Archive for the ‘school’ Tag

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.

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Shine Journal   Leave a comment

http://www.theshinejournal.com/petersonhelenr.htm

The past week has been a long one for me, going back to work, sending two of three kids off to school. One thing that has suffered is the blog here, and I apologize if you’ve missed me the past couple of days. I promise to catch up.

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks, and in honor of that day,  I’ve posted my one and only 9/11 poem, published last year in The Shine Journal.  Unlike many other writers, it took me four years to write on the subject. On September 11, 2001, I listened to the first reports on NPR as I took my son to preschool, thinking that it had just been a small plane, mildly concerned. I should add that we didn’t have a tv at that time, no internet, no cell phone. It wasn’t until I got to work and saw my coworkers circling a monitor in the back, shell shocked, anxious. It wasn’t until my son’s preschool, state run, called and said I needed to pick him up, that the governor was closing all state buildings. It wasn’t until I went home and stared up at a sky free of jet trails that it hit me what we were dealing with. At that point the threads that connected the events to me were either too thin or rock solid to write about. It was only when my son, now seven years old, was baptized on the fourth anniversary of the attacks that I could find a way in to the emotions I felt that day in a way that I hoped made sense to the rest of the world, and approached the topic in a new and interesting way.

This year I sent another child to preschool for the first time. I am more connected to the world than I ever thought possible, for better or for worse. I look at the world, at the mess we’ve made of things, the hope of a more united country and world fizzling as we split hairs over what we call a community center. It makes me want to write another poem, only I can’t find a way in…yet…

Maybe you can. Give it a try, what has changed for you in the past nine years? How do world events connect you to the world around you? Find an in, write it out, and feel free to post it here.

ken*again   Leave a comment

http://kenagain.freeservers.com/POETRY.HTML#peterson

ken*again recently published three of my poems in their summer issue, Charles Sheeler Decides to Draw a Self Portrait, Home Front, and Take Me to Your Leader. I am especially pleased about the first two, as they were originally written over three years ago, when I was taking a poetry workshop at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic Ct. Sometimes, when we write, it may take awhile to find a place to publish it. We may find ourselves giving up, putting something aside for awhile, refining it until we believe it’s just right, and some lucky editor agrees with us. The best thing to do is not get frustrated, give it time to sit, move on and come back.

Take some time this week to dig through old files for buried treasure. Turn new eyes on some old work, make a point to submit them to a new literary zine.