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Where The Poets Live
August 06, 2009
Hello Poets and Poetry Lovers

This week I have a guest author. Kent Flowers shares his insights into the writing life - at home and away - in his memoiric short titled "Where The Poets Live". I think you'll enjoy what Kent has to say.

I was preparing a few surprises for you, but a few snags caused a delay. I'll just have to hit you up with them later. Be on the lookout!

Meanwhile, there are some new features to the website and toolbar, including a new Twitter chapbook - from gay poet M. Kei of Chesapeake Bay. There's a sampling of his poems in this issue as well. Enjoy!

Table of Contents

  1. Where The Poets Live
  2. New Publications
  3. American Life In Poetry - My Motherís Pillow
  4. Poetry Book Review: Poems For The Utopian Nihilist
  5. The Heart Of A Sailor - poems by M. Kei
  6. New World Class Poetry Blog Posts
  7. Poetry Book Of The Month
  8. Classified Ads
  9. Are You Subscribed?
  10. World Class Poetry Networking


Where The Poets Live

By Kent Flowers

I find myself contemplating the mechanisms that drive my creative endeavors, and how it is that I am writing more in Mexico than I usually do at home. Not being very prolific, my usual method is to wait for a kernel of inspiration to pop into my head and then start writing until the idea comes to fruition. That does not mean I am finished with the work. It only means my vessel is empty. If I have to plod along after the creative spark is extinguished, my labors are not as satisfactory to me. I suppose that points to a lack of discipline and craft. Should I wait for inspiration to strike or should I expand from inspiration through the sweat of craft?

My poetry writing, for example. From time to time I have gone to poetry writing workshops with a well-known poet who teaches at Wayne State University. After I read my work, the other workshop participants and leader comment on my verses. The feedback I get is that the content is powerful, but the form does not follow any of the rules for good writing. This I know already.

I respond by saying the traditional academic format does not convey the content and emotion as expressively as the free form that I embrace. That is what I tell them.

Of course, the real reason is that I am just too lazy and obstinate to learn the rules, preferring to bend the detractors to my will. Perhaps I should buy a book on poetry writing, or take a class. Or perhaps I should give up and admit that poetry is not my forte.

Here in Mexico, many more ideas come to me, and I believe it is because I am in a new environment. Living is more of a challenge and I have to think about scores of things that I would take for granted back home such as how to get my laundry done, use the sink, or fill the car with gas. Imagination and creativity come with the most basic needs and the environment demands greater attentiveness and better observational skills.

Perhaps that is the reason some writers seek adventure and experience. It stirs the mind and adds unique perspective and insight to both their normal lives at home and the different ways people live in far off places. Observations about what the similarities and differences in human nature across geographic and cultural boundaries can be made. Those insights provide fodder for the mind as Mother Nature provides inspiration to the heart. A sunrise over a mountaintop when you normally live as a flat lander is awesome to see, stirring up feelings that must be expressed if the muse lives within you.

I think I will see things differently when I return, and expand my worldview. The routines in my life may not seem routine anymore, if I look at them through the eyes of a foreigner. Things I take for granted will become more precious to me, both because I am thankful to have them and because I had to live without them for at least a short while.

I wonder if the newness will wear off here in Mexico. Will I begin to take things for granted again, once experiences have been cataloged in my brain, hardwired into my synapses so the paths to my actions require less imagination? I hope not, but I believe it will take a conscious effort to always see things as something new, working my brain overtime to create new chemical pathways between the hemispheres of my mind and intellectual pathways between the hemispheres of earth and heaven. That is where the poets live.

Author Bio: Kent Flowers is an Electrical Engineer, a writer, poet, and musician. "One pays the bills and one gives me thrills" he says. Flowers is 50 years old and lives in the Detroit, MI area.

New Publications

There are two new publications to World Class Poetry's list of publications that publish poetry. Check out:

    Anastomoo - An online journal in continuous publication; and
    Eat Your Words - A bi-weekly journal looking for food-related literature.

Learn more about these two journals on the World Class Poetry Publications page.


American Life In Poetry:
Column 228

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I donít often mention literary forms, but of this lovely poem by Cecilia Woloch I want to suggest that the form, a villanelle, which uses a pattern of repetition, adds to the enchantment I feel in reading it. It has a kind of layering, like memory itself. Woloch lives and teaches in southern California.

My Motherís Pillow

My mother sleeps with the Bible open on her pillow;
she reads herself to sleep and wakens startled.
She listens for her heart: each breath is shallow.
 
For years her hands were quick with thread and needle.
She used to sew all night when we were little;
now she sleeps with the Bible on her pillow
 
and believes that Jesus understands her sorrow:
her children grown, their father frail and brittle;
she stitches in her heart, her breathing shallow.
 
Once she even slept fast, rushed tomorrow,
mornings full of sunlight, sons and daughters.
Now she sleeps alone with the Bible on her pillow
 
and wakes alone and feels the house is hollow,
though my father in his blue room stirs and mutters;
she listens to him breathe: each breath is shallow.
 
I flutter down the darkened hallway, shadow
between their dreams, my mother and my father,
asleep in rooms I pass, my breathing shallow.
I leave the Bible open on her pillow.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2003 by Cecilia Woloch, whose most recent book of poetry is Narcissus, Tupelo Press, 2008. Reprinted from Late, by Cecilia Woloch, published by BOA Editions, Rochester, NY, 2003, by permission of Cecilia Woloch. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Poetry Book Review:
Poems For The Utopian Nihilist

Not many poets can boast of having started their own school of poetics. But Milo Martin can.

Martin's Utopian Nihilist school of poetics is defined by the concrete definitions of the two words within that name. Utopian = a belief in an ideal society; Nihilist = someone who believes all existence if futile or that all belief systems are moral and absolute failures. If the irony of the apparent contradiction hits you square in the face, that's because it was intended to be.

Read the rest of the review

The Heart Of A Sailor -
poems by M. Kei

New in the World Class Poetry Toolbar this month is a chapbook by M. Kei. A volunteer skipjack on a sailing vessel in the Chesapeake Bay, you'll find M. Kei's tanka poems to be as full of passion as they are nature and beautiful language. This book is full of poems published on Twitter and is only available with the World Class Poetry Toolbar. Here's a sampling from the book:

    "do what you love"
    but who will pay me
    to idle my days
    in a wooden hull
    on a lazy river?
    autumn growing colder,
    respectability 
    loses its allure-
    I dream of
    being a pirate king
    the wind sings
    a threnody in the
    harp-strung rigging;
    dead mariners
    rise in answer

As you can see, M. Kei's images can be striking and poignant. Download the toolbar and enjoy the chapbook in full.

Also, two other new additions to the World Class Poetry Toolbar include The Cleave Magazine and The Chapbook Review. Both of these are great online publications. Download the World Class Poetry Toolbar now.


New World Class Poetry Blog Posts

Enjoy these latest blog posts from World Class Poetry Blog

Interested in guest blogging? Get the details here.

Poetry Book Of The Month

This month's poetry book of the month is "Poems For The Utopian Nihilist" by Milo Martin.

Martin has a unique style of writing that is decidedly postmodern and anti-establishmentarian. You'll find strong influences by the Beats, Walt Whitman, and the avant garde in his work. Some will like it, some won't. But I think it has merit so try it out.

Classified Ads

Write For Us

World Class Poetry is looking for writers. Help us grow. Learn more here.

Dark Poetry

The Flayed Man, by Phillip A. Ellis. Dark poetry for lovers of darker poetry. $8 postpaid, $14 postpaid outside the USA. http://www.gothicpress.com/

My Forever

My Forever by Kevin Ross is now available for purchase. Go to WWW.NXDUO.COM for a short synopsis of the book and don't forget that Sounds Like My Beating Heart is still available for your enjoyment as well.

Joyful In Discovery

Announcing the launching of poetry website joyfulindiscovery.com. This website is devoted to a selection of poems written by published Jamaican poet RLC McFarlane who has been creating beautiful verse for over 50 years. We hope you enjoy them as much as he has enjoyed writing them.

Call For Submissions

Call for Submission for African American female poets. Guidelines: http://akiliamina.com/1_11_Anthology.html

The Poetry Of Courage

Today, we need courage to survive. The Poetry Of Courage is a collection of poems meant for anyone in search of the strength that lies inside.

What can you say in 50 words? It better be a lot because that's all you have to state your message in Hyperbole e-zine classified ads. Publish your announcement free. Get the details here.

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