Category Archives: Book Award

Find Poems Here!

Two copies of the new issue of CopperNickel arrived in my mailbox. This beautiful journal is housed at the University of Colorado, Denver.

I have a prose poem in it about a woman getting a divorce in 1895. It is based on, among other information, two newspaper articles. The woman was my great-great-grandfather’s sister.

 

A feature of this journal that is particularly special is that they ask all contributors to recommend other books of poetry. I recommended Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello’s book Hour of the Ox. Her collection won the prestigious Donald Hall Prize for Poetry in 2015–a well-deserved honor. Her book seems to me to be an excavation into what was, what would have been, what could be and could have been, and what isn’t. Marci, who in the past has published a poem called “Origin / Adoption,”  is a Korean-American poet who might be inventing a family in her first book. I find that all interesting because of my sympathies for adoptees and for anybody searching for their origins.

Here is a little taste of her lines:

Counting the breaths in the dark, my fingers crept lightly

across the floor and against my father’s calloused palm,

willing his lifeline to grow long as a stream

of tea poured green and steaming and smelling of herbs.

(from “The Last Supper”)

I’ve also recently read other books of poetry I want to recommend.

Nandini Dhar’s Lullabies Are Barbed Wire Nations is packed with lively and vivid prose poems. I found their form to be a great choice because of the narrative energy of the book. Lots of stories in here!

The Well Speaks of its Own Poison, by Maggie Smith, follows in the path of poets like Anne Sexton who explore the dark shadows of the fairy tale world to create magical poems.

I fell in love with Wendy Barker’s One Blackbird at a Time because every poem is about teaching literature. They re-created a world for me that I once knew so well. Anybody who has ever taught English or anybody who majored in English will probably feel the same way. You have to have a little familiarity with some of the more well-known texts read in the classroom: Whitman, Thoreau, Dickinson, Williams, Stevens, and Elizabeth Bishop, are a few of those mentioned. These are the opening lines of a poem that is a tribute to Bishop and her poem “One Art” (the formatting is completely off here; I can’t get WordPress to do it properly!!!):

It’s a perfect poem, I say, and though no one

In the class is over twenty-five, everybody

nods. They ‘ve all lost: the Madame

Alexander doll fallen into the toilet, silky

hair never the same, the friend who

moved away to Dallas, a brother once again

in juvie. So many schools—thirteen in

a dozen years—I lost each friend I made

till grad school.

 Notice the doll, too. That leads me back to–wait for it–Doll God ;).

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Filed under Book Award, Book Review, Books, Doll God, Literary Journals, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Poetry reading, Reading, Writing

Tiaras, Clappers, and Party Necklaces for the Kitties

I did say I would probably write today about the ups and downs of this past year, but it’s still beyond me. When something is hard to write about in a poem I try a list poem. Here is a list even if it’s not a poem.

January–Doll God, my first book of poetry, was published by Aldrich Press

castle promotional cover

February–my father had surgery for a catastrophic heart event last December. He had a 50% chance of getting through the surgery, but once through that phase, the expectation was that he would continue to recover. By February it was clear Dad was not getting better, but it didn’t seem as if the medical establishment was listening. To top it all off, my daughter moved to the other side of the country.

March–visited my father and went with him to the doctor for his diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma, then helped him decide on whether or not to have treatment (no treatment)

April–Dad and I continued to talk several times every day. Both my children flew to visit Grandpa.

May–my father passed away

June–my oldest cat Mac passed away

July–adopted Nakana (soon began to call her Kana)

August–first real vacation in a long time was both stressful and good

September–what a blur–oh yeah, no wonder–I did the Tupelo Press 30/30 poetry project all month!

October–visited Mom for the first time since Dad passed away & visited daughter who lives the farthest from me she ever has

November–Doll God was a winner in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards

December–something new on the horizon, but not yet surfaced, in my son’s life (stay tuned)

I hope this year is stable and joyful and healthy for all!!! The kitties say HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Click on (or hover over) the image for the caption.

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Filed under #AmWriting, Book Award, Book promotion, Books, Cats and Other Animals, Doll God, Nonfiction, Poetry book, Publishing, Writing

Poetry Potpourri

the museum of americana is a literary magazine with a mission close to my heart:

the museum of americana is an online literary review dedicated to fiction, poetry, nonfiction, photography, and artwork that revives or repurposes the old, the dying, the forgotten, or the almost entirely unknown aspects of Americana. It is published purely out of fascination with the big, weird, wildly contradictory collage that is our nation’s cultural history.

They’ve published two of the poems I intend for my chapbook of poems based on my family history. You can read them here.

Two poems by Luanne Castle

I love how my interest in family history and genealogy and research connects with my partnership with poetry in these poems.

On another note, if you bought a copy of Doll Godsend me your address and I will mail you a sticker to complete your book cover.

If you haven’t bought a copy, please consider it if your finances allow–either for yourself or if you think you’ll hate it (gotta allow for that) as a gift for someone you think will enjoy it. Amazon says it will arrive before Christmas.

Have I ever told you what book existed before Doll God? It’s a scrapbook my daughter made for me two years ago. In it, she hand wrote many of my poems and she included posts from the adoption blog, Don’t We Look Alike, that we worked on together.

In the slideshow you can see a sample of the scrapbook. Note the subtle cat-themed touches. And if you see a pic of a high school couple just remember that it’s easy to find stock pix online (big winky face).

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Filed under Book Award, Book contest, Book promotion, Books, Doll God, Family history, Literary Journals, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Research and prep for writing, Vintage American culture, Writing

What Ever Happened to MaryGold?

Remember MaryGold? That doll from the cover of Doll God? The doll you named?

Yeah, her. That doll. Here she is with my daughter’s cat. Notice how she has a Mona Lisa smile on her face. But in the photo below she’s scowling. How does she do that?

The reason I am bringing her up is that I’ve lost her! I tore the house apart last night looking for her, but all I could find was her muddy pantaloons. I know this sounds creepy, but I feel responsible, as if I might have done away with her. Why else would I find one article of clothing, but she is nowhere to be found?

I did get a nice plaque in the mail from the people at the New Mexico Book Coop that sponsors the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards, but it would have been nice to share it with MaryGold.

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Filed under #AmWriting, Book Award, Books, Cats and Other Animals, Doll God, Dolls, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Writing

An Award-Winning Book!

That’s right: my “baby” is an award-winning book. Doll God won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award in its category. I can’t help but say WOOHOO!

And if I do say so myself, this book makes a great Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and [insert your holiday of choice] gift.

I’ll be donating some autographed copies for the raffle at the Holiday Festival that the animal shelter is participating in, so if you’re in the Phoenix area, you can pick one up that way! Or you can click the book to get to Amazon.

Home Fur Good Holiday Festival Cave Creek, AZ: December 12, 2015

Frontier Town
6245 E. Cave Creek Rd.
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
Get Directions »

Description of Event:

Home Fur Good Holiday Festival will be held on December 12th, 2015. Hours: 10:00am – 3:00pm

 

castle promotional cover

 

 

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Filed under Arizona, Book Award, Book promotion, Cats and Other Animals, Doll God, Dolls, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing

Doll God is a Finalist!

Yesterday I opened an email listing the Finalists for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards and dismally scrolled through it, sure that Doll God was overlooked.

But it WASN’T! It’s a Finalist! That was really wonderful news to get at the end of the week. Buy it here haha:

 

castle promotional cover

A week that has been a little rough. Remember my dear Nakana I brought home from the shelter two months ago? Suddenly her liver values have jumped dramatically. That apparently is BAD in cats. More tests on Monday . . . .  Please send prayers or good vibes for her, if you are willing.

My sweet cat

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Filed under Arizona, Book Award, Book promotion, Doll God, Dolls, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing