“Golden” and “The Price Tower” available again

Sometimes, publications close up shop, and works that they published are no longer available. This happened with several of my poems, including two of my favorites, “Golden” and “The Price Tower.” They were published two years ago in WOLVES, a great e-journal that went defunct sometime ago. Sadly, none of the issues they published are available online anymore.

Fortunately, RL Black, former editor-in-chief of Unbroken Journal and Unlost Journal, recently started a new venture, Defuncted, and has reprinted the two poems.

Golden

The Price Tower

 

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April Showers Bring… New Poems

When it comes to weather, April (at least in New England, maybe the whole northeast United States) is hit-or-miss. One day you may get 70-degree weather; the next, a foot of snow (fortunately, there haven’t been too many April snowstorms during my lifetime). And of course, as the old adage about April showers reminds us, it may rain a lot.

But April is also National Poetry Writing Month, which can help some of us to forget that crazy weather.

This year, I originally had not planned to participate in NaPoWriMo; however, after being inspired by some excellent poetry in various online journals, I decided to jump into it. I only wrote 28—not as many as last year, but considering it had been a while since I had composed a poem, it’s not a bad number.

Over the coming months, I’ll be revising some of the ones I wrote and possibly sending them out for publication. In the meantime, though, I would like to share a few with you.

The first was inspired by a prompt where I had to use at least seven metaphors and a simile in the title.

 

Like a Sunrise

You climb the mountain of sky,

stretch your arms through the leaves,

nudge the birds awake

so they can gather in their holy place,

a church of bark and branches.

Their song fills the air, carried

by the light breeze, poured

into the window. You grab hold

of another rock, closer and closer

to the top, music tickles your ears

but you’re not there yet

‘cause hours separate you

and the dawn.

 

The second is a double gogyohka where each stanza is about something different, yet they’re connected by the title.

 

Stargazing

Tiny white

dots in black

sky magnified into

flickering deep

blue suns.

 

Without moving,

painted yellow spots

emit broken rings, never

giving heat in

the cold gallery.

 

And it wouldn’t be NaPoWriMo without at least one attempt at a sonnet. This one was inspired by a line from Romeo and Juliet:

 

My only love, sprung from my only hate,

now we are destined for this world no more,

leave it to families to celebrate

our lives wiped away from the earthly shore.

 

My love, raised by parents swept up by war.

Perhaps they once understood love’s power,

but marriage caused them to shut the back door

and turn away from withering flowers.

 

My love, who sacrificed his life for me,

when he thought I’d thrown ev’rything away.

Perhaps he dreaded days of marriage strife,

of skies without sun, with blankets of gray.

 

My only love, sprung from my only hate,

I thought we could last, but now it’s too late.

 

Okay, that one needs some work—the last couplet is a bit of a cliche. Why did I include it then? Other than the one I wrote about fishing years ago, this is the first sonnet I’ve written that (almost) didn’t cause me to cringe afterwards.

I hope you enjoyed those. Did you participate in NaPoWriMo this year? Tell me about it in the comments.

New Publications

October is turning out to be a great month for me. Not only has it been unusually warm here in New England, but I’ve recently had several of my works appear in both print and online journals.

First, my magical realism short story “Reflections” appeared in the first issue of Moonchild Magazine.

Second, my poem “Yahoo, I’ve Been Hacked” is in the inaugural issue of Hi Vis Press’ new print journal, Low Light Magazine.

Finally, my spooky Halloween found poem “The Devil” is in Unlost Journal.

Check them out. Then submit your work to them.

New Poems

I’ve had some new poems published recently.

A Pre-Summer Daydream” was published at Lit Up, a cool journal edited by DiAmaya Dawn and Alexandro Chen, who are both great writers in their own right.

Nadia Gerassimenko, whose poetry chapbook Moonchild Dreams comes highly recommended, published three more of my poems on her Tepid Autumn site. Nadia is not only writes great poems and nonfiction pieces, but she is also the editor-in-chief of Moonchild Magazine and associate editor of Luna Luna Magazine.

Life, the Universe, and Poetry

In last month’s post, I mentioned I was going to participate in this year’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). My goal was to write 30 poems in 30 days.

Well, I exceeded that goal: I wrote 41 poems in 23 days! This was quite a surprise, considering that last year, I only wrote about 16 poems during the month of April.

I was going to stop at 41, but then my friend Corrie Haldane suggested that I write one more, which would bring me up to 42. She also suggested doing a “meaning of life” poem. (For those who’ve never read Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books and don’t know the connection between the number 42 and “life, the universe, and everything,” watch the video below.)

I loved the idea, but what kind of “meaning of life” poem should I write? A sonnet? A haiku? An elevenie?

Then while I was spending too much time on Facebook, playing too many “I’ve seen 10 artists but one of them is a lie” games, I decided to have a little fun. I composed a found poem using text from various memes that showed up in my Facebook news feed over a few days.

So without further adieu, here is my poem about life, the universe, and everything. It’s not exactly a prize-winner, but it’s always fun to put something like this together.

 

Wanted:

a personal idyll,

a special place

free from the

surplus of evil

we have already.

 

A place where one day

the sadness will end

and you don’t wake up

fighting a battle

you know nothing about.

 

When happiness

is just a thought away,

you bring a smile

to your face and say,

This is my life now.

 

Source: Various memes found on Facebook, April 25-28, 2017.

 

National Poetry Writing Month

As some of you may know, April is National Poetry Writing Month (or NaPoWriMo). For the next thirty days, writers (including myself) will try to write one poem a day (or at least, they will try to write a total of thirty for the month).

Last year, I only managed to write sixteen poems. In the middle of the month, my family and I went to Walt Disney World. (Even though Disney World is the happiest place on Earth, it’s not the best place to write poetry.)

Also, April tends to be a busy time of year at my day job, and this year is no exception. Oh yes, and my son’s birthday is also during that month.

Still, some of the poems I wrote during NaPoWriMo ended up getting published, including “First Love,” “Tomatoes and Radio Wires,” and one of my personal favorites, “The Price Tower.” And heavily revised version of my Prince tribute, “TPOTCB,” ended up in a print anthology.

So even though I’m gearing up for another busy April, I’m going to really try to write thirty poems this year. My family and I did this year’s Disney trip in February, so that won’t get in the way of my goal.

Although I’m hoping to write thirty poems this year, I don’t expect many of them to be ready to submit for publication. (If I’m lucky and have a few good days, maybe I’ll be able to submit two or three. Maybe.) But I am hoping that about five or six of them have enough potential to workshop them on Scribophile.

I don’t really have a strategy this year. I was originally going to use a series of architectural photos as prompts, but I decided to nix that idea. (Even though “The Price Tower” and “Iconic” were both inspired by architectural photos, I realized that using them for a whole month might get boring.)

Fortunately, there are plenty of places to find ideas. There’s the official NaPoWriMo website, which offers prompts each month. Using the #napowrimo on social media will also help poets find prompts. (Speaking of social media, lately I’ve been inspired by the Brooklyn-based Yes, Poetry’s prompts on Twitter. You can follow them at @yespoetry.)

Are you participating in NaPoWriMo? What are you using for prompts? Tell me about them in the comments.

Lost and Found

So late last month, I got my first acceptance of the year. It was for a found poem that will be appearing in Unlost Journal in April.

After receiving the acceptance, I thought, Why not write a post about found poetry?

Since there are plenty of resources about found poetry on the web, I won’t try to define what found poetry is. (Besides Unlost, you should check out Poets.org and the Found Poetry Review.) Instead, my goal here today is to inspire you to try writing found poetry since it is fun to do.

Now, by no means am I a found poetry expert. I still have yet to try an erasure or a cento, but I have had a few pieces published.

Also, there are people who can make a poem out of anything. I’m not one of those people (at least not yet).

However, I did manage to craft a poem using text from a copywriting book. That poem, “Wisdom,” was published in Five 2 One’s #thesideshow.

To create that poem, I picked a random chapter in Joseph Sugarman’s The Adweek Copywriting Handbook (in this case, Chapter 17), and started circling words (or parts of words) and phrases. Some of them were just prepositions (e.g., of, into) that by themselves do not have poetic value but are needed for the poem as a whole. Along the way, I also found some phrases that might be good in a poem; for example, here’s a paragraph from page 103 of Mr. Sugarman’s book (I hope he doesn’t mind if I borrow it):

With less copy, your ad will look less imposing to the prospect and he or she will be more likely to read it. The second advantage is that you are making the slippery slide even more slippery by making it shorter. Your prospect will get to the bottom of the slide much faster, yet still get the full impact on your sales message.

From this, I ended up circling the slippery slide, get to the bottom, and impact. If you read “Wisdom,” you may have noticed that I used all three of these. However, you may have noticed that they’re used with other words that do not appear in the paragraph. These words were taken from other pages in the chapter (e.g., environment, which appears in the next paragraph). Sometimes I add a few words not in the source, but in this case, I only used words from the text. When I do add words, I try to add as few as possible since the idea of found poetry, after all, is to create something new from something already published.

So are you interested in found poetry? Do you have any additional resources you would like to share? Do you have any favorite found poetry books? Let me know in the comments.

Back in the Saddle

At the beginning of the month, I posted my goals for the year in one of the forums on Scribophile. Of course, I said I was going to write and submit more. But I also mentioned that I wanted to get back to writing regular posts for this blog.

So here I am. Nice to see you again.

For this entry, I thought I would keep it simple and just inform readers about what I’ve been up to lately.

  • Since November, I’ve been working on a horror story that’s right now is roughly 6,000 words long. I won’t talk too much about this now because I’m planning on making it the subject of a future blog post.
  • I completed a fiction piece that I began around this time last year and submitted it for publication.
  • I also finished a new poem I had started in December and submitted it for publication.
  • I began some experimental pieces. I’m not sure how successful these will turn out, but it’s been fun trying new forms.
  • Speaking of Scribophile, I had been absent from it during most of the fall, but I returned to it in late December. Since then, I’ve posted some of the new works mentioned above and critiqued poems and stories by others. As I’ve mentioned before, Scribophile is a valuable resource for writers. If you’re interested in improving your writing and meeting other writers, you should definitely check it out. (In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t work for them.)

That’s it for now. What have you been up to lately? Please tell me about it in the comments.