Category Archives: Doll God

Reading from Doll God and Kin Types

If you happen to be in the Phoenix area this Friday, please come hang out with me at {9} The Gallery! There will be an open mic, and then I will read from Doll God and Kin Types. I’ll have copies of Doll God to sign for a discounted price of $10 (regular $14).

Link to info: Caffeine Corridor Poetry feat. Luanne Castle

This series is pulled together by the wonderful Phoenix poet Shawnte Orion.

Let’s hope I don’t screw up too badly.

Make it a great week!

 

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Filed under Arizona, Book promotion, Doll God, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Poetry reading, Reading, Writing, Writing Talk

Don’t Miss This Poetry Contest

Rick Lupert at Poetry Super Highway is offering a poetry contest that you might want to enter. The main prizes are cash (read below), but there are also a lot of other prizes available, including two copies of Doll God, which I am donating as a sponsor of the contest. There are lots of other books donated, too. What I love about Rick’s contests are that they aren’t to make money for a literary magazine, but to really benefit the poets themselves.

Read and ENTER. This is the best value contest around. The submission fee is $1 per poem!!! You can’t beat that. Think of the things you can buy for a buck. NOT MUCH and surely not even a large cup of coffee.

Warning: on my computer screen words do run too far to the right, but you can still get the gist of everything you need to know about the contest. I tested the links, so you can get to the entry form, etc.

Poetry Super Highway

Announcing the 2017 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest

s p o n s o r e d   b y

Angele Ellis • Ann Christine Tabaka • Clint Hirschfield • Corey Mesler • Curtis R. Smith • David C. Kopaska-Merkel • David Flynn • Ed Werstein • Elizabeth Marchitti • Ellen Sander • Emily Vieweg • Forage Poetry Forum • Hanoch Guy • Hiram Larew • Karawane, or the Temporary Death of the Bruitist • Ken Allan Dronsfield • Larry O. Bubar • “Laughing” Larry Berger • LB Sedlacek • Leilani Squire • Lone Stars Poetry Magazine • Luanne Castle • Magalena Ball • Marianne Szlyk • Marie C Lecrivain • Marsha Carow Markman • Mary Langer Thompson • Matthew Abuelo • Muddy River Poetry Review & Muddy River Books • Neil Leadbeater • Neil Meili • Poetry Contests for a Cause • Poets & Allies for Resistance • Poets Wear Prada • Rattle • Rick Lupert • Rolland Vasin • Ron Kolm • Ruth Hill • San Diego Poetry Annual • Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association • Steve Braff • Trish Lindsey Jaggers • Unlikely Books • Unlikely Books • Vincent O’Connor • Voices Israel • Winning Writers • WoollyDocIt’s our twentieth annual Poetry Contest featuring cash prizes and 48 sponsors who’ve donated 95 additional prizes.  Last year we were able to send every contest entrant a prize for participating and we’re hoping to do the same this year. (Click here for information on sponsoring this year’s contest.)

Read below for all the Entry Guidelines, The Complete Prize List, The Judges, and the 2017 Contest Calendar.

 

Entry Guidelines

  • The Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest is open to all human beings on planet Earth. (except for the three judges)
  • Enter as many poems as you like.
  • Previously published poems are eligible.
  • Poems may be of any style, length, or subject matter.
  • This contest is separate from weekly Poet of the Week consideration though submissions for Poet of the week consideration must be separate from Contest Submissions and the same poems may not be submitted for both.
  • There is a One Dollar Per Poem (US Funds Only) entry fee.
  • Poems are sent to the three contest judges with your name removed. The judges score each poem from 0-5 using quarter point intervals. (0, .25, .5, .75, 1, 1.25, 1.5, etc…)
  • Poems are sent to judges only after you fill out the Contest Entry Formand we have received your payment.

There are three easy steps to entering the contest:

STEP 1 FILL OUT THE ENTRY FORM
STEP 2 E-MAIL YOUR POEMS
Guidelines on how and where to email poems will be
displayed once you submit the contest entry form.
STEP 3 PAY THE ENTRY FEE
Guidelines on how and where to submit your $1 per poem entry
fee will be displayed once you submit the contest entry form.

Click here to go to the entry form.

Deadlines Etcetera

  • Deadline for postmarking entry fees (or paying them via PayPal or Venmo) is Saturday, September 23, 2017.
  • Regardless of when you postmark, your entry fees must be received by Wednesday, September 27, so if you’re mailing your entry fee, please account for the amount of time it will take for your it to travel between your home and Los Angeles.
  • This is a not for profit contest. All of the collected entry fees will be divided between the top three scoring poems (minus postage for mailing out additional prizes. See Prize List below)
  • Once your entry fee is received, your poems will be sent with your name removed to the three judges who will score them 0 – 5 (5 being best).
  • Your poems will not be forwarded to the judges until your entry fee is received.
  • If you have any questions or need any of the contest details clarified, please e-mail Contest@PoetrySuperHighway.com

Prizes

First Prize: 50% of the entry fees collected plus winning poem featured on the PSH

Second Prize: 30% of the entry fees collected plus winning poem featured on the PSH.

Third Prize: 20% of the entry fees collected plus winning poem featured on the PSH.

In addition, thanks to sponsors Rolland Vasin and Hiram Larew, an additional $275 will be added to the entry fees collected and divided with the above percentages among the top three scoring poets.

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we are able to supplement the cash prizes with an impressive array of prizes which would be of interest to poets and writers.

The following prizes will be used to bolster first through third prize as well as distributed to other contest entrants.

Our goal is to be able to send every single person who enters the contest something.

If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor to this years contest in exchange for promotional consideration, please click HERE for the details.

Additional Prizes:

Angele Ellis
1 Three-Book Set which includes 1 copy of “Arab on Radar” by Angele Ellis, 1 copy of the book “Spared” by Angele Ellis, and 1 copy of the book “Under the Kaufmann’s Clock” by Angele Ellis

Ann Christine Tabaka
2 copies of the book “It Is Still Morning” by Ann Christine Tabaka

Clint Hirschfield
1 copy of the anthology “2014 Pendle War Poetry Competition Selected Poems”
1 copy of the anthology “2015 Pendle War Poetry Competition Selected Poems”

Corey Mesler
coreymesler.wordpress.com
1 signed copy of the book “Opaque Melodies that Would Bug Most People” by Corey Mesler

Curtis R. Smith
www.facebook.com/ipoeticconfessions
1 copy of the book, “I, Poetic Confessions, II” by Curtis R. Smith

David C. Kopaska-Merkel
dreamsandnightmaresmagazine.blogspot.com
2 one-year (3 issue) digital (PDF) subscriptions to Dreams and Nightmares magazine

David Flynn
www.davidflynnbooks.com
2 copies of the book “Selected Poems” by David Flynn

Ed Werstein
1 copy of the book “Who Are We Then?” by Ed Werstein
1 copy of the book “Masquerades and Misdemeanors” by The Hartford Avenue Poets
1 copy of the “2018 Wisconsin Poets Calendar”

Elizabeth Marchitti
1 copy of the book “Growing Old Disgracefully” by Elizabeth Marchitti

Ellen Sander
www.ellensander.com
1 copy of the book “Hawthorne, a House in Bolinas” by Ellen Sander

Emily Vieweg
emilyvieweg.blogspot.com
1 copy of the chapbook “Conversations with Beethoven and Bach” by Emily Vieweg
1 copy of the chapbook “Look Where She Points” by Emily Vieweg

Forage Poetry Forum
foragepoetry.prophpbb.com
1 copy of the book “Poems of the Decade: An Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry” selected by William Sieghart.
1 set of “Phoenix Classic Poetry: 10 book Box Set “Phoenix Poetry: Classic Poetry – a 10-book collection including Blake, Poe, Shakespeare & Yeats”

Hanoch Guy
hanochkguypoet.com
1 copy of the book “We Pass Each Other on the Stairs:120 Real and Imaginary Encounters” by Hanoch Guy

Hiram Larew
www.facebook.com/hiramlarewpoet
$25 added to the prize pot

Karawane, or the Temporary Death of the Bruitist
karawane.homestead.com
3 copies of the magazine “Karawane, or the Temporary Death of the Bruitist” with assorted postcards designed by Fluffy Singler

Ken Allan Dronsfield
arevenantpoet.wordpress.com
2 copies of the book “The Cellaring” by Ken Allan Dronsfield

Larry O. Bubar
2 copies of the anthology “Breathe vol.1” by the Breathe Writers Group

“Laughing” Larry Berger
1 copy of the book “Instant Poetry (Just add words!)” by Lawrence Berger

LB Sedlacek
www.lbsedlacek.com
1 copy of the chapbook “Mars or Bust” by LB Sedlacek

Leilani Squire
leilanisquire.com
4 1/2 hour creativity coaching sessions

Lone Stars Poetry Magazine
1 Issue of Lone Stars Poetry Magazine

Luanne Castle
www.luannecastle.com
2 copies of the book “Doll God” by Luanne Castle

Magalena Ball
www.magdalenaball.com
1 autographed copy of the book “Unmaking Atoms” by Magdalena Ball

Marianne Szlyk
thesongis.blogspot.com
3 copies of the book “I Dream of Empathy” by Marianne Szlyk
2 copies of the The Blue Hour’s Third Anthology
1 copy of “Literature Today”

Marie C Lecrivain
www.poeticdiversity.org
1 copy of the book “Philemon’s Gambit” by Marie C Lecrivain

Marsha Carow Markman
2 copies of the anthology “If We Dance . . . A Collection of Poems” edited by Joan Wines

Mary Langer Thompson
home.earthlink.net/~ml_thompson
1 signed copy of the book “Poems in Water” by Mary Langer Thompson

Matthew Abuelo
joerussia3.wixsite.com/thenewsfactory
2 copies of the book “The News Factory” by Matthew Abuelo

Muddy River Poetry Review & Muddy River Books
www.muddyriverpoetryreview.com
1 copy of the book “Love Poems From Hell” by Zvi A. Sesling

Neil Leadbeater
2 copies of the book “Finding the River Horse” by Neil Leadbeater

Neil Meili
NeilMeili.com
2 copies of the book “Missing Leonard Cohen” by Neil Meili

Poetry Contests for a Cause
www.facebook.com/poetrycontestsforacause
1 copy of the anthology “Paw Prints in Verse: Poems about Pets” edited by Stacy Savage

Poets & Allies for Resistance
1 copy of the book “The Bottle & The Boot” by J.L Martindale & Daniel McGinn
1 copy of the book “Deed” by Rod Smith
1 copy of the book “Rise of the Trust Fall” by Mindy Nettifee
1 copy of the book “Open 24 Hours” by Suzanne Lummis

Poets Wear Prada
www.poetswearprada.com
1 $15 Gift Certificate for poetry editing services (worth 5 pages) from Poets Wear prada

Rattle
www.rattle.com
2 one-year (4-issue) subscriptions to Rattle magazine

Rick Lupert
www.poetrysuperhighway.com
1 copy of the book “Donut Famine” by Rick Lupert
1 copy of the book “Romancing the Blarney Stone” by Rick Lupert
1 copy of the book “Professor Clown on Parade” by Rick Lupert”

Rolland Vasin
$250 added to the prize pot divided by the 3 winning poets

Ron Kolm
2 copies of the book “A Change in the Weather, poems” by Ron Kolm

Ruth Hill
1 pack of 3 recent poetry journals

San Diego Poetry Annual
sandiegopoetryannual.com
1 copy of the San Diego Poetry Annual 2016-17

Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association
sfpoetry.com
2 .pdf subscriptions to “Star*Line”, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association Journal

Steve Braff
stevebraff.blogspot.com
1 signed copy of “Forty Days” by Steve Braff- a chapbook of Ekphrastic poetry inspired by the included color photographs of Joshua Tree National Park .

Trish Lindsey Jaggers
www.facebook.com/trishlindseyjaggers
1 signed copy of the book “Holonym: a collection of poems” by Trish Lindsey Jaggers

Unlikely Books
www.unlikelystories.org/unlikely-books
2 copies of the book “Ghazals 1-59 and Other Poems” by Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt
2 copies of the book “Scorpions” by Joel Chace
2 copies of the book “brain : storm” by Michelle Greenblatt (2nd edition)
2 copies of the book “Soy solo palabras but wish to be a city” by León De la Rosa & Gui.ra.ga7 (2nd edition)
2 copies of the book “My Hands Were Clean” by Tom Bradley (2nd Edition)”

Vincent O’Connor
vinceoconnor.com
1 copy of the book “Mouthful of Forevers” by Clementine Von Radics
1 copy of the book “Thirty-Three Minnesota Poets” edited by Monica and Emilio DeGrazia”

Voices Israel
2 copies of the anthology “A Second Decade of Poems from Voices Israel”

Winning Writers
winningwriters.com
2 free entries to the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest (value $12 each)

WoollyDoc
www.woollydoc.com
1 purple velvet covered WoollyDoc pocket journal
1 spotted velboa covered WoollyDoc pocket journal
1 canvas covered WoollyDoc pocket journal

.

Meet Your Judges

  • Ben Britton (Exeter, United Kingdom)
    Ben Britton is a poet and short fiction writer currently living in Exeter, in the UK. He was brought up in London, and would like to think that as a youth he roamed through the disquiet of the city at ease. But instead he was brought up in suburbia (and not the gothic kind either). He alternates his time between writing, sleeping, and attempting to study literature and film at uni.
  • J.P. Grasser (Salt Lake City, Utah)
    A 2017-2019 Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, J.P. Grasser attended Sewanee: The University of the South and received his M.F.A. in poetry from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. He is currently a doctoral student in Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Utah, where he teaches undergraduate writing and serves as Managing Editor for Quarterly West. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in AGNI, Best New Poets 2015 (selected by Tracy K. Smith), The Cincinnati Review, Meridian, The New Criterion, Ninth Letter Online, and West Branch Wired, among others.
  • Jo Angela Edwins (Florence, South Carolina)
    Jo Angela Edwins teaches creative writing, American literature, and composition at Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. She has published poems in a variety of venues including Calyx, Sojourn, New South, and Adanna. She is the 2014 recipient of the Carrie McCray Nickens Fellowship Poetry Prize from the South Carolina Academy of Authors. Her chapbook, Play, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016.

2017 Contest Calendar

  • July 5: Contest begins
  • July 10-16: Judges featured as Poets of the Week
  • July 23, 2:00 pm (pacific)PSH Live Judges Event: Live broadcast where Judges will have the chance to read poems and discuss the contest and you can call in live and ask them questions. Click here for more info. and to tune in.
  • September 23: Final deadline for contest entries. (Entry fees must be received by PayPal or Venmo, or postmarked by September 23 or they’ll be returned.)
  • September 29: Judges deadline for returning scored poems.
  • October 6: Second round scoring deadline (in the event of tied scores.)
  • October 82pm (pacific) PSH Live Event: “Winners Announced” in a special broadcast. Listen to it live and if any of the winners happen to be listening, they’ll be invited to call in and read their winning entries live on the air..
  • October 9-15: Contest Winners featured as Poets of the Week.

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Filed under Doll God, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Writing, Writing contest

Book Trailer Decisions

Although I never had a book trailer for Doll God, I’ve since read that they are important because readers, like most people today, are used to videos and to receiving information in that format. So I am trying one for Kin Types.

I hope you enjoy it. It’s only 53 seconds long and you can either listen to the music or keep your volume off.

Do you regularly watch book trailers? If you’re a writer with a published book or books, have you used book trailers?

Unless you are experienced at making videos, it takes a lot of time to make a short little video about your book. Rather than waste time learning step by step, I asked my daughter who already makes memory video albums for people to make the video for me. I sent her links to book trailers and book trailer articles, old family photos, and the manuscript itself. After the video was completed, I learned a few things from her.

There are a lot of decisions that go into making a book trailer. The length is one thing. Sometimes short is best: if you keep it under 60 seconds you can share it on Instagram.  It’s also more likely to be watched. But you can’t put too much into 60 seconds.

A mistake some authors make is to try to give a complete synopsis of the book in the trailer, so she opted to give a flavor of Kin Types instead.

You have to make sure the music fits the book.

Do you want a narrator or just written text or do you want to showcase your own reading from the book? My daughter thought that for a short video, simplicity was best and used written text. That way, people don’t have to listen to the video if they are at work or otherwise unable to listen to audio without disturbing others.

###

In case you are wondering how Perry, our unsocialized foster cat, is doing, I can tell you that he loves to play with Hot Pursuit, a game that spins a furry mouse on a stick. He’s also interested in the robot fish in a bowl of water, but Hot Pursuit is his passion. He eats Wellness chicken pate out of a bowl I hold in my hand and his nose and whispers nuzzle my hand. He sniffs and licks my fingers. But he still doesn’t want me to reach out and touch him. One day I touched his haunch, and he flinched and jumped back. Then he lay back down and tentatively touched my hand with his paw. Sometimes he lies in a cat bed on a bench in the sun and sometimes he sleeps underneath the bench or under the footstool. He’s only done two naughty things, which is pretty good considering that he is quite young. He chewed the tag off the lamp’s electrical cord. I hope he knows cords are bad to touch. He also peed on a pile of clean laundry I left lying in his territory. Oops.

Hope your week is a beauty!

 

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Filed under Book promotion, Books, Doll God, Family history, Flash Nonfiction, History, Kin Types, Nonfiction, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Writing

Threads and Threading

Not sure the title will make sense even after you read the post. Nothing in here about sewing.

The wedding was lovely. Although the wind was strong at the time of the wedding, we were blessed with sun and a brilliant blue sky and the perfect temperature air.

It’s taken me some time to recover from the wedding, the travel, and all the hubbub leading up to the wedding. Mom was with us for a couple of weeks, but has now returned home.

The honeymooners return from the Bahamas tonight. Their restful “tourist time” was enhanced by the hospitality of a Bahamian family who invited them to their home for dinner.

In the meantime, the requisite number of pre-orders was made for Kin Types, so the book ought to go to press soon. You can still pre-order, though, by following the link in the title.

I have been such a stick-in-the-mud with so much going on this winter that I haven’t had any readings and haven’t written for some time. I started to feel far away from Doll God, so I read it again and all the emotions and memories of events that are lodged in nooks and crannies of the poems came flooding back.

Perry is now out of his cage, loose in the room, but he is not used to the freedom yet. I had to make a couple little tents for him with sheets over a footstool and over a bench. He didn’t have a tent for one night, and I found that he had threaded his little blankie through the center of the footstool to make a wall for protection. The photo shows you what I mean.

This started me on the tent-making idea. I threw a sheet over this ottoman. Later, Perry showed that likes it if I lie on the floor and read and sing up close to the sheet. Then he lies on the other side of the sheet with his face pretty close to mine.

Gorgeous Moe and Maverick are still looking for a home. They love to play and are desperate for a rescue, if you know anybody in Arizona!

Moe

On another note, why do people think my choice of music is so odd? My new daughter’s mom and I were getting our hair and makeup done by the professionals in the bride’s hotel room for the wedding. Old Billy Currington music was on the CD player. I said, “This is one of my absolutely favorite songs!” Every person in the room said, “No! It isn’t!”

 

Oh YES, it is! I can listen to this song 30 times, and it still isn’t enough.

On the way home from California, the gardener, Mom, and I were listening to the radio and “Good Direction” came on again. I said, “I LOVE this song! It’s one of my favorites.”

Mom said, “NO, it isn’t! This is not one of your favorite songs.”

WHAT???????!!!!

So, the post title. Threads and Threading. All these threads I tried to tie up here for you: the wedding, Perry, my new chapbook, etc. And threading: what Perry did with his baby blanket. Heh. Well, at least I left you with a great song!

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Filed under Arizona, California, Cats and Other Animals, Doll God, Kin Types, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Writing

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Doll God by Luanne Castle

A big thank you to Sally Cronin for putting DOLL GOD on the shelf at Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore! It’s in great company, and I’m thrilled to be one of Sally’s authors!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to the first of the New on the Shelves posts this week and today it is poet Luanne Castle and her debut collection, award winning Doll God that explores the emotion that we invest in inanimate objects, some of which have been created in our own image.

About Doll God

Winner of the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards, Doll God, studies traces of the spirit world in human-made and natural objects–a Japanese doll, a Palo Verde tree, a hummingbird. Her exploration leads the reader between the twin poles of nature and creations of the imagination in dolls, myth, and art.

“Every day the world subtracts from itself,” Luanne Castle observes. Her wonderfully titled collection, Doll God, with its rich and varied mix of poems part memoir, part myth and tale, shimmers as it swims as poetry is meant to, upstream against the loss.
Stuart Dybek, MacArthur Fellow and author…

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Filed under #AmWriting, Book promotion, Books, Doll God, National Poetry Month, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Writing

What in the World is a Chapbook?

Sometimes we get so used to the jargon of the field we’re in that we forget it’s a specialized language. And that others don’t always  know what in the heck we’re talking about when we use it.

I was thinking the other day that when I say that I wonder if Perry is a feral cat or a stray cat that the nuance between those two types of cats could be lost. A feral cat is so wild that he is not used to humans or civilization and oftentimes cannot be persuaded that we are ok. Unless quite young when the socialization begins, it might not be possible to ever get a feral cat to accept human touch. But I say that with a caveat: every cat must be treated as an individual because you just never know which feral cats can be socialized and which socialized cats will never be lapcats–based on temperament, environment, and so on.

Speaking of Perry, I have been reading him Cindy Rinne’s story in verse Quiet Lantern about a Vietnamese girl named Mai Ly who is on a spiritual quest. The farther I go into the story and the more poetic prowess I discover, the more impressed I am with the book.

Another word I’ve flung around the blog lately is chapbook. Kin Types is a chapbook, rather than a full-length poetry collection like Doll God or like Rinne’s book (which is over 100 pages). But what is a chapbook? Historically, a chapbook was a small pamphlet that was truly around before books as we know them today were invented. The first written fairy tales were chapbooks. They were small. They were a few pages. And they were really roughly printed.

Chapbooks today, though, usually meet these qualifications:

  • Generally poetry, but not always
  • Less than 48 pages in length, generally around 25-30, but even as short as 15 pages (full-length collection is around 55-75)
  • Generally has a sharper focus than a full-length collection
  • Some of the most famous poems were first published in chapbooks–poems by T.S. Eliot, William Blake, Philip Larkin, and Allen Ginsberg
  • Poems can be used in a full-length collection later (or not)
  • There are many chapbook contests and small presses publishing chapbooks
  • There is only one after-publication prize open to chapbooks in the U.S., whereas there are many for full-length books
  • Poets are encouraged to publish chapbooks, as well as full-length books, and many poets first publish a chapbook rather than a book
  • Sometimes the binding is more beautiful than that of a book
  • Sometimes the artistic quality of the binding is poor and the pages look typewritten
  • Sometimes the book is stapled or bound by cord
  • Although modestly expensive, chapbooks are not meant to make money (yup, that’s a fact and probably true of all)
  • Chapbooks are a way to take a risk and strive for art for art’s sake

I did enter Kin Types in a few contests, but they are expensive (entry around $15-25 each) and when the manuscript was accepted by Finishing Line Press for publication, I decided to go with them, rather than spend more money on contests. Still, Kin Types was a semi-finalist in the Concrete Wolf chapbook contest and a Highly Commended title in The Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition.

The only writing I’ve been able to do lately is a poem for my son’s wedding. It’s being framed and will be on a table with photographs of the grandparents (of the bride and groom) who have passed on.

Today is the anniversary of my maternal grandmother’s birth in 1912, two days after the Titanic sank. Her birthday was two weeks after that of my paternal grandmother (though they were born 19 years apart). They were both Aries, as is the Gardener.  It’s hard to think of anything that is similar about the three of them, except that they have all been count-on-able.

My maternal grandmother’s name was Lucille Edna, although she was known as Edna. (Luanne is created from Lucille and my mother’s middle name Ann). Edna was Class Historian at graduation (her older sister was Salutatorian the same year) and  always wanted to be a writer. She thought of herself as the “Jo March” of her family (like in Little Women).

When she was elderly and ill, she made me promise I would never give up writing. That comment from Grandma found its way into a Kin Types poem.

from Grandma’s graduation scrapbook

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Filed under #AmWriting, Book contest, Cats and Other Animals, Doll God, Family history, Kin Types, National Poetry Month, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Writing, Writing contest

Two Poetry Collections

Carla McGill posted an advance review of Kin Types at the Finishing Line Press website. In her post she writes about Kin Types and Doll God–and introduces the work of poet Cindy Rinne whose book Quiet Lantern I just received yesterday!

writingcustoms.com

So much of my work emerges from an interior place, an inner knowing, a sense that yes, now I should write this story, or yes, right now this poem is forming in my thoughts. No matter how many lists or outlines I make of what I want to write, I find that I cannot keep to them because something else is rumbling within.

I am learning to pay attention to the interior world first. As the new year approached, I somehow knew that this would be the year that I would search for a publisher for my first collection of poetry. I am only now, as spring begins, delving in to the list to see which one might be a good fit for my work (or more importantly which one would accept my work).

On a side note, I have a poem called “The Northern Lights” in the most recent…

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Doll God, Family history, Kin Types, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Writing

When a Cat Comes to Visit

Last week was busier than usual. Among a long list of other things (that may or may not include termites and breast cyst colonies–both those suckers travel in packs), the gardener and I trapped a cat that was hanging out in our backyard. I think strays and ferals see our cats through the windows and decide our yard makes a safe place to set up camp.

This one would come sit tall and proud on our pony wall and wait for his dinner. Yes, we had to give him dinners because underneath his long fur he was quite skinny. Besides, dinner is how you trap a cat.

Have you ever seen a cat trap?

They are scary looking, but when you cover it with a blanket, the cat can’t really see how scary it is. He only knows there is good food inside that he doesn’t have to rassle (wrestle for you grammar nazis) to eat.

We didn’t know if this cat was stray or feral. A stray cat will make a good house cat once he gets acclimated. A feral cat probably will not, although you have to take it on a case by case basis. This cat would look at us in the yard, which is unusual for a feral, plus we do not have a feral colony anywhere near. In fact, there are no cats outdoors as a general rule. That is because we have a pack of German Shepherd-sized coyotes and a large bobcat. People who try to have “outdoor cats” in our neighborhood end up inadvertently killing them. In fact, I contacted people through “Next Door,” in the adjacent neighborhoods, and they spoke of the zero cat population and how a Maltese was severely injured by the coyotes.

OUR HUGE BOBCAT

We didn’t know if the cat was male or female, but I was calling it HE and HIM. I had an instinct, but didn’t know if I was right.

After days of luring the cat farther and farther into the trap, we were ready to catch him. That meant that the gardener needed to “set” the trap as he was the one who got the instructions from a friend we borrowed the trap from. It had been a few years since we used a trap. He was busy with stuff and couldn’t be rushed, and I was worried Mr/Ms Stray/Feral would come for dinner too soon. He did. When we came out to set the trap, he was sitting there so proud and so skinny on the wall around our fountain. He watched us very carefully as I put the food all the way to the back and the gardener set the springs. Then we went inside to see what would happen. I worried he would be annoyed and avoid the trap because he saw the trap without a blanket on it and saw it being set.

At first that was true. I watched between the drape and the window frame. He circled the trap, trying to get to the food without entering the open end. Then he left.

Durn it all, I said to the gardener. You should have come out to do it earlier. Only I didn’t say durn.

I was nervous he would get killed before we could catch him. And I was a little anxious that I already had scheduled an appointment for him next day at the spay/neuter clinic. I didn’t choose them for the lower price only, but because they are used to handling feral cats. If he was feral, he would need that expertise. The receptionist asked me if I’d named the cat. I had not even thought to, but after that two names came to me: Perry for a boy and Polly for a girl.

Five minutes later darkness descended on the backyard. I couldn’t really make out the door of the trap. I asked the gardener to come look. He said it was sprung.

So I turned on the porch light and went out to see. Our little gray and white visitor was huddled up miserably inside the trap. The food was untouched.

In the garage I had put a thick blanket on the floor for warmth and then covered that with a Chux pad for potty needs, so I placed the trap there for the night. The spay/neuter clinic would open at 7AM, and the kitty would have to be in the cage all night. I knocked the food out of the cage so he would have an empty stomach for neutering the next day. Although I’d been up all night just a couple nights before (ER visit for the gardener for a kidney stone–I told you we had a lot going on), I got up early to drive “clear across town,” which means a long way through rush hour city traffic.

I’ll be darned if they didn’t do his surgery until after 4PM! Poor thing had to wait in that trap without food or water all that time. And I was so impatient because I wanted to know:

  1. Boy or girl?
  2. Feral or stray?
  3. Feline leukemia negative . . . or not?

PERRY turned out to be stray and negative for feline leukemia. Good news for him! So I brought him over to our shelter fresh off the operating table. What nobody warned me was that some cats act like maniacs while under the effects of the anesthesia. He threw himself against the walls of the cage. It was frightening because I thought he might hurt himself–and it sure seemed a different story than how lovely he was to the vet and vet techs before his surgery. That night in his cage in the isolation room at the shelter, he tipped over his litter box and got it all over, spilled his water all over, and didn’t pee or poo at all. However, he did eat all the kibble that was left for him.

Worried about him, I ran over there first thing the next morning and cleaned and reset up his cage and amenities and gave him a little canned food. He was calm, but scared.

Perry on the bed of the iso cage–the cage is much taller, but it’s underneath the bed

Please send vibes or pray for him, however you’re inclined, that he settles in, loses his fear, and finds a loving home!

###

I hope that Kin Types will be ready for pre-order soon. Waiting to hear from the publisher about that.

I’m participating in the Great Poetry Exchange along with 65 other poets with books. In the month of March I am sending Doll God to one poet and receiving a book from a different poet. I can’t wait!

 

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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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Enter to Win a FREE COPY of DOLL GOD and The Little Free Library with Dogs

What to win a free copy of Doll God?

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway. If you’re not on Goodreads, it is easy to sign up–and it costs nothing to enter to WIN A FREE COPY OF DOLL GOD.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Doll God by Luanne Castle

Doll God

by Luanne Castle

Released January 10 2015

Enter Giveaway

Remember the little free library?

One of the books I bought at the used bookstore was The Girl on the Train. It was a fairly suspenseful thriller, but it had some pretty big flaws. For one, a lot of the book is taken up by holding the main character’s hand while she drinks. Yeah, she’s a very tedious alcoholic. Boring. Then I figured out the solution to the mystery by the middle of the book, so the ending was a big letdown. None of the characters were likable.

Strangely, the book felt like it was written by Paul (not Paula) Hawkins. This is not meant as a negative about books by men or anything like that. And I’ve never really thought to myself about whether a book was written by a man or woman–I never cared. But I was haunted by the feeling that a woman couldn’t have written this book. It was kind of odd.

All that said, I read the book in one day, so it was a suspenseful read.

I went to California and thought I’d visit the little free library. Since I had just finished reading The Girl on the Train and didn’t have anybody I wanted to subject give it to, I thought I’d walk there and do a switch. When I arrived at the house with the little library, I noticed that the front door was open and a little wire-haired cutie (dog) was walking down the front yard. I kept approaching the library, wondering if the dog was supposed to be outside as he/she wasn’t wearing a collar. Just then a yellow lab came running out of that open door. The lab was not happy with me and ran toward me, growling in an aggressive manner. I walked across the street and turned back in the direction I came from. That was disappointing, considering I like being able to walk to a little library. And I couldn’t help but think of the children’s books in the library and what could have happened if a child had been walking there at that moment.

Later, the gardener drove me over there and I did the swap. I ended up with a book called Earnest about . . . (get this) a yellow lab.

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