Sunday, November 5, 2017

洞月亮 Cave Moon Press November 2017

FEATURED POET: Carol Alexander’s poetry appears in anthologies including Broken Circles (Cave Moon Press), Through a Distant Lens (Write Wing Publishing) and Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Vol. 1.  She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her work can be found in numerous print and online journals such as Bluestem, Caesura, Chiron Review, The Common, The New Verse News, Southern Humanities Review, and Soundings East. She is the author of the chapbook BRIDAL VEIL FALLS (Flutter Press). HABITAT LOST is Alexander’s first full-length collection of poems.

                                       



DEAN STREET

By the bus stop, dayshift workers gray-skinned in the April chill, stand lean marbles, granites, samples carved with exemplary names.

She’ll have eaten dinner, girded with a bib, in the last fastidious shafts of 
light. Our talk was of the flowering crabapple tree,
its quivering, avenging burst of bloom.

Rain blurs into bluestone snow the heft of ancient dolerite. And the fire-tipped shadows of dusk curtaining the windows of the hall have frightened her.

The bus, its exhalations choked with grime, is bearing down. Even now, I can’t describe for her the weight of this unwieldy, this inhuman thing.


BALANCE

You write, this is not fun. Two rockets arc above Tel Aviv
and in the streets, sirens and rubble. I forget you for weeks at a time
until you write about a trip to Mount Hebron, bellflowers, mignonette,
the grandchild’s bit of tooth, a logy rock agama in the sun.

I hope you’re getting a balanced view. There are bodies in red rags,
pensive cups of coffee after dawn, the drawing heat of the day.
Ordinary death proceeds with its modest civilities, prayers in shul.
In Khan Younis, a family shatters like a crystal cup; no prayer
will bind flesh to soul, no cool wind tame the burning of the coast.

Tell how it is for you, a garden with tall weeds, a son in the hills.
On your land, figs are slowly ripening despite the spider mites,
despite the lack of rain, the sirens louder than a mullah’s call.
Heat underlies the very ground where traders shook out silk.

You hope the dusty rocks and rags will be reported truthfully.

You hope, worried by tomato rot, to grow old

WRITE YOUR POEM

Modifiers. Do your modifiers create focus for the reader or focus for an English lit major?
Adjectives.  Adverbs.  Create a picture for the reader.  When we used to use SLR 35 mm cameras we had control of the focus?  Focus your poem for the reader.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

洞月亮 Cave Moon Press October 2017

FEATURED POET: BETTY SCOTT In the 1980s, she wrote a bimonthly column for the Wenatchee World titled “Musings by Betty Scott.” In 1992 she earned an MA in English with a writing emphasis from Western Washington University. In the past ten years, she has returned to her love for writing, the interplay of sounds and sense, experimenting with poetic and essay structures. Currently, she is exploring “performance poetry” collaborating with musician JP Falcon Grady who has put several of her Mother Earth poems to music. She is delighted to share a few of these in a setting of poetry and music.


BETTY GOES TO YOGA

He stood sentry on an island
between asphalt traffic lanes.

He had a chiseled nose and chin
his hair shoulder length.

In each hand, barbell bags
of groceries hung.  

To be quite clear as I drove by
            I imagined us and ecstasized.

But now on my yoga mat
I stretch

breathe out and realize
breathe in

I am old enough
breathe out

to be his mother.
Some say:

gasp in, his
grandmother



A Northwest Winter’s Dream

I do not know how I arrived
on this mountain or where we are destined
but my car is filled with passengers.
On a red-soiled road, we climb
wheels spinning crushing rock. When we
reach the summit, the cliff edge beckons.
My car could sprout wings but I swerve
from ledge and air and wake up scared. 

How mute, this day-break, how silent
this call to change my way on my distant
brother’s birthday. While trees pine
in greens and browns, the sky in empty gray
moon light shimmers through my bedroom’s shade

and I breathe in the awe of dawn. 


WRITE YOUR POEM!

"I do not know how I arrived"

Do you notice the moment?  Sometimes when we are crafting poems we become woodworkers gently revising and letting shavings fall to the floor over months and even years.

There is another element of poetry that honors the fragile moment of our lives.  We write it down, just to have a flash of memory years later.  In our ocean of images with cell phones we forget how fast things go by.  We lose the precious sights and sounds that have been distilled into poems for years.

Distill your words.  Cherish your life.  Cherish your poems.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

洞月亮 Cave Moon Press September 2017

FEATURED POET: Mike Hiler is a ceramic artist and writer who lives in Washington State. He is a former public school teacher, fire lookout, Wilderness Ranger, and managed National Forest Wilderness in the Washington Cascades for a number of years.  His featured book, Listos is the second book he has published with Cave Moon Press and we are excited.  Check out Buckskin Larch and Bedrock (2010) at cavemoonpress.com


Elegy for Spruce Creek 

Spruce Creek, where the tangle of ridge
           and rock are context for
The Raven, high elevation sage,
           and a tuft of deer fluff.

You won’t smell smoke
           from the sheepherder’s camp fire
or be welcomed by his dogs
           across a blanket of Pine grass.

It’s just as well.

The bears here are timid,
          the larch snags reach
to the blue sky backdrop
          from this bastion ridge


Holding up larger mountains.


Choice:

You have been given a choice
that clearly defines
opposites
and sustains the moment.

You will choose
and your choice will be correct,
the only alternative
among opposites,

Which will someday be wrong
when time
changes the question.

That was the choice
           you were given
           when you first sought
           to understand.

That was the choice

          you overlooked.


WRITE YOUR POEM!
"Spruce Creek, where the tangle of ridge
           and rock are context for
The Raven, high elevation sage,
           and a tuft of deer fluff."

Location, location, location the realtors tell us is the grand value of a piece of property.
The odd thing about poetry is that location can turn into metaphor or just be a statement of witness.  Witness to the inner life, or witness to an event, or exterior marker.  Rural poets thrive off of Whitman's dictums about grass.  Urban poets find a different landscape.  Still other poets reject landscape and use poetic structures and forms.

What are you using in your current poem?  Location?  Metaphor for an inner life? Witness of another time and place?  Write your poem on a fallen leaf and watch it flow down the river.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

洞月亮 Cave Moon Press June 2017

FEATURED POET: Carol Alexander’s poetry appears in anthologies including Broken Circles (Cave Moon Press), Through a Distant Lens (Write Wing Publishing) and Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Vol. 1.  She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her work can be found in numerous print and online journals such as Bluestem, Caesura, Chiron Review, The Common, The New Verse News, Southern Humanities Review, and Soundings East. She is the author of the chapbook BRIDAL VEIL FALLS (Flutter Press). HABITAT LOST is Alexander’s first full-length collection of poems.




DEAN STREET

By the bus stop, dayshift workers gray-skinned in the April chill, stand lean marbles, granites, samples carved with exemplary names.

She’ll have eaten dinner, girded with a bib, in the last fastidious shafts of 
light. Our talk was of the flowering crabapple tree,
its quivering, avenging burst of bloom.

Rain blurs into bluestone snow the heft of ancient dolerite. And the fire-tipped shadows of dusk curtaining the windows of the hall have frightened her.


The bus, its exhalations choked with grime, is bearing down. Even now, I can’t describe for her the weight of this unwieldy, this inhuman thing.


BALANCE

You write, this is not fun. Two rockets arc above Tel Aviv
and in the streets, sirens and rubble. I forget you for weeks at a time
until you write about a trip to Mount Hebron, bellflowers, mignonette,
the grandchild’s bit of tooth, a logy rock agama in the sun.

I hope you’re getting a balanced view. There are bodies in red rags,
pensive cups of coffee after dawn, the drawing heat of the day.
Ordinary death proceeds with its modest civilities, prayers in shul.
In Khan Younis, a family shatters like a crystal cup; no prayer
will bind flesh to soul, no cool wind tame the burning of the coast.

Tell how it is for you, a garden with tall weeds, a son in the hills.
On your land, figs are slowly ripening despite the spider mites,
despite the lack of rain, the sirens louder than a mullah’s call.
Heat underlies the very ground where traders shook out silk.

You hope the dusty rocks and rags will be reported truthfully.

You hope, worried by tomato rot, to grow old

WRITE YOUR POEM
Does your poem setting act as a metaphor?  Does your poem use the setting to act as a witness?  Consider what literary device you are using for the place you are writing about in your poem.  Write your poem in the sandbox of a playground and watch the children erase it.  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

洞月亮 Cave Moon Press April 2017

FEATURED POET: Joan Swift was born Joan Angevine and grew up in Rochester, New York, but has lived most of her life in the Seattle area of Washington State. She holds a B.A. from Duke and an M.A. in English-Creative Writing from the University of Washington. The last two of her four full-length books of poetry, The Dark Path of Our Names and The Tiger Iris, both won the Washington State Governors’ Award. Among her prizes and other awards are three National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Grant, awards from The Washington State Arts Commission, The Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and a Pushcart Prize.

You can find her works also featured this month in the Seattle Review of Books

Sand, Rose Petals, Bones

I stand with my feet in the sand
beside the river, knowing the drought
has brought the two shores closer
,
looking between my toes for withered
rose petals, for the white talcum
of your ashes so heavy I saw them drift and sink

like a scarf pulled down in a strong wind.
It was your wish,
this very river, this kind of strewing.

The fracture line between air and water
is only a furrow, always changing,
the plow of separation pulled by a single animal.

Leaving Rio in the Rain

We stand on our separate decks as the lights
of Rio blossom in a misty rain.
I’m sipping vodka near the aqua of the pool.
This is how our lives will be from now on.
You are somewhere totally beyond my saving
while a thousand glowing flights of illumination
climb every hill around the harbor.
I want to go with you. They reflect in the water
where the ship leaves a scallop of wake as it leaves.
And again, lights in the air where each
shimmering drop is a kind of longing
to make descent beautiful, to wrap

whatever kills in tenderness.

WRITE YOUR POEM

With Joan dying not even days ago, I am a loss for words as to what coaching tip to leave.
Her words always offered a haunting, austere elegance in life and now they are imbued with a special glow.  They are offered in reverence.  More than ever, it is time to write your poem.

Poems are first about witness, and second about excellence, or form or line.  You are the only witness to your life.  Write the poems.  Thanks Joan.


Monday, March 6, 2017

洞月亮 Cave Moon Press March 2017

FEATURED POET: CRYSTA CASEY  (1952-2008) was born in Pasadena, California. She graduated from The State University of New York, Stony Brook, in 1976, where she was one of the founding members of The Women Writers Workshop. After college, she became the first woman hired by the City of Irvine, California, in Parks and Maintenance. In 1978, she enlisted in the all-new voluntary military, serving in the U.S. Marine Corps as a journalist, then as a self-declared “Resident Poet” until her honorable discharge under medical conditions in 1980. She moved to Seattle, Washington in the early 1980s, where she studied with the poet Nelson Bentley and collaborated with Esther Altshul Helfgott on the It’s About Time Writers Reading Series. Her first collection of poetry, Heart Clinic, was published in 1993 (Bellowing Ark Press). In 2004 she received a Hugo House Award from Richard Hugo House, and, in 2006, she was a finalist for Seattle Poet Populist. In 2010, Floating Bridge Press brought out a chapbook of her work, Green Cammie. Rules for Walking Out was the last manuscript Crysta completed and approved before her death at the Seattle VA in the spring of 2008. Crysta’s papers are housed in the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections. 

Check out Rules for Walking Out



The V.A.
Saw Tom Lent in the Recreation Room.
He said, “When you paint me again
it’ll be easier. They just took off
my other leg.”

JIM
Jim is a Vietnam Vet. He watches television
and sleeps all day. He eats sporadically.
He doesn’t get out much, but one day decided to go
downtown to the V.A. Regional Office
and make sure he was going to get an American flag
on his coffin. The clerk took down his name
and service #. He came back and said,
“I’m sorry sir, but according to our records
you’re already dead.”

WRITE YOUR POEM!
Distillation may make you think of whiskey or vodka.  In any case it speaks of stripping away everything but the essence.  Distillation, however, does more than strip away.  It changes the corn or potato.  Heat is involved.  One the other side, there has been a transformation.

Strong poems go that way.  You have applied heat.  Made a decision.  Gone through a process.  Yes, you have the essence when you are done, but more than that, you have transformed the reader with words on a page.  Crysta transferred this heat from life to the page.  Write your poem. Dance your dance. 


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

洞月亮 Cave Moon Press, February 2017

FEATURED WRITER: CHRISTINE FRY is an award-winning screenwriter/producer, and has produced, written, and directed numerous film and TV productions domestically as well as internationally. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts and English.  She is an expert at calling for take-out and has often been voted "Mother of the Year" by two of her three children.  Christine is also a judge for the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Producers Guild of America. She currently lives in Southern California

Connect to Christine at  QOA Entertainment

CHAPTER ONE:
Sometimes Prince Charming is a prince. Sometimes he’s actually a frog. And once in a while, good ‘ole Prince Charming turns out to be a real bastard.
Cameron was a real bastard.
We worked together for about a year at Boltz Hardware and Garden in Martinsburg, West Virginia. I was in lumber. He was in lighting and fixtures. We often exchanged a flirtatious glance or a playful smirk across the aisles, and for a good portion of that time nothing progressed between us because he was dating Karen, one of our coworkers. As luck would have it, she transferred to a management position at a Home Fix-it near Reno, Nevada. I guess long-distance relationships weren’t Cameron’s thing because, within five minutes of her departure, he found me.  He hopped onto the forklift I was operating, and said, “We should start seeing each other.”
Now, if I were thinking clearly, I would’ve run him over with the forklift, and/or have said, “No thank you.” Instead, I stared into his beautiful brown eyes and got lost for a moment and said, “I agree.”
It’s not that I was lonely or desperate, but I had been day-dreaming about Cameron for a while now.  I often fantasized about running my fingers through his wavy chestnut hair or how his warm, firm chest would feel against me or how he would look wearing a suit of armor, galloping his horse across a wide field of green grass in order to save me from a pack of wild animals or a band of ruffians.
I should probably clarify…
Before I took the job at Boltz Hardware, I was a best-selling author. Not bragging- just stating a fact. I’d like to think my books were bestsellers because of the great writing and wonderful character arcs but I’m pretty sure it was because of the sex. People like to read about sex and I’m super gifted at writing those kinds of scenes

WRITE YOUR STORY!
What strikes you as funny?  Do you tell stories at parties?  For your warming up exercise in writing tomorrow write down an event during your day.  Maybe it is picking up your coffee.  Maybe it is a medical procedure.  Write down the facts.  Now revise it as if you need a punchline.  What do you have change?  Write, live, laugh.