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Celebration for Sin Fronteras Journal

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We are celebrating our 25th issue of Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders Journal

A Poetry Reading (via Zoom)
https://cccconfer.zoom.us/j/9348057923

15 May 2021, 7:00 to 8:30pm PDT (Check your time zone)
(open mic to follow)
(the door opens at 6:55pm)

presented by el gigante reading series, Sacramento City College
through the kindness of SF contributor Danny Romero

Many of our contributors will be reading their poems. A great opportunity to see the variety of poems we publish.

Submissions are now open for the next issue. Guidelines at http://www.sinfronterasjournal.com.

Recommendation: Shake and Tremor by Deborah Bacharach

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Deborah Bacharach’s Shake and Tremor is about relations between men and women, the complications and deceits involved.  She combines Biblical stories of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, Lot and his wife, and Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, with contemporary examples.  She mixes past and present so that the reader may not know where she is as she moves from poem to poem and also within poems.

An example:  Ten Young Men of Sodom and Gomorrah opens with an epigraph from Genesis: “For the sake of ten [righteous men] I will not destroy it.”  It consists of nine vignettes.  one of them reads:

It’s not that I have greater
lungs or desert living
gives me the strength of ten.

I’d be driving my own taxi, but there are no medallions.

Or “Farewell to his Wife,” set in the moment when Lot’s wife looks back and turns to salt:

He does not look back.  He does not choose
to lunge for her hand even as her hand
slips from his grasp when she looks back.

Maybe they said their good-byes
over tax returns,
a glass of wine and orange rinds.

The poet will return to this moment another time and tell it very differently.  The shifting of both topics and attitudes keeps the reader off balance. But Bacharach is having a wonderful time with the mixture.  It’s worth the trouble to go with the flow.

The key poem for access to the mind of the poet, for me, is “I Am Writing About Fucking,” which gives a sequence of reasons: “because I am human, . . .because sorrow was taken . . .” ending with:

because it’s not polite and I am always very
please and thank you
because there are already
enough words for snow
because of shame, that fishbone in the throat
because we are made of stars.

If this word play pleases you, you should enjoy the book.  And perhaps be a bit jealous of Bacharach’s skill and her leaps of imagination.

Poems on Line

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Beate Sigriddaughter, who is a great networker from Silver City, not too far from here, has posted one of my poems .from my new chapbook, “Transported” on her website, Writing in a Woman’s Voice.” The poem is “Centripetal Forces” a fancy title for a poem about family traveling together. Find it here.

If you check there tomorrow, she promises she will have added “Ground Level” which combines an adult sense of geography with a child’s perspective.

If you wait longer, you’ll have to scroll down to find me. I am in awe of Beate’s ability to keep up her blog on a daily basis.

And I’m grateful.

Two links

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First, the promised link for the Giveaway of my chapbook Transported on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/320806-transported

Second, a link to two poems not in the book, but also about my birth family, published on One Art week before last.

Giveaway for Transported

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I’ve been getting some very positive comments from early readers of my poetry chapbook “Transported.”

I’ve set up a giveaway on Goodreads to reach more folks. It should go live on Thursday, 3/11.

Link will follow when it goes live.

Transported is out in the world

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My Chapbook, Transported, is out.  The poems center on the two years of my childhood when my family traveled in Europe and Egypt.

They include the sense of family:

Five lean on each other,
two parents, three children,
no child’s star, pointing outward.
            (Centripetal Forces)

Things seen from a child’s point of view:

Tales of moats and castles frame
my picture of a king.  The Queen
is a prim lady in a trim suit, matching hat.

Alice’s nemesis is dwarfed
by the real, living Elizabeth,
her patient smile akin to my mother’s,
            (Parallel Lines)

The way the experience affected my later life:

She has come home
to the familiar: classmates, neighbors. 
Two years older, she doesn’t know
what’s changed, how corners of her mind
have filled with images foreign to her friends,
dropped in like squash seeds in compost,
            (Returns 1)

Contact me to buy a copy or go to Finishing Line Press.
Same price, but I include the postage and sign them.

My Unicorns Have Escaped

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My new book, Lost in the Greenwood, is out in the world. 

The poems circle around the unicorn tapestries of 500 years ago.  There’s much more than unicorns: the making of the tapestries, the world that made them, magic, nature, belief. 

It’s a book of poems about all of this, but I still think of these poems as “my unicorns.”  And these unicorns are not the modern, friendly kind. They are goatlike, feisty and as dangerous as the world in which those who imagined them lived.

In their honor, I have a new website, http://www.ellenrobertsyoung.com

The book is available at atmospherepress.com, or by contacting me.

Political Statement

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In the form of a haiku:

Presidents, whether
red or blue, were never meant
to be our saviors.

May 2021 be a year that brings good things to all.

Just Ten More Days

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to order my new chapbook, TRANSPORTED with Finishing Line Press:

Here’s a sample poem, which focuses on the after: the effect on my life of the travels when I was twelve:

Greece

A school year in Egypt,
most of the next
in Rome, but it was Greece
that grabbed and held me.
In three weeks Athens’ high
templed hill, ruined porches
of the Agora, theater of Dionysus,
tucked themselves into memory
like a candle-filled side chapel
that roused my senses
in the cathedral called Europe
so packed with past centuries
it overwhelmed. 
                                    I left
to become an American teen,
romantic, imagining gold
jewelry, Latin lovers.
Greek stones pulled me back.

Greece was my field of study for years, and the fascination with times past has continued into the present.  Before Greece, there were ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, as I explain in “Beginnings”:

Everywhere mysterious signs.  Baffled
by Arabic script I copied the crisp symbols of antiquity:
            n, the running river,
            alef, the vulture
            m, the owl.
Letters I could not weave into words became
ciphers to conjure with.  This was the first time
I chose the past over the present.

Somewhere I still have a notebook filled with those enchanting symbols.

If you haven’t ordered a copy yet, please have a look.

Thanks and Praise for San Pedro River Review

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The latest issue of San Pedro River Review includes a poem of mine.  More on that below.  It’s an all poetry journal which fits some sixty poets into an issue.  Some of the names are familiar to me from their submissions to Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders, which makes me feel that there is indeed a community of poets.

And I like the fact that they don’t print the poems in order by the poets’ last names (being a Young, this has often bothered me) but take the time to arrange the poems in an interesting sequence.  This is something I’ve recently learned to do as an editor of Sin Fronteras.

The poem they’ve printed is, for me, a longer one called “Crossing the Heartland,” It draws on over a decade, now past, of driving from New Mexico to Maine and back every year.  It attempts to combine the routine of such travel with the ruminations of the mind as one drives.

Wind hits the car as an old
eighteen-wheeler without deflector passes.
Shielded in metal and glass we drive
for hours between corn fields and bean fields,

Here is my view of two familiar highways:

U.S. Highways, sensible and straight
in the west, trick us: Highway 54,
so lean and lovely through Kansas,
winds into Missouri hills, the main street
of bustling lakeside resorts.  Highway 50,
broad and smooth into West Virginia,
turns Appalachian, weary, worn
and ragged as the homes it passes.

San Pedro River Review is edited by Jeffrey and Tobi Alfier.  It comes out twice a year.  More information can be found at http://www.bluehorsepress.com

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