Editors, Sandra Kleven and Michael Burwell not only publish a beautiful, inclusive journal, but they have created a Cirque community that is still as important to me today as it was when I first began publishing with them.
Poet friends, consider submitting your best work to Cirque. Lovers of poetry, consider purchasing a copy of this journal to help support this fine publication.
It has been awhile since I have written a blog post. I signed up to blog once a week at the beginning of the year, and have failed miserably to meet my goal.
So, what have I been doing these past three months? Well, I attended a ten-week poetry workshop, wrote poems, researched writing programs, read twelve books, travelled to Nashville, and sold my house. And, as if that were not enough, two weeks ago, as I was packing up my kitchen I was notified that Cirque Press out of Anchorage, Alaska is ready to move forward with publication of my first book of poems, which caused me to dance around my empty home in absolute delight.
Endings and beginnings seem to be a constant theme in my life. Since I was a child, I have moved every few years. Even as a young girl I remember the allure a new place had on me. In equal measure, I also had feelings of homesickness connected with leaving, which left me feeling conflicted.
I still love new adventures, and by nature I am a flexible and curious person who is not afraid to try something new. But I also know, with each new adventure and opportunity my heart gets broken a bit each time, because I am always open to attach myself to the people I meet or the landscape I walk on, and by caring for both, I allow myself to experience what can be the beautiful paradox of heartbreak.
At the end of this week, I head to California for a few weeks of reflection, then back to the Pacific Northwest to begin the search for another home. I have already begun scouting out a new writing community in the Portland area, but I have no intent to leave the community I have made here. The roads that take us to each other will just be different and not even necessarily longer, especially when you factor in bridges and ferry rides!
As I have been reflecting about what I will gain in this move, and what I will miss, I wrote the following poem. As Dorothy told the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, “I think I’ll miss you most of all.”
Last week I was in Austin, Texas for Thanksgiving, and received the news that my poem “The White Album Summer” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Cirque, A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim. Thanks so much to Sandra Kleven and Mike Burwell, Editors.
Here are a few pictures from photographer, Michael Kleven taken at the Cirque Reading on August 12th. This is the second reading I have attended at the Wikstrom Brothers Gallery in Seattle and I am so thankful to be connected through poetry to this wonderful tribe of people.
I have the honor of reading with many fine Cirque poets in Portland, Oregon on April 10th at TaborSpace. The wonderful line-up includes: Tom Cantwell, Nancy Woods, Paul K. Haeder, Tricia Knoll, Richard LeBlond, Cody Luff, Eric Mertz, and Ann Sihler. If you are in the neighborhood, I would love to see you.
Today I turned on the news to yet another senseless shooting in Missouri. Each time I hear about a school shooting, or mall shooting or __________(fill in the blank) shooting I worry about what this repeated exposure to violence is doing to me. For it is doing something.
It makes me afraid, it saddens me, and worst of all it makes these events become “normal”, “expected” and thus less shocking. That is what terrifies me the most. That I am becoming desensitized. That I am becoming part of the problem.
In May of 2014, I was sitting in a small apartment in Mountain View, California, listening to the morning news, when they began covering a school shooting event in Oregon at Reynolds High School. This was a school district I knew well, as I had worked as a school counselor in the neighboring district for seven years. I still had friends who worked there. I knew the campus—the neighborhood. I Knew what it was like to be in a school with distraught students and you yourself distraught, but putting aside your own emotions and feelings to take care of them. I knew it wouldn’t be over once the shooting had ended.
And then I went on with my day. By 3:00 in the afternoon I was back to writing. This is a poem I wrote about that day and my own horror at how quickly I had moved on.
Mental Illness in America
Reynolds High School Shooting, May 2014
After my eyes welled wet,
after my Facebook post about
violence, teachers, fear,
after watching a reporter
interview a kid in shock
wondering where his
after hearing the gym teacher
was fine, the bullet only grazed his hip,
after the horror of it,
I caught myself looking at my toes
noticed I needed a pedicure
thought Popsicle Pink
would match my new blouse.
I am honored to be reading this Sunday, February 22nd, with many of the wonderful poets whose work grace the pages of Cirque, A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim. This issue is simply stunning— both in terms of visual art and the written word. Check us out if you are in the area.
I am thrilled to share that two of my poems were published in the 2014 Winter Solstice issue of CIRQUE, A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim. The poems are titled: “Mental Illness in America” and “Pomology Lessons”, which you can check out on the link above.
I am always grateful a poem gets published and wish to thank editors Sandy Kleven and Michael Burwell for creating more than just a beautiful journal, but also a nurturing community for writers and visual artists. The cover is absolutely stunning and is the work of Mark Muro.
On August 28th I had a unique invitation from my son Sean Taylor (check out his music) to read poetry between his music sets at Bunsenbrewer in Sandy, Oregon. I have to tell you, reading to that crowd rocked. We had some great beer, great music and my son was gracious enough to play some background music for a few of my poems. It was not the usual poetry crowd, but they were a fantastic and appreciative audience. It was a very poignant night for me personally because my best friend from 1st and 2nd grade surprised me by coming to the show. I had not seen her in 52 years! Between hugs and some quick catching up, we both left feeling a piece of ourselves had been found again. I am sure I will have some poems to write from this incredible reunion.
Here we are before the gig, getting reading to collaborate on a few pieces.
Me and my best friend in first and second grade, Marla. Truly a lovely surprise, filled with lots of emotion.
This Saturday, September 6th, at 7:00 PM, I will be reading at the Poulsbohemian Coffeehouse with poets Joseph Fourbears and Nan Wooldridge. This is Kitsap county’s longest running poetry reading series (20+ years) and should be a great evening. I have met some fantastic poets through this venue. Readings happen once a month, so check it out if you are in the area.
I will be playing the part of Joan Swift in this tribute to Theodore Roethke. This performance and reading is the brainchild of Sandra Kleven, Editor of Cirque, a literary journal. The “real” students of Roethke will be in attendance, along with Jeff Vande Zande who wrote “American Poet, A Novel”, which I highly recommend.
I walk the trails at the Bloedel Reserve on a regular basis when I am home. On each visit I pass through the Japanese Garden, where I always stop and pay respect to a poet I did not know. I marvel at the mystery of how even after death we intersect in the lives of others.
If you get a chance, stop by and say hi to all the poets who have, in their own way been touched by Roethke.