Amber by Jeanne DeLarm-Neri

Before the boots wore out we found
a vast ridge of desert hills to cross,
villagers to meet, other hands to hold.
We talk like we did at fourteen,
tucked under blankets miles separated,
at three a.m. Back then, the phone cord
stretched to the end of its coil.
We stayed quiet as mice in walls
but not quiet at all – stop that scurrying!
Sleep now. The unconscious has surfaced.
Blood pumps DNA –it twists, dances.
We’re ancients, you and I.
The liquid of us received the fall of gnats
and wasps – their wings fell into us,
fossilized. These chunks of amber
once flowed free. We forget how blocks
form, how eons compress into the size
of postal cartons till we feel the rush
that made them, when sap oozed
and plasma shimmered in its puddles,
back when the exciting conduit transported
the minerals of what we’ve become.

Though Jeanne DeLarm-Neri has written poetry and stories for her entire life, she also earns a living in other fields, particularly as a bookkeeper at a private school, and as a vendor of antiques. Her poems and short fiction have been published in two anthologies (In Gilded Frame 2013 and Poems Of The Super-Moon, 2015), and several literary journals, one of which, Slipstream, nominated a poem for the Pushcart Prize. In 2014 and 2015 she was a contributor at the  Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She’s currently working on a book of poems and a novel.

My father tells me when I am married I will learn a new trick: by Tiffany St. John

to make the sun shine brighter

by my relative dimness, to reflect
the light of a lover, to speak

in the tones a cattail speaks in,
to be the plain, but not the wind across it.

Sometimes, he says, you can be completely invisible.

He tells me to be a toothless
lion, to wait

in the paleness of night for a brassy star
to overpower me.

Joy is in the sacrifice,
he says. My father says. My father

who has never been pollen, carried
from one stamen

to another, who does not lie like a needle in a pile
the size of a haystack, or been strings plucked

until the sound waves grew cancerous,
who has never steamed away, singular

into something plural, into pocket-sized ghosts,
who has never been erased from photographs

or been a moon.

Tiffany St. John is an eager pursuer and peruser of Poetry, Psychology, and Philosophy. She lives with her husband and two cats in Columbus, Ohio. She has been published in Black Warrior Review and awaits publication in the upcoming anthology Poetry on Loss through Little Lantern Press.

New Creative Writing Class in Charleston Community

f89a6047e669ec1ac91be6381d9ec13eI am happy to announce that I will be teaching  a creative writing class open to community members at Bliss. Thanks to Tish for providing such a wonderful space for dream incubation

Creative Writing Extravaganza
Tuesdays, August 16 – October 4, 2016, 7:00 to 8:30 PM at Bliss Spiritual Co-op
1163 Pleasant Oaks Drive, off Chuck Dawley Blvd
Mount Pleasant, SC

No registration required! Attend all eight weeks or drop in when you can!

Come learn about or deepen your understanding of poetry, memoir, creative non-fiction, essay and short fiction writing. During this eight-week class, we will explore how the raw material of our life experiences informs our artistic expression and how we can develop those expressions into finished pieces. Each class will focus on a specific sample or style of writing from which students will generate their own work by responding to prompts, engaging in invention activities, and emulating the sample writing itself. Time will also be set aside during each class for students to read aloud from any new work they wish to share (always optional). All levels are welcome.

We will explore:

  • Imagination in prose and poetry
  • The music of the sentence
  • Forms of poetry (and why they matter)
  • Elements of narrative
  • The Lyric Essay
  • Flash fiction
  • Fun with metaphor, simile, and personification
  • Flash creative non-fiction
  • The role of the writer’s journal
  • How drawing helps writing
  • Deepening writing through awareness and meditation
  • Deepening awareness and meditation though writing
  • Establishing a regular writing practice
  • Working through fear of failure
  • Working through fear of success
  • The joy of revision
  • Revising life stories for empowerment
  • Deepening craft through self-awareness

Bring your journal, favorite writing instrument, and inner child!

A Small Event by Stanley Kaplan

The source of the singer’s lament,
stuck in his clogged throat,
holds the story in its hideous space.

Hiding the false meaning he was told,
tittering like the bird, hiding in its
plastic cage,

he tries to sing, but chokes instead,
too much this day his daily bread,
his Vegas stint, his small event.

Stanley Kaplan has published poetry in a number of journals, including Onthebus, Midstream, Chiron, Ragazine, Quiet Courage etc. with more forthcoming. He lives in New York City, where he paints as well as writes, He is the recipient of a Pollock- Krasner Foundation grant and his paintings can be seen at www.pkf.org.

Remembering Monk, 1966 by Denise Low

Thelonius prowls stage
edges while

the drummer
drills a solo

jigs back backwards
to the bench

spreads fingers
stares at them

ripples an arpeggio
see-saw fall

clunks two
notes at once

stops
for the cymbals

walks behind curtains
comes back

outlines a snake spine
of notes stops

walks out maybe
gone maybe.

Denise Low, a Kansas Poet Laureate, is award-winning blogger and author of 25 books, including Jackalope and Mélange Block. Her memoir Turtle’s Beating Heart is forthcoming, Univ. of Nebraska Press. Low is past board president of AWP. She has an MFA, Wichita St. Univ., and Ph.D, Univ. of Kansas. www.deniselow.net    

 

2016 Zingara Poetry Picks Complete

This morning, I selected the last poem for 2016’s Zingara Poetry Picks and am happy to report that this will be the first time in the site’s history that a poem will be posted for every week of the year. It also represents the achievement of a goal I have been chasing since re-visioning this project in 2010.

Zingara Poet is a labor of love, one that requires a lot of time which must be carved out of a of a busy life filled with such activities as grading papers, taking the cat to the vet, having the car repaired, paying taxes, fixing dinner, spending time with the husband, seeing the dentist, moving across country, finishing an MFA, and, oh yes, sleeping.

Still, I always approach the project with anticipation and always look forward to reading the submissions in my inbox. I am frequently impressed by the quality of work and often find myself contemplating a poem for several days — which often means my readers will, too. And because this year’s submissions have been so wonderfully awesome, I’ve lingered even longer than usual in making final selections.

Let me reiterate that previous point: This year’s submissions were truly wonderful. I am humbly grateful.

All this careful reading and busy life-living, however, imposes a longer wait-time for those who submit work. Some poets waited for as many as as eight months before hearing from me this year, and though no one has been unreasonably grumpy about this situation, I am looking into ways of cutting that wait-time down.

Firstly, there will be two submission periods for 2017. Poems submitted during the first submission period, August 15 to December 30, 2016, will be considered for the first half of 2017 (January – June, 2017). See submission guidelines for complete details.

Poems submitted during the second submission period, February 1 to April 30, 2017, will be considered for the second half of 2017 (July-December) 2017).

As always, I reserve the right to extend these submission periods.

Secondly, beginning August 1, (that’s today) I will be bringing an intern on board to help with administrative tasks, thus freeing me up to read and respond to submissions in a more timely manner. I will be introducing her to you in the next week or so.

Thirdly, well, there isn’t a definite third thing yet, though it is developing and involves a lot of brainstorming on my part. In any event, more great features and opportunities will be unveiled in the weeks and months ahead. Just know that I am moving toward making the project more visible and viable. Besides, building something carefully over time is preferable to doing too much too soon. Two big things can be enough for now.

Let me close by once again thanking all of this year’s contributors and readers. Zingara Poet means to be the change I wish to see in the publishing world. If you like the direction in which this project is moving, please submit your poems, subscribe to the site, and share widely with your friends.

Write On!

How does the rooster know when to crow by Rae Marie Taylor

and the fly to start buzzing
right now
How do they and
all the birdsongs know to stop
and wait

while the sun
climbs up the other side of
Kitchen Mesa sending rose glints
into the sky
but not yet, not quite touching
the soft red earth
where I stand
two ravens know to swoon
past with a soft, throaty greeting
quickening trills and twitters
there in the gulch
below

the sun’s glowing
right now
the purest white
down the Dakota Sandstone
caressing
purple mudstone
where fossils still lie.

Rae Marie Taylor performs on Spoken Word stages in Quebec and the American Southwest. Author of the poetry CD Black Grace, Rae’s The Land: Our Gift and Wild Hope also won the 2014 Colorado Independent Publishers’ Merit Award and was Finalist in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards (environment).