Monthly Archives: January 2023

Cover Reveal of OUR WOLVES!

Alien Buddha Press, the publisher for my new chapbook, Our Wolves, has just revealed the cover! Let me know what you think!

The gorgeous cover art is by German-Mexican artist Kiki Suarez. I’ll be telling you more about Kiki and her work later.

The book’s release date(s) is/are March 5/6. It needs two days–one for Red and one for the wolf haha.

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A New Interview and a Worthy Journal (and a flash)

Thimble Magazine was founded by the multi-talented Nadia Arioli. Nadia, a poet and artist, is also editor-in-chief of the journal.

Check out Thimble’s interview of me in their newsletter of Patreon supporters. It was really fun to respond to some new questions!

https://mailchi.mp/6f9b64c0d540/five-questions-with-luanne-castle

If you would like to help support (for as little as $1/month) a deserving poetry journal, I can’t think of one I enjoy more than Thimble. Nadia is a delightful person with excellent taste in poetry. I think the statement on the journal’s website is very telling: “THE THIMBLE LITERARY MAGAZINE IS BASED ON THE BELIEF THAT POETRY IS LIKE ARMOR. LIKE A THIMBLE, IT MAY BE SMALL AND SEEM INSIGNIFICANT, BUT IT WILL PROTECT US WHEN WE ARE MOST VULNERABLE.” https://www.patreon.com/thimblelitmag

Thimble seems a magazine by the people for the people. I love it.

Speaking of literature journals, I’m part of the community surrounding the magazine Verse-Virtual. VV held a book party the other day for VV poets who have new books out. I read from Rooted and Winged. Nine others read from their books as well, and thanks to that reading, I bought four new poetry books! I start to read at 2:20: https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR2xh0R1rNEpauOqIscRoZsbOcBbODRNsTEveIjcej0ApPq-jP8z5Z58qLQ&v=nLYpTk-HAQQ&feature=youtu.be

Guess what I just discovered? I wanted to start to submit to Visual Verse to practice writing ekphrastically. So for my first try I wrote a flash piece about the art Visual Verse used as a prompt. I didn’t know they published mine, but I just found it: https://visualverse.org/submissions/the-mess-of-mindfulness/

Without saying anything else (because what can be said is endless), I just want to place this link for Tyre Nichols’ photography.

https://thiscaliforniakid2.wixsite.com/tnicholsphotography/portraits.

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Elizabeth Gauffreau Reads a Poem from Rooted and Winged

I did post about the beautiful review of Rooted and Winged by Elizabeth Gauffreau in the new issue of Anti-Heroin Chic. Now Liz has recorded a poem from the book–and it’s such a treat! She published it on her post with her link of the review.

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Review of Ken Gierke’s Glass Awash

The new poetry collection of poet Ken Gierke, who blogs at https://rivrvlogr.com/, is called Glass Awash. I wrote a review of it and hope it inspires you to buy a copy!

Ken Gierke’s debut poetry collection, Glass Awash (Spartan Press 2022), is about making art, connections between inhabitants of the planet, and the voices that attach and sustain us. These inhabitants can be human, animal, plant, or mineral. In the poem that titles the book, “Glass Awash,” a piece of glass is tumbled in the waves at the shore where it dries under the sun. Then, “From swaying reeds, / a red-wing remarks on / its beauty, soon consumed / / by a frost, a reminder / of each kiss found / in grains of sand.” In this case the connections seem to be between animal (bird), plant (reeds), and mineral (glass and sand). However, the human is implicit as it is the human who records the event.

These free verse poems are spare with a minimum of words so that the images are not cluttered with less important language. The poems protest against “[o]ur growing world of disconnect,” but notice the “invisible connections” within the natural world (“The Intent of Moonlight and Ethereal Synapses”). Although poems are titled “Words without Voice” and “Thoughts without Voice,” the struggle seems to be to bring voices into being. In “Other Voices,” the persona tries to find a stone at the water’s edge “that speaks to you,” and then the stone with other stones will also speak. These stones, much like the tumbled glass, speak to us only if we listen carefully.

Some of the poems within this collection are elegies for the poet’s mother during her final illness and after she is gone. These are beautiful and while still sparely constructed vibrate with love and loss. These are a few of my favorite lines: “Hidden / in the pockets of my mother’s dreams, / surrounded / by the accumulated lint / of a faded lifetime, are dusty memories / sharper / than this morning’s breakfast.” Gierke uses the uneven line lengths to give emphasis to certain words.

Because the poems are short and not great in number, you can read this book very quickly. But you will want to read it again and again to really explore meaning in this lovely collection.

You can purchase the book on Amazon. Here for the U.S.: https://www.amazon.com/Glass-Awash-Ken-Gierke/dp/1958182222/

Here for the UK: Glass Awash: Amazon.co.uk: Gierke, Ken: 9781958182222/

I presume it’s also available in Canada and other countries.

Ken Gierke is retired and has lived in Missouri since 2012, when he moved from Western New York, where the Niagara River fostered a love for nature. He writes primarily in free verse and haiku, often inspired by hiking and kayaking, while his fondness for love poetry may be explained by the fact that he moved to Missouri to be with the woman he eventually married. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming both in print and online in such places as Ekphrastic Review, Amethyst Review, Silver Birch Press, Trailer Park Quarterly and The Gasconade Review, and it has appeared in several print anthologies, including three from Vita Brevis Press and easing the edges, edited by d. ellis phelps. His first collection of poetry, Glass Awash, has been published by Spartan Press. His website: https://rivrvlogr.com/

Ken can be reached on Facebook. Ken Gierke | Facebook

He has video poetry at https://www.youtube.com/@kengierke

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Merril D. Smith Reviews Rooted and Winged

I love this review of Rooted and Winged by Merril D. Smith. Thank you so much, Merril.

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Thank You for Taking the Time

I want to thank readers of Rooted and Winged who have taken the time to post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or their own blogs. The ones posted on blogs I have shared.

Here are a few Amazon reviews I haven’t shared before:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RE1ECMHF9ZRQK/ref=cm_cr_othr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1646628632

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1OGJNL5HSUTQY/ref=cm_cr_othr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1646628632

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1GXOJIXY0INCN/ref=cm_cr_othr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1646628632

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3B8O9VYTN96NB?ref=pf_vv_at_pdctrvw_srp

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2DOY35QBA5YEE/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1646628632

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3KW589FUB9HFR/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1646628632

I know how precious your time is, and it’s very meaningful to me that you reviewed Rooted and Winged!

These are some tags I made for the first “water” prompt at The Ugly Art Club. Yup, still doing art journalling. I am starting to find little things about my “style.” It’s been slow coming, but–for instance–the half woman (skirt half) in the top library card. I like using women’s skirts. Go figure.

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Two Poems Up at The Wise Owl

The January issue of The Wise Owl is devoted to the poetic form, the haibun. I really like this form because it’s a prose poem that is completed by an ending haiku. I like how the prose poem goes into detail and then the haiku has the ability to comment on or reinforce the prose poem.

Two of my poems are published in this issue–a big thank you to Editor Rachna Singh. The first one, “When You Knew,” is a poem about my father being a twin. The second one, “Chicken Vision,” began because I became fascinated with the fact that chickens have mono-vision, which means that the left eye is far-sighted, and right is near-sighted. Isn’t that the coolest piece of info?! Here is the link (and ignore the bio which is somewhat incorrect–especially the word especially).

https://www.thewiseowl.art/luanne-castle

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Suanne Schafer Reviews Rooted and Winged

Thank you to novelist Suanne Schafer’s review of Rooted and Winged.

https://suanneschaferauthor.com/book-review-rooted-and-winged/?fbclid=IwAR0izd8PeAZVPM_Qu5uggL9Z1noinxYST0VptmAH9m3Ynr-9jiTk6gBOa_M

You can find Suanne’s novels here: https://suanneschaferauthor.com/bibliography/

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2023 Coming In Like a Monster

First an apology: this is not an uplifting inspirational Brand New Year post.

While I was desperately hoping that the new year would bring a lessening of troubles into my life, a couple of days ago I got a call from the veterinarian that told me 2023 is going to be another difficult year.

In my last update about my dear darling Perry’s health, I explained that the results of his abdominal ultrasound showed that he had either IBD (irritable bowel disease) or lymphoma of the GI system. We were going to decide on treatment after he underwent an echocardiogram to make sure his heart was ok. The reason for this was that the vet had noticed that Perry had developed a heart murmur.

Now, going back to 2017-2019, the first three years Perry came into our lives, the gardener and I were concerned about heavy breathing episodes that Perry would have. We worried about his heart or possibly a lung condition. We didn’t get very far with the specialists at the time. In fact, the esteemed cardiologist talked us out of an echo at that time.

For anybody who doesn’t know, by the way, Perry is the kitty who showed up in our yard in spring 2017 seeming completely feral. I worked so closely with him (reading, singing, reciting poetry, holding his food bowl while he ate) that he got over his extreme fear of humans and showed himself to be the most amazing cat EVER (and that is saying something since I was “mom” of the amazing cat Pear Blossom and have been mom to many cats). One of the many Perry highlights: Perry lies on his back nestled in my arm like a napping toddler.

Back to the echo we didn’t have at that time. Sure wish we had done it. Turns out now his heart is very bad. Three of the four heart chambers are enlarged, and he might have a hole in his atrial septum. He is so ill from his heart that the vet says it’s a moot point whether he has IBD or lymphoma. He also tests positive for the feline coronavirus (which causes FIP) so it’s possible it’s behind his illnesses. He will begin two new medications as soon as we receive them from the compounding pharmacy.

I can’t tell you how HEARTsick I am over this turn of events. Perry is seven years old. So far his worst visible symptom is severe diarrhea. Please send healing vibes and, if you pray, pray for my dear catboy.

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Filed under #poetswithcats, Cats and Other Animals, Memoir, Nonfiction

New Poems Up at Book of Matches

I’m so happy that Book of Matches has published two of the poems from my upcoming chapbook Our Wolves. A big thank you to editors Kelli and Nicholas! These are both persona poems–one from the perspective of the wolf in the Little Red stories, the other from that of the so-called rescuer character–in this case, a woodsman.

Here is the link to “You All Been Waiting for a Wolf Confession” on page 6 and “I’m a Woodcutter, Dammit” on page 39. Here is the link so you can check out the whole issue which is chockful of good writing:

https://online.fliphtml5.com/qoqiq/drun/

Here are screenshots of my poems for your convenience.

 

While I was eager to kick 2022 to the curb (as I know a lot of you were), I had news at the end of 2022 that will make 2023 a pretty grim year again. It’s about my boy Perry, and here is a link to that story.

2 poems up at Book of Matches

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