Category Archives: poets

August Postcard Poetry Fest 2017

I know the last postcard arrived a couple weeks ago, but I am still reveling in the variety and riches of a month of postcards from around the world. Yes, I received postcards from Canada, UK, and Australia as well as from within the U.S.! And of course I sent that many out into the void, sometimes with exhuberance and sometimes with a little trepidation. But borrowing from William Stafford’s sage advice, I lowered my standards as needed. I also discovered some new companions in poetry whose presence on Facebook and professional webpages allows me to cultivate a continuing rapport. The ‘void” is actually inhabited–who knew?

This brings me to my “take-away” for this year’s postcard poetry fest. Maybe because this was my third year, it felt more personal. I tracked the names on my list as the cards came in, ticking off each name and trying to connect each name to the poem in hand. I had a lot of fun making the postcards epistolary , that is, inserting “you” into the text which often strengthened the impact. It tickled me to allude to these imaginary connections.

I am happy to share that I have been invited to the APPF  Portland reading for their 2016 anthology of poems: Mother Foucault’s Bookstore, Oct. 27–that’s a Friday, at 7:00 p.m. Come join us and take some of the anonymity  out of an event you might really enjoy as a participant. (Registration begins in mid-July via Paul Splabman–just google August Postcard Poetry Fest and you are on your way.)

 

Shotpouch Retreat Day 2

Shotpouch Day 2—April 26

First Light
First Light

After admiring the wild flowers up the trail yesterday, it’s a bit surprising to wake up to a frost, and no piddling dust of ice—I have been up an hour and the “white wash” of grasses is holding.  The sun has yet to make it over the ridge; this cabin rests in the vale, as N. tells me, which means the sunlight comes late.

We found the heater late in the evening, disbelieving we would need such a thing.  The “solar” kitchen-dining radiated tremendous warmth earlier in the afternoon.  But by nightfall, it had all been sucked through the floorboards. I sat under a wool throw, reading until my teeth began to chatter.  Then we headed for our respective bedrolls and tucked in.

The quiet out here is such a gift.   Road noise is distant and intermittent, mostly drowned out by the rush of the creek.  I was surprised I didn’t sleep more soundly.  I may have to crawl back under the covers to warm my toes. Perhaps we could break some chairs into kindling and light a fire?  Shades of Doctor Zhivago… No, I don’t think it will come to that.

N. and I are finding our way through the quirks of hospitality vs. privacy, taking turns wandering the trails or writing quietly and, alternately, sharing insights and exchanging stories. She sat out on the bridge in the early morning while I breakfasted and set to writing.  Then I stepped out to wander the trail at the end of the drive, a slow curve upward, hugging the ridge.  I wanted to see the trees and flowers in the morning light which was just showing itself in the meadow at the base of the trail. I took photos to add to my collection of green and turned around when the trail began to descend.

Wet shoes and socks  bake on the sill in the sun as the frost burns off the grasses in a cloud of drifting vapor.  I sit down in the arm chair to read and can’t keep my eyes open so I slip back into bed for an hour without explanation.  None needed.

Per the plant guide on the table, I’ve seen larkspur, yellow wood violet, bleeding hearts, false Solomon’s seal, columbine, and one unidentified pink flower—five-petaled on what almost looks like a raspberry plant with pointy serrated leaves.  I’ll ask N. when she gets back. And let us not forget the giant leaves of the trillium, blossoms already spent.  (Early or late, this is still the Trillium Project.)

I have been berating myself for not getting out, even in my poetry.  And here I am, in the woods where I belong.  Home and not home.  My only clock is on the corner of the computer screen and when I glance in that direction I am often surprised.  Times moves differently here, or perhaps I move differently when I am outside of time—no schedule but my own and the rise and fall of the sun.Shotpouch 4-2016 016C

Shotpouch Retreat April 2016

Shotpouch Day 1—April 25

         It is a luxury to inhabit this large clean open space without interruption.  Green all PicMonkey Collage1around me, I begin to take pictures as I walk–insurance against the fickle nature of weather.  As I look into the viewfinder, I see more closely the interrelationships of plant to plant, plant to flower, plant to tree, tree to tree to tree… . Their limbs are lines to me today; I look for striking compositions—parallels, diagonals, intersections, repetitions.

 

    In the orchard, the fruit trees’ scabby bark bends, one limb around another. FlexibleShotpouch 4-2016 005 problem-solvers, they find their way to nourishment and fruition.

     The maple are clearly about the rise. They drop their arms under the weight of moss, while their crowns soar into the blue.Shotpouch 4-2016 019

 

 

  The ferns crowd the understory in disarray, old and dead gathered with hearty green standards and nubile fiddlehead in a Shotpouch 4-2016 014raucous profusion.

     Cottonweed goes a-sailing across the green and sea-blue sky.

     Hum of insects is drowned out by the sounds of running water as I approach the bridge over the creek.  Tree branches airily screen the view with delicate branches and a smattering of leaves. Light glimmers between leaf shadows; water rushes. Shotpouch 4-2016 046

Solstice and Loose Ends

As the year crashes headlong to a close with the dark siphoning the serotoninSeascape Stock Photo from my brain in 7-11 Big Gulps, and the promise of Sostice only a week away, I wonder will I muddle through my pile of mending before the new year?   What about the sister collages waiting for edges?

I did clean up my poetry page, if you care to check out the quick links to my published poems.

I did find a magazine for my first published short story (The Muse, The Last Line Magazine, Winter Edition, from Blue Cubicle Press). Small victories. 🙂

And my poetry students did read and share their completed chapbooks on December 6th–that’s a big victory!  Kudos to Steve Blevans, Sandy Lizut, Carolyn Sparling, Nancy Jamieson, Karen Jones, Linda Gelbrich, Linda Varsell Smith, Freda Fredriksen, Jana Seeliger, and Pam Wilson!

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Freda Fredriksen
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Linda Gelbrich
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Karen Jones
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Linda V. Smith

I wish each of you a gentle transition through the potential mania of holidays to the promise of new in the new year.  Be kind to yourself and remember, you are enough.

 

 

Found Poem/Cento–from the August Poetry Postcard Fest, 2014

 

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cuttlefish don’t try to record their every move
an eagle, a frog, a squirrel
the music of Pearlrose softer than a chorus of trumpets
we are leaves on a tree…a child’s autumn dream
I feel his heartbeat Continue reading Found Poem/Cento–from the August Poetry Postcard Fest, 2014

Far Lookout Writing Retreat, Oak Grove

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For one week, I kept my own company off the grid—no emails or net-surfing, just the blank page, scads of delicious vegetables, and the companionship of green outside the window.  I did wander under the canopy of oaks during my morning walks which strengthened me in the old way, as if I were still walking in the woods of my childhood.  One evening, I sat on the terrace with my hosts, Michael Hoeye and Martha Banyas, listened to their stories of the land and of their art and read to them a little from my work in progress.  The clarity of intention was visible in every nook of the gardens as well as in the beautifully maintained house, studio, and cottage. Continue reading Far Lookout Writing Retreat, Oak Grove

August Poetry Postcard Fest

Deluge of summer visitors has cramped my writing time just a bit, but thanks to Paul Nelson’s August Postcard Poetry Fest,

a pile of postcards

 

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I am writing a postcard poem a day and receiving many postcards from writers across the nation.  Check back in September for some wonderful examples. Meanwhile, enjoy the last of a beautiful summer! I am canning applesauce, dehydrating apple slices, and learning to make apple pie filling for those dark days of winter.  Next week:  Far Lookout Writing Retreat in the Portland environs–a small cottage all to myself!  happy writing 🙂

 

 

 

Summer Encampment

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Shades of the old country I have only known through literature:  my living room filled with family, the encampment of the Olympians (a.k.a  Sequimmers) lasted for three days.  Shades drawn or opened, we rested and rallied in plMatt's visit June 2014 008easant self-directed cycles reminding me of the “nap room” in the old house in Batavia where as tired grandchildren we slithered under light blankets,  the slats of double-tiered wooden shutters  unfolded and drawn closed in a startling clackity-clack to block the light of mid-afternoon.

My brother’s wife dead-headed our roses and planted petunias with her quiet attention to green; gifted me with berries

and tools so that we could make jam together; and voiced her appreciation of the good food generously and often, her smile full of light.  My little brother walked in and breathed a sigh, three times expressing his pleasure in the calm and comfort of my home; ventured out with my spouse for maple bars and fresh donuts which he ate with gusto; and  shared recipes as together we concocted a fresh apricot and olive chicken. Their lovely daughter entranced the dog (a mutual admiration), prepped veggies with me, and watched her dad closely as he and I walked back in time through the haunts of our earlier lives.

We sent them off this morning with a sheaf of poems, a flat of tomato plants, my husband’s landscape photograph from Egegik, and a disc of dog clips which threaten to inspire a launch of The Red Dog Blog.Their gift of peace rose blossoms in the jelly jar at the table mark an opening for continued conversations.

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Continue reading Summer Encampment

Profusion of Roses

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In my part of the country, my part of the state, the flowering trees rage into spring and early summer in generous blankets of color, always a welcome sight after the uniform overcast of winter.  But this spring and early summer, the roses have it.  Our rash of warm and sunny days has inspired extensive blooming; sprays of blossoms taller than a man hang over fences or climb garden walls.  My garden’s small contribution has expanded to four varieties and all of them are very happily opening and opening as if that is what they were meant to do.

For myself, this extra ration of sun so early in the season has spurred me on unexpectedly. I fling myself pell-mell into a full bouquet of expanding projects, eat late, and get to sleep even later, wondering where the time went.  I know this feeling well.  I remember the power surge of the summer light when I lived in the far north, all that yang energy coursing though my veins like a drug I couldn’t get enough of.  And, as the consecutive winters took their toll, the contrast between “dormancy” and “awake” grew even greater.  I  moved to the northwest to find some moderation, but not this season.  The roses are singing and I hum along in harmony; I am fluent in rose.

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