Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick Links as I Rush Out the Door

41º ~ the clouds departed, the sun returned, still a cold, cold breeze ~ a massive flock of robins populates the backyard

As a follow up to yesterday's link, here are two more that talk about the submission process and teach me something new along the way.

links from Science Photo Library

1)  Traci Brimhall talks from the poet's perspective of submitting on Her Circle:  "Hazards of the Passion: What I've Learned About Submissions."  New piece of information: remember to thank the editors when the issue comes out.  I'm pretty good about expressing my gratitude when I get the acceptance, but I don't always remember to say 'thanks' when the issue comes out.

2)  Diane Lockward talks from the editor's perspective on her blog, Blogalicious: "What I Learned as an Editor."  Diane served as the guest editor for the first issue of Adanna, and I am indebted to her for including two of my poems there.  Favorite bit from this blog, one poet submitted 96 poems.  I've made some mistakes in the past, but I have to say, I haven't over-submitted to that extent.

Finally, the AWP Conference Schedule is up and this year they have an interactive tool that allows you to form your personal schedule.  Cool.  Check out F114.  That's me, reading with Robert Wrigley, Nicole Cooley, Tim Seibles, and Daniel Khalastchi, as we represent Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum's wonderful Poem of the Week.  Holy Moly!  I might pass out from admiration of my fellow panelists.  (I'll also be reading with the diode and Barn Owl Review folks on Friday night.  More details to follow.)  Wahoo!!!

I'm off to the grading salt mines.  See y'all on the other side.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Welcome to Rush Week, and I Don't Belong to Any Sororities, My Friends

33º ~ coldest morning so far by my count, a high of only 45º on the horizon, then 50s for the rest of the week, still soggy from all the rain but only solid cloud cover today

The Arkansas River on a cloudy Thanksgiving in Little Rock

So, it is rush week for me and I'm not sure how much I'll be posting here, but I hope to be back on Friday with a draft.  We had my parents in town for Thanksgiving, which accounts for the absence of a draft this past week.  I've got an idea bubbling away about the sickly speaker.  Much of her story began with our cat, LouLou, and her incredibly difficult to diagnose disease, which involved fevers and lots of drawn blood.  So, while the sickly speaker is NOT LouLou, is in fact human and with a whole host of other issues, there's a particular procedure I'd like to use from LouLou's experience.  Shhhhhhh.  Don't jinx it.  Check back on Friday.

The rush of this week is that it is the last week of classes and next week = finals.  That means I'm about to be buried under a slew of papers, some already waiting for me to begin grading this morning.  There will also be one exam that needs to be written.  Unlike the end of the spring semester when the summer stretches out before me and I don't even think about the next semester's classes, at the end of the fall semester, I'm already preparing my January syllabi so that I can get a bit of my own personal work done over the "break."  That word is in quotes because there won't actually be a break.  I'll be working on classes, the reading series, and the journal throughout my time off.  I'm thankful to have a job doing something I enjoy doing and which I can often do in my pajamas in my home office.

As I rush off to work this morning, Dear Kangaroo Readers, I want to pass on this link from Tara Mae Mulroy's blog Poetry and Effrontery.  She offers some great advice about the submission process from not only the point of view of the writer but also the point of view of the editor, particularly the graduate student editor.  After over a decade of doing the business of submissions, I thought I had it all figured out.  Still, there is more to learn.  Two things that stuck out to me.  1) If you get a personal rejection that is unsigned, consider photocopying it and including it in your return submission, as most of the staff know each other's handwriting.  2) If you get a request to submit again, do so immediately.

I know I've heard that last one before but I guess I need to be hit over the head with a two by four to get there.  THANKS, TARA MAE!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for Some Good Poetry News

52º ~ eerie white cloud cover, a sparrow scratching in the leaves on the neighbor's roof, the world still damp after two days of flooding, interstate-closing rains, our cycles now seem to be drought or flood, drought or flood, I worry for the planet

I've been AWOL from the desk of the kangaroo as the semester hits light speed.  We had a big meeting Monday morning for a committee working on an NEH grant.  I'm thankful to be working with a great group of folks and I'm thankful that this one isn't my baby.  It's huge!  Half of my students are in the midst of turning in research papers (due by midnight tonight), and the other half (the comp students) will be turning in their final papers in another week or so.  I'm using Thanksgiving to gird my loins for the onslaught of comma splices and fragments, but also to build up some energy to celebrate the great papers as well.

While I've been swamped with grant-writing, quiz-grading, and paper-collecting, some good news has arrived from the poetry world.

Mossy rock near Heber Spring, AR (my photo)

1.  I received a grant from the Sally A. Williams Artist Fund at the Arkansas Arts Council to help defray costs for AWP.  It won't cover the whole amount, but it will help out in a major way, as I have no funding from PTC this year.  I met Sally when I was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship in 2007, and I know the Arts Council lost a true gift when Sally passed away a few years ago.  Her family and friends used part of her estate to create this wonderful opportunity, and I'm more than thankful to have qualified this year. 

2.  Six weeks ago or so, Jeremy Schraffenberger, one of the editors of North American Review emailed me about some poems of mine he'd read in another publication.  He inquired about my sending on anything new I might be working on.  Through this exchange, two exciting things happened.  First, NAR accepted "Having Been Outside the Body," the first of my sickly speaker poems to find a home.  And second, in our email exchange, I let Jeremy know that I was from Waterloo, IA, the twin city of Cedar Falls, IA, where NAR is housed at the University of Northern Iowa.  In the end, the gracious folks at UNI invited me to do a reading on campus in March, and I am thrilled to do so. 

As most of you may know NAR is AWESOME, but it is also the oldest literary magazine in the US, founded in Boston in 1815.  Wow.  I just lost my mind for a minute there.  I was totally oblivious to this great treasure while I grew up within a stone's throw of its home.  When I learned about it years later, you can bet I was kicking myself. 

All of this proves that getting the work out there (and doing the hard work of drafting & revision first) matters.  That there are other people out there reading the work and that magical connections can happen this way.  I have no fancy connections to the movers and shakers of the po-biz world, and in this case, it didn't matter.  The work mattered.  Yay for poetry and yay for poets & editors!

3.  This week, George David Clark, who has taken over as Poetry Editor at 32 Poems, as John Poch passes the torch, accepted "The Ashes of My Familiar," the second of the sickly speaker poems.  This is super exciting since these poems are a departure from my old familiar Midwest poems and super exciting because I love 32 Poems with a mad passion.

In the way of explaining po-biz for any emerging writers out there, I first worked with GDC when we was a grad student and poetry editor of Meridian, another favorite journal of mine, and he accepted a poem of mine.  GDC and I have crossed paths since then at AWP and we've kept track of each other and our work.

4.  Finally, yesterday, Susan Slaviero, who is doing amazing things at blossombones, an online journal that features work about the female experience (although not limited to female writers as far as I understand), took "The Contents of Our Tales," the opening poem in my series of Midwest fairy tales.  Again, I'm thrilled by this.  In part I'm thrilled because the fairy tales have not soared out into the world in the way I imagined they might.  Several people mentioned there being a kind of blacklist against fairy tale poems and I guess I've seen some of that, or maybe, not all of the poems are as strong as they need to be.  I'll be checking to see if more revision is in order before sending them on their way again.

**I am not naming these editors for the sake of name-dropping.  Let's face it, this is the poetry world.  Nobody outside our circles knows or cares who these people are.  I'm naming names because the whole thing seemed such a mystery to me when I started submitting work and I had to forge my own way through this mystery.  I want this blog to offer a bit of light for those beginning writers who still feel in the dark about how it all works.  Also, I'm naming these people because editors are often left out of the "let's celebrate this publication of mine" moment and without them, without their reading and reading and reading through the piles of submissions, the publication wouldn't happen at all!

***Keeping it real, I also recorded several rejections over the last few weeks, just to keep the old ego in check!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Draft Process: Over Which a Feast Weight Passes

38º ~ one of the coldest nights so far for the season, but a warming trend through Tuesday, bright sun today, the remaining leaves fluttering like torn flags on the stripped branches

Well, she's done it again, Dear Reader.  My sickly speaker got so insistent that I kept running into the office to scratch out her words while I was trying to make the coffee. 

The prelude:  Last night, I did remind myself that I had time and space to write this morning, but I didn't really fixate/focus on drafting at that point.  As I was going through my morning routine, I did think about where the speaker might be today and what she might be thinking about.  Since this whole set of poems began with the idea of a fever and an illness that escaped diagnosis, the fever tends to come up a lot.  This morning I was thinking back to the previous drafts and trying to remember what the speaker has had to say so far.  I wondered if I needed to re-read all the other drafts before I started.

Uhm, no. 

One of the earliest drafts I wrote included a reference to the speaker's meals of rare meat and red wine (an allusion to "The Yellow Wallpaper" that I couldn't avoid/resist).  Then, a later draft featured a "thinning diet" of a "thin slip of soup" and "a thimble" of either wine or water (I can't remember without looking the draft up).  So, I was thinking about food, I guess, and the speaker arrived with this:

Two days after the fever breaks,
they return with plats of meat.

Fat & juice congeal on the plate.
The wine has been replaced.

from (click for link)

After I got the coffee brewed and got to the desk, I went straight to the computer and typed out the lines I'd scratched into the journal.  It seems I've moved away from word banks and clustering.  The poems build themselves more slowly as I have to search the dictionary of my own brain/life to find the best words, but that's the real work, isn't it?  I suppose I'm glad to move away from the word banks a bit, although I still believe in their power to propel me onto the page without any dilly-dallying. 

Just counting the lines, I see today's draft matches Wednesday's: 22 lines, all in couplets.  Hmmm, when is form a crutch?  Something to watch for.  Did I cut this poem off too soon?  I confess, that when I reached a certain point on the screen I started thinking about how to "wrap it up," although I want to avoid the trite epiphany endings.  Endings are also a bit different now that I know there is a series of these poems in the works.  There is more of a sense that the ideas of the poem may continue to evolve in different patterns and progressions, so I don't have to try to say everything about this speaker all at once.  For me, these are strange times. 

To the title: I admit that I thought about going to my mainstay, Lucie Brock-Broido and mining her work again for the title.  However, laziness overcame me and I stayed rooted in the chair.  (In an organizational fit, I shelved a bunch of books yesterday, so nothing was in reach.  Yes, if I lean over, I can just touch the edge of the book case, so it's only two steps away, but the chair was so sure beneath me and the electric heater is aimed right at my feet.  You understand.)  In any case, I decided to try my hand at a title that would fit with the others and hit at the illness-altered state of the speaker's mind.  Who knows if it will stick.

I think now, I will need to print out all of the sickly speaker poems and see what's what. 

Until the next installment, then.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Draft Process: Inside, the Ice Assembles

60º ~ the rain continued into the early hours of this morning ~ as far as I understand it, this is going to be one of those days where the temperature falls throughout the day ~ lows tonight in the mid 30s ~ the wind continues to stir the trees

No, the calendar has not leaped ahead to Friday, constant Reader.  I am simply off schedule as noted at the end of last week.  This morning as I woke up, my sickly speaker came to the forefront of my mind and stayed there.  After I read the blogs, I glanced down and saw the copy of Mary Oliver's American Primitive, still open on the desk from yesterday's post.  I read another of my favorite poems from the book, "Ghosts," which is about the near extinction of the American bison during the 19th century and the cost of that excessive hunt.

I was not planning on writing a poem today, I confess.  I put the book down and wondered how different a poem I might write if I gathered words from Oliver instead of Lucie Brock-Broido.  They are as different as night and day in diction.  Then, without even thinking about it, I heard my sickly speaker's voice.  She said, "They say the seasons are turning."  And Poof!  I grabbed my journal and the poem began itself.  It did not pour out of me whole, but I got a great start.  I should also say that between blogs and Facebook, I've taken note that friends in more northern climes are commenting now about snow more regularly.  That matters to the poem.  It begins:

The nurses say the seasons are turning.
I see little but one squat square of sky.

On days when the fever lets loose of me,
I notice now the gathering clouds, the way

their weight is shifting toward snow.

Frost appears in the poem, too.  (click for link)

It goes on in couplets, as most of the poems in this series go, for 22 lines.  I had been wondering about the speaker making progress in her battle against this undiagnosable illness, but that wasn't to be today.  She has more to say about being sick. 

I've also been chaffing a bit at the fact that the speaker is contained within this hospital (asylum?) and thus there's not a lot of the natural world in the poems.  In some ways, today's draft speaks to that as well.  The speaker identifies with and yearns for the natural world but cannot reach it due to her illness.

For the title, I did return to Brock-Broido, to her book, Trouble in Mind.  I found the phrase "Inside, the ice assembles" in the poem "After Raphael," and it works perfectly for this poem about the coming of winter and the state of the speaker's body & mind. 

As for Friday, well who knows now what will happen.  I may return to my "schedule," or I may not.  It's that nearing-the-end-of-the-semester, oh-my-the-HOLIDAYS-are-here time of year so anything goes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Poetry & Grief

61º ~ the rain it does rain down, steady mostly, with sudden bursts of bucketfuls ~ that carpet of crunchy leaves on the lawn? now a sodden blanket

On Sunday, a friend of mine from college was by his mother's bedside as she breathed her last breath.  Over the past several years, I've kept up with her battle against cancer via Facebook updates and a few personal emails & letters along the way.  What I know is that this woman cherished her life and her family & friends and she was cherished in return.

Today, I need to post this Mary Oliver poem for my friend, G., and for all of us. It has helped me through so much, and it is one of the first poems that made me want to be a poet.

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able 
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

from American Primitive, 1983


Monday, November 14, 2011

Artistic Obessions: The Horizon

80º ~ hold on, friends and fans of the Kangaroo, there's been a wicked wind blowing for three days now and it seems to have an unlimited supply of energy, stripping the trees to about 30%, the yards are carpets of brown and yellow crunchy leaves, a fat storm to the west should usher in cooler temps tomorrow

I keep this picture on the side of the file cabinet at my writing desk.  It was taken in the summer of '78 and my grandmother's inscription on the back states that I'm with Bonnie, probably one of the last ponies or horses that she and my grandfather kept on the farm. 

I'm glad the details are fuzzy with age, although I did play with the color a bit as the surface has faded over time.

Why am I showing you this off-center pose?  Because I've been thinking about what obsesses me and how those obsessions bleed through into my poems and deeper still how those obsessions began.  Sometimes, when I do a reading or look at the manuscript I'm currently sending out, I get a bit shame-faced about recurring words / images.  Then, I look more closely and try to be sure I'm earning those repetitions.  Handling the patterns correctly builds cohesion; overuse or repetition without expansion build boredom.  With revision, the shame fades and confidence returns.

What I noticed the other day was my fixation on the horizon. For anyone who isn't from the Midwest / Plains and wonders why my work is so full up with that demarcation line, I hope this picture informs you a little bit.  Living in the South as I do now, I miss being able to see for miles and miles and miles.  I miss the pure power of a wind that gathers strength uninterrupted (although we are getting a hint of it down here today).  I miss the sunsets that stretched and stretched and stretched across my field of vision.

When C. and I were visiting Iowa a few years back, he commented on the lack of trees, and I was stunned.  Couldn't he see that grove over there?  Couldn't he appreciate the way those pines were planted to stop the wind from eroding the field we were driving past?  Of course he could; however, down here in Arkansas, we live among the pines and hard wood forests of the southern edge of the Ozarks.  (Timber is a huge industry, especially in the county where C was raised.)  We both love trees it turns out, only I love them as individuals or in small groups and he loves them on a grand scale. 

In any case, back to the horizon.  How do these obsessions form?  That's material for a psychological study, I suppose, but I do remember being fascinated with that distance even as a child, that sense that I could walk or ride for hours and not reach what I was seeing in the distance.  And in that distance, anything at all might happen.  There were no real boundaries, no sense of being closed in, which seems a bit frightening now that I think about it.  I was nothing but a tiny dot on the landscape, even with the heft of Bonnie beneath me.  On the other hand, with that distance all around me, I'd surely see any threat with enough warning to high-tail it home as well.  Maybe that's what I miss most of all, the ability to be on the lookout for danger without having to build a fire tower to do so.

Finally, here's a Wordle of the weather manuscript so you can see my other obsessions.  (MOM:  Sorry that "dead" and "mother" are right next to each other.  I promise, it's not that kind of book!)

Saturday, November 12, 2011


50º ~ the leaves are changing daily, the Japanese maple deepens to a brick red tone, clouds show off the colors best

Today's post is a bit of a placeholder.  There's no draft process this week.  On Wednesday night/Thursday morning a cold/flu bug got the best of me and I was down for the count until midday yesterday.  Then, the papers that have been lingering here needing grading got the priority. 

True confession, Dear Reader, I'm just a little burned out, singed around the edges and needing a bit of a break from poetry. 

I've been thinking about that old Nike ad: "There is no finish line."  I get the inspiration behind that, and I've been thinking about it in terms of poetry.  Yes, I'm frustrated because book #2 hasn't found a home and I've moved on to book #3, and I just keep writing poem after poem because, hey, that's what I do; I can't stop doing it.  However, there is a tiny voice (that corrosive, eroding voice) that questions why I continue to sweat over the page when the finish line eludes me.  I guess I need the weekend to slap some duct tape across the mouth of my internal doubter.

I am not writing this because I seek encouragement or comfort.  I write it because the goal of this blog is to be real, to be honest about what the writing life is all about for me.  Sometimes it's not all happy, happy, joy, joy, 'fun with words,' party time.  Sometimes, it's trying to drag the plow through the hardest, most drought-stricken topsoil in the hope that the weather will turn in my favor at the end of a hard day's work.

Until then, here are a few pictures from the neighborhood from last week.  The colors are even more saturated now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reflections on Building a Reading Series

50º ~ bright, clean sun after a squall line of thunderstorms ushered in a cold front last evening, a bit of wind leftover yet

Last night was our third and final event in the Big Rock Reading Series for the semester.  We had a smallish crowd, but a wonderful event.  I'll spend the next few weeks mulling over some of the information gathered and lessons learned, but I wanted to share a bit that's surfaced already.

It's all about the audience.  Of course, I want to hear the readers no matter how many people are in the audience, but now that I'm in charge of planning the events, I feel an extra pressure to be sure there are others there to share the joy.

In particular, since we are a community college, we are trying to reach a group of students who often don't even know what a reading is before we bring it up in class.  We do an audience survey at each event, and the participants identify whether they are students, faculty, staff, from another college/university, or from the community at large.  In this way, we can zero in on responses from our students.  Overwhelmingly, the students who do attend have wonderful things to say, often including a comment about this being their first time at such an event and their desire to hear more.

When I began planning the series, I scheduled each of the events for this fall on a Tuesday night, the second Tuesday of each month to be exact.  I was following the footsteps of a lot of other monthly activities in the area, thinking to build a sort of muscle memory.  However, this backfired a bit last night.  You see, we have had classes come and attend the two previous readings, and that was great.  However, it is hard for any instructor to give up three evening classes (or parts of them) over the course of one semester.  I'm pretty sure using a Tuesday and a Thursday next spring will serve us better.  We are also considering doing one daytime event, which will draw in participation from those daytime classes. This kind of shifting of the schedule goes against my experience with other reading series, but it is important to be flexible and adaptable, as is the case with most things in life.

Of course, we are also striving to build a relationship with our community, central Arkansas, and the lovers of literature living here.  I know they are out there.  Here is where our location hurts us a bit, I think.  We are not hard to find, but we are a bit isolated perhaps, surrounded almost entirely by homes and apartments.  It is not like going to a reading at a bookstore or at one of the other colleges in the area, where there are restaurants, shops, and bars in abundance within a stone's throw.  One suggestion has already been made to form a partnership with either the local library, which is more centrally located, or another business and do one of the readings per semester off campus.  That is something to think about as a way to bridge the gap.

Overall, while the series requires time, sweat, and a lot of help from a lot of other people, I'm so happy that we have launched ours to such success, and I hope we can grow and improve in the coming months.

Finally, here is a shot from last night.  The reading featured two current MFA candidates from the U of Arkansas MFA program.  We are hoping to do one reading per year with the program as a way of offering a reading experience to the writers and to educate our students about the ways they can make writing a part of their lives.  Corrie Williamson read some amazing poems that left the crowd breathless.  Then, Kaj Anderson-Bauer kept us enthralled with a story about an imagined afterlife set in a place a lot like North Dakota.  Ben Nickol, a recent fiction graduate from the U of A came along to cheer on Corrie & Kaj.  I love my people!

L to R: Ben Nickol, Corrie Williamson, & Kaj Anderson-Bauer

Monday, November 7, 2011

Saving Daylight

57º ~ 75º highs in the forecast for today and tomorrow, then a cold front brings us back in line

I understand all of the arguments for daylight savings time and moving clocks back and forth.  What I know is that it was easier to wake up at the right time today because the sky was lightening again when the alarm went off, after weeks of darkness.  It does make me wonder how much exhaustion occurs from forcing the body to live outside of the sun's own time. 

It's that time of the semester (week 12 begins today) when we are all just putting one foot in front of the other, clinging to every holiday advertisement, not for the joy of gift-giving and mouth-stuffing, but because once the holidays hit, we know it will all be over.  We are at that point in the marathon when the body is all machine and the brain something we drag along behind us.

Yes, there are papers waiting to be graded.  Yes, I took the day off yesterday.  It was necessary.

On a bright note (hello daylight!), tomorrow night we cap off the Big Rock Reading Series for the semester.  Wahoooo!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Draft Process: We Live in Black & White

50º ~ the autumnal blusters are upon us, complete with gray hovering skies

The story of today's draft is convoluted.  Wednesday night, I fought the insomnia beast at 2 a.m. and my mind went wandering to my sickly speaker.  Caught in the lethargy of exhaustion, I failed to get out of bed and write down what was happening, but I remembered it well enough Thursday and had it at the back of my mind this morning.

What happened in the night was this.  The speaker started talking about how "the woman [she] called mother by mistake" came to visit her.  The poem spun out from there.  As I was getting ready to write this morning, I started with that, but something about the situation kept bugging me.  Finally, I pulled out the draft from last week and took a look.  Sure enough, there was a kind of separation in that draft and a sense that this woman would not be visiting, even though she is the person who admitted the speaker to this hospital/asylum.  There is also a sense that the doctors (whitecoats in the speaker's language) want to get blood from the woman in the mistaken sense that she and the speaker are related.  The speaker feels a need to protect her, this pseudo-mother. 

So, I scratched that beginning and started over with the idea of the pseudo-mother, for lack of a better title, sending anonymous gifts to the sickly speaker, anonymous to remain hidden from the whitecoats.  What struck me about all of this is that writing a series of linked poems like this means I have to take some elements of fiction into account in terms of plot and character if I want them to hold together as a whole, and I think I do. 

More and more, the speaker wants an audience, and some of the earlier poems take the epistolary form to solve this.  Today, I needed for her to be able to tell someone about these gifts, so she writes a letter to "Dear Madame," her mentor, which is where the whole series began back in August.  Today's draft begins:

Dear Madame--

Be on your guard.  There are secrets here
which I will seal with glue & string.

The woman I called mother by mistake
sends me gifts addressed by an anonymous hand.

For clarity, the mentor-figure and the mother-figure are two separate women, and while I first thought that only the mentor-figure was of great importance to the speaker, I now see that the mother-figure is, perhaps, equally important. 

As for the process of the draft, after I scratched out the false start, I did turn back to Lucie Brock-Broido for some word gathering.  However, I've switched to Trouble in Mind.  I didn't need to gather as many words this time, but I did still go through and look for a title. The phrase "We live in black & white" comes from her poem "Physicism."  This worked for the draft given the correspondence by letters and the fact that one of the gifts the speaker receives is a series of photos, and while they aren't mentioned to be black & white photos in the poem, they could be. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Some Poetry for You (and it's FREE)

46º~ gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous: repeat until tired of sweet sun that doesn't broil and blue skies that go all the way up

Today, I have some poetry I've fallen in love with to share with you.  Say what you will about online journals, I love them.  I love the ease with which I can share the work I love, and yes, I'm always careful to include attribution; I am, if nothing else, a teacher of composition and research skills through and through.


First, the most excellent poet Carolyn Guinzio (a friend of mine) and Stephenie Foster (new to me) have started a journal for women poets and artists: Yew: A Journal of Innovative Writing and Images by Women.  While my style remains a bit more mainstream, I have been inspired by the first issue (3 pieces per month, 12 months a!).  Check out work by Laynie Browne, Andrea Baker, and Doro Boehme.  To top things off, I LOVE their logo.


Next, another Browne poet, this time Susan Browne, whose poem "Too Poetic" is up this week at Linebreak, another favorite online journal.  Check out this gorgeous poem that includes this nugget:

"I won’t say a thing about the V of geese rising
above the chain-link fence, their calls

sounding exactly like nuns keening...."


Last, here's a poem from Heidi Lynn Staples, "Things Between Themselves," distributed by in their email daily dose of poetry.  I can't quote from this one because the lines I want to quote are the closing couplet and you really need to read your way down to them to get the full THWACK as they knock you backwards off your chair.