Haiku & Other News

There are azaleas bursting to life in the front yard, and an unwanted pond in the back. In the meantime, while my head has been full of finishing THE NOVEL, Daniel Paul Marshall has shared some of my poems over at The Zen Space.

Thank you, Daniel. I adore the photographs featured on the Showcase and can’t wait to devour read all the other poems featured!

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New Publication At Underfoot Poetry

It’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of saying this, y’all: My work is being shown in an online lit mag!  Thanks to a friendly nudge from a fellow poet, I submitted work to the “Confession” feature happening over at Underfoot Poetry. Have a read through of the site when you get a chance, there’s poetry by the indomitable Robert Okaji as well as poets I’m just getting acquainted with.

The folks at Underfoot were kind enough to also share links to my ebooks that can be found at your choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Most people I’ve bumped into over the years are aware of my poetic bumblings, but few have read my fiction. (Don’t be afraid! It’s only $1.99!).

So, you’re welcome for all the reading recommendations. Enjoy

Poetry Relaunch & New Fiction

Thanks to the help of a writerly friend I was able to relaunch my two poetry collections via Draft2Digital which makes the books available on several venues, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Amazon, and Scribd. In all formats the poetry collections view best on tablets/e-readers rather than smaller devices, but I can’t really fuss about the disappointments of this learning process because it’s all been too fun.

In addition to the poetry collections, I’ve added the short story Whiskey-Niner-Kilo and a peek at my upcoming novella, The Reaping. Follow the links below for modestly priced reading! I hope y’all enjoy.

Books available on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble

Expert Advice Aside, Maybe I Should Just Go Take A Nap Soon

Time and I haven’t been on friendly terms for a while now. I yell a lot, but I don’t think it matters. May 2018 snuck up on me, now it’s whizzing by. Pollen is clogging up this town. I’m very sleepy.

Since January I have indulged in audio books on writing by writers. Now I’m on to interviews of authors, podcasts by authors, and I have to say, these have been incredibly inspiring. Natalie Goldberg, Ann Lamott, Stephen King, to name a few, have been in my ear since the mid-December ’17, explaining to me how I can’t continue to call myself a writer if I’m not actually writing. Being a writer requires a few late nights.

So, I’ve been writing because I just don’t want to let these folks down. Is that it?

James Scott Bell convinced me e-book publishing is a thing that is happening (I think he tried to nudge me a couple of years ago, too, but the memory is foggy). Joanna Penn convinced me I should make more writing friends and lay off the coffee (I haven’t made great strides in doing either, yet), and all those poems stacked in my desk drawer made me promise to let them out.

The poems are out. So far the coolest results after deciding on Kindle Direct Publishing are: dear old friends now have my poems on their Kindle devices, and my name is searchable in the Amazon browser bar!

I’m so excited for the day that I’ll get notification that a review has posted! (Yes, I’m dealing with that.)

Since the poems have been loosed from my desk drawer, I have been racking up some fiction word count (not fictional … ). As usual I’m also racking up household chores, nightly meals, yard work, day job, and puppy training hours. It’s a good thing they don’t have more comfortable chairs at the day job. These allergies make me snore something fierce.

At home, I’ve got to stay awake, because I’m halfway finished with this novel I’ve been wanting to write since 2009. Will I put exclusively in e-book format? Haven’t decided yet.

Writing friends, are you there? Just click the follow button. Okay? I’ll eventually get this blogging thing going on. Maybe. Meanwhile, do you have any experience writing e-book reviews?

Ramshackle Houses & Southern Parables, and No Voice of Her Own Available on Kindle

I Don’t Know What To Call This

Obsessing over weather is beyond ridiculous when you think about it. Yet, here I am. In the past week we’ve traveled through a finicky springtime at breakneck speed to land in some weird version of summertime. Prehistoric moths are fluttering around the swamp that’s supposed to be a backyard, and the backdoor has swollen so badly there’s no shutting it. But the afternoon light is pretty.

Meanwhile, I’ve put together the cover art for a short story that will be uploaded to Kindle this weekend. As for categorizing it, I’ll have to go with speculative fiction. Hopefully people will read and the reading will get them excited about my debut novel, that should be available in June—it also might fall under the spec umbrella.

For the big debut, I’m hoping to convince some very talented friends of mine to let me hire them to dress it up pretty and profesh. The poetry collections and the short story cover art were easy, because it all comes from my own photographs and doodles. The novel will be a bit trickier.

That’s all for updates at the moment. If you find yourself in need of some poetry this weekend, don’t forget I’ve got a free download available thru 5/7, as well as my autobiographical debut poetry collection for a very modest price! Just go here.

May the 4th be with you!

My Cento Collection Is Live On Kindle

No Voice Of Her Own, is now available. Time has been an issue, so I haven’t enrolled in any merchandising programs yet. This is my only advertising, thus far. As with Ramshackle Houses, I encourage and appreciate reviews and any feedback. This is a learning process I am thoroughly enjoying!

Happy Poetry Month, y’all!

Kindle Book is Live

Ramshackle Houses & Southern Parables is available today! After reading about an author who said she loved publishing on Kindle first because friends would give tons of feedback which she would then use for the relaunch, I thought … that’s totally doable! If I would have known this service was so accessible, I would have jumped in ages ago.

I really thought formatting would be easier. (Waits for everyone to laugh.) Thankfully, I learned a lot in this process, and can’t wait to add No Voice of Her Own and few short stories later this week. Note to Self: Do a better job with the sample preview!

The cover art is from a photograph by yours truly—which, by the way, makes the cover creation process so much easier.

Have some poems, y’all. Leave reviews. Your time and your words are much appreciated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embarrassing Drivel

Every experienced, published writer looks back at the early years, sighs, and tries to look earnestly at the latest wide-eyed interviewer before divulging what crap poetry they used to write. Crap, crap, drivel, embarrassing really. It’s a miracle they kept writing, that they eventually found success.

I am suspicious. This is suspect. Think about the sheer numbers. Every writer now comfy with a book deal and online presence blathers on and on about the dreadful, shockingly bad poems of their early years. Seriously? I would very much like to meet a writer, successful now, who’ll look me straight in the eye and declare that decades ago after finishing a draft they sat back in their chair and shouted out loud: I! AM! A FUCKING POET!

That’s the kind of people I want to hang out with in a writer’s group.

 

An Exploration of Richard Wilbur’s Work And How Poetry Is An Inevitable Expression Of Religious Assertions, Part One

We have lost a lot of greats since 2016. The most recent great who touched my poet’s soul and was among my list of favorite writers left us on October 14th. Upon hearing the news, I reached for the one book of his I own. Later on, I remembered this—a piece written for a poetry assignment back in 2014. Apparently Part Two is still in a notebook somewhere. If you haven’t yet read the poem referenced below, I encourage you to do so.

 

In a 1968 interview, Richard Wilbur said:

 … that poetry is essentially religious in its direction. I know a lot of people, poets, who are not consciously religious, but find themselves forever compromised by their habit of asserting the relevance of all things to each other. A poetry being a kind of truth-telling (it’s pretty hard to lie in poetry), I think that these people must be making, whether they like it or not, what are ultimately religious assertions.

Being a student of poetry, and still an overenthusiastic one if not wholly adequate, this is first what struck home for me. Early on, I developed the expectation of poetry to reveal sacred secrets—I believe poetry’s purpose is to demonstrate, celebrate, and even to evoke individual spiritual awakening. There is no need for a poet to sit down with that expectation from his/her work … it will happen.

As Wilbur touches on in this brief talk, poetry is a truth telling. A writer sits down with words and delves into their center … the writer mines a multitude of meanings and sensual impact and emotive qualities of each word, then combinations of those words in phrases, then the metaphorical weight of those phrases in relation to what is going on in that writer’s life, or memory, or some intellectual or emotional preoccupation.

Human beings simply cannot help “their habit of asserting the relevance of all things to each other”, and creative humans do this with their art. We categorize, define and redefine, poke and prod until the investigation of self becomes spiritual epiphany—the pursuit of language becomes the pursuit of truth, and the pursuit of truth always leads to the revelation of a universe so much greater than ourselves, then somehow, that vast universe turns back on itself to acknowledge the sovereignty of “I”, “me”, “we” .

We simultaneously categorize ourselves as mere human and a Creator’s holy vessels of inspired messages. We are dust and we are ALL. We are immortal and mortal. We are the very language that Earth and Heaven speak and, therefore, both will listen. Of course not every poem will move every reader to the ultimate awakening. Readers are as individual as the writers they read. Real beauty is discovered when one individual stumbles upon the other.

I found Mr. Wilbur quite by accident, running the opposite direction of anything that remotely resembled formalism; I tripped over him and all his billowing, breathless colors confined in the blank verse “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World”. The narrator of this poem, I believe, is caught for a while in that half-dream state we have all experienced—that airy, floating, borderless place where we can observe in quiet astonishment as Heaven flutters among the most mundane Earthly things.

In these precious few moments the narrator saw souls (rather, representations of the human spirit) celebrating the freedom of being loosed from the weight of sinful desire, responsibility of labor, and that all-too human thing, worry. Those precious few moments end with the man who, irreparably human, yawning and waking, makes his Earthly preoccupations clear with a demand for order according to those preoccupations, and so “the soul descends once more in bitter love”.

My own definitions of the words “soul” (the very essence of our humanness that does indeed embody desire, intellect, and will; the very thing that tethers us to this world) and “spirit” (that bit of sovereignty imparted by God that may very well long to be free of the body and soul to reunite with the Creator) defy Mr. Wilbur’s usage. Nonetheless, his depiction of the “soul” does not hinder my enjoyment and understanding of this outstanding poem. In fact, “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World” does it all for my poet soul, and was the first to reveal that spiritual epiphany I had so long desired from poetry.

It is in Mr. Wilbur’s works that I am finally free to admire the simultaneous expression of ecstasy and discipline, of humanity and sovereignty.

 

 

RIP, Mr. Wilbur. Thank you for your words.