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.

POEM: “Waters”

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Waters

The oceans call to us

Like sirens on the waves

And we listen

Watching

Waiting to return

To those primordial waters

That birthed us

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Pulling ourselves up, out

To stand upon solid land

Yellow sand

Damp red clay

Dark rich earth

Clover blossoms caught between our toes

As we search for a way back to those pliant shifting waves

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But children grow up, leave home

You can never go home again

Only make one where you are

There’s no escaping you

Only you

And where you are

Now

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Upcoming Events (July)

 

Wednesday, July 17th @7pm – 9pm

Latitudes Poetry Night at Compass Coffee in Akron.

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Friday, July 19th  @4pm – 7pm

I will have a table for book sales and signing at Peace, Love, and lil Donuts in Canal Fulton. Please, stop by!

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Thursday, July 25th @6pm

The Write Stuff Author Group will meet at the Canton Winking Lizard for our summer celebration!

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Saturday, July 27th

Literary Cleveland’s INKubator Writers’ Conference:

This all day conference is FREE and takes place at the Cleveland Main Library.

 

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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!

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

 

POEM: “Our Lives are Borrowed from Tomorrow” *AND* Announcements

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Our Lives are Borrowed from Tomorrow”

 

Each day of sun,

rain, hair-raising wind,

pink blushes, joy,

fear-chilled veins,

apple blossom

snow-capped hours

is taken from another

day by day by day.

greens consumed

staving off the grave,

buying one more

twenty four

until we’re spent,

our final debt paid.

 

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My poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, went into its second printing this week! If you would like your very own copy, you can buy one at one of my upcoming poetry events where I’ll be happy to sign it for you! Otherwise, you can directly from Crisis Chronicles or Amazon for $12.

I’m also reading The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton, Watchmen and Philosophy by various authors, and The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam.

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UPCOMING EVENTS:

JUNE

Every Saturday night CanalFulton has an open mic downtown (weather/schedule permitting). Musicians and poets welcome!

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.

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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JULY

Saturday, July 6th @7pm Poetry at Manic on Main Art Gallery in Wadsworth. Poets Sonia Potter, Cat Russell, and Cris Shell. Free event. Merch available.

Thursday, July 11th @7pm

Broadsides and Ephemera open mic from 7pm – 830pm at Loganberry Books. I will be a featured reader, and copies of Soul Picked Clean will be available for purchase at the store.

Wednesday, July 17th @7pm – 9pm

Latitudes Poetry Night at Compass Coffee in Akron.

Friday, July 19th  @4pm – 7pm I will have a table for book sales and signing at Peace, Love, and lil Donuts in Canal Fulton. Please, stop by!

Thursday, July 25th @6pm The Write Stuff Author Group meets at North Canton Library. Bring 6-10 copies of a WIP if you’d like feedback, or you can come and just sit in!

Saturday, July 27th

Literary Cleveland’s INKubator Writers’ Conference

This all day conference is FREE and takes place at the Cleveland Main Library.

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Thank you for visiting my blog, and I hope to see you at one of these events. Have a lovely week!

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*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

 

POEM: “Traitor” *AND* May Highlights

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Traitor

 

This morning I awoke to the news

our world leader may be a traitor

a sexually harassed girl was burned alive

a disturbed man brought gasoline

and lighters into Saint Patrick’s cathedral

a rock icon committed suicide

a local poet died

 

and yet this smile is traitor

to this world I inhabit,

because as I

smell the warm toast buttering the air

and hear my son’s videogame downstairs

 

all I can think is

I’m still breathing.

 

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There has been so much happening in the last few weeks, with more ahead, so I’ll just do a quick recap of the highlights. Last Friday (5/10), I competed against poet John Walters in the Writing Knights sWord Fight and won! Then on Saturday (5/11) I read my poem, “Catching Fire,” at the Hessler Street Poetry Competition; I did not win, although my poem was well received and was included in the anthology. Yesterday (5/16), I achieved a lifelong dream and saw a book I wrote on a library shelf, just waiting to be checked out!

This coming Tuesday (5/21), I will be reading my poetry at the Spring Into Action Fundraiser, which supports scholarships for first time candidates running for local office. My friend, musician Ed Amann, will be performing as well! So, as you can see, I’ve been truly fortunate to be part of such a supportive community of writers and readers. Thank you, all!

If you want to keep up in the interim between now and my next post, you can follow me on Twitter, FaceBook, or Instagram (links to the right beneath the blogroll). Until next time, have a lovely two weeks!

POEM: “Blessed Milk Thistle” *AND* Current Events

The lovely month of May brings dandelions (my favorite flowers), free comics, and nerdtastic holidays, but it’s also full of personal milestones as well. My anniversary, my son’s Prom, and his graduation all happen in the next few weeks!

I’m also really excited about upcoming poetry events this weekend! First, this Friday at 7pm, at Hackenberg Realty Group in Canton, I’ll be competing against the esteemed John Walters in my second Writing Knights sWord Fight! I’ve created a promo video for the event (above); it’s suitably serious. The other event I’m really excited about is the Hessler Street Fair Poetry Competition this coming Saturday evening.

For now though, I’d like to share a poem with you.

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Blessed Milk Thistle

Your bright purple blooms
so reminiscent of dandelions
and other maligned weeds
guilty of growing
where they shouldn’t–a blight

to urban gardens, but a delight
to lovers of wild things and bright
colors exploding against green grass

a boon to herbalists, home cooks,
pharmaceutical companies,
and mothers presented with
fiery bouquets picked by small,
chubby fingers and presented
with a smile.

Upon your spiky green leaves,
gardeners wage eternal war.

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Upcoming and Current Events:

Friday, May 10th (7pm – 9pm)

Writing Knights sWord Fight poetry competition is a monthly event where poets compete against each other via verse. This is my second time participating; this time I will compete against poet John Walters. Come by, and wish us luck!

 

Saturday, May 11th (7pm – 9pm)

I’m so honored to be a finalist in the Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest. I will be competing in Cleveland against the other finalists. Come and hear some great poetry!
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Wednesday, May 15th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night is every third Wednesday at Compass Coffee (Akron) from 7pm – 9pm. There is usually a featured poet, followed by a short break and then an Open Mic.

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Thursday, May 23rd (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, May 25th (all day)

Towel Day! May 25th is the fan-tastic holiday for fans of the late great Douglas Adams. Every year my son and I celebrate by taking photos of ourselves to post to the Towel Day Flickr group, watching a Douglas Adams themed program (such as the BBC Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy mini series), and attempting a Terran non alcoholic version of the universe’s most alcoholic drink: the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster! The drinks are almost always terrible, but that’s in keeping with the effects of a drink that’s the equivalent of  “having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.” We often attempt Vogon Poetry as well, but then again, we like to live dangerously.

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Now that National Poetry Month is over, I’m returning to my regular schedule of posting every other Friday. I plan to continue to include a poem and/or short story each time, as well as updated current events. If you are interested in keeping up with my appearances and other poetry events, I suggest you check out the Cleveland Poetics Calendar (page link at top) or my social media accounts (on right).
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In the meantime, I wish for you a month filled with poetry. Thank you for visiting my blog, and I hope to see you at one of these events soon!