sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

The Ripple Effect of Sharing Poetry

A monthly poetry, performance and literary event —
with featured authors and an open mic
Presented by The Eugene Poetry Foundation in conjunction with
Barnes & Noble Bookstore
Sunday, April 9, 2017, from 3-5 PM @ Eugene Barnes & Noble
Website: http://www.wordsongs.com/burnindownthebarnes
Barnes & Noble Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/258294591266050/

— This is a family friendly event —
Hosted by C. Steven Blue & Charles Castle

 

I’m a Featured Reader at this month’s Barnes & Noble Bookstore /  Eugene Poetry Foundation  “BURNIN’ DOWN THE BARNES !!” event. My co-reader is a brilliant high school freshman I’ve had the pleasure and honor of mentoring a bit over the past couple of years.

Decisions about what poems to read, arranging them in a good flow, balancing the deep and the funny ones, are a bigger task than the actual on-stage time. I’ve taught poetry classes, coached others on how to read aloud, emotion and emoting. Each time I’m involved in an event like this, I go back to Step 1 myself and take a deep breath.

We’ll each have half an hour to present our own work, followed by an hour of “open mic” time, where the audience can read their own poems. I’ve invited several shy poetic friends to attend, and consider reading.

It’s a terrific way to wade into the stream of sharing, and Eugene has one of the most amazing, supportive collection of people who listen well, encourage new poets (of all ages), and appreciate everyone’s efforts.

I love the writing relationship we have as the Poetic Muselings: the synergy, energy, creativity, aha! moments, insights, and fun. As I pull my collection together, I always ask each of my Sister Muselings for a poem to read. Our approaches to life are reflected in the material they contribute.

This year, in addition to her own poem, Anne sent me one that I’m going to lead with — reflecting a universal I wish I’d written.

It’s too good to keep to myself, and I want the world to learn about the poet, read her blog, and laugh at:

An Ode To The Overwhelmed

And as you stand there
Late again
Because you forgot to allow time to park
And the elevator was slow
And you left 10 minutes late to begin with

With your shoes that pinch
And your pants that are a little too small
Since you started eating white bread again

And as you paw through your bag
Looking for the suite number
That you’re not sure you wrote down to
begin with

Let us now praise you.

You, the untidy.
You, the careless.
You, the easily distracted by sparkly things.

The money you spend on late fees alone
Could feed a family in Africa – Which
reminds you that you meant to send in the
kids’ Unicef money and
Forgot.

And that despite your best efforts,
You rarely eat a square meal,
You almost never get enough sleep
And exercise seems like a word that
magazines have developed
Just to make you feel bad about yourself.

But you are good and brave.
You, flying by the seat of your pants
Making it work
Putting out fires
Saying your prayers
And dancing your dance of now and later and
maybe and
I’ll-have-to-call-you-back-on-that-could-you-
send-me-an-email-to-remind-me-to-call-you-
back-on-that?

As innocent as each morning’s sunrise,
You are a fount of good intentions.
Your good humor is as graceful as a baby
giraffe,
Even if that joke you were trying to make to
the hotel clerk fell flat
And your toast at the wedding came out
sounding a little…funny.

But you have gifts that no one knows about.

You have the strength to bend in the wind

You have the joyful spirit that loves a good
belly laugh,

You have the wisdom to understand that
everything will all come out all right in the
end and

You have the faith to light a candle rather
than curse the darkness.

That is, if you could find the book of
matches from that romantic restaurant that
you went to for your anniversary but since
you didn’t have a reservation they made you
wait at the bar for half an hour during which
you had two appletinis and the rest of the
night is a bit of a blur.

So much for the overpriced lingerie.

You are beautiful.

You are beautiful.

Frazzled and overworked and underpaid
You are the one who forgot your wallet
And forgot your receipt for the dry cleaners
And forgot your keys which you just set
down five seconds ago, so where could they
possibly have gone?

But you never forget to say, “I love you”

And you never forget to give a big smile to
that nice parking guy

And you never fail to show endless patience
when the
Too-tightly wrapped and overly-
conscientious start to offer their
Oh-so-helpful suggestions about how you
might feel better if you would just learn to
alphabetize your spice rack.

You are beautiful.

So, wear the lingerie on Monday for no
reason.
And why not just refuse to participate in the
bake sale this year?
And give yourself a compliment for
something you did well today.

Because you are the most beautiful person
I’ve ever known.

© 2014 Samantha Bennett
…. excerpted from her remarkably popular book: By The Way, You Look Really Great Today: Selected Poems by Samantha Bennett

Dive, don’t surf, her blog:  TheOrganizedArtistCompany.com.

Caveat: prepare to add your own verse to her poem, because, inevitably, you WILL end up missing something else going on in your life, but you’ll have an ever-so-good-reason-for-why . . .

Michele

 

 

 

 

Supporting Literacy

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend Fox Hills Elementary’s Literacy Night as a local poet. There was a nice variety of writers represented. The poet, the short story and article writer, the picture book author/illustrator, and the YA fantasy author. Also attending was the children’s librarian from our local library.

On my table, I set up a tri-fold board with a sign identifying me as a poet, as well as Chiaroscuro book cover and some sample poems, a few poems for kids, and my certificate for first place poetry from a local contest. For handouts, I had my Stego Stomp poem printed on fun paper for the kids, and postcards about Chiaroscuro for the parents.

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poetry tri-fold

There was a big turnout. I enjoyed the excitement about books in the air. The kids who stopped and took time to read my poem all enjoyed it. It was a big hit. One boy is even going to have his mom hang it on his bedroom wall. One goal of poetry is to share and create enjoyment, and I feel I succeeded.

chiaroscuro-postcards
There was even some genuine interest in my poetry book. One mom admitted she hasn’t read a poem since she was a teenager. Hopefully I encouraged her to revisit poetry. 

I ran out of the dino poem handout with about half hour left of the night, but even without it kids and parents were still reading poems from my board. What a great feeling hearing others read and enjoy my poems.

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Inspiration through Participation

My favourite poetry book

My favourite poetry book (Photo credit: Nick Kenrick . enuf protesting)

This being National Poetry Month, I challenged myself once again to writing more poetry. Last year I wrote a lot of new poetry, but didn’t make the goal of a new one every day. I followed one community’s challenge, and some days the prompt simply didn’t work for me or I tired out.

This year, I am following not one, but five challenges. The Poetic Asides blog is doing it’s annual Poem A Day challenge. I discovered the NaPoWriMo (National Poem Writing Month) blog which posts daily prompts. The 30 Day Challenge page on Facebook is another to write a poem a day. I also joined the A to Z blogging challenge, which means blogging every Monday through Saturday in April with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. And there’s the challenge on the Sims game forums again this year, but for a poem a week instead of one a day.

Last year I ended the month with 19 new poems. This year, I have written at least one poem every day. Some days more. With nine days to go, I already have 30 new poems! What really made a difference was having so many prompts to choose from. I could combine different prompts, or choose just one, or do something completely different. In addition to just the prompts, I met new bloggers and poets, and was inspired by their poems. It was from following a fellow blogger‘s AtoZ challenge that I learned about the Elfje poetry form, which in the few short days since I tried it has become a favorite.

Don’t limit yourself. It’s by broadening our horizons that we find inspiration. 

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Muse Con Learning: Facebook Fan Page

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One of the things I took from Muse Con this year was how to make use of an Author Page on Facebook, presented by C.J. Ellisson. I had always thought it wasn’t worth having an author page until I had a book to promote. C.J. pointed out that she created her page 16 months before her book came out, and already had 1600 followers by the time her first book released. That is amazing. And it does make sense, to create a reader base before I have something to sell.

An Author Page isn’t all about selling a book, it’s about sharing an interest, growing a reader community. I can share not only about my book, but fun memes for the genre, questions for discussion. Currently I’m building up to Halloween by talking about different paranormal creatures. I’ve also started Fairy Fridays, something for my followers to expect on a weekly basis.

Another important thing I learned was that your friends list, your family and peers, is not your target audience. That’s another reason to have a separate author or fan page. Send out an initial invite or notice, and let them make that choice to follow or not. Don’t keep spamming them with invites or book news.

My goal for this next month is to find some fantasy groups to join, where I can interact as my Author persona. Start contributing, get people familiar with my name. I’m not ready to promote through Facebook ads, which would take money, so I get to take full advantage of other organic ways to connect with readers.

If you’d like to join me on my journey, you can follow me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/MaryWJensenFanPage

 

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Sign up for the Muse Online Writers Conference Now!

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We are just over a week away from the 2013 Muse Online Writers Conference. For those unfamiliar with the conference, it’s a free week-long event with workshops and chats. The workshops are forum-based, so you can jump in and participate any time of day. The chats are scheduled throughout the week at various times (times listed are all Eastern US). Workshops can vary from daily exercises to Q&A to more of a casual chat about a topic.

There is something offered for nearly everyone. Whether you write fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, genre or otherwise. Sadly, there are no poetry workshops listed in the schedule at this time.

If you have a finished manuscript, there are pitch sessions with both agents and publishers. These are live chats. If you’re not already signed up, however, your pitch needs to be submitted by TOMORROW, September 30.  Check the website for more details.

Registration

For details on how to register, visit: http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com/muse_front/index.php/2013-registration. You do not have to register for individual classes. Just check in to the forums for anything that interests you.

The site is a new build, so returnees will want to ensure they have the most recent link, and test their log-in. All accounts should have been migrated from the old site. If you have problems, refer to this HELP page.

One note: The site says registration will be open until Oct 1, but I have it on good authority that you will be able to register up until the start of the conference on Oct 7. But don’t waste time, as you don’t want to hit a problem with registration by waiting until the last moment.

My Experiences with Muse Con

If you’re interested, you can read up on my experience from last year’s conference. I think this will be my sixth(!) conference.

I love Muse Con. It’s a great way for a writer like me, with limited budget, to network with my fellow writers and members of the industry, and work on my skills. I’ve pitched books, started new novels, strengthened existing writing, and generally had a lot of fun.

Our group emerged from this conference, we learned the tools to create our poetry collection LIFELINES. We pitched our book to publishers at a later Muse Conference, and it was during Muse Con that we got our acceptance letter. We owe the success of this group and our book to Muse Conference.

Some of the Workshops

One of the classes I’m interested about this year is Plotting With Scrivener. I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient with Scrivener. And even if you don’t own a copy, you can download the trial version to play with during the conference.

A few of the other 30+ workshops:

  • Breaking into the Homeschool Market
  • Horror and Paranormal Trends
  • Housekeeping for Writers
  • Introduction to ePublishing
  • Creating a Character
  • Plotting a Series

Hope to see you there!

Muse Online Writers Conference
October 7-13, 2013

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Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon turned tragic this past Monday when two bombs went off near the finish line of the race. Two of our kids were downtown when it happened. Both are, thank God, safe, but others were not so lucky. Our hearts go out to all.

Boston Marathon

Boston_Marathon_2010_in_Wellesley

Participants in the 2010 Boston Marathon in Wellesley, just after the halfway mark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blank page accuses me

but I’m wordless,
my mind stuck in the moment
I heard the explosion,

the second glass shattered,

viewing stands collapsed,
runners crashed to the street
from the bomb’s blast

A pressure cooker,
a timer,
nails and such

from the hardware store

Anyone could buy
at the Ace on the corner

put together in the garage.
No one would suspect a thing.

We have the method,
but not the motive:
neither who nor why,
and it leaves us wrecked.

We toss and turn,
wake at 2 AM,
imagined footsteps
clomp by our door.

Only a dream,

a stand-in for the worry
we are vulnerable,
fragile,

and anyone
with a few dollars,
a little know-how,
a stain on their soul,

could, in a moment,
change our lives forever.

 

 

 

The Mystery- Dealing with Grief

The  Mystery

By Lin Neiswender

You were the cutest thing
So happy with a simple toy like green grass
A carpet to comfort your feet
Leaves blowing down sidewalks

Yours to track  by scratchy sound
When  wind blew stone-cold
Sharing a snack with the rest of the pack

Barking fiercely while picking goodies
from kitchen trash bin with no one home
Quick to guard me like a Rottweiler

But actually just a Shetland Sheep dog
Who then dashes behind me for protection
Mysterious fur shiny white, gray, black and silver

White lion’s mane, stripes  on face, back, chest, feathers on legs
He could have been a show dog if he was a little shorter
You are a shy but beautiful boy

But I know that someday
We will meet again, all of us,
Humans and dogs and cats  and everyone

As we dance our way

 

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I had to put my sweet Sheltie Smokey to sleep last Saturday.When I saw the suffering in his eyes and it seemed to say Mom, please do something for me. So I did the right thing and had him put to sleep. Cancer has taken another of my sweet dogs. I’m across the Rainbow Bridge still expecting to see him when I first come in. When thoughts come like that, I know I can find comfort about my decision. He is out of pain. What a good dog he was. So now life goes on with me and the cat.

 

 

 

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Saleema and Persona poems

On February 5, I introduced Saleema, one of our workshop winners. I noted that Saleema was a winner in our Persona category. Today I’d like to share that winning poem with you, as well as a follow up poem she has since shared with us. In a Persona, the poet writes in the voice of another person or thing. As you’ll see below, Saleema really immersed herself in this challenge.

I choose Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi, a 13th century Sufi poet, as the voice for the assignment.

Following is a short clip about Rumi and his teacher Shams Tabrizi:

persian-miniature
“Shams-i-Tabrīzī… is credited as the spiritual instructor of Mewlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhi, also known as Rumi. Shams is referenced with great reverence in Rumi’s poetic collection, Diwan-i Shams-i Tabrīzī (The Works of Shams of Tabriz).

According to contemporary Sufi tradition, Shams Tabrizi mysteriously disappeared. Some say he was killed by close disciples of Mewlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi, who were jealous of the close relationship between Rumi and Shams. It is also said that Shams Tabrizi left Konya and died in Khoy, where he was buried. Sultan Walad, Rumi’s son, in his Walad-Nama mathnawi, just mentions that Shams mysteriously disappeared from Konya with no more specific details.

As the years passed, Rumi attributed more and more of his own poetry to Shams as a sign of love for his departed friend and master. In Rumi’s poetry Shams becomes a symbol of God’s love for mankind; Shams was a sun (“Shams” means “Sun” in Persian) shining the Light of God on Rumi.”

[Above Information is from Wikipedia]

Note: I used the speakers name (Jalāl ad-Dīn) at the end of the poem, because Sufi poets often mention their own names in their poetry.

My Sun

The night we met the full moon winked
You etched your heart onto my soul
We whirled like the planets in the sky
Your wine washed my stumbling feet
Each spin swept a part of me away

The day you left my heart’s sun set
Heaviness haunted every breath
Your prayer carpet felt forlorn
Bereft I twirled, alone, undone
Your guidance quit
without a glance, a hint, a word

Yet, while I longed for your return
Piece by piece
my heart began to burn
Whispered words thundered
through my throbbing core
Would you raise me above the sky,
then hide a Sun that lights the way?

No! Shams would not abandon
what he loves
A mother caringly shares her breast
when she hears her hungry child cry
Neglect is not my Shams’ way
So, I will surrender to your whim
Let all think Jalāl ad-Dīn’s alone again

Like a possum I’ll play dead
while your songs ring louder than before
with words so clear they’ll shutter nights
in notes that tell of all you taught
The Divan-i Shams-i Tabrizi
Takes me to untraveled heights
Where in the One, all reunite

Shams’ earthen form
Our Beloved’s ruse
Led Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi to Eternal Truth

By Saleema E. Giltinan 10-12-2012

The following poem was written as Sham’s answer to the poem written in Rumi’s voice (about Shams’ leaving).

NOTE: The dervish Shams-e Tabrizi had traveled throughout the Middle East searching and praying for someone who could “endure my company”.shams-tabrizi

A voice said to him, “What will you give in return?”
Shams replied, “My head!” The voice then said,
“The one you seek is Jalal ud-Din Rumi, of Konya.”

(Wikipedia/Mawlana and Shams by Sefik Can)

Al Noor: One of the 99 Name of Allah meaning Light, Enlightment
Al Mumeet: One of the 99 Names of Allah meaning “the bringer of death”.
The esoteric meaning of this Name is: The bringer of the first death,
the death to the world of illusion,
the death of the idea of separation and duality. Also known as “die before you die”.
Al Haqq: One of the 99 Names of Allah meaning “Truth, Reality”.

The Leaving  (In Sham’s Voice)
by Saleema E. Giltinan  (Copyright @ 12-12-2012)

Our yearning drew me back again
Al Noor revealed
Clandestine sight
We twirled, then rested
in Its sparks

Only you endured
my company
Reveled in my
sacred subtleties

Mumit’s roasting pot…
too bright for foes
One birth, one death,
that’s all they know

Our friendship fueled
Konya’s ire
Only holy hands
caress Love’s fire

My ways softened
as they stung
you alone coddled
my striking tongue

Affinity plants fondness
in earthy ground
I watched the leaving
lurk around

Quickening happened
You began to soar
Our destiny
at last fulfilled

Then time asked me
to pay the price
My head
a tumbled garnet gneiss

I turned to powder
in His hands
His breath sent me
where He willed

Separation plays
an ugly game
Al Haqq destroys
disquieting claims

My absence lit
your cooking pot
You died before death
tied its knot

Now whirl my son
His Light is Mine
Our steps are One
Our paths entwined

Spin until we are no more!

Thank you again, Saleema, for really embracing this form, and for allowing us to share your work here.

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Spotlight on Saleema

Today we are featuring another of our Muse Conference workshop participants. During the week of our workshop, we challenged poets to write three different forms. We chose winners for each, and Saleema’s “My Sun” was clearly one of the best in the Persona form.

We are happy to have Saleema joining us today, to look back on her experience during the Muse Con, and share some of her poetry. And now I’m going to turn the floor over to her.

Mary

On the Muse Conference experience

You asked me what I liked about [the Muse Online Writers Conference].  I have to say everything.  The conference is full of talented, generous writers, who go out of their way to be helpful and share their skills.  I must admit that the poetry workshop took up most of my time this year.  I’m not one of those poets who likes to write quickly.  I often get inspirations, write them out in my notebook, and then type the notes (my rough draft) on the computer. After all this, I begin to sculpt the poem.  I edit, tweak, research, and edit some more. For me writing is a quiet, internal process that even my humorous poems go through.   So, given my immersion in anything I write, it’s always a challenge finding enough time to participate in all the conference workshops that catch my interest.  The Muse Conference is boiling over with gallons and gallons of things to do, to learn, to write, to comment on, to correct, etc.   It’s a wonderful whirlwind of activity and learning.  So, I would have to say that the hardest thing about the Muse Conference for me, is having to accept that there’s only 24 hours in a day, and then pick my workshops very carefully.  I’m so grateful that Lea keeps the forums up, so I can go back and catch up on everything I missed.  That extra time gives us all the opportunity to work at our own pace and keep learning after the conference has officially ended.  I enjoy my catch-up time in the forums almost as much as the conference.

The 2012 Conference was the first one to offer a weeklong poetry workshop… and it was fantastic!  The critiques were great, and the spot on comments really helped me take my writing to another level.   The assignments were enjoyable, though I have to admit, I ended up getting engrossed in the one that asked us to write a poem in another’s voice.  I could have spent the entire workshop delving into that assignment.  It was such fun and really helped me recognize the intricacies of my own voice.  Actually, I’m still experimenting with that form.

I can say, in all honesty, that the Muse Poetry Workshop was one of the best I’ve ever taken.  The level of feedback from the moderators and the workshop attendees was professional and insightful.

A Sample of Poetry by Saleema E. Giltinan

Wearers of Wool

Living in the mountainssunset

far from the tower of Babel,
Peak Dwellers fly to the sun
gathering beams to shine
in the valley of snows.
Their points of view glow
with eternal verities
that enlighten all
who wish to see.

Who’s in Control?

Thoughts jump like frogsfreeimages.co.uk photos of objects

plunging, swimming, floating
in deep and shallow ideas.
They are like TV shows
and radio broadcasts.

When their production
turns into a horror fest,
a fear mongering symphony,
or ridiculous repetitions,
simply change the channel.

Cultivating Change

Delve like a mole,
dig deep, deep, deeper;
tunnel through the soil
of elemental thought.
Craft passageways;
some will curve or spiral,
others will be straight
with narrow paths.
Roots of conditioning
groan, as you
toss them aside
Dig, dig, dig, far below
surface appearances.
Remember, when you’re
tired, respite can be found
in the silent spaces
between your thoughts.

delving-deep

Universe Infinity

About Saleema

Saleema E. Giltinan

Saleema E. Giltinan

Education: I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.

I’ve traveled extensively and spent several years living in India, journaling and studying eastern spiritual traditions.  I have been a spiritual teacher for over twenty-five years.  My favorite writing genre is poetry, although I also write inspirational non- fiction.   My spiritual path inspires my poems.  I enjoy writing poetry because metaphors and poetic stories provide a wonderful format to express spiritual concepts.  The language of symbols is expansive and can speak to many different levels of consciousness.  I love mixing symbols with practical day-to-day experiences as I craft my poems.

Publications:  Other Sheep Magazine published one of my poems.  I actually met the editor at the 2011 Muse Conference, pitched the poem, and got it published.

Thank you, Saleema, for taking our workshop, for the courage to share and grow, and for joining us here on our blog.

If you missed it, read the first post in our workshop participants series.

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Make Visible: The Muse Online Writers Conference

write-picThe Muse Online Writers Conference

The next MuseCon will be held October 8-14,2012.

Although registration for this fabulous and free online writers conference isn’t open yet, it soon will be.

The Poetic Muselings will be hosting a poetry workshop at the 2012 Muse Online Writers Conference!!!

Hope to see you there!

Just read this Mission Statement! (from the website, home address is:  http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com/joom/)

 

Mission

 

Our Online Writers Conference is aimed to offer you, the writer, whatever resource we can to give you the opportunity to enhance and improve your craft, to offer the opportunity to make contacts to reach that next level all writers seek – publication!

Our vision for organizing this online and very FREE writers conference as an annual event is to bring the writing world a bit closer for you. I understand many writers out there do not have the monetary resources to attend face-to-face conferences, or perhaps they are situated far, and even some writers may be incapacitated making it difficult for them to travel.

Within the world of the Internet, everything is possible and with this in mind we offer you this chance to come out, chat with our Presenters, ask them questions and even attend a few of our FREE workshops to be held throughout the week.

And remember…this is a smoke-free environment.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at:

lea at themuseonlinewritersconference dot com

 

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

 

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”~Robert Bresson, French Film Director

 

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