March is my birthday month and I have been given two unexpected but very appreciated gifts this month - publication in two stellar collections of poetry and story. Wow, what a privilege!
On March 11th, the Ohio Poetry Association launched its anthology, A Rustling and Wakening Within, a collection of ekphrastic poetry by Ohio poets, edited by Sharon Fish Mooney. This week, the Women of Appalachia Project released the chapbook, Women Speak, edited by Kari Gunter-Seymour. These two editors have worked tirelessly to produce works of quality. I am both humble and proud to be included in both.
For those who are unfamiliar with ekphrastic poetry, it is poetry based on another form of art, like a painting or piece of music. On the OPA website (https://sites.google.com/a/ohiopoetryassn.com/the-ohio-poetry-association/home) you will find additional information and see a link to the artwork referenced in the anthology.
The Women in Appalachia (www.womenofappalachia.com/women_speak.htm) poets are selected each year by jurors and agree to give presentations in the region to represent Appalacian women and their strength, intelligence, diversity and resiliency; to break the stereotype and celebrate who they are.
I hope you will consider purchasing one or both of these quality publications. Here are the links:
Women of Appalachia
Exciting news! I am honored to have been chosen as a reader in the 2016/2017 "Women Speak", Women of Appalachia events. Here is a link to the details, time and place of the various events, and the list of amazing women who will be reading alongside me. Hope those of you in the region can attend one of these. I think it's going to be fabulous!
"Cold" Poems to Warm Your Heart
It's my tradition (and pleasure) to peruse my local indie bookstore for books as one of the presents for each of my grandchildren at Christmas time. Their insistence upon growing up makes the choices more difficult with each passing year, but luckily I still have some younger ones for whom I can purchase a beautifully illustrated picture book. The manager, Lois, always has a fabulous find for me and this year was no exception.
One of her recommendations was Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman & Rick Allen, published by HMH Books for Young Readers (November 4, 2014). This duo teamed up to produce the 2011 Newbery Honor Award winner, Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night, combining scientific facts about night creatures with stunning illustrations and hauntingly lyrical verse. I was happy to see their new 2014 release continued this theme with the same quality of line and art.
Being a beekeeper's helpmate, the first poem I turned to was "Winter Bees".
We are an ancient tribe,
a hardy scrum.*
Sidman's words catch the hum and feel of the hive deep in its tree trunk home, keeping the heat on by the act of "shivering" - which keeps it a balmy 92 degrees, by the way. Her vocabulary is picturesque but not difficult for the age group - don't you love the word, "scrum"?
However, my favorite poem was "Brother Raven, Sister Wolf". Having been a wolf watcher for many years, this poem took my heart. She portrayed the relationship of bird and canine as I have often imagined it to be. Although not exactly friends, they have been observed to be of great use to one another in finding and providing something to eat - though they often squabble in the process.
Silver winged thief,
Yellow eyed snarler,
Other subjects in the book are voles, chickadees, and even a triolet on the lowly skunk cabbage, a plant I eagerly look for in late winter. I highly recommend this lovely, lovely picture book not only for the young ones in your life, but for you and anyone who loves nature, poetry and the treasures of the winter season. Ms. Sidman also hints of the promise of spring, for as she says in "Chickadee's Song",
winter doesn't last forever.
Hopefully, the team of Sidman and Allen (his linoleum block prints are truly amazing) will continue to give us more enjoyable collaborations. Bravo!
*Book cover and quotations from poems with permission of Ms. Sidman.
Poems, Art and Food
Recently, I was asked to display some of my poetry at the Johnson-Humerickhouse Museum in Roscoe Village, Coshocton, Ohio. The exhibit is called "Local Bounty" and features local artists celebrating locally grown food. Holli Rainwater, a local haiku poet, and I were asked for written works relating to this theme.
Since locally grown food and sustainable living is near and dear to my heart, I was thrilled to have them display my work among the stunning visual art by our talented local artists. The exhibit runs through January 4, 2015. Do try to make the exhibit if you are in the area. If you go to my "Poems and More" page, you will find the poem, "Kale" - one of the poems in the exhibit.
Of course, ekphrastic poetry-descriptions and interpretations, in poems, of works of art-is the true meld of visual art and poetry. The Ohio Poetry Association is doing a series of fine workshops this year all around the state in various museums. I attended one at the Columbus Museum of Art with Terry Hermsen (I adore Terry) and they recently held one at the Cleveland Museum of Art with Clarissa Jakobson. Check out the OPA website for the next one and consider attending - it is worth your time.