Saturday, April 10, 2021

An Award-Winning Anthology!


Congratulations to d. ellis phelps and her Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, which won two prizes for its anthology purifying wind.

The book earned first place in the editorial category and at the state level in the National Federation of Press Women's contest.

I'm so honored that my lyric essay "No Place Like It" is a part of this collection!

You can click here to order a copy of the book.


Thursday, April 8, 2021

A New Anthology from the Oregon Poetry Association!


Thank you to Dale Champlin and the Oregon Poetry Association for including my poem "Pandemic Mary" in their new anthology, /pān/dé/mïk/ 2020.

The book includes poems by some of my favorite local writers, including Dale Champlin, Suzy Harris, Sherri Levine, Carolyn Martin, Collette Tennant, Emmett Wheatfall and many others! 

I'm especially thrilled that the amazing Susan Donnelly has two poems in this collection. We met in one of my classes about three years ago, and I continue to be in awe of her image-rich writing. Congratulations to all the poets...not only on their publication, but for continuing to grapple with this crisis through their writing. 

You can click here to purchase a copy of the book.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Sketch -- Poem and Drawing by Linda Ann Fraser

 What a joy to share this delicately probing poem and drawing by my dear friend Linda Ann Fraser.



The Sketch

 

Who is this person

who collects books and

loves black cats?

Where do I find her?

Is it in her white hair,

the glasses she wears?

Just where does this woman

reside?

It takes all these pieces

and more to make her

complete.

How should she be labeled?

She can’t be.

She is still becoming, pieces

are still missing like blank

holes in a jigsaw puzzle.

Some pieces will never

be found.

She doesn’t need them

to be whole. 

She is becoming

something else, something magic.




About the author:

Linda Ann Wilson’s interest in poetry and writing began as a senior in Ellensburg, Washington. Early marriage and raising three girls took a toll on writing but creativity thrived as she sewed for her daughters. After the girls grew up, sewing merged into cloth art dolls and drawing. She thought the dolls needed stories. When grandchildren wanted family stories, she found Linda Ferguson’s writing class. This class has encouraged Linda Ann to keep writing and during the COVID shut down, writing has kept her sane.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Song for Some Women


Thanks so much to Mia Savant for sharing my poem "Song for Some Women" on her Online Open Mic today! You can read the poem here.





You: A Poetry/Prose Hybrid by Liz Samuels


Although we haven't met in person for a year, my amazing students still inspire, delight and astonish each other each week by exploring their creative depths online.

Thank you to Liz Samuels for sharing this piece that pulses with all the scents and sounds and sights of life.


You

by Liz Samuels


A week later, but with the remnants of Valentine love lingering in the Willamette Valley, mist blankets fields of grass, sunbeams emerge, tiny droplets sparkle turquoise, lavender and chartreuse, and I get to spend this day with you.

 

I don perfect attire for mid February,

deep pocketed jeans and

Pendleton plaid shirt, sheepskin vest and

waders with soles meant for clinging to mud.

I can't take my eyes off your rounded belly as I twist the lid off a cumbersome thermos of steel, pour a stream of hot coffee from its tower, into it,

then take one quick gulp of that steaming brew.

As the air fills with the richness of fresh roasted beans,

I rub dry, eyes. Purple vessels protrude beneath them after a sleepless night.

The barn is cold but bearable and I only shiver a little.

Dim light gives way to sun beginning to show its face. A rooster crows.

 

The first time you gave birth

you feared you might drown in that swollen river,

didn't know what to make of it.

Make that both of us.

Now we float on its waves

though ready for that unexpected curve.

 

You

have given us babies

most of your life,

only lost a few,

one, a tiny triplet too weak to live

though his two siblings wobbled, then grew.

As I watch you, I am hopeful

the straw beneath you feels soft

and my

words soothe.

 

The cock crows an encore, past the break of dawn,

and at that moment

I see the hoof of a lamb, blood and goo

ooze out of your bright pink opening.

It's a black one, the opposite color of you.

You, oblivious some humans

have given black sheep an unwarranted rap,

you push it all the way out. Then comes another, this one the light of day marbled with midnight splotch

 

That seems to be the extent of it.

 

Your two little lambs coated in licorice down snuggle against your white chocolate wool,

nuzzle their way to the sweet smell of colostrum,

latch on to the pointed teats of your engorged sacs and the suckling begins.

You are an old hand at this.

 

Now rain drenches the grass. So does the sun.

How many more years will I be right here

to relish this time by your side

and you, ewe, bring your little lambs

into the warm arms of winter ending?

A rainbow arches across gray tinted blue, to me a sign these births will not be our last, that you will continue to provide cheese, milk, wool and lamb. On this day I give you my promise that I will do my best not to gouge you with clippers when I shear you, that your blood will not spill, on my watch, that I'll try not to mind when you almost knock me over when you rub up against me with the weight of your body, eager for that bucket of fodder. Today I promise to think of you every day as divine, for to me on this day there is only one ewe.



About the author: 

In the summer of 1983, Liz lived on a small farm halfway between Mt. Hood and Portland where she and her husband took care of besides small animals, two forceful and friendly sheep that would often almost knock her over. The first of three children was born the following spring. Thirty-seven years later, they spend their empty nest years living on a floating home on the Columbia in Portland where they're responsible for watching other people's sailboats. Liz began writing for fun in the last few years. Her other passions are singing anything and African dancing.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Seemingly Everlasting Sunshine by Nathalie Le Breton



 

Enjoy this charming and insightful poem by Nathalie Le Breton, whose unique voice exudes light and warmth.



Seemingly Everlasting Sunshine

 

When I was one I couldn’t believe it:

Look at that bright blue sky!

Look at that seemingly everlasting sunshine!

 

When I was two,

sure,

I did see a few clouds.

 

When I was three,

it started raining.

So I grabbed an umbrella.

 

When I was four,

It started pouring.

So I went back inside.

 

When I was five,

I peeked through the window:

Dark pools on the ground.

 

I don’t remember after five,

as I had closed my eyes.

To see again the bright blue sky.

To see again

the seemingly everlasting sunshine.

 

About the Author:

Nathalie Le Breton is a French native speaker who has relocated in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys exploring a different language as a form of personal discovery and melodic expression. She also enjoys reading poetry and children's books, knitting, drinking tea, and walking slowly through the seasons.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Nancy, Tina and Me

 



When I was seven, my cool older cousin gave me her copy of the Nancy Drew novel The Mysterious Mannequin, and I was hooked. I didn't just love Nancy, I wanted to be her, to have her sharp eyes and calm, clear mind that always got to the truth.

I've been trying to write about Nancy for years, but I struggled to get it right. How to express my fangirl status while also acknowledging that the books are pretty funny, with their formulaic plots, impossibly perfect heroine and outdated stock character sidekicks ("tomboy" George and dithering, "plump" Bess). 

How did I finally tap into my delight in these stories? By making a list of the goofy, delicious language penned by "Carolyn Keene," and then turning that list into a poem. Many thanks to the editors of VoiceCatcher Journal for publishing my poem "Nancy Drew's Fancy" as well as "Sighs of the Mermaid" in their latest issue. 

What's even better than getting published? Getting published alongside your students. Congratulations to the fabulous Tina Klammer, whose poems "Sir Nicholas the Brave" and "This Is What We Know" appear in this issue! And...congratulations to Jaymee Martin, a former student, on the publication of her nonfiction story "Hechizo"!

Here's the table of contents with links to all the current VoiceCatcher writing, including poetry by Shawn Aveningo Sanders and Carolyn Martin.