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Booklover: That’s Me

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In a “one of these days we’ll have to move” mood recently, I began sorting through some folders of old poems.

I found early drafts of poems which ended up in Made and Remade, some of which I didn’t recognize until I looked up the final version.

Some of the poems in Made and Remade originally appeared in Ascent, the book I and four colleagues put together as “Five Southwestern Women Poets”  (Both of these books can be obtained from me through contact on this blog, by the way).

One poem in Ascent did not make it into the later book.  It says more about me than was fitting for the material in the book, the writing of William Paley..  It was fun to find the poem again.  It was even more fun to tighten it up – my sense of craft is stronger now than it was when this was first published.

Here’s a poet’s self-image:

Booklover

First editions, clean and jacketed?
I prefer those lived with,
lived in, a note card
slipped between pages.

I see myself in a used bookstore,
on a back shelf, loose cover,
yellow pages, among books not
classified: is it history, is it

romance, is it worth the paper
it’s printed on? The bookseller
does not come to dust.

I lean against another
volume, convinced there are
worse ends than this.

 

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Poems On Line

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I’ve had three poems accepted so far this year, and they all showed up on the internet this month. Here’s something about them.

First to “go live” was “Thickening” at 3 Elements Review:  http://3elementsreview.com/current-journal. 3 Elements puts out a prompt each quarter. I’ve been trying them for almost a year, now.   This was my first success. The prompt was “miasma, simmer, whimsy.” Unfortunately, they seem to have decided their prompts were too easy. This quarter’s prompts are two word phrases. Ouch! They’ve gone over my head.

Heron Tree accepted “Green”: http://herontree.com/young1/. This poem also came from an exercise, though it is far removed. There is a poetry exercise in wide circulation by Jim Simmerman called “Twenty Little Poetry Projects.” His claim is that if you follow his instructions to write 20 lines according to his criteria, you’ll end up with the basis of a poem. I never got all 20 items in, and half of them fell out in the revision process. But I do have the poem to suggest his system works.

The third poem developed from no prompts but my own ideas. “American Dreaming” is included in Kind of a Hurricane Press’s anthology titled “Objects in the Rear View Mirror.” This piece is not very accessible; you have to download the ebook version of the anthology and go to page 143: http://www.kindofahurricanepress.com/p/bookstore.html.  All the pieces are about driving. My piece is mostly about maps, including the colors of roads (see my post of July 7). I also brought Route 66 into the poem. I didn’t realize until I moved to New Mexico that Route 66 nostalgia is much older and broader than the television show. As a teenager I was a fan of that show, but I could never see why, of the buddy heroes, the dark one (George Maharis) got all the press in the magazines. I liked the tall blond (Martin Milner) better.

It was evidence that I was not in the main stream. If you’ve read my poems or some of my blog posts, you know there are still ways I don’t fit in. Now I like it that way.

Vowel Sounds

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We’ve all been taught that there are five vowels, “and sometimes “y.”  But those five vowels make many more sounds, fourteen or fifteen, depending on which internet source you consult.  (Apparently this is not yet an exact science.)  The value of the sounds – which is important to poetry – ranges from the high of key, cane or kite (or bee, bay and by) to the low “oh” and “oo” sounds (coat, cool, or bone and boo).

The echo of vowel sounds from one word to another is called assonance.  I’ve been playing with that feature.  The trick, for me, is keep to assonance and not get stuck in rhyme.  I haven’t succeeded yet with the “eh” sound, because there are so many words ending in -ed: bed, bread, fed, red . . . .  Rhyming is not the point of this exercise.  The long “I” has similar problems.  Too much fine wine.

Here are a few experiments:

Evening: sense
and  sound calm us down,
which is why we say
Hallowe’en,
that shriek, a keen.

Sums hum
in the air. Money
troubles the bed.
Love
comes to shove.

Flash, dash, fat cat!
Clap for all that’s
under your hat,
in your stash.
What’s after?  Ash.

You don’t have to be a poet to play this game, but I think it’s good practice if you’d like to become one.

Word Play

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I have been learning a lot about tanka from Ribbons, the journal of the Tanka Society of America – too bad the acronym is in such heavy use elsewhere – and I have been experimenting with the form.  Sometimes, I know all I’ve got is a five line poem.  In the following two short pieces, the play of homonyms took over.

 

My thoughts coast toward
the California coast; others
shore up the Jersey shore.
Is it a fault to lie by omission
about where the fault lies?

 

My brother wanted
to coast down the mountain,
returning from the coast.
Papa said no, of course,
the road no sled or ski course.

Have fun with words.  You never know what might come of some word play.

 

My Book is Out!

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Paley front coverAnd it is in my hands.  Due to a miscommunication with the publisher, the books had to chase me across the country, but I now have a batch to offer.  You can buy the book on the WordTech website, http://www.wordtechweb.com/order.htm

or you can contact me for a signed copy at a slight discount ($15 instead of $18, and mailing is included, as a special hot-off-the-press offer).

The poems in Made and Remade respond to William Paley’s book, Natural Theology, published in 1802.  Famous for his analogy, “suppose I had found a watch upon the ground . . . the inference we think is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker . . . .,” the book presents Paley’s case for creation by design.  As cracks developed in a once coherent world view, we have been left with patches and pieces – the material of poetry – with which to make meaning.  The poems move in many directions, reflecting on how much has changed in 200 years.

Musings on the solstice

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It has been cloudy the past two mornings, making the start of the day seem even later than it is.  As the solstice approached I began thinking about what the next quarter of the year would bring.  I like winter as a time to clean things out and make more order to my domestic world.  It is also a nice season outdoors here.  I may be ready for spring in February, but not now:

Thank the heavens
winter follows solstice.
How could we turn
to blooming
in the blink of a day?

I’m not sure “the heavens” are really the source of our season of winter, but having turned my mind to them, I reflect on this question:

Where’s Ison?  Did it melt
like Icarus” wings?  With no comet
will our days be calmer?

Christmas and New Year’s will be over too soon.  I wish everyone a happy winter (or summer for my few readers in Australia) season.

Poems in On Line Journal

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Lantern_Journal_Fall_2013_Issue_FlyerThere’s a small sample of my poetry collection responding to William Paley, Made and Remade, on the web.  It is in Lantern Journal’s Fall 2013 issue.  The overall theme of the issue is “Evolution.”  The selections chosen by the editors are extremely varied.  My entry is a set of three poems, two from the Paley collection. You’ll find the contents and introduction to the issue (Volume II, No. 3)  at: http://lanternjournal.org/category/v2-i3-2013/  There you will find my summary statement of Made and Remade and a picture of the Wearmouth Bridge, along with other photos.  Click on “View full ARTicle here” to read the poems.

The first of the poems, “Lost Leverage” while it fits the theme just fine, is from an earlier collection.  As the word “Lever” buried in the title may suggest, it is from my Archimedes series, which has yet to find a publisher.

The connection of “Evolving” to the theme should be self-evident.  I leave it to the reader to determine how “Headache” fits.  I hope it doesn’t give you one.

The Bridge Outside Paley's Door

The Bridge Outside Paley’s Door

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