POEM: “A Few of my Favorite Things” *AND* an Announcement!

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A Few of My Favorite Things

 

the smell of oncoming rain

as my hair is carried

by the wind rushing through

the car’s open window

at 45 mph

 

the ceramic and cloth

sculpture of a sandwich

no one will consume with anything

other than their eyes

 

the trade paperback of

Sylvia Plath poems

beckoning from a library’s

mid-level shelf

 

my husband’s smile

touching his eyes

caught off-guard

sipping from a frosted glass

 

the scent of jasmine

and fresh dark earth

as my sneakers squeak

on the way to a store

 

brimming with books,

pens and pencils and

bookmarks with optical illusions and

papers lined with flowing letters

 

the last of the

Mother’s Day chocolate

melting on my tongue

for breakfast

 

Announcement:

Tonight, if you haven’t already viewed my prominently displayed promo video, I will compete in Writing Knights sWord Fight against fantastic poet Adam Spells tonight!

Also, I’ve been making some practical (as well as cosmetic) changes to this site. While my Author Cat Russell site acts as my online resume, this site is my primary blog. I’m expanding my blogroll with additional links to markets where my work can be found, and I’ve added an additional page at the top (beneath the blog title) for Upcoming Appearances. So now my posts will simply be poems, flash stories, or non fiction.

Last month at the INKubator Writers Con, one of the workshops talked about Patreon being a possible source of revenue for content creators, so I’ve been researching how to create a successful Patreon account. I would still keep up my normal output for my blog (every two weeks), instagram, twitter, and FaceBook, but I would need to add incentives for supporters to pay a monthly fee for additional content or perks.

I am looking at incentives for different monthly tiers ($1, $5, $10) such as exclusive video or audio content, additional members only events and posts. I am open to suggestions; what type of monthly incentive/content would want to become a monthly Patreon supporter?

Currently, I’m working on a prose novel (or novelette, depending on length) of Greek mythology from Hera’s point of view, as well as writing poems and short stories. Soon I should have enough poems for another book. I’d also like to publish a collection of my short stories.

In my personal life, aside from poetry events and author fairs, I’ve been reading a lot. I’m currently reading Rikki Santer’s In Pearl Broth: Poems New and Selected, Wonder Woman volume 6: Children of the Gods, Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist, and Watchmen and Philosophy;** that last one I’ve been dipping into every so often, as the material requires more time to digest. I recently finished reading Desiree in Paris: Priestess of Magdalene, Shazam! volume 1, Laura Grace Weldon’s Blackbird (poetry anthology), and Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach.

Thank you for visiting my blog! I hope you enjoyed the post, and remember–polite feedback is always appreciated! Have a lovely week, and please come back. 🙂

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*promo video created with the help of my son, Christopher Russell, using CyberLink’s PowerDirector.

**This post was written early, so I have since finished a couple of those books and moved on to Wonder Woman volume 7: Amazons Attacked and an ARC of S.T. Hoover’s Hail to the King.

 

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POEM: “Ode for a Dog” *AND* Upcoming Events

Ode for a Dog

You became a cosmonaut,

the Moscow stray taken away

from those frozen city streets–

your unlooked-for honor: to make history,

           to reach the heavens.

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I wondered if they gave you a view,

one last look at the world you left behind,

or was that denied you    along with escape,

buried in darkness   before you ran out of breath

            among those distant lonely stars?

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A window might have stopped your heart:

Earth’s cobalt blue oceans, pale frosted poles,

rust-colored deserts receding    framed in fire as you hurtled

hurled into that azure vault, afraid and alone.

            You survived that long.

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Where is your constellation? My heart breaks

for you, dear sweet dog, your three short years

had not prepared you for such betrayal.

A statue honors you as hero, Laika.

             You made history,

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yet I can’t help these thoughts

creeping unwanted into my dreams:

you would have rather shivered on Earth,

lived on scraps, unnoticed and unknown,

           than burned through the heavens alone.

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*Since this month marks the 50th Anniversary of a man walking on the moon, I wanted to share a poem I wrote in honor of another astronaut. I wrote the poem after reading of Laika’s flight, and yes, she did have a view. The video is available, if you don’t mind crying.

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Upcoming Events

Saturday, July 27th

Literary Cleveland’s INKubator Writers’ Conference:

This all day conference is FREE and takes place at the Cleveland Main Library. It’s an incredible opportunity to take workshops, support local writers, and take part in Cleveland’s vibrant literary community!

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Saturday, August 3rd @ 1pm

Author Talk and Poetry Reading at Snowball Bookshop in Barberton. I will be giving a short talk about my journey to becoming a published writer, followed by a poetry reading from my book, Soul Picked Clean.

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Friday, August 9th @ 7pm – 9pm

Writing Knights sWord Fight: This time I will be competing against motivational speaker and all-time awesome poet Adam Spells!

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Saturday, August 10th @ 10am – 1pm

Local Author’s Fair at Dorrie’s Booktique in Canton. I will be there with copies of my book, along with several other local authors from the North Canton The Write Stuff writing group.

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Saturday, August 10th @730pm

Poetry Reading at Visible Voice bookstore! I’m thrilled to be reading alongside the fantastic Sara Minges and Juliet Cook. It’s going to be a great poetry event!

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Wednesday, August 21st @7pm – 9pm

Latitudes Poetry Night at Compass Coffee in Akron. There is a featured reader, followed by an Open Mic.

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Thank you for visiting my blog. I’ll post again in two weeks, but, in the meantime, I hope you have a lovely time enjoying books and poetry!

*Image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.

POEMS: Time Haikus *AND* Upcoming Events

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The last couple months have been wonderful, incredibly busy, and absolutely packed with awesome poetry events. My reading schedule is a little lighter this month to fit my family’s summer plans, and I also have plenty of exciting writing things in the works. In the meantime, enjoy these haikus on the theme of “Time.”

 

Dating my journal

ahead each night–a promise

my next day will come.

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In my mind, I go

back, tell myself not to ask

permission: just do.

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Firefly lives lit

on the thunderstorm’s sharp edge:

birth, sex, death, rebirth

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The broken timepiece

parts scatter. Sun dials only

work on sunny days.

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Discontented, she

breaks the mirror. Its sharp shards

accuse her with stars.

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The rising sun lets

us see with its beams, dispels

the darkness of night.

 

Upcoming and Current Events:

Sunday, June 9th (3pm – 4:30pm)

Second Sunday Poets is a round robin poetry event that takes place monthly at the South Euclid-Lynhurdst branch of Cuyahoga County Library. If you attend, plan to bring a couple poems to read!

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Wednesday, June 19th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night meets at Compass Coffee in Akron on the third Wednesday of every month. There is usually a featured poet for the first hour, followed by an Open Mic.

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Thursday, June 27th (6pm – 9pm)

The Write Stuff Authors’ Group meets monthly at the North Canton Library to workshop WIPs before adjourning to TD’s Grill at about 7:30pm for general literary merry-making.

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Thursday, July 11th (7pm – 8:30pm)

Broadsides and Ephemera Open Mic takes place on the second Thursday of every month at Loganberry Books, and I am so excited to be July’s featured reader! If you are in the Cleveland area, they will also have copies of my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, available for purchase so I can sign one for you!

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There is also another July reading planned, but I am waiting for the details to be finalized before I post them. In the meantime, thank you so much for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoyed the poems and I’ll get to see you at one of these events. Have a lovely week!

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

Poetry Month Continues *AND* POEM: “What I Hear”

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Happy National Poetry Month! I hope you have been filling each and every day with at least one poem. If you haven’t, I’ve got the cure for that: 30 Days of Poetry from Cuyahoga County Library. Also, if you happen to be in the Canton, Ohio area tonight, I’m participating in Writing Knight’s sWord Fight: my first live poetry competition!

As part of the prep, both myself and my worthy opponent, Greg Milo, produced videos to promote the event. Well, in all fairness, he produced a video while I asked my son to create mine. I wrote a rough script with a little joke thrown in, told him it was supposed to be funny and over the top, and I didn’t want to actually appear on film. My son ran with it. I think he did a great job! Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

There’s tons of poetry events going on all across the country, so if you can’t make this one, you should be able to find another pretty easily. In the meantime, please enjoy this light-hearted poem, based on the April 1st writing prompt via Cuyahoga Library’s Read Write Poetry:

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What I Hear

My blood pumping

as the howls and barks

batter my ears like hands on drumskin,

bongo-ing my brain into oblivion,

 

the trucks vrooming by on the highway

four blocks away as snow slowly melts

into the slush beneath each icy step

as we crunch our way through grass

overdue for the green of Spring,

 

the suck of  the insulation parting

as I open the fridge for each treat

dutifully dealt out for the watering

of a lawn that looks too brown for spring,

too green for winter,

 

the slurping sounds of peanut butter

licked with licentiousness,

as though their earned reward

were forbidden fruit

consumed all too quickly

before it rots

 

Upcoming and Current Events:

Friday, April 12th (7pm – 9pm)

sWord Fight Tournament in Canton, Ohio. I will be a “combatant” in my first live poetry competition: Cat Russell versus Greg Milo! Come by, and wish me luck! This competition will be at a different venue than usual.

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Saturday, April 13th (11am – 2pm)

Local Author Fair at Massillon Public Library, 208 Lincoln Way E, Massillon, Ohio 44646. I am scheduled to read briefly, and I will also have books to sell at my table. I will be donating 10% of any sales I make this day to Project Gutenberg!

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Wednesday, April 17th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night and Open Mic at Compass Coffee in Akron.

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Thursday, April 18th (6pm – 9pm)

Kave Coffee Bar in Barberton hosts an open mic every Thursday. I’m not scheduled as a guest, but I do plan to attend.

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Friday, April 19th (630pm – 730pm)

I will be reading from my newly published book of poetry, Soul Picked Clean, as my talented artist-friend, Jim Meador, paints his version of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. The eventbrite link is now live; all tickets must be reserved ahead of time. This is a paid event, but each ticket includes a free copy of Soul Picked Clean!

(*single’s and couple’s tickets available.)

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Monday, April 22nd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

Cat Russell Author Talk with music by Ed Amann at the Barberton Public Library, 602 West Park Avenue, Barberton, Ohio 44203. Ed Amann and I will alternate between his music and my poems.

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Tuesday, April 23rd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

What better way to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday than to attend a poetry reading?! Massillon Public Library will announce the winners of its April Poetry contest at the Poetry Night and Open Mic! I’m not specifically scheduled, but I do plan to attend. I love libraries!

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Wednesday, April 24th (6pm – 10:30pm)

Spoken Word Showcase (paid event) hosted by The Outpost concert club and Writing Knights. Ed Mabrey will be the feature performer, supported by Kisha Nicole Foster, Black Reign, Keith Allison, Finn Thrace, SuperTeam, and Luna Annunaki.

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Thursday, April 25th (6pm – 9pm)

The Write Stuff Authors’ Group meets monthly at the North Canton Library to workshop WIPs before adjourning to TD’s Grill at about 7:30pm for general literary merry-making.

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Saturday, April 27th (9am – 4:30pm)

Western Reserve Writers’ Conference Any writers in the area should definitely attend this FREE writing conference at Cuyahoga Library’s South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. I will not be reading, but I will attend, and I’d love to see you there!

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Thank you for visiting my blog! I wish for you a month filled with poetry, and I hope to see you at one of these events soon!

 

*video created by Christopher Russell aka Rastabon.

First Friday *AND* POEM: “Who Are You?”

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Since I’m spending most of my time this month attending or participating in poetry events and promoting my new book, it seems only fair I blog more frequently to share them with you. So for the next month (or two) I have switched to posting every Friday instead of every other Friday. You’re thrilled, right?

Tonight is Canton’s First Friday celebration for April! It will be my first time attending a First Friday event, and I am honored to be participating in the “Locally Literate” theme by reading poetry alongside the wonderful Diane Kendig and John Burroughs! It’s going to be a fantastic night, and for every beer sold, Muskellunge Brewery will donate $1 to the Friends of the Library!

Also, in the spirit of sharing poetry during National Poetry Month, I’m posting my short (but sweet) poem, “Who Are You?”

 

Who Are You?

Answering by name alone,

the reflex a sound as familiar

as breathing, must needs be symbol

enough…words alone cannot define you.

 

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Current and Upcoming Events:

Friday, April 5th (7pm – 8pm)

Canton’s First Friday celebration for April follows the overarching theme of “Locally Literate” and is sponsored by Muskellunge Brewery and the Friends of the Library! There will be scheduled poetry readings, with poems following the themes of beer, bars, April, Friday,libraries, and Muskies (the fish). I am honored to be one of the scheduled readers.

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Thursday, April 11th (4pm – 7pm)

I will be appearing alongside some other authors at Dorrie’s Booktique.

2019-04-11DorriesBookSigning

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Friday, April 12th (7pm – 9pm)

sWord Fight Tournament in Canton, Ohio. I will be a “combatant” in my first live poetry competition: Cat Russell versus Greg Milo! Come by, and wish me luck! This competition will be at a different venue than usual.

.
Saturday, April 13th (11am – 2pm)

Local Author Fair at Massillon Public Library, 208 Lincoln Way E, Massillon, Ohio 44646. I am scheduled to read briefly, and I will also have books to sell at my table. I will be donating 10% of any sales I make this day to Project Gutenberg!

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Wednesday, April 17th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night and Open Mic at Compass Coffee in Akron.

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Thursday, April 18th (6pm – 9pm)

Kave Coffee Bar in Barberton hosts an open mic every Thursday. I’m not scheduled as a guest, but I do plan to attend.

.
Friday, April 19th (630pm – 730pm)

I will be reading from my newly published book of poetry, Soul Picked Clean, as my talented artist-friend, Jim Meador, paints his version of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. The eventbrite link is now live; all tickets must be reserved ahead of time. This is a paid event, but each ticket includes a free copy of Soul Picked Clean!
(*single’s and couple’s tickets available.)

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Monday, April 22nd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

Cat Russell Author Talk with music by Ed Amann at the Barberton Public Library, 602 West Park Avenue, Barberton, Ohio 44203. Ed Amann and I will alternate between his music and my poems.

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Tuesday, April 23rd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

What better way to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday than to attend a poetry reading? Massillon Public Library will announce the winners of its April Poetry contest at the Poetry Night and Open Mic! I’m not specifically scheduled, but I do plan to attend. I love libraries!

.

Wednesday, April 24th (6pm – 10:30pm)

Spoken Word Showcase (paid event) hosted by The Outpost concert club and Writing Knights. Ed Mabrey will be the feature performer, supported by Kisha Nicole Foster, Black Reign, Keith Allison, Finn Thrace, SuperTeam, and Luna Annunaki.

.

Thursday, April 25th (6pm – 9pm)

The Write Stuff Authors’ Group meets monthly at the North Canton Library to workshop WIPs before adjourning to TD’s Grill at about 7:30pm for general literary merry-making.

.
Saturday, April 27th (9am – 4:30pm)

Western Reserve Writers’ Conference Any writers in the area should definitely attend this FREE writing conference at Cuyahoga Library’s South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. I will not be reading, but I will attend, and I’d love to see you there!

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Thank you for visiting my blog! I wish for you a month filled with poetry, and I hope to see you at one of these events soon!

Book Launch *AND* POEM “Butterfly Psyche”

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One more day until my poetry collection officially launches! The poetry reading will include two talented Pittsburgh poets, Jen Ashburn and Jason Irwin, as well as my debut reading for my first published book, Soul Picked Clean. Mac’s Backs on Coventry will host the event, where I will also do a prize drawing and provide lemonade and cookies to attendees. If you are in the Cleveland area tomorrow night, March 30th, I would love to see you there!

 
Butterfly Psyche

endeavoring to capture
a passing thought

before it escapes
like a butterfly

   from a net full of holes

 

Current and Upcoming Events:

Saturday, March 30th (7pm)

Book Launch party at Mac’s Backs, 1820 Coventry Rd, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118. I’m absolutely thrilled to be reading along with Pittsburgh-area poets Jason Irwin and Jen Ashburn. If you are in the Cleveland area this night, please come for some poetry!

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Friday, April 5th

Canton’s First Friday celebration for April will follow the overarching theme of “Locally Literate” and is sponsored by Muskelunge Brewery and the Friends of the Library! There will be scheduled poetry readings, with poems following the themes of beer, bars, April, Friday,libraries, and Muskies (the fish). I am honored to be one of the scheduled readers. More details forthcoming.

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Friday, April 12th

sWord Fight Tournament in Canton, Ohio. I will be a “combatant” in my first live poetry competition: Cat Russell versus Greg Milo! Come by, and wish me luck! More details forthcoming.

.

Saturday, April 13th (11am – 2pm)

Local Author Fair at Massillon Public Library, 208 Lincoln Way E, Massillon, Ohio 44646. I am scheduled to read briefly, and I will also have books to sell at my table. I will be donating 10% of any sales I make this day to Project Gutenberg!

.

Friday, April 19th (630pm – 730pm)

I will be reading from my newly published book of poetry, Soul Picked Clean, as my talented artist-friend, Jim Meador, paints his version of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. This event will be a paid event, $12 per ticket, but that includes a copy of the book. The eventbrite link will go live on April 1st, if you’d like to reserve your ticket.

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Monday, April 22nd (6:30pm – 7:30pm)

Cat Russell Author Talk with music by Ed Amann at the Barberton Public Library, 602 West Park Avenue, Barberton, Ohio 44203.

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Saturday, April 27th (9am – 4:30pm)

Western Reserve Writers’ Conference Any writers in the area should definitely attend this FREE writing conference at Cuyahoga Library’s South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. I will not be reading, but I will attend, and I’d love to see you there!

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Thank you for visiting, and I hope to see you in the coming weeks at one of these events!
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*image courtesy of Mac’s Backs on Coventry
**In my last post, Finding Poetry, I mistakenly listed the name of the competition as Azlitude. This one is simply called a sWord Fight.

COVER REVEAL: Soul Picked Clean

Soul Picked Clean FRONT COVER

 

I realize it’s a little harder to get the effect of this white cover on my blog’s already white background, but isn’t it great?!* The photo used for the cover art for Soul Picked Clean was taken by Peggy Honeydew, and the book is available for pre-order by Crisis Chronicles Press as of today!

I’m also thrilled to announce my book launch will take place at Mac’s Backs Books on Coventry on Saturday, March 30th, 2019. I will be reading alongside two other poets, and I will release other details as soon as they become available. I really hope to see you there. In addition to the pleasure I’ll derive from meeting you, if you buy my book from me in person I will donate ten percent of each sale to Project Gutenberg.

In other news, in the past couple weeks I’ve revamped my blog(s) to make it easier for readers to connect with my work. You’ll notice a blogroll with links to my Amazon Author page,  Crisis Chronicles Press (my publisher), and other relevant links in the top right corner. My blog now also has a page displaying the Cleveland Poetics Calendar; simply click on the page link at the top if you’d like to attend some live poetry events in Northern Ohio! My FaceBook account received a facelift as well; I’ve set up a FaceBook Author page. If you have any other polite suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Until next time, have a lovely week!

 

*I still hotly advocate the necessity of interrobangs!