Category Archives: #AmWriting

The Beginning of Winter #TankaTuesday

You really have to be paying attention to see the beginning of winter in Phoenix. It is a little cooler, but it is still as warm as a Michigan summer. The sky is still bright blue. Our flowers are brilliant, and the sun shining through the leaves of the bushes and trees is a painting.

Still, according to #TankaTuesday, this is the first week of The Beginning of Winter (November 7 – 21) Ritto 立冬. I thought I would try a new-to-me form, the gogyohka. This form is not truly syllabic, but Colleen Chesebro’s research has shown it to be more about breaths. It is a five-line poem, like a tanka. A gogyohka does not need a kigo word, but I am playing along with the seasonal prompts, so I am including “long night” as a kigo.

Some super cool news this week. Both my full-length collection Rooted and Winged and my chapbook Our Wolves are finalists for the American Book Fest 2023 awards! https://americanbookfest.com/2023bbapressrelease.html

I’m so pleased with how my books have done with the awards, but they could both use more reviews on Amazon (and Goodreads, too, but especially Amazon). It only takes one or two sentences to help the algorithm, so if you have read the books and liked them, please consider taking the time to drop Amazon a line or two.

It’s been over a week that I have been walking every day. I am so happy that I have been able to sustain this routine, and that my health has permitted. It’s a beautiful walk near me, and so far it’s been almost eventless. I am a little dismayed, though, how few birds I am finding this year. Has anyone else noticed this where you live or is it just here?

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A Flash of Joy

This has been such a distressing week with all the bad news. I had a personal joy though, small as it is. My story, “Incident at Shady Acres,” is First Runnerup for the Julia Peterkin Literary Award. This is a huge honor for me. Smiling . . . .

I know I’ve been writing for quite awhile, but really only started flash and micro fiction in earnest this February, so this really tickled me. I’ll keep keeping on!

Congrats to the winner Caridad Moro-Gronlier and the other finalists.

The stories will be published in the winter issue of South 85 Journal. A thank you to them and to the judges.

So no story to share yet, but I wanted to share my news!

When the eclipse occurred the other day, we had our usual clear blue skies in Phoenix, so the phenomenon was very clearly shadowed on the ground!

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“Tuesday Afternoon at Magpie’s Grill”

This post was originally published when I was thrilled to have a new poem up at Nine Muses Poetry. This poem was written about my occasional time spent writing poetry at Magpie’s and named, appropriately, “Tuesday Afternoon at Magpie’s Grill.” The journal is long-since out of business, but before that happened the editor, Annest Gwilym, nominated this poem for Best of the Net.

I decided to open my book Rooted and Winged with the poem because it fit so well my theme of the tension between the metaphorical desire to fly and our earth-bound lives.

Since the poem can no longer be found at the site of the journal, here it is:

Tuesday Afternoon at Magpie’s Grill

Flickering afternoon light slatted and parsed.

At 3PM, the booths empty except for me

and my notebook.

Would I notice if not for my companion,

my need to recognize and remember?

Without a record, will I hear the ice crashing

into the sink, the Dodger talk at the bar

at the end of the room under the Miller Lite

neon confident and beckoning?

My mother used to say about me,

In one ear and out the other, as if the words

flowed through me without stopping,

without truly entering me, leaving little

effect, as if I had no memory

of all the little parental transgressions.

Why am I not under the sycamore I spot

through the blinds in this Tuesday sunshine

listening to the very song with the shady tree?

What have I done with my life? When

I should have written a poem, I didn’t.

When I did, I didn’t get it quite right.

How can a poem do so many things:

wishing for the shade and thirsty for a beer,

feeling an urge to move my pen and noting

the tiny feet and brush of cuticle,

the solitary fly on my bare arm, while

imagining the chattering of the birds that swoop

from sycamore to jacaranda as if the parking lot

and dumpsters and broken bottles don’t exist.

No matter what I notice,

no matter what I record, I will never

capture the ease of wind-filled wings,

tail feathers a translucent backlit fan,

as my hollow bones jettison the detritus

to fly upward against the source.

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Synonym Haiga #TankaTuesday

This week’s #TankaTuesday by Colleen Chesebro is to write a syllabic poem using synonyms of the words “quiet” and “seek.” I decided to try a haiga, although that is a little dangerous.

A haiga, in its original form, is a Japanese painting with a haiku in it. The text and image work together. The reason I think it’s “dangerous” for me to try this form is that my mixed media fun leans more abstract, so some people might not think this is a haiga. However, I am experimenting here because I like the idea of blending text and image.

I used “silence” for quiet (as a noun) and “pursued” for seek.

There’s a lot of truth in this haiga: we never really had a monsoon season this year, and yet it’s now September. How will we get to fall if we don’t have monsoons to shift the balance? We have to actively pursue fall by decorating with pumpkins and eating pumpkin ice cream.

pile of pumpkin
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

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Impressionistic #TankaTuesday

This week’s #TankaTuesday by Colleen Chesebro is to write an ekphrastic syllabic poem inspired by a Berthe Morisot painting shared by Rebecca Budd on her blog Chasing Art. The painting is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eug%C3%A8ne_Manet_on_the_Isle_of_Wight.

This Impressionist painting is in a French museum. I grew up going to the Art Institute in Chicago several times a year. While I’ve seen amazing Impressionist paintings at the Louvre and at the Courtauld in London, the Art Institute also has a gorgeous collection. My favorite painting there is by Caillebotte. Impressionism used to be my favorite style. Now my taste leans more toward Surrealism and Symbolism. Since I have been immersing myself in Surrealism by writing ekphrastic stories inspired by Remedios Varo, I really needed to zap myself into a different mentality first. So I ate some Ruffles and French onion dip. Get it? French chip dip, French painting.

I decided to write a tanka about the man in the painting who is the husband of the painter. I discovered that he was a painter himself, and the brother of the more famous Manet. He apparently was very supportive of his wife’s career as well as that of his brother. I found that to be very inspiring, especially since I am reading a novel about Varo’s life and how the male Surrealists treated the female painters. Not as colleagues.

Topic: Supportive Husband

My view is lovely

from our holiday quarters.

Better is this man

who places his career last

after his brother and moi.

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Summer Daisies #TankaTuesday

It’s been a long time since I wrote posts based on Dawn Raffel’s memoir, The Secret Life of Objects. The idea is to write about an object that evokes memories. 

I’ve blogged a couple of times about the vacation trip I went on with my parents when I wasn’t even four years old yet. We drove from Michigan south and visited Louisiana and Texas, among other states. Some of my most vivid memories from the time period were in New Orleans. I will always associate the city with sidewalk painters seated at their easels, the brushes that were extensions of their hands, and of course their fascinating canvases.

When I visited my mother in April to help her pack up some items before her move into the apartment building at her retirement village, I discovered this painting, long forgotten and gathering dust in Mom’s basement. My parents purchased it on that trip to New Orleans, and it hung for years in their living room. I shipped it home to myself, and now it hangs in my living room, reminding me of that vacation and the colorful, exciting world that existed outside Kalamazoo.

Colleen Chesebro’s prompt for #TankaTuesday is to use at least one kigo word in a syllabic poem for the current season, which in Arizona is summer. Colleen explains a kigo: 👉🏻 What is a KIGO? A kigo is a season word used in haiku and haibun (the haiku portion).

She provides a possible list of kigos. Daisies are not on the list, perhaps because many think of them as spring flowers. However, daisies are also summer flowers! So many types: Chrysanthemum*, Marguerite, English, Gloriosa, Shasta, Cape, Oxeye, and Gerbera. I prefer Gerbera because unlike the other varieties they are completely non-toxic to cats! *this variety is on Colleen’s list

Here is my haiku:

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Season 5 Episode 14:  Luanne Castle on A Poet’s Voice

“Note how the red rose,velvet worn by early frost,clings confidentlyto its own treacherous stem,never accursed by mirrors.” Luanne Castle Welcome to …

Season 5 Episode 14:  Luanne Castle on A Poet’s Voice

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Some Art Fun for Rooted and Winged

Artist Kelsey Montague has painted art wings all over the country (and elsewhere). One of her murals is at the Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale, Arizona. When my daughter and I had lunch at the mall, she took my pic with the wings to celebrate the 2022 publication of my poetry collection Rooted and Winged.

You can purchase a copy of my book here: https://www.amazon.com/Rooted-Winged-Luanne-Castle/dp/1646628632/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3RCAIJJKAUOVE&keywords=rooted+and+winged&qid=1670344522&sprefix=rooted+and+wi%2Caps%2C394&sr=8-1

 


 

Book description:

The poems of Rooted and Winged explore the emotional and physical movement of flight and falling. They are of the earth, the place of fertile origins, and of the dream world we observe and imagine when we look upward. Golems and ghosts that emerge from the ground, as well as the birds and angels that live above us, inhabit the collection. We will always be striving for flight, even as we feel most comfortable closest to the earth.

There are poems about Arizona, California, and the lakes of Michigan. My maternal grandparents are the characters that most inhabit this book.

The poems of Luanne Castle’s Rooted and Winged are embedded in land and weather. “Bluegills snap up larvae in slivers of illusory light,” she writes early in the collection, hinting at the sensibilities of the companionable speaker who will usher us through the book. 

Diane Seuss (2022, Pulitzer for poetry)

Cover art: Leonard Cowgill

 

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Art Journals and Poems and Cats

Perry had his abdominal ultrasound on Friday, but I have not yet heard the results. I am giving him lots of hugs because he was feeling pretty sorry for himself going through the medical tests. Notice how his ears are down in a frown.

By the way, I was a little premature about the gardener and I being over Covid. We are but we aren’t. We just aren’t feeling that good yet, and I have a lot of congestion still.

I signed up for Everything Art’s Wanderlust 2023, which is a daily art program with prompts that lasts the whole year. Last year I participated in Care December which is similar, but only lasts for three or four weeks. This summer I did another program through EA that lasted ninety days. Think of what they offer as “mindful, intuitive mixed-media art journaling.” I haven’t felt very creative lately, so I have been preparing backgrounds and/or prepping pages in a journal, readying it for January. I’ve also been fooling around with Visual Poetry. We’ll see how that comes along. And I’ve been working on daughter’s wedding journal. This might sound like a lot, but compared with what I’ve done in the past it is not.

I’ve been making some headway in my reading stack. That’s good because I wanted to write reviews for some of these books. Writers love reviews!

I’m trying to write a poem a day this month, but not holding out hope of anything brilliant coming out of it.

The other day, when I was driving Perry to his appointment, a creamy white bird flew across right in front of us. It was so unusual to see a white bird in the sky around here. I’m sure it was an egret, flying low and slow, but powerfully and illuminated by the sunlight. I’m going to assume this sighting is a positive symbol.

Let’s make it a splendid week, shall we?

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Announcing the Winner and Finalists of The Rooted and Winged Writing Contest

Judging for Writer Site’s Rooted and Winged Writing Contest is completed. The winner of the contest and of the $250 award is Merril D. Smith for her poem “How I Learned”!

How I Learned


recurring patterns, star shapes
and spirals, leaves and shells are echoes,

the vibrations and reverberations of before-time
the ineffable radiance, the glimmering streams

whose crystalline traces created
seas and a world
where we swim before we can fly—

fractals that connect past and future.

Birds sing the harmonies of stars,
trees and seas bear primeval secrets, 
tremulous whispers flow underground and
across continents, waves of knowledge
break on fallow shores,
snippets coast on spindrift, 
we feel the droplets, taste the salt, hear only susurration--

perhaps we understood once,

the whispers, the songs, the patterns,
like puzzle pieces, fragments 
I have glimpsed, 

in a dream,
a tightrope journey over a dark, uncharted crevasse
my arms outstretched for balance,

and then 
free-
      falling 

upside-down and in-between
the visible and the unknown--

but my ancestors spread wings
that covered centuries
to catch me, guide me,

You can, they said
as they showed me that I have my own wings—
unfold them, fly. This, too, is part of the pattern.


The finalists, in no particular order, are:
*Jess L. Parker
*Serena Agusto-Cox
*Stephanie L. Harper 
The finalists will be receiving a Rooted and Winged tote bag. Congratulations to all three because the scores were very close.

A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE CONTEST JUDGES!

K.E. Ogden is a two-time judge for the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Prize and a two-time winner of the Academy of American Poets Henri Coulette Memorial Prize from Cal State Los Angeles. Her debut collection of poems, What the Body Already Knows, is winner of the Finishing Line Press New Women’s Voices poetry prize and is in presale now [[https://tinyurl.com/keogdenFLP]]to be released September 2022. Her poems, essays, and fiction have been published in Kenyon Review Online, Brevity, anderbo, Claudius Speaks, Louisiana Literature and elsewhere, and her plays have been staged at several university theaters. A typewriter lover and avid book artist, her digital quilt piece “My President: A Politics of Hope” was published by writer Gretchen Henderson as part of the “Unstitched States” project [[https://unstitchedstates.com/]] . ​Ogden lives in Los Angeles where she teaches at Pasadena City College and in the Young Writers at Kenyon program each summer in Gambier, Ohio. Visit her on the web at kirstenogden.com [[https://www.kirstenogden.com]]​

K. E. Ogden

Suanne Schafer was born in West Texas at the height of the Cold War. Her world travels and pioneer ancestors fuel her writing. A genetic distrust of happily-ever-afters gives rise to strong female protagonists who battle tough environments and intersect with men who might—or might not—love them. A DIFFERENT KIND OF FIRE depicts an early 20th century artist in West Texas while HUNTING THE DEVIL explores the plight of an American physician during the Rwandan genocide. BIRDIE looks at women’s rights in the 19th century through the eyes of a teenage girl committed to an insane asylum. Suanne has served as an editor for a mainstream/romance publishing house and fiction editor for a literary magazine as well as freelance editing. Follow her on https://twitter.com/SuanneSchaferhttps://www.instagram.com/suanneschafer/ and https://sanneschaferauthor.com.

Suanne Schafer

Elizabeth Gauffreau writes fiction and poetry with a strong connection to family and place. She holds a BA in English/Writing from Old Dominion University and an MA in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. Recent fiction publications include Woven Tale Press, Dash, Pinyon, Aji, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, and Evening Street Review. Her debut novel, Telling Sonny, was published in 2018. Her debut poetry collection, “Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance,” was published by Paul Stream Press in September 2021. Learn more about her work at https://lizgauffreau.com.

Elizabeth Gauffeau
ROOTED AND WINGED

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