I have taken the last few months off from the world for some internal reflection. The death of four people in my family in 12 months caused me to turn inward, to withdraw socially and surround myself with only my greatest loves: husband, family, books, poetry, home, open spaces, neighborhood walks, and yes, I will admit, binge watching High Fidelity and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Thank you Rob and Midge for making me laugh.
And now it is Spring and out my writing window I see yellow daffodils, orange pansies and purple hellebore. The 70 year-old camellia is laden in the softest of pink blooms and the neighbor’s cherry trees are ready to pop.
And for those of you who have followed my “car wash” photos, last week I took my car to get washed and began taking pictures for the 2020 series.
I submitted five new poems (the first submission in almost a year) and heard yesterday a journal in Galway, Ireland called Dodging the Rain will publish them in May and June.
By allowing myself permission to withdraw from the world for awhile, to grieve and acknowledge the losses, the color bursting before me is calling my name to rejoin the ranks.
Or it could have been the Prozac. Either way, I am doing just fine.
The Olympia Poetry Network is doing great things in the South Sound and this event is evidence of the passion and value they place on the poets who inhabit Washington State. I highly recommend attending this event if you have the opportunity.
The Olympia Poetry Network is proud to host “LaureateFest 2019” on Sept. 21st at Saint Martin’s University’s Norman Worthington Conference Center in Lacey Washington.
A celebration of all things poetic, the panel discussion with the Poets Laureate will explore what poetry is, what it has been, and where it might be headed; what it means to be a Poet Laureate and a poet in today’s world; and will include comparisons and contrasts of individual poets’ processes of creation. In the evening, the poets will read for 15 minutes apiece from their original works. The Laureates will be available after the readings to sell and sign books. Both these events are free, and the public is encouraged to attend. The following day, a workshop facilitated by Washington state’s 3rd Poet Laureate, Elizabeth Austen, on titling poems will be held in downtown Olympia from 11:00 am until 1:00pm. More details on the flyer.
Sponsored by Saint Martin’s University, Humanities Washington, ArtsWA, Panorama Retirement, Denali Walden Massage and graphic designer Debi Bodett, LaureateFest includes an afternoon Panel Discussion and evening readings by all five past and current Poets Laureate of the State of Washington, with an introduction and poem by the City of Olympia’s Poet Laureate, Sady Sparks.
Thanks to writer and Olympia Poetry Network Board Member Patrick Dixon for passing this along.
I am honored to have my poem “Postcard” included in Snapdragon – A Journal of Art and Healing. This is is a lovely online journal that publishes work quarterly with “the goal of providing a platform and build a community among established and emerging poets, writers and artists, who find art to be a catalyst for self-discovery.”
This poem began in Paris, took a jaunt to Ireland and Australia, and found its permanent home in America. How poems come about is as interesting to me as actually writing them, and so if you are a believer that art heals and would like to support their mission, please consider subscribing to this fine publication. My poem is in the Summer 2019 Issue – 5.2.
Here is a teaser though. The poem begins here, where I am standing.
A big thank you to writer and artist J.I. Kleinberg for writing a review of my book of poetry The Lure of Impermanence (Cirque Press 2018), in the most recent volume of Cirque Journal – Vol. 10. No. 1. You can check the complete review by going to the Cirque link above.
Reviews are scary things. Having your work judged by another takes a certain amount of armor. Putting yourself out there is a bit like being back in Junior High and wondering if you are going to be asked to sit at the “cool kids” table.
With that said, Judy was kind and gave me one of the biggest compliments I could have craved. As many of you know, who follow this blog, my last blog post was called Return Flight and I wrote about flying home to my beloved Pacific Northwest. Kleinberg says my poems are painterly and cinematic, that they are crafted with care and precision, all of which I appreciate. But what I especially appreciate is that she “got” my poems are rooted in most profoundly,place and anchored in the towns of Oregon and Washington.
I hope in some small way my writing can be a witness to how place has the ability to nurture and shape us. I am a fourth generation Oregonian. My family stories are rooted west of the Cascade Mountain Range in both these States and I believe like William Stegner that no place is a place until things that have happened in it are remembered in history, ballads, yarns, legends or monuments. And though not all the poems in this collection are about place, I appreciate that Kleinberg felt its presence important to note.
Here is a poem from this collection that began in a small fishing town on the Southern Oregon Coast and a picture of me about the time I was in fact hanging off these small town docks.