Monday, October 5, 2015

On the Radio

So I was featured today on a show called Writer's in the Round on WSCA Portsmouth Community Radio.  Host Jim Rioux played some songs, and fellow poet Wayne Atherton and I shared poems, and we all chatted.  I laughed a lot.  It was fun.

I like the radio.  In another life, I'm a DJ.

In this life, I very much appreciate that I was asked to be part of the show and that it was a good exerpience.

An archive is up for listening:

WSCA archives

Scroll down to: Writers in the Round (artists and poets),
and it is listed as: WSCA-WITR_10-05-2015.mp3

And then just because I have this song in my head now, enjoy this listen as well:
On My Radio by The Selecter

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Got a book I'd ordered in the mail this weekend.  That's always exciting!

Although I am definitely a New Englander, I don't have much of that sense of place in my poetry.  I wonder if that will change someday.  I'd like to be able to bring more of the landscape and nature of my home into my work.

I haven't written much this past week.  I spent more time on tarot instead.  The struggle of limited time and multiple interests...

I've been doing two different daily tarot photo challenges on my Instagram, which is really fun. It will be good to get back to just my regular daily draw though.  Two challenges is a lot.  Of course I just agreed to do a tarot and poetry journal swap with my penpal, a much bigger challenge!

Just under two weeks until the Cape Cod poetry retreat.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tarot Poet

So just a little tarot post to share.

As a poet, who am I in the tarot deck?  The Hermit
 - I need the quiet introspection, the solitude, the ear bent to my own intuitive language that is the territory of the Hermit.  I particularly like this version of the card since it shows a woman at a desk, surrounded by books. That's a pretty good poet representation!

What tarot card most relates to the poetry I write?  Death
 - I do write about death, but in tarot this card is most often about the end of a cycle, letting go and transformation into something new.  I feel like a lot of my poetry resides in those moments.

Hermit card from Pagan Tarot by Gina M Pace, Images copyright by Lo Scarabeo

Death card from Crystal Tarot by Philip Permut


New Hampshire Poetry Fest 2015

Yesterday I attended the first New Hampshire Poetry Fest and it was great.  This was my first poetry fest experience so it was kind of nice that it was also the first fest for NH.  There was great poetry, conversation, and inspiration.  Plus I got to spend a lot of time with a few of my friends, including a delicious lunch.

A key part of the day was attending a workshop.  There were a few choices and one had to preregister for which workshop they would attend.  I chose:

Obsession in Poetry 
Instructor: Tim Liardet

Many writers use the obsessive nature of language to give their work power and duende. In this  workshop, students will be encouraged to understand how obsession can be a driving force for poets; to explore their own obsessions in order to be better able to tap into them when writing poems.

The group will consider several great poems with obsessive drive, and what elements make them successful. Having done that, they will be encouraged to write about their own obsessions. 

It was excellent.  I really wish I could be a student of Liardet, and I'd love to get the chance to hear him doing a poetry reading sometime (I missed the one he did yesterday).  I started a couple poems out of that discussion so look forward to seeing if I can make something out of those beginnings.

Then there were three periods where there were several panels to choose from to attend.
Here are the ones I enjoyed:

Robert Frost and the Metaphor of the New England Landscape                      
Panelist: Robert Crawford

This talk explores the importance of metaphor—conceiving one thing in terms of another--in Frost’s poetry and how he used the stone walls, maple trees, the storied fall of the New England landscape in that role. Crawford will explore the three distinct levels of his poetry—the denotations, the experience reported by the poem; the connotations, the metaphors of the poem; and the whole experience of the poem itself. He’ll show how the New England landscape was vital to each level by taking an in-depth look at “Hyla Brook,” “Mending Wall,” “The Need for Being Versed in Country Things,” “Stopping by a Wood on a Snowy Evening,” “The Onset,” and “For Once Then Something.” He’ll conclude with a discussion of what Frost called “Ulteriority” and how Frost’s being an outsider, not a native, of New England helped him to see and use the landscape so effectively.

The Poetry of Lost Voices
Panelists:  January Gill O’Neil, Jennifer Jean, Kirun Kapur

What role can poetry play in recovering and preserving voices that have been swallowed by the past or made invisible in the present? Voices from history, voices from vulnerable populations—the forgotten, the abused, the enslaved, the neglected. How can we render them alive in our poetry and what are the ethical considerations in doing so? Who has the right to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves? What part should factual, secondary source material play? Where is the line between empathy and appropriation? Three poets read and discuss their process and practice.

Ekphrastics and Collaboration
Panelists: Wayne Atherton, Kate Knox, Jessica Purdy, Susan Schwake, S Stephanie, Mimi White

Poets S Stephanie, Mimi White, and Jessica Purdy along with artists Wayne Atherton, , Kate Knox, and Susan Schwake  collaborated in an ekphrastic project this year in which the three poets composed poems inspired by collage and artwork by the three visual artists. They created 6 pieces each, held a reading and show in Dover titled After You…, and had many productive conversations around our experience of collaboration. This panel will include a short reading and showing of a few of the pieces with a panel discussion on our experience with ekphrastics and collaboration between community artists.  

After that there was a reading by the headliner, Charles Simic.  I'm glad I got a chance earlier this year to hear him read at a small bookstore as I had a hard time hearing him yesterday.

I also purchased a few new poetry books and am busy falling in love with some of them poems I've read in them so far.  I can't wait to read more, as well as reread some Frost and some other poets that were discussed.

All in all an excellent, albeit exhausting, day.

Slip Away

Smooth new skin
under a white night dress,
a bright morning to follow.

I had twelve dreams
and that was the last.

In this night theater
memories scurry like mice,
trip piano wires
and search the floor for scraps.

I lay with my scars
in air left cold by rain
seeping through a cracked window.

I ask the night to tell me
what I didn't know,
and it answers on the darkening screen
this is when I let you go.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Light as shedding leaf, fingers caress here
inside of wrist, count reverberations.

Eyes that quiver, landscape of lids and stars;
the dream constructs and invades together.

We are touching as we are touched (so close),
as birds who try to steal space in heaven.

This moment's fading breath has captured me,
held between two senses... the two skins, black pulse.

I sing a torn and tired song; my voice
a needle sewing stitches through the hem.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Not Enough to Go Around

The pieces people leave behind,
scattered and random...
      a book, a glove,
      that pot with the loose handle,
      scraps of paper, lists and cards,
      a note with a lopsided heart
(oh my heart)

But the sounds fade
the echo runs out
and no one even remembers
who planted the chestnut tree

Memories like milk
have an expiration date
and soon there is no one left
who even says your name

Who is to say that I was here
that I existed
that I wept and laughed and loved

I am the person
walking down the side
of the road
one afternoon when you drive by
I am a cloud
that passed in the sky

First we drink
then we sing

Later we eat and sleep

It is the same tune
      the same stew
for years and years and years and years


I had planned other posts first that I never got around to writing and I certainly wasn't thinking of this poem back from 2011...  But here it is.

The Blame Dali poetry group met tonight for dinner and to share some poetry.  I brought one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets - Sick Bird by Jim Carroll.  Other poems shared included Intake Interview by Franz Wright, From a Window by Christian Wiman and Open and Closed Spaces by Tomas Tranströmer.  Excellent poems shared amongst excellent friends.

We met for dinner at the Press Room in Portsmouth so we could attend the open mic Beat Night after.  S challenged us to read.  Jessica and Kate passed, S read the Franz Wright poem and I ended up reading a few poems, going on stage twice.

I started with Carroll's Sick Bird, then read two old poems inspired by Jim (You Are My and Chronology).  The place was pretty empty of both performers and audience tonight so the host asked the poets if they wanted to read again.  I took the opportunity and returned to the stage to share Carroll's 8 Fragments for Kurt Cobain, and then my own poem Not Enough to Go Around (above).  S said she liked my Not Enough poem, which made me very happy as I completely admire her as a poet.  (I just happened to have that poem with me in a folder with other stuff and had never shared it with anyone before.)

All my Dali friends said I was great on the stage.  I don't do many poetry readings or put myself out there much and I don't make it to Beat Night very often.  However I go back with them to the early days when I was on the Beat Nights at the Electric Cave CD.  I so entirely enjoy reading my poetry with the Beat Night band.  It is by far my favorite way to read poetry out, and I get off on collaborating with them.  I don't care if there's an audience, I just like the interaction, the vibe, the music, the experience.

So a good night.

S also left us with a challenge for the next month - to try and write a response poem to Wright's Intake Interview.  I'm up for that.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

National Poetry Month

Happy National Poetry Month!

Tonight I went to a poetry reading by Charles Simic at RiverRun Bookstore.  What a great way to kick off the month!

After the reading, I got my book signed. His own pen ran out of ink in the middle of his first name, so I gave him my pen.  When he tried to return it, I told him to keep it (there was a long line after me after all).  As an exchange, he gave me his old pen.  Perhaps it will bring me some good writing mojo.

In honor of the month, I'm going to challenge myself to write 5 new poems.
I started one last month that I haven't finished yet.  If I finish that one, I'll count it towards the 5.

I will also try to read even more poetry.  Good times!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

After a while

The past few months, work has consumed so much of my time and even more of my thoughts.  I am finally starting the process of emerging from that extreme stress.  This past week I wrote a new poem, my first since January, and I work-shopped it tonight in City Hall Poets.  I'll share it soon, after I work on the revisions.

Also this past week my husband and I attended a poetry reading at Water Street Books in Exeter.  The incredibly talented and lovely poets S Stephanie and Jessica Purdy were two of the featured readers.  I'm really glad I was able to make it and hear them read.  They both have books soon out from Finishing Line Press, which I am much looking forward to.

Learning the Names by Jessica Purdy

So This Is What It Has Come To by S Stephanie

Also, S has her own website here.

They are doing a book release party April 11th at Portsmouth Book & Bar. That will be fun.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

La Moustache

Tonight was the meeting of  the poetry discussion group called Blame It On Dali that I mentioned in the last post.  It was a fantastic evening of tasty take-away, fond friendship, and great poems.

As a late Christmas surprise, S gifted us each with a special mug!  I'm delighted.

My contribution to this evening's discussion was 2 poems written in Rimas Dissolutas, a form where lines rhyme across but not within stanzas (such as abcd abcd abcd).  The poems can have any number of lines or stanzas.
  • Black Rook in Rainy Weather, by Sylvia Plath
  • Causes, by Mona Van Duyn
It was interesting to look at how this form worked in the poems, particularly with Plath's near or soft rhymes.  I'd like to try writing one of my own.

Other poems we read and talked about tonight:
  • Living, by Denise Levertov
  • Dorothy Wordsworth, by Jennifer Chang
  • The Wanderer King, Theodore Deppe

I wish I could stay home tomorrow and spend the day reading and reading poetry.  Alas...

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Water's Edge

Let's walk along the pier,
bracketed by waves,
and let our stories
be softened by the fog.

The birds here are king,
slow and certain.

They scoff at our pale skin,
heavy feet, rough voices.
But we take up this space
and are allowed to continue,
for a while...

To live on the beach
without feathers -

It seems a fair trade,
for the salt that will someday
carry us away

and the dusk
that will numb the going.


I'm lucky enough to belong to a couple poetry groups.  One is a group of a few women who get together every other month over dinner and share and discuss poems we've read and like.  I adore this group and am so thankful for the wonderful women that share it with me.  The group is called Blame It On Dali (long story).  We meet again in a couple weeks.

The other group I belong to is called City Hall Poets.  It is a workshop/critique group.  I belonged previously several years back, then left when I was struggling with my writing.  I joined again last year.  It is such a talented and great group of poets.  I feel very honored to be included in the group and they definitely help me become a better poet.  This poem, Water's Edge, was my workshop poem from the December meeting.  We meet monthly and the next meeting is tonight.  I still have to choose what poem to take...