My poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, out this April!

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This week I’m posting a few days early to announce that Soul Picked Clean, my first published book of poetry, will be out in two months. Needless to say (but I’m going to anyway), I’m incredibly excited! On April 13th, I’ll be reading and selling my first book at the Massillon Library’s Local Author Fair: a venue I’ve attended before as a blogger sans book. Not  only that, but Crisis Chronicles Press, my publisher, will be selling my poetry collection on the same day at the Cuyahoga Library’s Publishing Con & Bookfair–along with other great titles!

UPCOMING NE Ohio Literary Events for February through April 2019

Since I haven’t been able to figure out how to add an events calendar to this blog yet, the following list includes events I plan to attend and/or read at that may be of interest to Ohio writers and other assorted bibliophiles!

February:

Wed 20th: 7pm Latitudes Poetry Night @Compass Coffee

Sat 23th: 2pm – 4pm Literary Cleveland Poetry Workshop re Claudia Rankine’s Citizen @Cle Main Library Carnegie West branch

Thur 28th: 6pm The Write Stuff @North Canton Public Library

March:

Sat 2nd: 2pm – 4pm Literary Cleveland Poetry Workshop re Claudia Rankine’s Citizen @Cle Main Library Carnegie West branch

Wed 20th: 7pm Latitudes Poetry Night @Compass Coffee

Thur 28th: 6pm The Write Stuff @North Canton Public Library

 
April: (NATIONAL POETRY MONTH)

Fri 12th: Writing Knights Take the Knight Off Inspiration Showcase (details forthcoming)

Sat 13th: Massillon Library Local Author Fair

My poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, will be available this day; come hear me read and maybe buy a copy for yourself!

Sat 27th: Western Reserve Writers’ Con

 

For other events and updates, you may check the blog calendar for Cleveland Poetics.

I hope to see you at one of these events! Until my next post, have a lovely life!

 

*image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.Net via Creative Commons License

**The Massillon Library’s calendar has not yet been updated with this event, although it is a scheduled event.

 

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POEM: #SaveTheChief

redfaceoff

#SaveTheChief

 

I don’t even know where to begin.

Chief Wahoo is not offensive by any means.

One hundred years of racism is enough in Cleveland Ohio.

When was the last time you saw a Native American as good looking as Wahoo?

And he’s completely red; are you kidding me?

HA! HA! Laugh at those injuns

… then everybody shows up acting like a stereotypical version of that race.

Let’s do the Florida State chop, only for real. Send these whiners to big cloud in sky and finish the job.

Their faces are painted.

“This isn’t racism.”

They’re wearing feathers.

You guys need to go home–

                     “We’re not going away.”

–because we support the Indians.

a lot of them say they’re just honoring us.

I think the Indians would be proud of the fact–

I don’t feel honored.

that we’re sitting here, putting their name on shirts,–

I don’t think it’s honoring us in the least.

on jerseys,

It’s very hurtful.

on billboards…”

“I’ve got the smiling face of racism smiling right back at me.”

“This isn’t racism.”

You make this any other racial group,–

Native Americans are a bunch of pussies,–

where you do a ridiculous caricature like that,–

go back to your tipis and cry me a river.

people get it right away. “Oh, that’s racist.”

… get over it. Go light some torches

It’s very hurtful.

“…Chief Wahoo. Whether you guys like it or not,

it’s going to stay”

Rip chief wahoo

 

#

*found poetry created with quotes from Twitter via the #SaveTheChief hashtag, and video quotes from protests and interviews. I apologize that some of the language is racist; the entire poem is composed of quoted material. By arranging the material of different people at different times concerning a single issue, I hoped to give the impression of a conversation between the two sides of the Chief Wahoo issue.

**photo credit via Parson Frown (@peterpattakos) on Twitter

POEM: Spiritual Matter

keikannui-neuron-interneuron

Spiritual Matter

 

If Spirit is the immortal

part of ourselves,

the essence of our being,

Matter is Spirit.

 

Where else would our essence lie

but in our deepest parts?

Deeper than the cells of our skin

that flake off with touch and time,

becoming the dust breathed by the world.

 

Deeper than the muscles beneath

that shrink and grow with age and years,

the smooth use that pumps them large,

the slow stretches, the proteins

building the ability to push and pull

and leap and bound and even lie down

when life becomes too much.

 

Deeper than the cells making up

each separate part, each particle,

each electron, each quark

of up, down, strange, charm, bottom,

and top–their varied homogeneity

unites us with all. The dung beetle with

it’s beautiful shimmering body,

the dullest bird gracing the heavens,

the plastic bag floating discarded

in far-reaching oceans, each

unappreciated dandelion gracing

a freshly mown lawn with sunlight-

yellow petals, until it rides the wind

as cotton seedlings–visceral swan song

embodying the paradox

of uncreated creation.

 

We all come from each other.

Atoms are celestial: our

common building blocks

compose our infinite variety,

We are made of star stuff.

 

Materialism is Spiritual.

 

We share each other’s lives.

We breathe in each other’s essence.

There is nothing deeper

than realizing how our impermanence

permanently imprints us

on each other.

 

 

 

*image by keikannui via openclipart.org using Creative Commons licensing.

 

CURRENT EVENTS: Books Read in 2018

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Greetings! Welcome to my first blogpost of 2019. Pretty exciting so far, right?

Anyway, fellow bibliophiles, I thought I’d share a post of the books I’ve consumed in the past year. While I won’t list books I didn’t finish, I will link to the ones I reviewed.

I don’t read a lot of periodicals, but I do read Rattle Poetry, an amazing quarterly magazine, as well as dip into a lot of other books. I’m currently reading A Journey to the Interior of the Earth (ebook) by Jules Verne, Dodge Tuck Roll (paperback, poetry collection) by Rikki Santer, and listening to an audiobook of Dragon Champion by E.E. Knight. My To-Be-Read books beside my bed are threatening to fall over and kill me in my sleep, but I keep adding to it because I have no control and I need help.

As an avid supporter of my local libraries, I’d be remiss not to mention checking out your library’s online selections as well as physical copies of books. Many libraries allow you to request books through their websites, check out digital content such as ebooks and downloadable audiobooks, as well as offer other free services like Hoopla Digital. So, if you haven’t already, get thee to the library.

Many of the books on this list were obtained through services that allow you to download ebooks or audiobooks for free, such as manybooks.net (ebooks in multiple formats), librivox, and Project Gutenburg. Others were obtained from awesome local Ohio indie presses, such as Crisis Chronicles Press and Night Ballet Press; I also plan to check out some titles from Writing Knights Press in the near future.

Now, on to the list!

1 The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide by Lauren Wilson.

Just what it says on the tin! It’s a cookbook with survival tips for the coming zombocalypse. Be prepared, so you don’t end up as a walker’s entree!

2 Mothmaw (beta read ebook) by Faryl

3  The Walking Dead: Here’s Negan by various (graphic novel via Hoopla)

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4 Skyscraper City Heroes and Villains, vol 1, by Larry Kollar (beta read ebook)

5 The Walking Dead Vol. 29: Lines We Cross by various

6 Kisha Nicole Foster: Poems 1999 – 2014, by Kisha Nicole Foster

7 It Takes More Than Chance to Make Change (poetry collection) by John Burroughs

8 Water Works (poetry collection) by John Burroughs

9 A Wizard of EarthSea: Book One of the EarthSea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin

10 I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells (NOOK Book)

11 Blood Music by Greg Bear  (ebook via Humble Bundle)

12 City of Truth by James Morrow  (ebook via Humble Bundle)

13 Age of Aquarius: Collected Poems 1981 – 2016, by Dianne Borsenik

14 Loss and Foundering (poetry collection) by John Burroughs

15 Michael Ridding: A DenCom Thriller (Audible audiobook) by S.T. Hoover

16 Prison Terms: Poems by Diane Kendig

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17 Guerrilla Kindness and Other Acts of Creative Resistance: Making a Better World through Craftivism, by Sayraphim Lothian

18 Really Cross Stitch (for when you just want to stab something a lot) (ebook via Overdrive) by Rayna Fahey

19 CHAPTER ELEVEN (poetry collection) by E.F. Schraeder

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20 Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (ebook) by Cory Doctorow

21 Mr. Monster (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

22 Craft Activism: People, Ideas, and Projects from the New Community of Handmade AND HOW YOU CAN JOIN IN (ebook via Hoopla) by Joan Tapper

23 Crafting the Resistance: 35 Projects for Craftivists, Protesters, and Women Who Resist by Heather Marano and Lara Neel

24 Blood Work (poetry collection) by Kisha Nicole Foster

25 The Fireman by Joe Hill

26 I Don’t Want to Kill You (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

27 The Tao of Pooh (audiobook via Overdrive) by Benjamin Hoff

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I’ve read this book many times, and it’s one of the most beautiful, funny, and brilliant books ever. Basically, it’s Taoist philosophy illustrated using Winnie-the-Pooh as an example of the uncarved block. Everyone should read this.

28 Horns by Joe Hill (ebook via Overdrive)

29 We Have Always Lived in the Castle (ebook via Overdrive) by Shirley Jackson

30 SOFT: Poems (paperback bought at Latitudes Poetry Night when the poet read) by Damien McClendon

31 MacBeth (ebook via manybooks.net) by William Shakespeare

32 On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing NonfictionandHow to Write a Memoir (audiobooks via Overdrive)

Written and Read by William Zinsser

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33 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (ebook via Overdrive) by J.K. Rowling

34 In America (poetry chapbook) by Diana Goetsch

35 The Art of Love (poetry)(ebook via Overdrive) by Ovid

36 Next of Kin: A John Cleaver Novella (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

37 The Devil’s Only Friend (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

38 Over Your Dead Body (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

39 Nothing Left to Lose (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

40 Cleopatra: a Biography (audiobook via Overdrive) by Stacy Schiff

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41 Hard to Swallow (Paperback bought at Literary Cleveland Inkubator) by Pat and Bill Hurley

42 Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem From the Inside Out (ebook via Overdrive) by Ralph Fletcher

43 milk and honey (paperback bought at Bookloft bookstore in Columbus, Ohio) by rupi kaur

44 Demons Will Be Demons:The Realm (NOOK Ebook via Barnes & Noble) by A.E. Jones

45 The Walking Dead vol. 29: Lines We Cross (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

46 The Walking Dead vol. 30: New World Order (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

47 Jessica Jones: Uncaged! (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

48 Jessica Jones: The Secrets of Maria Hill (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

49 Recipes for a New Life: Surviving Celiac Disease (paperback bought at Cuyahoga Library’s Indie Author Conference) by Erin Marie Raines

50 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (ebook via Overdrive) by Mark Manson

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A hilariously irreverent and insightful philosophy book. There’s obviously profanity, but holy crap, it’s freaking genius.

51 Jessica Jones: Pulse (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

52 The Vision: Little Worse Than a Man (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by King and Walt

53 The Vision: Here Lies a Vision (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

54 The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale (ebook via Overdrive) by Tim Hanley

55 The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus (ebook via manybooks.net) by William Shakespeare

56 Miranda and Caliban (ebook via Overdrive) by Jaqueline Carey

57 Little Epiphanies (paperback via Night Ballet Press) by Allison Joseph

58 down & out in the magic kingdom (ebook via craphound.com) by Corey Doctorow

A fantastic scifi book about a man trying to solve his own murder at Disney World.

59 BBC Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time Lords (ebook via Overdrive) by Steve Tribe

60 Siddhartha (ebook via manybook.net) by Herman Hesse

61 The Just City (ebook via Overdrive) by Jo Walton

62 Citizen of Metropolis (poetry collection, paperback via Crisis Chronicles Press) by Christine Howey

63 Symposium (ebook via manybooks.net) by Plato

Socrates attends a dinner party and debates the nature of love.

 

Until next time, be happy, and have a lovely time!

 

*image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.Net via Creative Commons License

 

Current Events: New Year’s Resolutions for 2019!

wineglass-and-champagne

Happy New Year! However you celebrate, please be safe, and don’t drink and drive. Have fun!

Now that the PSA portion of my post is out of the way, do you have any resolutions for 2019? I’m a big fan of accountability as a motivator, so I make a point of publicly declaring my goals in the hope I’ll be too embarrassed not to accomplish them. So, I mostly met my goals, or–to interpret them differently–I failed to meet them in the most satisfying way ever! In other words, I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished this year!

Last New Year’s Eve, my resolutions for 2018 were to 1. publish a book, 2. market my book, and 3. Learn to make one origami form with a dollar bill. I’ve obviously not published a book yet; I had planned to self-publish, but then my lovely friend Diane convinced me to sub one more time (this time to an indie press), and the result is my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, will be published by Crisis Chronicles Press early 2019! I also have two more books subbed to another indie press and will hear back from them by the end of March 2019. I’ve only submitted, but I’m hopeful they will accept them for publication. If not, I will fall back on my original plan to self publish.

As far as marketing my book(s), I’ve done a lot of research into getting the word out and plan to promote by readings and going to conferences, etc. I’ve also looked into advertising via podcasts, radio, and other local resources. One of the books would fit well in a certain niche market, so I have feelers out for that too.

I have done nothing towards learning the origami form, other than get a dollar bill that’s sat on my dining room table in silent accusation for the past two weeks. I don’t feel too badly about that though, as it was the least important resolution and there’s still almost the whole day left until Midnight.

So, can you guess my resolutions for 2019?

 

1. PUBLISH ALL THREE BOOKS.

2. MARKET MY BOOKS.

3. SELL AND WRITE LIKE CRAZY!

 

Not including the material in these books, I’ve been writing poetry and short stories all year, so I already have a nice reserve for the books I plan after these. Although I still shake a bit, I’ve gotten much better at reading in public, so I’m going to continue working on that. And, best of all, I have the use of Northeast Ohio’s fantastic library system, and so many supportive and wonderful writer friends for which I am forever grateful.

So, if you’ve made it this far without falling asleep, enough about me! Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions for 2019? If so, what are they?

Happy New Year, and I wish you all the best!

*image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

POEM: Why I Hate Christmas

santa_claus-l4

Why I Hate Christmas

 

I love brightly colored gifts

with shiny foil ribbons and stockings

filled with tiny plastic toys that make small children smile.

 

I support charity,

the clink of silver coins dropped into a collection can,

donating time to those less fortunate along with extra cans of food.

 

I adore singing songs

unheard in the shower or off-key

at 60 mph as my dashboard thrums to the beat.

 

I crave feasts of warm bread,

family favorites, and sweet steaming pudding

with chocolate skin you pierce with a fork to get at the good stuff.

 

I long for peace on Earth,

wish goodwill towards others;

hold the door open for strangers,

and try to understand my fellow man.

 

But I hate the idea that one time of year

is the right time, the best time, the required time

to do any or all these things.

 

I detest the pressure to sing happy holiday tunes

we’ve heard a thousand times before, loathe the open hand

at every store, the downward glance as you shift by

when you have no cash to give, detest the obligation

for feasts and gifts no matter how thin one’s wallet.

 

Forced gifts aren’t gifts.

A gift can only be given if it’s not required.

 

Give because you want to,

because giving is its own joy.

Sing because your heart is full or breaking.

Bake cookies because you crave sweetness,

because others hunger for kindness.

 

Don’t wait for a season,

make everyday the reason

to feel what you want,

be what you want,

do what you want

to make the world better–

 

or else

what’s the point?

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

**I hope you enjoyed my mildly ranty Christmas poem. If you celebrate Christmas this year, I hope you have a lovely holiday!

 

POEM: Windows

winter-tree_3

“Windows”

In the neverending heat of a South Florida childhood with no other season except Hurricane, I dreamt of snow, of patting down snowballs into hard spheres to throw at my compatriots from behind white walls guarded by coal-eyed snowmen sniffing out trouble with carrot noses. Snow angels hovered in my dreams, bright shapes made real by throwing myself into clouds of frozen heaven dust upon waking to a Florida morning that never came.

Now, my dreams come true on this Ohio dawn, with the first snow drifting outside my bedroom window frosting trees like cupcakes, the ground ever more white, as though Thor dusted dandruff from his beard to coat the world. The flakes fall heavier, thick pale globes, hiding the grass, the trees, the warm gifts my dogs leave on the lawn like offerings to winter gods. In the snow, everything becomes new and beautiful.

Inside my house, my heater hums comfort. I snuggle under warm quilts.

I wonder if those without windows share my joy.

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com.