with me riding her, and a confusing, blurred dream years after. Using the symbolic importance most women place on horses in their youth, I managed to touch on the disturbing feeling of puberty without spelling it out literally, the sense of being overwhelmed, confused, and crushed.

Is there an animal that has taken importance at some time in your life? Think there’s something you could never write a poem about, like the dentist? Try writing one or both today.

The View From Here   Leave a comment

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/Issue/78743

In May, in honor of Mother’s Day, The View From Here published my poem The Problem With Mother’s Day. Most of my poems on motherhood have a positive slant to them, this one not so much. There is dark humor here in this  little poem, because a lot of people, especially those that do not have children, idealize motherhood and paint a picture that mothers can do no wrong. Then, when some mother does something truly horrific, it’s plastered all over the news, talking heads decrying the tarnishing of the sanctity of Mother. For a mom who is not going to murder her children or sell them into white slavery, but does have her moments where the makeup isn’t pristine, the children aren’t angels on the playground, and dinner is leftover meatloaf, this idea that anything less than the Perfect Mommy is a sin is an uncomfortable one. So, I wrote a little poem about it, and the folks at The View From Here must have a mother or two amongst them, because they accepted it and published it.

Have some dark days? Not living up to the ideals others plaster all over you? Write about it this weekend, get it off your chest.

Poetry Quarterly   Leave a comment

http://poetryquarterly.com/?page_id=7

As summer draws to a close and the weather here in New England begins to cool, I’m eager to look back on poems written about or during the summer time. The poem that Poetry Quarterly published in their Spring edition, “My Children Smell of Sea Salt Air”, is perfect for these high wind chill days, when all you want to do is curl up with a good book under your snuggli with a cup of tea and a bowl of chili. If you’re short a book, Poetry Quarterly also comes in a convenient print edition.

I wrote this poem late in the school year, when I was stuck counting books and calling parents with overdues, getting the library ready for its long summer’s nap. I would come home, hot, sweaty, and over caffeinated, to hear my children talk about the walks they’d taken with their dad on the boardwalk that day. I would gather them up in hugs and just inhale; it was enough to feel the sunshine on their skin to bring me back to myself.

And so, refreshed, I wrote this poem. I come back to it often this time of year, right before I throw on that extra sweater in the morning.

What was your summer like? On a cold night like tonight, journal about all the things you did, how it felt. Use your notes to write a poem, or a short essay, about the experience. It’s guaranteed to chase away the chill, for one night at least.

Dirtcakes   Leave a comment

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/dirtcakes-journal-vol-1-issue-1/11473677

Dirtcakes is a fantastic new print journal that publishes work along the ideals put forth by the UN. The first issue dealt with hunger, and included my poem A Gallimaufry of Days.

This was, I think, the first, and in my opinion best, of the 3.00 poems. Gallimaufry was actually one of the words on David Foster Wallace’s list, a word that means a jumble, an unorganized collection. What the word inspired in me immediately was food, a potluck dinner with a mix of dishes that don’t necessarily go together. With my main image intact, I began to brainstorm why a potluck is arranged to begin with, who would be there? Potluck is synonymous with church, for both happy occasions and sad, funerals, baby and wedding showers. All topics that have become cliche in poetry, love death and birth. What could I do that would be new?

At the time, I was hoping to go to Haiti on a short term mission trip to help build a library. I was attending missions conference at both my mother’s church and my own. I put myself in the place of the many weary missionaries I’d seen come and go growing up, sharing a meal at our house, pulling out the sleeper sofa. I knew that this was a group of people often misunderstood, by both the faithful and the secular world alike. And with that I had a setting, a theme, and a great word for the title. After that, filling in the blanks came easy.

I hope that you have the opportunity to buy a copy of this beautiful journal, and read my poem for yourself. As I’ve said before and will say again, print needs all the help it can get in the modern world. Afterwards, pick apart the threads of your own chilldhood and write about the interesting people there hiding in the shadows of memory. Bring them to light for us all to enjoy.