I’m honored to have been interviewed by the talented poet, Meena Rose. You can read the entire interview on her wonderful blog “Through the Eyes of Meena Rose”.
It was far more work than I expected, but I had a great time doing the Poet Showcase. The tough part was keeping track of the posts, downloading the photos, and having to learn a bit of html for some of the trickier formatting. The really fun part was communicating with poet friends,many of whom I hadn’t chatted with in a while, and learning a bit more about each one of them.
There were some real surprises, like discovering that many haiku poets also wrote other genres of poetry. I guess that shouldn’t have been such a surprise to me, since I do too, but still, I had no idea. I also realized that many poets that I thought I had met only recently had appeared in many of the same venues with me in the past. I felt like the hostess at a really good party, as poets made the acquaintance of other poets previously unfamiliar to them. And I was so pleased at all the back and forth visiting and commenting on posts. I had almost 5000 hits on my blog during the month of April, which means each post was viewed many times!
I have made a permanent archive of these posts, on my Poet Showcase top level page. I am thinking that I might add to this showcase over time, as there are many poets I missed, but that will have to be a future project. Right now, I am ready for a bit of a break!
Name: Janet Rice Carnahan
Location: Laguna Beach, California
Blog: Still being developed – aiming for June along with a web site
How do you know Cara? Poetic Asides and Facebook
How long have you been writing poetry? Over 30 years
What kind of poetry do you write? I love fun and light poetry written by my alter-ego, Janet Planet, and limericks. I am also fond of writing about nature and story telling poetry with a meaningful ending! Spiritual topics with flair that go out of the box are also a favorite!
Please share a poem:
In a round about way,
What can I say?
Are you a doughnut?
A pot of clay?
Are you a top?
Of a circular table!
A round TV,
Minus the cable!
Tell me straight,
Could you be?
Inside a gate!
A peep hole I see.
Could you be a rock?
Skipping across the lake!
A rounded ice block,
A cold drink would take.
How about a hub cap?
A hole in a tree,
Into a maple syrup jar!
Maybe a roll,
Hidden in a basket.
A Halloween pumpkin bowl,
Open ended question …
Do I dare ask it?
Are you a round chimney?
Or an iron pot for cooking!
Should I get down on one knee?
Or simply keep looking!
I think I am digging myself,
Deeper and deeper in,
I have searched every shelf,
No where else to begin!
So … let me just ask,
You to loudly shout out,
Can I finish my task?
Remove all doubt!
Find that hole, come back around,
Return where I first entered,
Reclaim my balance; feeling sound …
My wholeness readied and centered!
Name: Linda Hofke
Location: I am originally from Pennsylvania but have lived in Germany for 11 years now.
How do you know Cara? We kept crossing paths in mutual groups and forums. First there was Poetic Asides, then Sketchbook, The River of Stones project, Poetic Bloomings. Eventually, we connected on Facebook. Gosh, when I list all the sites like that, even though it was purely incidental, it makes me feel like some sort of poetic stalker. Watch out! When you least expect it I might attack with an awful attempt at alliteration or pester you with anapestic meter. Seriously, though, I’m a fan of her work.
How long have you been writing poetry? In elementary school I wrote what I’d call silly rhymes, not really poems. However, I spent more time writing short stories at that time. Then we studied Carl Sandburg and I was taken in by his Fog poem, by how one could paint a visual picture and mood in another’s mind with just a few words. Later, perhaps seventh or eighth grade, we studied the work of Langston Hughes and it hit me. Poetry is a voice captured on paper, one that can cry, scream, whisper, rejoice, even laugh within the confines of a page. That’s when I started exploring the craft of writing poetry. I’ve been writing it every since.
What kind of poetry do you write? I prefer free verse over rhyme, except when writing humorous verse for children (which is a lot of fun) but also like to dabble with form. Except the sestina. They make me want to pull out clumps of my hair as I write them, and I hate every sestina I’ve ever written. Every. Single. One. (which amounts to a total of two and still holding) I’ve recently discovered the tanka form and am having fun with it.
Please share a poem:
The Spinning of Wool
The last time the earth swallowed me whole
was the day a choir of angels flew,
singing their welcome song for you
as they gently lifted your eternal soul
from its earthly home to that celestial pole
where you, my old friend, begin life anew.
I remain with fond memories to carry me through,
to hold on to times shared, to help console,
but mostly, I am reminded what a fragile thread
life is, how we fail to recognize that time spins
the wool continuously, always growing thinner,
ready to snap at any given moment, the dead
then wrapped in pure heavenly skins,
no longer of earthly being, no longer sinner.
Name: Deb Scott
Location: Portland, Oregon and online
Blogs: Stoney Moss
How do you know Cara? We first “met” at the online poetry community Read Write Poem, and when that closed up shop in May 2010, we kept in touch at Big Tent Poetry, a different poetry site, one I also helped manage. Cara came to a “Big Tent” poetry reading at St Johns’ Booksellers in Portland and we met got to meet in person. I still remember that day, and it astounds me (although it shouldn’t) when life and words coalesces like that! All that online energy — and we share the same gorgeous Oregon air!
How long have you been writing poetry? I first wrote poetry in tender teen years, then found it again when I returned to college as a “mature adult” eight years ago. I wish there had not been word-less years between, but such is life, and I’m immersed in poetry now.
What kind of poetry do you write? I am most comfortable writing in free verse, and have a natural tendency to write condensed, short, abbreviated, concise poems, that are also fragmented and sometimes ambiguous. Nature frequently features, and I hope to be non-sentimental and use fresh language. It’s a goal I rarely obtain, but still I try. I also tend to write memoir-esque or confessional poems, but get bored with my own stories. I don’t tend to write formal verse, but would like to be able to write a decent sonnet. I think a good haiku is all one really needs in life, but love to read serial poems, or narrative poetry. And I love prose poems. Some of my favorite works I have read in the last few years have been long poems, such as Shannon: A Poem of the Lewis and Clark Expedition by Campbell McGrath or Lisa Olstein’s Lost Alphabet, a collection of prose poems that read like a strange and wonderful narrative.
Please share a poem:
Here’s one I wrote for the Read Write Poem community. It was later published in Ourboros Journal, and is one of my favorites. I used a talented poet’s line as an epigraph, a launch pad, although hers is very different and fabulous. (Please read Patricia Jabbeh Wesley’s poem, which is linked, below.)
There is no otherness/there is only otherness ... I and all the girls of the world learned to run wild too, like wild flowers, no, no, wild, like men. All the women of the world, becoming just men. -- Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, from "In the Beginning"
In becoming flesh we are
all soft lips, hard pricks
prickling soft we moan through closed
lips, pink mewling delights, we spit —
we split, so many skins dividing
so many cells clamoring to join.
You invade me with clear wings
touch me lightly and burrow deep
as if what you need is saturated
nectar or power or love or only heat.
I prod your vibrating tongue
motion you to come through
beaded curtains. They tinkle invisibly.
Who says only girls are flowers?
If some calculating statesmen set his pen
too far inside an ink well and dribbled
on the page, well then, he might be forgiven
but only out of sympathy, or mourning.
We are all flowers, pistils, pollen.
Waiting for another to linger.
Name: Daniel Ari
Location: Richmond, California, USA (near Berkeley)
Blogs: IMUNURI, cohosted with Scooter Cascadia. We post a prompt every Monday, and though the contributors list is currently closed, people can post responses in the comment section.
FightsWithPoems is my personal blog for a wider range of topics relating to poetry and writing, and is also more sporadic.
How do you know Cara? I met Cara on Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides blog, I think in April 2009.
How long have you been writing poetry? I’ve been writing since I was a wee one. My brother Phil and I produced one issue of “Ugly’s Illustrated,” a magazine for monsters. That was my first poetry publication. “Goblins coming down the hall. / Spiders creeping up the wall. / A ghost is singing a scary song, / and you won’t be alive for very long.”
I started writing in earnest in high school some time around my junior year, because of a difficult crush. By the time I graduated and got to college, I had formed the habit of keeping a poetry journal at all times, and I have been writing since then. It’s been about 28 years of devoted poetry practice.
In the mid-90s, I went through a phase of sending out poems for publication every week, and I landed about a dozen, though I found the results anticlimactic. A few contributors copies would come months later, but there was no reading or community. But I had a lot of friends who also wrote and I found and then formed writing groups from about 1997 through today. Between those sessions, now monthly, and the vibrant online poetry community at my blog and Poetic Asides, I feel very fulfilled by the practice.
What kind of poetry do you write? Any kind. I don’t limit myself. For a while there, I was devotedly writing queron, a 17-line form I developed, but then I wanted to find a way to write quicker and looser, with more storytelling, so I started doing that. I love rhyme and rhythm, but I often use these spices so subtlety that the poems might be taken for free verse. I enjoy writing from other perspectives, telling other people’s stories. I also like to explore the deep questions of ontology, spirit, and capital-l Life in poetry.
Mainly I like to think of poetry practice as a wide open field where I can do anything I can imagine. Every poem is something new.
Please share a poem:
“For Richardson Bay”
I’m going to spend the next part of my path
away from you. Farther away. It’s not
my choice. There’s good in it, but I’d rather
stay near. While I surge in and out on BART*
you’ll keep languishing in your endless bath.
Some extraordinary day when it’s hot—
it may be years from now—I’ll come across
the bridges to walk with you and visit
about those days and these days. Eight years passed
in your embrace, breathing your marshy breath.
When summer comes, how will I not miss you
in the city with all its distractions?
Union Square swamps with shoppers and tourists
making each day’s commercial commotion,
but there may be days or weeks I forget
the surge and suck of water in motion
though, so close, the bay kisses the ocean.
*Bay Area Rapid Transit
Name: Vinnie Kinsella
Location: Portland, OR
Blogs: I have my own site, Vinnie Kinsella Publishing Services, but it’s really my business site. I’m more inclined to direct people to Four and Twenty, but that’s not a showcase for my writing. I’m in the process of creating a site for my creative writing, but it’s still in the works.
How do you know Cara? We met through Four and Twenty, but we bump into each other elsewhere on the internet.
How long have you been writing poetry? I’ve been writing poetry since I was a child. I’ve been writing poetry I like sharing with others since I was in college.
What kind of poetry do you write? I write mostly short form poetry, such as haiku and poems in the Four and Twenty format.
Please share a poem:
1. An untitled haiku I wrote during NaHaiWriMo 2012.
three days in the coin-op —
2. “Blind Girl” (from “Poems in Transit,” a collection of poems I’m writing about taking the bus).
Her dogged companion
ignores her unsightly
haircut. The rest of us
3. An untitled haiku I wrote that won the “Awesome Sauce” award at High Coup Journal.
Two lines, one corner:
You and I converge.