WEB WEDNESDAY – Sheri Tardio (lolamouse)

Welcome to Web Wednesday!    Today it is our pleasure to welcome “lolamouse,” Sheri Tardio.   Sheri is our eighth featured poet since we began in May.

Poetic Bloomings:  Sheri, Walt and I are interested to know how you found us.  We  are so pleased to have you join us!

Sheri: I found Poetic Bloomings on Laurie Kolp’s site “Conversations with Laurie.” I was probably reading one of her poems that I found on one of the poetry sites I use for writing prompts and inspiration. She has a great list of writing prompt sites on her blog — thanks, Laurie!

Poetic Bloomings: Yes, thanks Laurie!   🙂  Sheri, please share  with us a poem you feel best represents your style.

Sheri:  I don’t think I have an identifiable style of writing. Sometimes I write free verse; sometimes I like to use more structured poems. Most of my poems have an emotional component, though. They’re often based on my own experiences or those of people I’ve known.  This is a recent one that I like:

Windmills

 I used to be afraid 

to love you too much

fearful

that should you leave, I would long 

for your return

I didn’t want 

to miss you so badly 

it hurt

to whisper your name

to remember your smell

I held a part of myself back

for myself

so you couldn’t take it all with you

when you left

If only I had known

that hoarding food makes you hungrier

unquaffed water evaporates

and all the windmills in the world

won’t bring the wind

Poetic Bloomings:  I have to admit,  I giggled like a little girl when I saw the title of your blog:  “Mouse Droppings  (Poems, Inspirations, Creative Musings, and Other Sh**).”   Another giggle-inducer is your call for comments:  “Leave a crumb for lolamouse to nibble on?”  Too cute!  Obviously, these grew from your pen name, “lolamouse.”  Where did that darling moniker come from?

Sheri:  The name “Lola” has always been a sort of alter ego name for me. It came from someone once trying to guess my middle name (Lynn) and getting it wrong. I was called “Mouse” by a friend in high school because of my high pitched laugh. I sound like I’m squeaking! He used to torment me in class by making faces at me to get me to start laughing at inappropriate times!

Poetic Bloomings:  You say you are a “40 something wife, mom, and boat rocker with an overwhelming need to be snarky and a creative spark that needs to be fanned.”  Can you elaborate a bit?  Who IS Sheri Tardio?

Sheri:  That’s a tough one! I guess I prefer my writing to speak for itself so I don’t talk much about myself on my blogs. I would say I’m a wife and mother with a 15 year-old daughter, a wonderful husband, and 2 dogs. I have a Ph.D. in clinical and school psychology but haven’t worked professionally since my daughter was born. I believe that those who are blessed with much should give back, so I volunteer teach at a local nature center, deliver Meals on Wheels, and volunteer with hospice.

Poetic Bloomings:  What fans your creative snark – er, spark, Sheri?

Sheri:  I think my background working and volunteering with so many different kinds of people has definitely influenced me. I’ve worked with children and adults from different socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures. Learning about how others’ lives can be so different from my own sparks my creativity, as does stepping outside of my comfort zone.  Reading other bloggers’ writings also inspires me and gets the creative spark fanned. The snark comes into play when I see people being narrow-minded and refusing to look beyond their own prejudices and opinions. Bigotry and intolerance bring out my snark.

Poetic Bloomings:  What do you find in poetry that draws you to it?

Sheri:  I think it’s the emotional aspect, the ability to convey so much in such a little amount of writing. I also enjoy the lyrical aspect of many poems. I find myself humming or singing some of my own poems even though I don’t write music at all!

Poetic Bloomings:  How long have you been writing?  Do you recall your first poem, and will you share it with us?

Sheri: Actually, I do remember my first poem, although  I’m not sure how old I was, probably about 5 or 6? It was about my grandmother, who was also a writer and was an inspiration to me. I called her “Bubby,” which is the Yiddish word for grandmother.                                                              

My Bubby

My Bubby is a lady

Of happiness and grace

And when she smiles gladness spreads

All over the place!

                                                                                                                               

I wrote as a child and teenager quite a bit. I kept notebooks of my writings, many of which I still have. Then in my 20s and 30s I rarely wrote at all. Life sort of got in the way. I started blogging in my late 40s with “Rants From the Hormonally Challenged,” where I basically vent about everything that annoys me. I started writing poetry again after some tentative tries a little over a year ago and was encouraged by fellow bloggers and my husband to continue.

Poetic Bloomings:  You wrote “My Bubby” at the age of 5 or 6?  Very impressive!  You obviously have a natural talent for creating with words.  Does blogging satisfy your desire to get those creative words from paper to the public eye?  Do you have any published works, or plans to publish in the future?

Sheri:  My desire is really to get my words from my head to paper (or blog). The public eye is secondary to me. What I enjoy about blogging is the interaction among everyone, the support, and the encouragement. While it would be great to have something published, that hasn’t been my focus. I’ve recently submitted some poems to a local literary magazine and to “Take It To the Street Poetry” just to see what happens!

Poetic Bloomings:  How many days per week do you normally write?

Sheri:  I’m on Blogger just about every day reading others’ writings, reading comments, and responding to other people’s writing. I try to do some writing every day, but sometimes I get so behind in responding to others that my own writing suffers. If someone takes the time to comment on my writing, I do try to return the favor.

Poetic Bloomings:  I am one for whom birthing a poem is a time-consuming process.  How long does it typically take you to write a poem?

Sheri:  It really varies. Sometimes the muse sings and the poem just appears in a matter of minutes. Other times, not so much! Usually, I have to cogitate on the topic or theme for a couple of days, work it around in my head, before I write. Once I have an idea for the type of poem I plan to write (free verse or more structured, rhyme or not, etc.) and an opening line or two, it usually doesn’t take me very long to actually write it. Oftentimes, I write the poem in my head before I put it down on paper because poems tend to come to me while I’m driving or in the shower! I don’t usually do a lot of editing, but that’s actually something I’m doing more of since reading other people’s poems.

Poetic Bloomings:  If you could spend a day of uninterrupted reading, whose work would you choose to peruse, and why?

Sheri:  Another tough one! If I had to choose just one author, I’d probably pick Neil Gaiman. American Gods was one of my favorite books. I love Gaiman’s ability to make you think about serious issues but in a humorous way. I’m also a fan of his children’s books because he doesn’t talk down to kids. Coraline (the book) was scary as all heck because he understood what children are really thinking. Then there are his graphic novels, which have been recommended to me by more than one person and I’m eager to start reading as soon as I get the time. He also collaborates with other authors, which makes for a good laugh. Can you tell I’m a fan?

Poetic Bloomings:  Who is YOUR greatest fan?  Your worst critic?

Sheri:  Without a doubt, my husband is my greatest fan. He reads ALL of my writing and gives me feedback. He’s always been supportive and was very enthusiastic when I started writing again. Although I try not to be too critical of myself, sometimes I read other poets and think “Why am I bothering when I’ll never be as good as this?” I suppose most of us have those thoughts now and then, but I manage to push them aside and keep writing nonetheless. No matter how good you are, there will always be someone who’s better. It’s not a competition, and we all have something to say. 

Thank you so much for this interview, Marie Elena! I had a lot of fun thinking about the process of writing and answering your questions.

Poetic Bloomings:  The pleasure is ours, Sheri. Thank YOU for sharing so much of yourself with us.  Our best to you in your pursuit of publication.  And I must say, thank you for sharing yourself with others as well, as a volunteer to several worthy causes.

THERE’S A MOON OUT TONIGHT – PROMPT #18

Photo by Keith R. Good

There’s a moon out tonight. Nothing special about that. Unless you make it special. Your poem will be a night poem. The sounds of  night. The night sky. Yes, the moon and stars. Silhouettes in the night. Paint the romance of night with your words. Write the despair of night with your words. Just don’t take all night!

Marie’s Night:

AFTERGLOW (A Nonet)

As the sun
 slips beneath the water,
Her afterglow lingers above –
Much to wooing moon’s delight.
And they  bask  in the glow
Those fleeting moments
They call their own,
As their hearts
Become
One

Walt’s Mooning:

SHARING THE MOON

Soft summer breezes wafting,
a gentle sifting through the poplar branches.
It enhances the night as I am serenaded
by cicada bugs and the distant rumble
of locomotive engines. Humbled by the expansive
evening sky, I am mesmerized. The lure of lunar
luminance draws my glances on the odd chance
that someone else eyes this same satellite.
It is a great night and it feels right to share
this scene. Over a distance, the same moon
is simultaneously viewed – together, a bond
brightly borne. Come morning,
before the promise of a new day, the display
of this starlit night brings you both to this moment.
Under this shared summer sky; a his and hers moon;
we take joint custody of a shared passion

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – WEEK # 17

Change can come in many variances, Sometimes good. Sometimes hard to swallow. But every change (even just for the sake of change) offers a perspective we may not have noticed. Our poems this week spoke of change and our accepting/denial of same. In this game of life, the world changes. The question remains, can we keep pace. The Beautiful Blooms for this week:

Marie’s Pick:

My pick this week is Patricia A. Hawkenson’s “Stay Within the Lines.” She begins with a title that clearly has more than one meaning, but we don’t see that until we read through to the end. Her line breaks are used effectively, and add to the enjoyment of the poem, IMHO. Nature “growing” from the spilled crayons made me smile … quite a creative way to think of it. But the end? Oh the end … it made my heart sink.

Outstanding, Patricia. (Nothing new for you.)

Stay Within the Lines
By Patricia A. Hawkenson

The box spilled
its contents rolled
and grass and flowers grew
then trees with swings
and birds flew
beyond the buildings
to the clouds
till Mama said,
“You can use a different crayon.”
But I colored everything
a happy orange
until I knew
what black and blue meant
and put my colors
down.

 

 

Walt’s choice:

My selection is a hopeful poem. The embrace of oneself accepting our faults and learning to get by on our confidence and self-assurance. An although it escapes us more times than not, Our happiness lies within that adherence of “wisdom with age”. Michelle Hed, this “Bloom’s” for you!

ELUSIVE by Michelle Hed

They say wisdom comes with age –

She dyed her hair to hide the gray,
she bought new clothes for self-esteem,
she played games with words
whether cutting or witty,
positive being brutally honest
would be less hypocritical
then telling white lies.

Then she changed –

She embraced her hair with grace and wit,
she bought new clothes for fun,
she played with words on paper
and tried to only speak words
of kindness and love
and she found that sometimes
not telling the complete truth
was kinder to the recipient.

And she discovered –

She found more joy in her life,
loving herself and giving of herself
to others via time, word or deed
than in any other time in her life.
She took more joy from the small
things in life, she slowed down
the pace and smiled at the person
she was becoming, knowing she
was finally on the right path for her.
She is still changing.

 

 

IN-FORM POET: Sedoka

The Sedoka is an unrhymed poem made up of two three-line katauta with the following syllable counts: 5/7/7, 5/7/7. A Sedoka, pair of katauta ( an unrhymed three-line poem the following syllable counts: 5/7/7) as a single poem, may address the same subject from differing perspectives.

Marie’s View:

PERSPECTIVE

NASA photographs
depict placid cotton swirls,
unsullied iridescence.

Cell phone photographs
catch unimaginable,
chaotic demolition.

Copyright © 2011 Marie Elena Good

Walt’s  Sedoka:

WILLOWY AND WARM

By life, inspired.
Her ways conspire to offer,
all that your words can handle.

Alluring and sure,
her style and grace are welcomed,
lifting you to heights unknown.

Copyright © 2011 Walt Wojtanik

PROMPT #17 – CH-CH-CH-CHANGES

Changes are afoot! Autumn is rapidly approaching and whether you like change or do not like change, it is inevitable. And we have encountered some changes that are good and some that haven’t turned out so well. Write about change. Something changes, one thing becomes another, spare change in your pocket or change of attitude. Would you like to change something about yourself, or someone else? Write about it before you change your mind!

Marie Elena’s Change:

NOW WHAT?

Acclimatize, familiarize,
Revise, amend, and bend.
Rework, adjust
(you simply must),
Then modify and blend.

Find your footing,
(no off-putting)
Settle in, and then
Get a feel for this new deal, and
Learn from where you’ve been.

Walt’s Transition:

NO MORE

I can’t live like this anymore.
My battle waged in the war of words.
Mine: smooth, poetic, full of passion.
Yours: denigrating, non-supportive, full of shit.
It seems we’ve played this aria before,
it’s time the record changes.
Same old song; no more.

BEAUTIFUL BLOOM – WEEK # 16

Week # 16 brought us to find inspiration in music. The efforts were rockin’ to say the least. The “BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS” for this week exemplifies that perfectly. These are the picks of the week:

 

Sophie’s (Nonna’s) Choice:

It was once again oh-so-difficult to choose only one poem. The quality here astounds me. I finally settled in on Linda Swensky’s “I Was Once Like You Are Now.” The unadorned wisdom of this little piece drew me in. Simply superb.

 

By Linda Swenski

I Was Once Like You Are Now
I once knew everything
But I gained knowledge
And experience
And now I know nothing.

Inspired by Father and Son by Cat Stevens

 

Walt’s choice:

The poet as story teller intrigues me to no end. To find such inspiration from the lyric of a song, brings it to life in very unsuspecting ways. And so it is with mike Maher’s work ”…Old Punk Rock clubs” We all battle our ghosts and demons. How that changes us is our concern. Hopefully we learn from it. Or the lessons passed on by others. My Beautiful Bloom for the week teaches something we all may have forgotten. This is mike Maher’s Bloom.

 

“But I still hear your ghost in these old Punk Rock Clubs.” by mike Maher

More than once I have been told
about my ghost,
have heard mike Maher. spoken about in the past tense –
that mike Maher. who got so drunk on Tequila
at that concert at the Croc Rock that he got tangled in the seat belt –
despite being quite alive,
at least I think so.
How great it was to drink Tequila
until you could almost speak Spanish!
No matter how drunk he got,
that version of me never understood the big fuss over Whitman.
That me used to write dark poems
about the beckoning of the unknown
and the relative deepness of rain puddles.
Most definitions of the word ghost will disagree,
but that one in the picture book with Jesus in blue jeans
grilling cheeseburgers and smoking a cigar
would probably tell you it’s possible
to have even more than one ghost without a physical death.
One of his motives was be heard by everyone,
the other was to be seen by no one.

WEB WEDNESDAY – Salvatore Buttaci

Last Web Wednesday, we featured an English teacher. This week, we bring you another of America’s great teachers:  Salvatore Buttaci (retired).

As always, we asked our guest to share with us a poem that best expresses his writing style.  Sal responded with, “It’s difficult to pick one of my poems and say it best represents my work. I write poems in many poetic forms and on many themes. The poems I’ve written and managed to save number about 6,000. In fact, in 2009 I wrote 1,009 of them!”  Ultimately, Sal chose a love poem. All I can say is, be still my heart!

YOU CALL ME “CARO MIO”

Under the sheets of passion you call me caro mio,
But once love melts into final throbs and last breaths,
Your eyes glazed like impromptu tabloid snapshots,
You turn your naked back to me, say how the night
Is finally here after a hectic day of scheduled madness.
I hear from my side of this nocturnal territory, your voice
Fuzzy as wool in dreamscapes, words in a tunnel,
Something uttered just before the runner leaps into dream.
Too soon your gentle snoring playfully pokes the walls
And I lie here, arms behind my head, staring upward
At heaven from where we have just returned, and think
To myself those charged words you called me:
I run them through my mind like a prayer: caro mio,
Dear one, dear one.  And then your hand touches my face,
I feel alive again. Connected this way, I surrender
To the tug of sleep’s hands; your words, sleep’s voice.

#

(C) 2008 Salvatore Buttaci

First published in “Contributor Series 6: A Currency of Words.” POEMBLOG.VOXPOETICA.COM  (October 10, 2010).

Salvatore Amico Buttaci.  Ahhhh … such a beautiful name!  Something that endeared me to Walt’s poetry back in 2009 was the obvious pride he feels in his ancestry.  Please take a moment to tell us about your Sicilian roots – a topic I know is dear to your heart.

It is ironic that in my boyhood days being a son of Sicilians caused me so much grief. Back in the 1940s, and even beyond in the New Jersey of the 1950s, boys in my Brooklyn neighborhood, called me ethnic names, accused me of being in a Mafia family, and forced me into defending my ethnic honor with tears and fists.

My mother, though born in New York City, spent her first 18 years in Sicily, in the same mountain village of Acquaviva Platani where my father lived until 15 when he immigrated to America. They were proud of their heritage and passed that pride onto their children. In 1965, after I was graduated from Seton Hall University, I went to that same town and stayed for a year. There I met Salvatore Amico, my maternal grandfather, and enough cousins to start my own colony! I loved it. It has become a part of me and much of my writings. I have even lecture on “Growing up Sicilian” to dispel the myth that we are all in the mob. I explain the gross injustice done by the media with their “Soprano” shows and gangster flicks and even anti-Italian ads.

Sal, you have been writing since childhood. Do you recall what or who sparked that interest? What was the first piece you remember writing?

At nine, I wrote a poem to and for my mother on–what else!–Mother’s Day. She cried as she read it and I thought, Okay, there’ll be no more poems from this kid, but then she hugged and kissed me. She was so moved by my nonsense poem that for the rest of her life, she, along with my father, encouraged me to never stopped writing.

I also had a 7th grade teacher named Sister Rita Damian who allowed in-school students on rainy lunch hours to read their stories to the class. Later on in high school Sister Marie Augusta would write comments on my compositions like “You are an excellent writer!” and “God gave you a gift.” Praise like that went a long way. As for my writing life now, Sharon is always there for me. My best critic. My greatest inspiration. Love can do that.

You say, “Praise like that went a long way.”  I’m sure that praise was instrumental in the fact that your first published work came about when you were quite a young boy.  Please tell us about this experience. In that time frame, did you ever feel burned out with writing? If so, how did you overcome the sensation?

My first published piece was an essay entitled “Presidential Timber,” which I submitted to the Sunday New York News back in 1957. My father saw the contest details in the newspaper and suggested I enter it. I asked Sister Marie Augusta for advice and she suggested whatever topic I chose that I write an outline, do a quick first draft, and then spend most of the time revising. “Can I win?” I asked her. She smiled that tight little smile nuns do and said, “Somewhere out there in the future you already have.” So I chose politics as my subject. What character traits should a U.S. president possess that would make him memorable in the history books. When the newspaper editor called with the good news–my essay was one of ten the paper would feature each of ten Sundays and that my win earned me $25–I was ecstatic. When my essay appeared with my photo (A New York News photographer visited our home, Papa and I went out and bought several copies. “My boy’s in the paper,” he told the candy-store man. “He’s a writer and they paid him!”

You have been published in the New York Times, Newsday, and U.S.A. Today, to name a few big guns. Will you share your secret for success?

It’s no secret at all. Newspapers publish the news and welcome feedback from their readers. I read an article that personally effects me and I respond as succinctly and comprehensively as possible. I revise the piece so it’s tight as an ice ball, ridding it of all redundancies that slow down one’s writings, and keeping it interesting from start to finish, then I take my chances by submitting it. I never consider that a newspaper, magazine, or journal might be a “big gun.” I envision the editor at his or her desk reading my piece. How do I make that editor nod his head yes is what I consider most important. I don’t allow myself to be intimidated by the “big guns.” I aim my slingshot and hopefully bring down the giant insecurities with which we writers sometimes are plagued.

As for poetry and fiction, I try to write what I hope will please the one whose job it is to decide on its acceptance or rejection. Poems that appeal to the senses and to the emotions fare better than those that are intellectually stimulating. Stories with strong hooks, varied use of narration, description, dialogue, and exposition, and satisfying endings stand a better chance than those that take forever to reveal the conflict or overload the reader with narration or dialogue or description or exposition. Variety is the spice of fiction.

In light of your published books and the illustrious papers and magazines that have featured your work, do you feel successful as a writer and poet?  Why, or why not?

What is success? Are we talking here of monetary success? Because if we are, I am quite unsuccessful if you look in my wallet or bank account. No, believe me, unless we are one of the literary giants who can release a book on Monday and sell millions of copies by Friday, we are not in this writing business to be profitable. More a not-for-profit venture to feed the inner person, the one that resides in our deepest selves.

I write because I am convinced there is a God Who loves me and gifted me with a talent for writing. I write to say thank you to God. I write because my day is hollow instead of hallowed when I do not write. I need to ride the wave of that poetic line dancing in my head. I feel compelled to tell that story unfolding in my imagination. It’s food that sustains me. That drink of water (or beer) on a hot August day. And the admission that I am nowhere near the successful writer I want to be (not in the eyes of the world but in my own eyes) keeps me writing everyday. I want readers to know me through my poetry, my stories, my letters, my articles, my flash books, and eventually, in some small way remember me.

Much of what you write is considered “flash fiction,” which I believe is 1,000 words or fewer.  I personally have a copy of your Flashing My Shorts, which I recommend highly! Though you make it look easy, is it a challenge to write a complete story in so few words?  Do you have any advice for those of us who would like to try it on for size?

For starters, I suggest writers read flash fiction before they attempt it. At the expense of coming off as self-serving, I would recommend my two books, Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts. They’ve gotten very good reviews. In fact, the University of Chester in England is adding 200 Shorts to their library’s “Flash Fiction Special Collection,” which is the world’s largest archive of flash fiction anthologies, collections and literary magazines.

Flash fiction lacks the short story’s luxury of length, just as the haiku must tell in about 17 syllables the universe of a moment. Flash is just what its name defines: a quick read, a limited number of words, a plot and resolution that appears in readers’ eyes and then poofs to a closing. Therein lies the challenge: to create a hook for a brief but complete story, choose only the most essential details, keep the reader engaged in the plot’s development, and then send readers on their way, satisfied with the story’s conclusion. In less than 1,000 words, sometimes in as little as 50 words, the flash succeeds or fails.

Someone asked me recently how I begin a flash. It’s different for anyone who writes them. For me, I first create the scene in my mind, then allow the emotion that pervades the scene to take over, all the while imagining the one or two characters, the setting, the motives, dialogue and descriptions. After that I sit down at my pocket pad or notebook or keyboard and I wait for the hook that will get the flash rolling. If I can tell it in less words I will. If it’s something like my horror story “The Hook” or my crime flash “A Man with a Badge,” just to name two from 200 Shorts, I go the limit: 1,000 words. Some flashes don’t need as many words to tug at the heart strings or make readers laugh. As for variety of flashes, both my books run the gamut from adventurous to zany, enough to please all readers.

I also rely on flash prompts given at such writer’s sites as Six Sentences (http://sixsentences.blogspot.com/), Pen 10 (http://pentenscribes.ning.com/), Thinking 10 (http://www.thinkingten.com/), and others.

One of your websites is entitled The Poem Factory.  This site features your own work, poetry forms, interviews, family photos, and poems-of-the-week.  I was especially interested to find a collection of work inspired by 9/11. One piece particularly caught my eye, as it is quite different in style and content from the expected.  If you would, please share with us the birth of “On the Brink of War.”

ON THE BRINK OF WAR

© 2002 Salvatore Buttaci

Orion’s bow
Taut in the late
Winter sky
Projects a pathway
Of curving stars.
The hunter’s arrow
Poised for flight
Dazzles at
Orion’s fingertips.
Who will quake
The January sky
And loosen his tight hand?
Who will set
The worlds on fire?

#

First of all, The Poem Factory has been quiet lately, but I do invite folks to visit my other sites:

http://salvatorebuttaci.wordpress.com  Salvatore Buttaci

http://salvatorebuttaci.spruz.com/        Flashing My Shorts

http://salbuttaci.spruz.com/                  The Word Place

http://salbuttaci.blogspot.com              Sal’s Place

“On the Brink of War” is a poem on several levels. The obvious meaning describes the heavens where constellations take their places unmoved since creation. Orion’s bow is taut but not released; in fact, his arrow is made up of dazzling stars. There is no one who can quake the sky but God. No one can set the worlds on fire but He Who made them.

On another underlying level, Orion represents the war hungry, those powers who are not content to accept peace. They are driven to march their soldiers into wars, upset world order, and in doing so, set the worlds on fire, not the sky worlds but the human worlds that hunger to be fed, who want to live in peace. The poem tells us we walk the precarious brink of war and little has been done to change that fact.

On still another level Orion is God Who watches from His Heaven. One day the arrow will fly–God’s justice!–and we will be called upon to be judged for what we did or did not do here on Earth. Jesus came to set the world on fire and in His resurrection did so in the sense that they world, because of His loving sacrifice, became Christified. When Judgment comes, the world will once again be set on fire.

I have asked several of our featured guests this question, and I feel compelled to ask you:  As an obvious man of faith, how do your convictions shape your writing?

I love God. Simple as that. As a Christian I believe in the Trinity and try to live my life as Jesus taught us to. It was not always that way, but to prove how much God loved me, from the beginning of time, He had selected my mother to birth me, a woman of deepest faith, a woman who spent much of my life praying for me to walk in the Light of a loving God. She taught me to pray and then leave all things to God’s Will. When I would question God why the world had wars and famines, why little babies died, why the world was less than perfect, she would tell me no one could think with God’s mind. We are creatures; He is Creator. When my mother died in September of last year I knew Heaven was hers forever! I pray one day to reunite with her and all those faithful servants of Christ.

How does my faith shape my writing? I never write blasphemous poems or stories. I never use God’s name in vain. I never use the ubiquitous F-word so popular among writers today. I write from the heart, gifts to the God Who loves me.

Do you feel poetry is a dying art?  Or do you believe it is making a “comeback?” What do you see as the future of poetry?

In materialistic societies like America today, poetry is a tiny voice crying in the desert. Novels, especially those that transform into movies, stand the best chance of remaining popular because they are profitable. What can a poem earn? Every product is judged by what it amounts to on the bottom line. We have discarded morality and belief in God in order to make Big Bucks or support the immoral who take the little bucks from our pockets. Though poetry still lives, I don’t believe it is flourishing. And at the expense of alienating some of your readers, I don’t believe rap has helped matters. Though some of it is good poetry, most are excuses for mouthing bad language, putting down authority, or giving bad example to the impressionable young.

Will poetry make a comeback? It really hasn’t left! It is just not on the high literary rung of past centuries when some countries paid a pension to poets (alliteration unintended!) and kings invited them to court to recite their verses. As for the future of poetry, let me say that the digital age of bastardized English in the text-messaging craze that will only grow worse and more abbreviated, poetry may rival the paucity of the haiku, but poetry will not die.

As one who has experience with self-publishing, do you have any words of advice on the subject?

Self-publishing is the ideal way for writers to get their first books out there. It is much easier today to do so because of sites like Lulu.com, CreateSpace.com, Smashwords.com, and a few others, that will charge a lot less than if a writer were to assume the cost of having a printer do a run of their books.

I have self-published at least 10 chapbooks and books, mostly poetry, from 1974 to the present.

In 1998 I self-published a collection of my poetry called Promising the Moon (now out-of-print) and A Family of Sicilians: Stories and Poems: http://tinyurl.com/627mro6 which I released in 2008 at Lulu.com where it is still selling copies. In 1998 I was still working and could afford to print 1,000 copies of each book. Self-publishing requires heavy self-promoting, which I did on radio, TV, newspapers, readings, and lectures, managing to sell all printed copies! Once retired, I knew, except for an occasional chapbook, I’d need to find a publisher for my books.

Big Table Publishing took on Boy on a Swing: http://tinyurl.com/42vy39r

Middle Island Press published What I Learned from the Spaniard: http://tinyurl.com/42zvkw2

All Things That Matter Press published Flashing My Shorts http://tinyurl.com/6772fps and also my 200 Shorts http://tinyurl.com/3o5w84e   .

Cyber-wit Publications published A Dusting of Star Fall, also available at Amazon.com.

Cyber-wit will also release my new book in the fall: If Roosters Don’t Crow, It Is Still Morning: Haiku and Other Poems.

I do suggest writers who self-publish edit their manuscripts before committing to final printings. Nothing turns off readers more than misspelled words, poor use of language, and uninteresting content.

To all writers who self-publish and those who have publishers, selling books is not easy. It doesn’t just happen because you wrote a good book. It takes hard work promoting yourself and your book, giving both much needed visibility, if you hope to attract readers. To say, I am a writer, not a marketer, is to negate any chances you might have of selling books. Wear two hats, the writer’s and the marketer’s, and good things will happen for you.

Thank you, Sal, for your candid responses.  We feel privileged to count you among our regulars here at Poetic Bloomings.

PROMPT #16 – PLAYING FAVORITES #2


There is always a lyric from a song that stays with you. It could be from a favorite song, or a song you hear again after a few years that has you singing along. It might be a church hymn or a commercial jingle; any song really. Choose a line from that song (or the song title) as the title of your poem. Do not interpret the song. Make it new; make it yours. This is a favorite exercise of mine. Let’s see what music is in you that inspires. For our “Playlist”, do identify the song and artist.

Marie Elena’s haiku for Week 16:

Over the rainbow,
We hold hands and click our heels.
There’s no place like home.


This, of course, inspired by “Over the Rainbow,” Judy Garland’s signature song, by Arlen and Harburg. Thankfully, my husband is every bit as much the homebody as I.

 

Walt’s Lyric worth noting:

HOWLING AT THE MOON LIKE A SLACK JAWED FOOL

 

I sing my songs to you.

My words melt like butter in your mouth

and their taste leaves you sweetened and satisfied.

It seems I’ve tried to serenade you in every way

except what would eventually reach your ears.

My aural intrusion bringing thoughts to you

that you never knew possible. An impassible

blockade, battered now to allow my melodies

access to your battle-worn heart. And my words,

dripping, honeyed and spoon-fed, sticking

to your ravaged soul. They have taken their toll

as the maddening moonlight entices my muse.

I bay at its brilliance; my dalliance

brought to bare under the star-filled night.

Only fools fall!

~ from “BEG, STEAL OR BORROW” by Ray LaMontagne

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #15

Our Saturday chore wouldn’t be complete without choosing the blooms to grace our “Vase” for all to appreciate. We continue to blossom and bloom, and in greater numbers and it is a testament to the poets who contribute weekly with their worded finery. Marie and I are very pleased with your work and very excited to promote all that you do. Continued success to this growing “family”.

Marie’s Bloom:

For this week’s pick, I chose a new voice. Ellie’s “Amber” is quietly descriptive; engagingly hopeful. I find her “… but nothing lasts, not even endings” enchanting. Welcome, Ellie. I hope to hear more from you.

AMBER  by Ellie

amber follows gold
and antecedes the days when blue and gray
chase one another
gray, when it wins,
is long, but nothing lasts,
not even endings.

Walt’s Bloom:

When I found this photo for the prompt, I had a lot of emotions flood my thinking. The warmth of the coloring, the mystery of the hazy background. There is a sadness there; and I can see a lover’s rendezvous. Many things happening here. But it wasn’t until I read this poem that I saw the exasperation in this simple scene. My bloom put that new emotion into my head and it is because of this new perspective that I had chosen to single it out. My pick is by Patricia A. Hawkenson, in her “DEEP IN THE HOUSE”.

DEEP IN THE HOUSE by Patricia A. Hawkenson

My curtains are drawn shut.

I have condemned myself
to endless puttering
dusting my brick-a-brac,
the miscellaneous objects,
furniture and curios
I raked up over the years.

Till coffee brews
to dispel my fog
allowing me to finally see
where what I value
has been shit upon.

So I scrub it all
within an inch of its life
for it is all I have
and if God is willing,
it will shine again.

But God help me
for my arms are tired.

Great job on this prompt poets, and congratulations to Ellie and Patricia, our “Beautiful Blooms”.

IN-FORM POET: Poesia di Tema

Poesia di Tema
Original poetic form by Marie Elena Good

I’ve titled my new form “Poesia di Tema,” which is Italian for “Themed Poetry.”

Elements of the form:

1. Title (required).
2. Rhyme is not required, but may be used.
3. All lines must be the same number of syllables (maximum of 12 syllables per line), and single-spaced.
4. Following a one-line space at the end of the poem, state the theme of the poem.
5. The theme and title lines must equal the same number of syllables per poetic line.
6. Poems may be solemn or humorous.
7. The ultimate Poesia di Tema includes an element of surprise or lesson in the theme.

Marie’s Example (8-syllable count)

The Pretty Mighty Spider Web

How is it that this teensy bug
with eight legs and an ugly mug
can build a home of wispy strand
that’s beautiful, and so well planned
that gale-force winds can whip through town,
but even they can’t knock it down?

Not All That’s Dainty is Feeble

Walt’s Feeble Attempt:

IN THE DISTANCE THE LIGHT SHINES

A beacon, horizon’s light
shines bright in the cool, dark night.
Ships pass, their fog horns alert,
announcing their position.
The waves dance lightly, the sands
shifting with every cycle.

The night offers her comfort.