Poet Showcase: Deb Scott

Name: Deb Scott
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.

April Poet Showcase

For three years now, I have participated in at least one daily poetry writing challenge in April, in honor of National Poetry Month. It was a great way to kick start my writing, and make new friends in the process. As this April approached however, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the idea of taking on yet another daily writing challenge. In the first place, I have been doing this for three consecutive months now, and am ready for a break! And in addition, now that I am regularly writing and submitting haiku, tanka, haibun, and rengay to journals, I feel like trying to write to daily prompts can sometimes become a distraction. So I sat back and gave some thought to what I could do this April. And the answer came to me at once.

I have met so many creative poets over the last few years. Why not showcase them, and in the process, learn a bit more about my poetry friends, many of whom I have not yet met in person. So I sent out a short list of questions, one of which is how they met me. I have been involved in many online poetry writing communities, including the Four and Twenty journal– the first place my poetry was published– Poetic Asides, Read Write Poem, Big Tent Poetry, Shiki Kukai, Sketchbook Kukai, Caribbean Kigo Kukai, NaHaiWriMoand most recently, I Doodle, You ‘KuAgain and again I see many of the same names popping up in various poetry publications and communities, and new ones being added all the time. So this April, I will be showcasing many of my poetry friends in guest blog posts, and hope you will follow along.

Just to whet your appetite, here is the line up, for the first two weeks, in order of appearance. (And if you haven’t sent in your answer to my questions yet, please do!)

Week 1: Kirsten Cliff, Cassie Premo Steele, Laurie Kolp, Terri L. French, Margaret Chula, Michael Dylan Welch, and Curtis Dunlap

Week 2: Aubrie Cox, Margaret Dornaus, Alegria Imperial, Gillena Cox, Angie Werren, Christina Nguyen, and Johannes S.H. Bjerg

So with no further ado…


I discovered the VoiceCatcher collective two-and-a-half years ago, when I was still predominantly a writer of prose. I submitted two prose pieces to VoiceCatcher 4. Neither was accepted, but with the second, I received a really thoughtful page of feedback for improving the story. I edited both stories, and the first one (“The Tao of Laundry”) ended up in a Cup of Comfort for Mothers, while the second (“The Power of Music”) won the first Chicken Soup for the Soul Wednesday Giveaway Contest.  Still, the VoiceCatcher stories and poetry tended to be a bit edgier than either of the above, so I did not submit at all in 2010, instead re-grouping. This was also the year I turned mostly first to general poetry, posted on Poetic Asides, Read Write Poem, and Big Tent Poetry, and then haiku. So when submissions for VoiceCatcher rolled around in February of this year, I was undecided on whether or not to attempt submitting again, and if so whether to go with poetry or prose. Finally, I decided to submit haibun, a form that had long intrigued me, but that I had only recently begun to write. And my haibun (“30 Degrees from the Horizon”) was accepted! I had the pleasure last night, of reading it aloud to a roomful of other women writers/poets/artist and collective members, at the book launch party for VoiceCatcher 6, an anthology I am truly proud to be a part of!

A limited run of VoiceCatcher 6 is available at Wordstock, any of the VoiceCatcher readings, Powells (Burnside and Hawthorne only), and New Seasons Markets, or it may be ordered directly from VoiceCatcher.

All proceeds support the VoiceCatcher mission:

“VoiceCatcher is a non-profit collective that nurtures women authors and artists in the Portland/Vancouver area and strengthens the local creative community by offering publishing opportunities, educational grants, and respectful editorial guidance.”

September Recap

Okay, so the weekly book reviews this summer didn’t quite pan out. The best laid plans always have a way of sounding better on paper than in reality. And having regular days for regular posts didn’t work so great either. I guess I just blog when I have something to say! But my new idea, is once a month to do a regular post of my kukai submissions/results and another of my writing accomplishments for the month. That much I think I can do. Here’s a list of my September writing accomplishments, in a nutshell:

  • Submitted three haiku to the September/October Sketchbook “fall trees” haiku thread.
  • Submitted to the September “leaves falling” Shiki Kukai (still awaiting results).
  • Took 1st place in the 17th Caribbean Kigo Kukai with my “bluebird” haiku.
  • Had a short essay appear the Oregonian special Komen section and on OregonLive, along with a (even briefer) quote on OregonLive.
  • Had a tanka  entitled “love” appear in the Read Write Poem NaPoWriMo anthology.
  • Won 2nd place in the Write On! Online Summer Challenge with my fiction story “Love at 30,000 Feet”.
  • Had a post “Without Pay” appear in the summer 2010 Oregon Humanities magazine.
  • Had a poem “End of Year Blues” be selected for the Top Ten list in the Poetic Asides monotetra challenge.
  • Was selected as WOW! Women on Writing Facebook Fan of the Week. (Bio and accompanying photos to appear this Sunday.)
  • And put plenty more writings into the pipeline, including submitting to a haiku contest, a query contest, a haiku journal, a hint fiction contest and  an essay contest.

All in all, a good month for writing!

2010 napowrimo #29

Fun prompt today on Read Write Poem. We were to take ten newspaper headlines and select elements from them to create our own event to write a poem about. I couldn’t resist. I took the headline “Better without the bigger?” (actual article is about Portland Public Schools), combined it with “My little, possibly record-setting pony” (which really is about a miniature 14″ pony) and came up with the following:

Better, Not Bigger

Scientists today have been successful
in crossing a Polly Pocket
with a My Little Pony,
resulting in a new breed
they are calling My Pocket Pony.

At only ¼ inch high,
scientists are hailing this new breed
as a tremendous breakthrough
adding that the goal of
“a pony in every pocket”
is now within reach in our lifetime.

When asked “Why this new breed?”
a spokesperson simply replied,
“Because we can”.

2010 napowrimo #28

I lost my beloved father two years ago today. It is these anniversaries that are the most difficult– they catch you by the throat and force you to take notice. Two years  have come and gone. Time has softened the edges of my grief, but the sorrow is always there, just beneath the surface. Perhaps my poem is a little sad today, reflecting the wistfulness I am feeling. I can’t quite tell.

C’est la Vie

For three days now, a little songbird—
perhaps a wren—has been banging his head
against my window. Something elusive
is drawing him to it, either a misguided
sense of direction, or an intense desire
to want what he can’t have. My heart
goes out to him, this little bird, yet
I’m powerless to intervene. The way
I see it, either he will eventually
knock himself senseless, or finally
realize the futility of his efforts,
and redirect his flight pattern.
Such is life.

I wrote the blog post In Memoriam to dad, last year on this date.

2010 napowrimo #27

Today’s prompt for Read Write Poem was to have some fun with an acrostic poem, starting with a word that’s part of us. What could be more a part of me than my name. 🙂

Cara Holman

Crazy to have started not one, but two PAD
adventures. Words are consuming her life. She’s
ready to wrap and move on,
and yet…

Having begun, she can’t stop now. Focused
on the goal of finishing in style, she
lopes on, carrying the poetic torch, hoping that
maybe her best poem to date is just
around the bend. Perhaps so, perhaps
not, but persevere, she will.

2010 napowrimo #26

The Read Write Poem prompt today was to rework a poem we had abandoned. I went back in time to a poem I was working on right after I completed my cancer treatment, and reworked it top to bottom. I tried to make it less judgmental, but not sure if I succeeded. As always, I welcome feedback.

Roll the Dice

It’s a game any number can play.
It comes with no instructions
and few rules and the ones there are
can mostly be expressed in the negative:
don’t steal, don’t cheat, and if you do,
don’t get caught. Money is part of the game
as is status and power,
and a whole host of other intangibles,
which you’ll learn as you go along.
It’s a game of strategy, with a good deal
of luck thrown in as well. Some say
it is mostly luck. The object of the game
is to stay on the board as long as possible.
Ready to play? Let’s roll.

2010 napowrimo #25

I got lucky on this one. The prompt was to take the first words or sentence we heard after reading this prompt, and build a poem around it. The first sentence I heard (from a movie in the next room!) was “You’ve got a criminal mind.” That immediately sparked this:

A Criminal Mind

I want to steal a moment in time,
just a single moment.
No one will miss it— I swear.
A moment that I can lose myself in,
a moment where I can do anything I want to,
or nothing at all,
a moment to reflect, ponder, laugh, cry,
wonder, dream, sing, dance,
shout out loud, whisper softly,
or all of the above.

A moment to carve out and capture in amber,
a moment that I don’t have to account for, ever,
a moment that I will guard jealously,
and always treasure,
a single moment to call my own. Someday,
I don’t know when,
I will return this moment, unharmed,
with compound interest— I swear.