In front of the John Lennon Wall in Prague.

Monday, November 2, 2015

November Harvest: Two Publications

November 1st brought the news that my poem "Prairie Easter" is now online in Allegro Poetry Magazine published in England.This is my second publication with this journal. 
Then today I got my copies of the Fall edition of Naugatuck River Review in which my poem "Autumn" appeared. 

Once again I'm honored to have my work published with many other wonderful poems.  It also helps ease the two rejections I received only days before.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

If-Then: Making Connections, My Best Seller and a New Book

Today my friend Jayne Benjulian sent me an email with a link to Poetry DailyThis online poetry anthology features a daily poem chosen from work published in various journals, furthering a poem's audience while at the same time offering support to literary journals. Today’s featured poem was one of Jayne’s that will appear in Spillway Poetry Magazine's upcoming issue.  How wonderful it is to see Jayne's work honored. Reading her beautiful poem made me think about how we can never predict the connections we may set in motion. 

Then while emailing a new internet literary friend, I found myself pondering about such connections in my own life. In May I wrote a post that four of my poems had appeared in When Women Waken. Now editor Anora McGaha has helped  further our association by kindly including a link to my chapbook on the When Women Waken website. (While you're there, consider buying a copy of my book as well one of their journal issues.)

I think sometimes it helps to stop to appreciate our if-then stories. Of course being the teacher that I am, this made me remember one of my favorite children's books,  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond. If you haven't read it, you should. It is a delightful story about the effects of our small actions. 

All of this made me look back on one of my biggest if-then stories. If I hadn't found  Big Table Publishing while trolling the internet for possible journals in which to place my poetry, I never would have gotten my chapbook In the Poem an Ocean published. For that I have to offer a big thank-you to their Acquisition Editor, Robin Stratton. She is another online friend whom I have never met, having conducted our lively conversations about my book entirely via email.  Now my book is included on Big Table's best seller list

If I hadn't published that chapbook, I would never have had the courage to look for writing events to attend. If I hadn't done that, I never would have found A Room of Her Own Foundation. If that hadn't happened, I wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to attend their wonderful retreat for women writers at Ghost Ranch in 2011. 

If weren't for that, I never would have met an inspiring group of women writers, including Jayne.  At that same retreat, I also met Ruth Thompson. If I hadn't met her, I wouldn't know about her small press, Saddle Road Press, which she runs with her partner and fellow writer, Don Mitchell

Then I wouldn't be able to announce that this summer Ruth agreed to publish my next book. So now, thanks to her, I'm on my next journey of writing and revising a new manuscript of poems. Just figuring out which poems to include is a marathon if-then in itself.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Family Respite: Salmon and a Poetry Challenge

These past two weeks I've been in Portland, mostly helping my 88-year old parents.  In the midst of a heatwave that has kept temperatures above 90º for over a week, it has not been easy to keep my spirits up. I know I'm in a situation shared by many others my age, but sometimes that knowledge doesn't help. When I felt like I couldn't take anymore, the heat broke and Oregon's beauty gave me respite when I needed it most.
The other day while walking in my quiet Sellwood neighborhood in southeast Portland, I came across a small section of Chrystal Springs Creek

A part of the Johnson Creek Watershed, a sign called it a salmon resting place. The creek was once channeled through a culvert under an apartment building. The water flowed too quickly for the young salmon who needed to use this waterway. 

Restored in 2012 to its natural state, it is now a lovely piece of wilderness tucked in among houses and lawns.  This bit of natural hope lifted my spirits on a particularly difficult day.

This made my think of my poet comrade Tania Pryputniewicz, also dealing with family issues.  In her blog Feral Mom, Feral Writer, she sent me a poetry challenge while I was in Italy. Now we are trying to continue these challenges, hoping they will help us find our own resting place, to keep poetry flowing despite the day-to-day concerns that seem to bog down our lives.

So, Tania, here is your challenge: write a poem about a resting place.  When you give me yours, I'll respond in turn. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Old Cars" published in Allegro Poetry Magazine

I'm very excited that my poem "Old Cars" has been published in Allegro Poetry Magazine Issue 5. This online journal is based in the United Kingdom. What an honor to have my work in such an international forum. You have to love this about the internet!

To find my poem, scroll to the bottom of the screen. Mine is the last one before the contributors' biographies. Don't forget to read some of the other wonderful poems along the way.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Bologna is well known for its arcades, which are an intergal part of the arcitecture here. According to my Footprint Guidebook, there 44 kilometers of arcades, not including modern arcades in rebuilt areas. Walking under them makes for a fascinating journey watching for the changing styles along the way. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Arrivaderci Firenze

Today was our last day in Florence. We spent the morning at the Uffizi, which has some of my favorite art of all times. Maybe it was the crowds of tour groups tramping through that got to me, but I was peeved about people taking pictures of the paintings instead of actually looking at the art. Do we have to see the entire world through our iPhones and cameras? Of course, ironically, there I was taking photos with my phone of people taking photos.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Firenze Poem

 At Feral Mom, Feral Writer, my friend, Tania Pryputniewicz just wrote about a wonderful morning we spent together in Calistoga, and has challenged me to write a Z poem. Here in Florence it seems a lovely thing to do. Thank you, Tania. 

For Tania From Italy

Here z's 
are everywhere:
Piazza della Stazione
Via Panzini
San Lorenzo
They fly from my mouth,
zip through the air
like chimney swifts
circling the great dome
outside my window.
Violin music swirls up
from the piazza below.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sorrento and Naples

Today we made it to Naples. Rather a shock after being in this little seaside town for almost a week. The Archeological Museum was wonderful. Then back to Sorrento for more pasta - this time with langustines. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sorrento, Day 4

Lori and I meant to go to Naples today, but found we wanted to do nothing more than spend the morning in our blue tiled apartment drinking coffee. Soon after that decision, the promised storm hit. Rain pounded the roof and cobble stones and thunder thundered.  Now it has stopped, and I can hear the waiters from the restaurant across the (very narrow) street talking and laughing. In a little while we will go outside to eat lunch. We are happy. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sorrento, Day 2

Modern scultures in a 13th century cloister.

Fried fish under a yellow awning on a warm afternoon. And yes, white wine with lunch. Bella Italia!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


The trip to get us to Sorrento was arduous. A seven hour delay in Heathrow due to mechanical difficulties meant we didn't get to Rome until 11 pm last night. Then a four hour journey south today. But at last Lori and I here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Monday, June 1, 2015

Four Poems in When Women Waken

I'm honored to have four of my poems included in the current issue of the online journal When Women  Please read some of the wonderful writing, view the artwork and leave a comment or two.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

National Poetry Month: April 30, 2015

Prompt: Today, I challenge you to write a poem backwards. Start with the last line and work your way up the page to the beginning. Another way to go about this might be to take a poem you’ve already written, and flip the order of the lines and from there, edit it so the poem now works with its new order. This will probably feel a bit strange (and really, it is a bit strange), but it just may help you see the formal “opening” and “closing” strategies of your poems in a new way!

I decided to go the revision route. Here is the revised poem. The original draft is below.  

Which one do you like better? I'd love to hear. 
Happy National Poetry Month!

Green (2)

down the river
a leaf
I will float
into the green
green world
I will bend
my body
into the wild
under shadows
of tree canopy
mown grass
corn stalks
I will wear
tree frog
chartreuse aspen
just before fall
soft underside
of mallow leaves
pea shoot
spring leaf
I will robe myself

Green (1)

I robe myself                                                
in sagebrush
spring leaf
pea shoot
chartreuse aspen
just before fall.
I wear
tree frog
soft underside
of mallow leaves.
I grace my self
with corn stalks
mown grass
shadows under
tree canopy.
When I walk out
into the wild
no one will see me.
I will blend my body,
fold myself
into the green,
green world.
I will float,
myself a leaf
down the river

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

National Poetry Month: April 29, 2015

Prompt: Today, I challenge you to write a poem in the form of a review. You can review either animate or inanimate things, real places or imaginary places. You can write in the style of an online review (think Yelp) or something more formal that you might find in a newspaper or magazine. (I imagine that bad reviews of past boyfriends/girlfriends might be an easy way to get into this prompt, though really, you can “review” anything in your poem, from summer reading lists for third graders to the idea of the fourth dimension).

Day 29: This started as a review poem, but turned into more of a rant. 

             -- The Washington Post

Like God, poetry is said to be dying.
Proclaimed by an article
from the Washington Post
using statistics, 
America’s favorite weapon.
Readers decline in number,
poetry only slightly more popular
than opera, less desirable 
than knitting or jazz.
I bet the guy who wrote this 
doesn’t read poetry 
or go to poetry readings,
has never been to a slam.
Maybe he still resents memorizing
“Annabelle Lee” in fourth grade.
What should I tell that sixth grader
who told me she is a poet,
who sat scribbling lines in class yesterday?
Stop, don't bother, 
only 6.7% of all Americans
will care about your words?

No, I will say, "Let me read your poem."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

National Poetry Month: April 28, 2015

Another combo today.

NaPoWriMo Prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about bridges. A bridge is a powerful metaphor, and when you start looking for bridges in poems, you find them everywhere. Your poem could be about a real bridge or an imaginary or ideal bridge. It could be one you cross every day, or one that simply seems to stand for something larger – for the idea of connection or distance, for the idea of movement and travel and new horizons.

My good friend Barbara Yoder taught me the technique of rolling a die whenever I become stuck in my writing.  Each number represents a word you can add to your writing to take it further or in a different direction:

1 = But -- add an obstacle
2 = So -- you make a decision
3 = If -- gives you more options/establishes stakes
4 = Or -- gives you options or alternatives
5 = As -- saying more
6= And -- generative/helps create scenes

For some reason, I thought about this today when I began to write about bridges.
Here’s what I came up with:


a bridge can add and to our lives
but only when we let it take us farther
if we cross to the other side
so we find what is there
there or we can stay where
we are as we figure out this what

Monday, April 27, 2015

National Poetry Month: April 27, 2015

I combined two prompts for today:

#1 NaPoWriMo Prompt: And today’s prompt – optional, as always — comes to us from Vince Gotera. It’s the hay(na)ku). Created by the poet Eileen Tabios and named by Vince, the hay(na)ku is a variant on the haiku. A hay(na)ku consists of a three-line stanza, where the first line has one word, the second line has two words, and the third line has three words. You can write just one, or chain several together into a longer poem.

#2  Prompt from Julie Bruck’s Poetry Workshop through the SF Writing Salon: Have you ever been seized by the strangeness of a particular but common word--be it a noun,  a proper name, a verb, a personal pronoun, or even an article--and rolled it around in your own internal soundbox until it started to break loose of its original meaning?
When you get down in the sandbox with those words, you begin to discover all the surprising things that repetition can create, or the ways in which a proper name makes a great verb (see below), or how juxtaposition of the word in question with other words  can tease out multiple meanings from what might have seemed a self-limiting word.

Find a word and s-t-r-e-t-c-h  it.  Don't know where to start? Pick your word and riff on it--do a free-write and repeat your word every time you get stuck. Just keep going. Once you have a draft of something, you can go back and expand the possibilities your word presents. Bat your word around. Tease it. Fluff up its hair.

Day 27:

scurries past
carnelian her tail

spins carnelian
sun glistened web

I carnelian
her deft composition

the flower
of carnelian desire

Sunday, April 26, 2015

National Poetry Month: April 26, 2015

Today's Prompt:  Our last two prompts have been squarely in the silly zone – this one should give some scope to both the serious-minded and the silly among you. Today, I challenge you to write a persona poem – a poem in the voice of someone else. Your persona could be a mythological or fictional character, a historical figure, or even an inanimate object. Need some examples? Check out this persona-poem-themed issue of Poemeleon from a few years back.

Day 26:

“This is my letter to the world
That never wrote to me”

From Emily

Everyone believes my domain is simple.
Here in my white dress,
pen in hand, cool and unhurried.
What fire swells up inside,
words that shout to be set free.
No one understands.
Do they think I don’t desire
the world beyond these four walls,
yearn for a greater journey?
I open my father’s green atlas
tracing map lines.
I would wend my way
far from home,
but bird wings beating
in my chest won’t let me be.
Instead I write
my heart’s flight, trailing  
a silken thread.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

National Poetry Month: April 25, 2015

Today's Prompt: It’s the weekend, so I’d thought we might go with something short and just a bit (or a lot) silly – the Clerihew. These are rhymed, humorous quatrains involving a specific person’s name. You can write about celebrities, famous people from history, even your mom (hopefully she’s got a good name for rhyming with).

I seem to be on a math kick...

Day 25:

Leonardo Bonacci or Fibonacci
Would have loved sunflower seeds in Karachi
He swooned over numbers so many
he would have munched much more than twenty

Friday, April 24, 2015

National Poetry Month: April 24, 2015

Day 24:  It seemed that every prompt I tried today did nothing for me, so I decided to go back to my current favorite writing trick: Haikubes. I chose 5 words to use in a poem.

Here is what I came up with: 


Before you arrived,
competition had no name,
the world all mine.
You quickly clapped
illusion away.
I learned the taste
of jealousy
in the salty folds
of your baby legs
as you chased
after my assurance
to catch as your own.
I learned the word rival.
Ever after would I check
over my shoulder
for your reflection,
but never did I think ask,
which of us started this?