On another note, I wanted to give you a Perry update. His meds seem to be holding everything bad at bay for now, so we are doing well on that count. But Meesker has decided he doesn’t like Perry in his “room,” so he beats him up occasionally. Yesterday, he left Perry’s fur flying all over the floor! It funny with cats how it works: Perry chases Sloopy Anne who chases Meesker who chases Perry. See the circle there? Then Kana and Perry both intimidate Lily, but if we didn’t have a gate up in the house she would beat up both Meesker and Sloopy Anne! Otherwise, we live in peace and harmony . . . .
I submitted a request to the Phoenix Public Library to purchase 3 books, including Rooted and Winged. I received an automated email saying they had purchased Rooted and Winged. Yay! But the other books were by friends, and they gave me no response on those! I wonder what happened? Next month I will try again. By the way, it’s very easy to request your local library purchase a book, especially if you have a library card.
In January, I had another ekphrastic piece, this time a poem, taken at Visual-Verse. I neglected to mention last time that we only get one hour to write these to the art prompts. It’s a very intense process. https://visualverse.org/submissions/the-tournament/
Main Street Rag has published my review of Justin Hamm’s Drinking Guinness with the Dead. While I can’t post a copy of the review as it’s a print issue, I can tell you I give it two thumbs up. Hamm’s work is really tied to the Midwest and its vast once-farmland, so while anyone would love it (I think), Midwesterners would especially cherish it.
My daughter’s wedding was a year ago this coming Sunday. So look what I made for daughter and son-in-law. A wedding junk journal.
I had to find this nifty little suitcase after I realized that with the fragility of the book (cuz junk) and their lifestyle the book wouldn’t last long without protection. I was able to add in their wooden ring boxes, little place cards, extra photos, and the napkins from their previous courthouse wedding where we drank blue prosecco and ate cookies. Last year’s wedding was the whole shebang because that’s what they like.
See inside on the left? That’s a little clutch I made out of plastic grocery bags to store the cassettes of their wedding music.
That project was loads of fun, but now I’m about hearted and laced and sweetthinged out.
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.
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.
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/
This post is about something exciting to me at the same time that it is sad. Gingerbread House Editor Christine Butterworth-McDermott has interviewed me in the new issue up today. You can read it here:
Gingerbread House Lit Mag, with its emphasis on fairy tale-inspired literature, is one of my very favorite journals. Very sadly, I must say that this is the final issue of GH! Butterworth-McDermott will go on to do exciting things in the literary and artistic worlds (she’s an artist as well as a poet/writer), but this feels like the end of an era.
Please check out the whole gorgeous issue through the link above.
What fun to be interviewed by poet Millicent Borges Accardi, author of the new Quarantine Highway, for the beautiful CutBank Literary Magazine. Her questions really made me think about my life, and in the process, I discovered things about myself. You might, too!