Treasuring Poetry 2023 – Meet poet and author Andrew McDowell and a review #poetry #bookreview #Treasuring Poetry

Which famous poet has influenced your poetry the most?

When I was young, I admired William Shakespeare. I was impressed with how he used words to convey emotions and ideas, and I wanted to follow his example. In my junior year of high school, I participated in a Poetry Out Loud contest where we had to recite a poem. I chose Sonnet XVIII (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) and won third place. The Shakespearean sonnet was the first poetic form I tried to consistently write in beyond regular rhyming lines. It would not be until college that I began branching out to other forms and eventually free verse.

Which poem that you’ve read has impacted the way you see things in life?

This was a tough one, but one poem that has impacted me is Robert Frost’s famous “The Road Not Taken.”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

In what way has this poem influenced your viewpoint?

Most people interpret it as about making new trails, which is how I interpreted it as a child. Many times, when I’ve been walking, when I took a turn different from the norm, the last three lines presented themselves in my mind.

However, I’d heard that interpretation is accurate, so I looked it up, and to my surprise, it’s true. Frost wrote it as a joke regarding his friend and colleague Edward Thomas, who often hiked with him and had trouble deciding which way to go. The poem is not only about how choices we make determine where we go in life, but also that we often look back and wonder whether we’ve made the right choice. Though I did not grow up with that interpretation, I have found it to be true and profound.

Perhaps Frost’s way of telling poetry influenced me, too; I remember a professor in college, who taught a poetry class I was in, observed that I liked to end poems with a meaning or lesson, drawing a parallel to Frost.

What is your favorite of your own poems?

This was another tough one, because several have special meaning to me. But of those I have published so far, one that deeply resonates is “Lonely Wolf,” which appeared in the 2019 Spring Edition of And I Thought Literary Magazine. It was written in college as a failed attempt at a pantoum, but after a few rejections, I rewrote it as a villanelle. It speaks to the loneliness I have felt—socially and romantically.

I am a lonely wolf who walks at night.

Amongst the tall pine trees and heavy snow,

Hear my cry to the half-moon shining bright.

***

Young once within a den huddled tight.

The years passed and sadly I had to go.

I am a lonely wolf who walks at night.

***

Embarking for the greatest peak tonight,

There shall I convey my long-held sorrow.

Hear my cry to the half-moon shining bright.

***

Though many have come within my sight,

Why they stand distant I can never know.

I am a lonely wolf who walks at night.

***

Winter’s bitter cold reigns in silent might.

Dark silence only brings light to my woe.

Hear my cry to the half-moon shining bright.

***

Here I stand alone on this rocky height.

Here I do bay up where countless stars glow.

I am a lonely wolf who walks at night.

Hear my cry to the half-moon shining bright.

What’s next for you in your writing career?

My focus right now is fiction. My fantasy novel Mystical Greenwood came out in a new edition, so my primary goal is to complete the sequel. I do have many unpublished poems, so I want to keep an eye out for publishing opportunities. A volume of poetry isn’t out of the question—if I can find a unifying theme (my poems touch on many unique ones).

About Andrew McDowell

Andrew McDowell became interested in writing at age 11, inspired by childhood passions for stories and make-believe. By the time he was 13, he knew he wanted to be a writer. He studied at St. Mary’s College and the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association.

In addition to his fantasy novel Mystical Greenwood, Andrew has written poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction, and he is interested in writing drama and lyrics. He was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, when he was 14.

Find Andrew McDowell

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Tumblr | Goodreads | Amazon

Review of Mystical Greenwood

What Amazon says

Dermot is a fifteen-year-old boy living in a remote village in the land of Denú. He has always longed for something more in his life. Now, everything changes after he sees a renowned creature–a gryphon–in the sky, and then crosses paths with a reclusive healer who harbors a secret.

Soon, he and his brother have no choice but to leave the only home they’ve ever known. They travel with new friends across the land through several great forests, along the way meeting an old man, a family of unicorns, and witnessing an important birth. They must evade fire-breathing dragons and dark-armored soldiers hunting them down, all serving an evil sorcerer determined to subjugate the kingdom, and who will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Denú’s only hope is if a renowned coven returns to face the enemy after years in hiding. Dermot, however, suspects their own role may be more significant than he thought, as he slowly discovers a power which exists amongst the trees and creatures of every greenwood. Can they save those they hold dear? Will Dermot find what he has sought? Or will all that’s free and good be consumed by darkness?

My review

Andrew McDowell has written an extraordinary fantasy tale which centres around the guardians of nature and the Greenwood, called driadors. The plot follows a typical good versus evil path, but the overlay of the protection versus the destruction of the natural environment was unusual, topical, and really fantastic.

Dermot and his brother, Brian, do not get on. Brian is the son who always does as he is asked by his parents and fits the mould of a pleaser, while Dermot is a dreamer and has always felt he was intended for more than his life as an apprentice blacksmith to his father. The rivalry between the two boys comes to a head when Dermot is carried away by a hunting gryphon. Dermot persuades the gryphon to drop him but he is injured during his fall. He wakes up in the care of a healer called Saershe, and her grandson, Ruairi. Dermot realises that they are not ordinary forest dwellers and, following his return home, he becomes obsessed with finding them again.

Brian becomes aware that Dermot has had some sort of unusual experience during his absence and uses this knowledge to stir up trouble for Dermot with their parents. Meanwhile, an evil force in the shape of a fallen driador called Taranis, is lurking just beyond the village, waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc and destruction and restart an old battle against the driadors. Dermot and Brian will have to learn to trust and rely on each other, and harness the power of nature if they want to save the Greenwood, their friends, family, and themselves.

This is an unusual and well paced story with interesting characters, and these elements more than makes up for the odd moments in the book when Dermot and Brian’s emotional reactions to situations seem slightly lacking in depth or incongruent to the circumstances.

The author has great potential as a writer and I would love to read the next book in this series and find out what happens next in the battle for control between Taranis and the driadors.

Purchase Mystical Greenwood

Amazon US

Andrew McDowell Amazon Author Page

My review of As the World Burns: Writers and Artists Reflect on a World Gone Mad

What amazon says

As the World Burns: Writers and Artists Reflect on a World Gone Mad is an anthology of poetry, prose, essay, and art inspired by the unprecedented events of the year 2020. It embraces fierce and raw creative works relating to life during the Covid-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter, Donald Trump, and the economic uncertainty and horror of the last eight months. One hundred and fourteen writers and artists spanning ten countries and 30 states are represented in this powerful volume. It is both a story of survival and an act of resistance.

“We speak with many voices, to the damage wrought in these violent, fevered months. Let us never forget or turn away, from what is just, what is necessary, to keep light alive in this world.”

My review

This is an interesting recording by numerous contributors, of the status of the world and society in the run up to the Covid lockdowns, and during the subsequent on-going pandemic. The writings, which comprise of mainly poetry, but also some essays and visual art pieces, also cover events that ran parallel to the lockdowns and pandemic that had an impact on society and politics.

Reading this anthology is an adventure as the messages are intense and vivid and the styles of writing hugely varied due to the significant number of contributors. Although not all the styles of poetry appealed to me, they were all memorable due to the strong emotional messaging, and well worth reading.

My favourite poems are as follows: Falls the Shadow by John W. Leys, I Think the Birds don’t Care by Kelsey Hontz (the words “Somebody has mixed up the two themes of apocalypse and paradise, which would be a fireable offense if anybody were still in the director’s chair for this year of hindsight.” really resonated with me.), Lately by L. Stevens, Quarantine by Andrew McDowell, Upon Waking in a Pandemic by Christine E. Ray, Choice Perhaps by Jane Dougherty, Thirteen Ways of Looking at Life before the Virus by Leslea Newman, Am I Angry? by John W. Leys, Virus by Erik Klingenberg (nightpoet), and Tumbling by Merril D. Smith.

Two of the essays, were particularly interesting to me. I-Soul-Ation by Dr. Sneha Rooh. The closing words of this essay have sadly not come to fruition, in my opinion:

“I would like to think that we will hug people longer, be grateful to be able to work, that we will smile brighter when the masks come off and we’ll let the smiles fully enter our hearts, that we will be careful abut the lies sold to us and remember that we are precious mortals with precious lives and an immense ability to connect and care.”

I am of the view, that the world has returned to its previous status quo with alarming speed and that as a species, we have learned nothing from the lockdowns and the pandemic.

The other essay I particularly enjoyed was Serendipity by Kim D. Bailey.

This book is an important documenting of life during this difficult and stressful time of life when the entire world united to face a common enemy. Sadly, we have still not learned our lesson, as I mentioned above, but perhaps some of us have found more courage to fight for a better eventual outcome for our planet and for humanity.

Purchase As the World Burns

Amazon US

About Robbie Cheadle

Award-winning, bestselling author, Robbie Cheadle, has published thirteen children’s book and two poetry books. Her work has also appeared in poetry and short story anthologies.

Robbie also has two novels published under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle and has horror, paranormal, and fantasy short stories featured in several anthologies under this name.

The ten Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie’s blog includes recipes, fondant and cake artwork, poetry, and book reviews. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/


Treasuring Poetry – A tribute to poet and author, Sue Vincent, plus some reviews #SueVincent #Poetrycommunity

I am using this last Treasuring Poetry post for 2022 to celebrate the writing talent of Sue Vincent who passed in March 2021. Sue was an incredible blogger who did a huge amount to support her fellow bloggers, authors, and poets. Her poetry, books, and blog are still close to many of our hearts which is an incredible tribute to her talent and personal charisma.

I am sharing Sue’s responses to a Poetry Readathon I ran on Robbie’s Inspiration in December 2018, two years after I first met Sue.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a Yorkshire lass with two grown sons and two granddaughters. I live with the notorious Small Dog, in a village in rural Buckinghamshire, England. I write daily for my own blog, the Daily Echo, which is an eclectic mix of personal reflections, poetry, history and folklore. I help run the Silent Eye, an international organisation that helps people realise their potential through awareness, and write for our website too. As a writer, I have several books published, including one written with G. Michael Vasey, but most of the time I write in partnership with Stuart France, exploring ancient sites, myths and symbolism in a semi-fictional way.

When ever I think of Yorkshire it reminds me of the book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Sue and Stuart’s separate and combined blog posts also remind me of this book with their amazing and wonder inducing sights and ideas. 

Sue’s blog is still available to readers who share her love of poetry and fascinating places in the United Kingdom.

Who is your favourite poet?

That has to be an unfair question! It all depends on the moment and the mood. If I had to choose, I would say Omar Khayyam, whose poetry I have carried in my handbag and re-read for many years.

On the other hand, and completely at the other end of the literary scale, there is Marriot Edgar, whose rhyming monologues, written and recited in the vernacular, were so much a part of my childhood that even now, when I write humorous verse, it is to his rhythm.

As I lived in France for many years and learned the language as well as my own, I learned to love French poetry too, and while I could say my favourite is Alfred de Musset or Victor Hugo, I will be honest and say that the poet that moves me the most is the Belgian singer/songwriter, Jacques Brel. The lyrics of his songs are poems in their own right and have a good deal to say and to teach.

The idea of the book of poetry you carry in your handbag, Sue, is completely wonderful to me. It has quite captured my imagination and I think I may start a tradition like this with my son, Gregory.

What is your favourite poem?

Omar Khayyam is easy… Fitzgerald translated his work from the original Farsi, and the quatrains are all in one book, the Rubaiyat…

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit.

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

But then, there is Marriot Edgar to consider… and although The Lion and Albert is probably his best-known work, which I can still recite by heart, I do have a fondness for his take on various events in British history. Particular favourites are The Battle of Hastings, where King Harold confronted William of Normandy:

King ‘Arold came up as they landed –

His face full of venom and ‘ate –

He said ‘lf you’ve come for t’Regatta

You’ve got here just six weeks too late.’

At this William rose, cool but ‘aughty,

And said ‘Give us none of your cheek;

You’d best have your throne re-upholstered,

I’ll be wanting to use it next week.’

Though if I had to pick one, it would be Magna Charter, which recounts how King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta, even if he did dip his pen in the jam…

“And it’s through that there Magna Charter,

As were made by the Barons of old,

That in England today we can do what we like,

So long as we do what we’re told.”

Thank you for introducing me and my readers to these poems, Sue. They are lovely and memorable.

What do you appreciate most in a poem?

The first word that sprang to mind in answer to this question was ‘integrity’, and that, I think, can be applied to all forms of poetry. With humorous verses, I want to laugh. With narrative poems, I want a story that has a beginning, middle and end. With short forms, like the haiku and tanka that are now so popular, I want the capture of a moment and layers of possible interpretation that make me think. With classic poetry, I want to feel what the writer felt, understand the elusive thought or emotion that made them write.

Whether it is free verse, rhyme or one of the many recognised forms, it is not enough to simply string words and phrases together across the lines and beats, arranging it to look like a poem. A poem has to flow; it should sing its own music as it is read, even free verse should have its own rhythm and inner shape. And, whether it is humorous, romantic, spiritual or dramatic, it should have something to say that will leave the reader the richer for having read.

You have summed up beautifully what I also think, Sue. A poem should be meaningful and leave a lasting impression upon the reader.

Why do you write poetry?

I grew up around poetry. My mother’s notebooks introduced me early to how odd incidents and fleeting emotions could be captured in verse. There were the monologues shared with my great-grandparents, and always books… even my first Sunday School Prize was written in verse, and I have loved Dr Seuss ever since.

Things that amuse me tend to be written in my head, as they happen, in Edgar-esque verses, but there are other, deeper things that seem as if they can only be conveyed by poetry. You cannot capture them in everyday words… transient realisations, fleeting emotions, inspiration half-understood. Thoughts and feelings too wide to condense into speech find a home in poetry, where the unspeakable can be spoken and the uncontainable contained in such a way that others might share and glimpse an elusive idea. That is why I read and write poetry.

Would you see Eden in a withered bough?

Sunlight in shadows, or flowers bloom in frost?

Beauty in sorrow, or gifts in the dark?

Ask the Earth and the song of wild water

To whisper their secrets.

Follow the moon-path to the horizon

And look within.

I feel you have written your reasons like a true poet, Sue. Writing poetry is something we are compelled to do as part of the communication of our deepest feelings and thoughts. It is really the only way some things can be said for some people.

Sue Vincent’s poetry books

My review of Notes from a Small Dog: Four Legs on Two

Where to start with a review of Notes from a Small Dog: Four Legs on Two by Sue Vincent? I loved this books so much and so did Michael. It became a bit of a contentious book between Mike and I as I sneakily read ahead and Michael realised that I wasn’t starting where I had finished reading to him and made me go back. He was very determined not to miss a single word. I love this type of story, told mainly through the eyes of a small and very cute dog called Ani. Sue depicts day to day life in such a humorous and fun filled way and I found it a wonderful way to end each stress filled day to sit down and read a few chapters of Ani’s antics to Michael [and to myself of course thereby sparking Mike’s intense displeasure as mentioned above]. Sue writes beautiful descriptions of the natural environment where she lives and her depictions of some of Ani’s learning experiences are very funny. I can just picture the surprise of a small dog taking a flying leap into a pond that has frozen overnight. Sue describes Ani’s anxiety and attention when she is ill and her concern and caring when Ani is ill. This book is altogether completely delightful and tells a beautiful story of the special relationship that can develop between man and his best friend. There are also a few of Sue’s humorous and clever Ani poems thrown in for good measure. This genre of book is just up my street and I rated this book five out of five on Goodreads and Amazon.

Purchase Notes from a Small Dog: Four Legs on Two from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Notes-Small-Dog-Four-Legs-ebook/dp/B00GNHTIAW

Laughter Lines, Life from the Tail End

Michael and I are firm Ani addicts so another whole book about Ani’s antics is a real treat. The goings on of Ani’s two legs, sets Michael off into gales of laughter so we are really happy to read about the trials and tribulations of “Her” too.

The book is written in rhyming verse and tells all sorts of tales. To coin a phrase, Ani says:

“The time has come,” the doglet said,

“to talk of many things;

Of tennis balls and squeaky ducks,

and sneaky bees with stings; …”

In this book, Laughter Lines, Life from the Tail End, you will meet some of Ani’s friends, OR NOT:

The cat likes to sit on the roof of the shed

While the dog views this as an intrusion,

It’s all fur and teeth

As the dog growls beneath

And the birds flutter round in confusion.

We get some insights into Ani’s diet:

Its cream cheese and crackers for me and the dog,

While I’m more the epicure… she’s just a hog…

AND

Me and the dog had a sandwich for brunch

(Well, for me it was breakfast, for her it was lunch.)

NOT TO MENTION

The ham disappeared without leaving a trace

Except for the grin upon one small dog’s face.

So if you like to enjoy life and have a good giggle, pick up this delightful book of light-hearted poems and jump right in. There are also some lovely photographs in the book for the reader to enjoy.

You can purchase Laughter Lines, Life from the Tail End here: https://www.amazon.com/Laughter-Lines-Life-Tail-End-ebook/dp/B00USCYJ20

Doggerel: Life with the Small Dog

Ani, or the Small Dog, as she is referred to in this delightful collection of poetry, is a rescue dog whose mother and father were found living together in an Irish field, awaiting the birth of their litter of puppies. Ani’s two legs is named Sue Vincent and she is a Yorkshire born writer, a teacher and a director of The Silent Eye. Both Ani and Sue write highly entertaining blogs.

So what is life like for a Small Dog who blogs and writes poetry, living with another writer who is obsessed with bathing her? Ani tells us all about her life with Sue in a collection of hilarious and poignant poems, largely written in rhyming verse

Well, to start of with, Ani makes it quite clear she does not enjoy being tricked into bathing:
“I got them back on exit
When I shook my dripping fur…
(I didn’t get my boy too much,
But aimed it all at her.)”

“To add insult to injury…
All guilt upon her head…
When I went off to sulk a bit
I found she’d washed my bed!”
Both from Touche.

Ani also does not like having to diet:
“Now this works a treat, if you’ll pardon the pun,
‘Cause she either forgets, gives me treats or a bun
Or more likely she will not go in there at all
‘Cause, “You’ve put on a pound or two, girlie, since fall…”
from In hiding…

Of course, Ani is the first to worry if her Two-Legs gets sick:
“My two-legs has broken down again,
Or maybe she’s still broke,
I think she’s cute with hamster cheeks…
She says it’s not a joke.”
from Karma

Ani is also the first to admit that when she is sick, her Two-Legs nurses her with devoted care:
“Being poorly does have compensations;
‘Cause she’s worried to death, I can tell.
But now she is just so attentive…
I’m not in a rush to get well.”
from Sleeping Dogs Lie…?

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book of poetry about the antics and life experiences of the Small Dog. I would recommend it to anyone who loves dogs and who enjoys having a good giggle about life in general.

You can purchase Doggerel: Life with the Small Dog here: https://www.amazon.com/Doggerel-Life-Small-Sue-Vincent-ebook/dp/B081B8BSFC

Pass the Turkey: The Small Dog’s Christmas

Pass the Turkey: The Small Dog’s Christmas is a delightful book full of Christmas cheer. Ani, the small dog, is reflecting on Christmas’ past, present and future through a combination of letters to Santa and poems. The perplexities of ‘fake’ Santas, the ‘theft’ of a favourite sofa, and gifts of tennis balls and a chicken flavoured biscuit, all require Ani’s consideration. Her naughty secrets are also revealed such as the time she ate all the left over turkey and salmon and fell through the ice in the pond [it was shallow]. The indignities of baths and having to wear reindeer antlers are also shared.

Join Ani and her two legs, Sue Vincent, for a glorious romp through advent and Christmas Day.

A few of my favourite verses:
“I’ve tried to help with household chores,
I’ve laundered all my balls,
I’ve chased the pigeons form the shed
And spiders from the walls.” from Request

“She’s like a puppy when it snows
We just go out to play…
And if she wraps up warm enough
We might stay out all day.” from Wishing for the White Stuff

“The windows are all closed at night
The keyhole seems to small
To wriggle through with turkey
And a brand new tennis ball.” from Chimneys.

Purchase Pass the Turkey: The Small Dog’s Christmas here: https://www.amazon.com/Pass-Turkey-Small-Dogs-Christmas-ebook/dp/B081ZBR2GZ

Life Lines: Poems from a Reflection

I love poetry and I read a lot of poems and poetry books and I found the poems in this amazing little book to be quite profound. Sue Vincent touches on all aspects of life, including the sadder and more emotionally difficult aspects such as loss of a loved one, in a beautifully poignant and yet positive and uplifting way which make them satisfying and wonderfully uplifting.

Most of these poems are written in freestyle form with a couple in rhyming verse. The poet has matched the style well to the content of the poem and the rhyming verse poems present the more light hearted and upbeat toned poems.

A few short extracts that I found particularly impactful are as follows:

“The pen paints the souls longing
In jewel tones.” from Purpose

“There were flowers,
Three red roses,
Red as life,
Placed in a cold hand,
One for each heart
Saying a final farewell.
When the tears fall,
There are always flowers.” from Flowers

“Two ravens whisper in my ear,
As Thought and Memory begin.

Within the darkness of their wings
Stir images, both dark and bright,
That dance within the secret heart
And quiet hours of the night.” from Odin’s Ravens [my favourite poem in this collection]

“My pillow held the hollow where you lay,
With love glazed eyes that held me,
Watching as the wildness took me,
Smiling up at me.” from Memory [intensely poignant poem]

Purchase Life Lines: Poems from a Reflection here: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Lines-Reflection-Sue-Vincent-ebook/dp/B00PJSPLI4

Midnight Haiku: A Year in Contemplation

Sue Vincent is well know for her poetry. Some is poignant and sad, some is humorous, some is incredibly beautiful, and all is emotional, insightful, and meaningful. Sue has mastered many forms of poetry, including freestyle, rhyming verse, tankas, and haikus.

Her haikus, only 17 syllables long, are among the most powerful of her many poems. This book is a collection of 365 days of haikus and loosely follows the seasons.

The best way of demonstrating the beauty and power of these haikus is by sharing a few of my favourites:

“earth captures heaven

holding stars in tender hands

that the blind may see”

***

“a flaming chalice

raising itself to the sun

accepting the light”

***

“beyond the roses

colouring a summer sky

a smiling god paints”

***

“defiant colour

sparking through the fading days

celebrating joys”

***

“memory’s pictures

neatly framed in timeless rolls

colouring the day”

These five haiku are the ones that moved me the most and I hope they have illustrated the magnificence of this beautiful book.

Purchase Midnight Haiku: A Year in Contemplation here: https://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Haiku-Contemplation-Sue-Vincent-ebook/dp/B08YM9KBNJ

Poetry Treasures

Sue Vincent was also a contributor to Poetry Treasures, a WordCrafter anthology of poetry.

A review of Poetry Treasures

A sweet short read and a collaboration of a variety of poems written in various forms of poetry by some talented poets. I feel like this book was an introduction to the poets as well as a sampling of their creativity in poetry. I especially enjoyed the poetry of Colleen Chesebro and a delicious sampling of intrinsic poetry by the talented and missed, the late, Sue Vincent.

You can purchase Poetry Treasures here: https://www.amazon.com/Poetry-Treasures-Sue-Vincent-ebook/product-reviews/B0933KSJR9

More about Sue Vincent

You can read my Treasuring Poetry interview with Sue Vincent here: https://writingtoberead.com/2020/04/25/sue-vincent-shares-her-thoughts-on-poetry-and-a-review/

Diana Peach shared a most beautiful poem by the late Sue Vincent as a tribute to her mother who sadly passed from our Earthly world in late November 2022. You can read it here: https://mythsofthemirror.com/2022/11/13/go-gently-into-that-good-night-2/

Colleen Chesebro shared a lovely poem in celebration of the late Sue Vincent in her latest poetry book, which I reviewed here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2022/12/11/robbies-inspiration-book-blog-tour-fairies-myths-magic-ii-by-colleen-m-chesebro-and-a-review-poetry-shortstories-readingcommunity/

You can find out more about Colleen Chesebro’s book here: https://colleenmchesebro.com/category/colleens-books/

Find Sue Vincent’s books and poetry

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6551588.Sue_Vincent

Blog: https://scvincent.com/about/

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9 about Count Sugular and his family who hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com. where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Holiday Sales from WordCrafter Press

This is a purely promotional post. All the great holiday specials that WordCrafter Press is offering this season warrent a post of their own. These are all books that you’ve heard about before, so I’m not going to offer long-winded explanations of the books, but if you are looking for a gift for an avid reader, or maybe you’vebeen eyeing a few WordCrafter Press titles for yourself, peruse the offerings below for substantial holiday savings, and enjoy.

Whispers of the Past: https://books2read.com/u/38EGEL

Spirits of the West: https://books2read.com/u/ml2Kxq

Where Spirits Linger: https://books2read.com/u/mYGyNG

Hidden Secrets: https://books2read.com/u/38RZ2O

Last Call and Other Short Fiction: https://books2read.com/u/4jL2no

Poetry Treasures 2: Relationshipshttps://books2read.com/u/3kP8aK

Something for my author friends

Write it Right: https://writingtoberead.com/wordcrafter-quality-writing-author-services/write-it-right-quality-editing-services/

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Mind Fields: Ideas, Poems, Thoughts

I don’t know what to call my writings any more. Poems? Not really, or not always. Sometimes these things have a poetic rhythm, sometimes not.

I Forget

September 26, 2022

I forget that evil tyrants run the world.

I forget that poets and artists

barely exist, barely scratch by

with a sigh, with patient resignation.

I forget that kindness is hindered

at every turn by evil intentions of those who command

the power of Calamity. I forget

that bad guys have no love

but don’t even miss it. I forget

that tenderness is

but a beginning to ever greater tenderness.

I forget that

we create ourselves in versions

of the pattern laid down within

a larger memory whose boundaries extend

beyond the edges of everything.  I forget everything

except that I exist and sometimes I forget that, too.

What I remember is this: I am aware of you. I am aware of your scent and the streams of feeling that flow between us. 

That I Can Never Forget.

The Big Bang

The Big Bang was the beginning of consciousness.

As consciousness is not confined by the laws of physics

it presents to us an enigma that we strive to unravel.

We take the first tentative steps towards this end with Quantum Mechanics. Quantum science acknowledges the influence

of the observers’ consciousness. That is only the first baby step

on the road to full awareness of the sheer magnitude of existence.

We may find existence terrifying and baffling with its beauty. That is up to us, not up to God or anything else. As entities with any degree of consciousness we are tasked with the responsibility to love our own awareness and then love it in all other beings.

_________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

__________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


WordCrafter News

A look back at 2022

Before we begin to look forward to the coming year, we must first look back to assess the successes and failures of the past year. It’s been a busy year, and we’ve accomplished much

For WordCrafter Press, we published 5 books in 2022.

In April, we released Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships, with an eight day blog tour, which did well enough that I’m looking forward to the release of Poetry Treasures 3 next year. Robbie Cheadle hasn’t shared with me what the theme will be for 2023, but I’m sure it will be a good one.

In May, we released Ask the Authors 2022: Writing Reference Anthology, with a ten week long blog promotion series. Seven of the contributing authors for this book, including me, editor Kaye Lynne Booth got together for a round table discussion on the Stark Reflections Podcast to share writing wisdom and promote the book, here. And it is still available in Kevin J. Anderson’s Writing Career Toolkit Bundle, which you can purchase here. The bundle is only available until December 1, so be sure to grab one while you can.

In July, I graduated from the Master’s program at Western State Colorado University with an M.A. in publishing, and I saw the publication of both my student projects, Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales, which I was on the editorial team for, and Weird Tales: Best of the Early Years 1926-27, which I compiled & edited with Weird Tales editor and award winning author, Jonathan Maberry.

In August, WordCrafter Press published the first of three short fiction anthologies, Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Myths & Fairy Tales, with a six day blog tour and giveaway. Featuring contemporary stories in the classic fairy tale tradition which I handpicked.myself, to create an exceptional by-invitation-only fantasy anthology. This anthology has been our biggest seller in 2022.

In September, the second of the three WordCrafter Press anthologies, Refracted Reflections: Twisted Tales of Duality & Deception, with a five day blog tour. Also, by invitation only, these reflective tales may not be what they seem.

October was a big month, with the release of Visions, the 2023 annual WordCrafter Press anthology. In addition to contest entrries from the annual WordCrafter Press Short Fiction Contest, this year’s anthology had more contributions by invitation, making it the largest anthology WordCrafter Press has ever published. We ran an eight day blog tour with three days of double stops. It was quite a production. Then, we joined up with Sonoran Dawn Studios for the big Halloween book event, All Hallow’s Eve – The Web We Weave on Facebook, where we promoted all 2022 WordCrafter Press releases, with games and giveways, music and movies.

In November, I’ve been trying to do the NaNoWriMo thing with The Rock Star and the Outlaw, a time travel romance adventure novel, inspired by the music of The Pretty Reckless and other artists. It’s not finished until the last day of the month, so I’m still hard at it. I’ve written 28,940 words since the beginning of the month, so I’m not even close But I started with 21, 175 words already written, and I passed the 50,000 word mark this morning.

Also in the month of November, Ask the Authors 2022, is available in the Writer’s Career Toolkit Bundle currated by Kevin J. Anderson. Also included in this bundle are writing references by David Farland and Kevin J. Anderson, Joanna Penn, Mark Leslie Lefebvre, L. Jagi Lamplighter and Aisley Oliphant to name a few. You decide what price to pay for five core books and/or ten more bonus books, all valuable author references, and you can still get it for a few more days.

Preparations and plans for the year ahead

December is pretty much dedicated to the prepartions for the coming year, and I have some really cool things planned. This past year, WordCrafter Press published a total of five anthologies involving around 30 different authors, which was amazing. In 2023, I plan to focus more on my own writing, and I only plan to do the two annual anthologies WordCrafter Press publishes each year; one poetry and one short fiction. The poetry anthology features the guests of Robbie Cheadle’s “Treasuring Poetry” blog series, and she also acts as my co-editor of the Poetry Treasures anthology.

The short fiction anthology is connected with the annual WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest. However this last year, for Visions, I combined the contest entries with stories acquired by invitation, and the other two anthologies were by invitation only. I liked the results of including the invitations, and plan to do the same thing in 2023. The themes for these anthologies will be announced after the first of the year.

As for my own books, I have quite a few planned. I plan to re-release Delilah as a part of the Women in the West adventure series, to be launched with a Kickstarter with lots of cool stuff available for your support around the beginning of the year, so be sure and watch for that. If things go well, I may also be able to release Sarah before the end of 2023.

Also, of course, I will be launching my NaNoWriMo project, The Rock Star & the Outlaw, in the coming year. This western time-travel romance adventure will keep readers on their toes. Based on the music of The Pretty Reckless and other artists, it’s a wild ride that will keep readers guessing.

I’m also planning to put together a collection of my own poetry, which I think will appeal to all the poetry lovers out there, and I am working on several short stories which I hope to find homes for. As always, at least one will go into the annual WordCrafter short fiction anthology. And I’m planning to start a Patreon, and I’m thinking of serializing my science fantasy Playground for the Gods series for that.

2022 was a really good year, and 2023 promises to be just as good, if not better. I would love to hear your thoughts on any of my plans for the year to come. Which potential covers do you like or dislike and why? Which books will you look forward to? What would you like to see offered as rewards for my Kickstarter, or my Patreon? Let me know in the comments. Your feedback is appreciated.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Mind Fields: Poetry & Such

Ideas Like Never Before

Boulder breakers and charcoal makers

the poor

wait for something they don’t know what

just breaking rocks to earn a penny,  rocks to pave

gravel roads that go away. Anywhere

is better than poor in Africa, Asia, America, the poor are broken just like the stones they break.

Ending poverty is the work of a civilization. If we can’t end poverty anywhere in the world, we are not a civilization

What to Believe

These days I can’t believe anything. A lie

hovers overhead day and night. All the competing agendas clash

and the books, videos, news,  none remain without a stink

of mendacity. The liars hold the highest offices. They control

information. Their tech is the latest but

their lies are old, ancient, lies told by tyrants to the innocents.

Those who are brave defy their terror and protest. In Iran,

the women are sick with disgust at control by tottering old men wearing white fezzes and large skullcaps. Liars! I can’t

hold enough outrage! I see things daily

I never expected to see, ever. People are murdered by lies. 

It was said, “A lie is both murder and suicide in the world of the spirit.” Mostly these days it’s murder. The suicides will have to wait

to write their notes. The supply of pencils, pens and paper

has been interdicted by the Lie Police.

Will Truth set us free? Perhaps in the Kingdom of God, but here

Truth has been split asunder and reality can’t be recognized by anyone but other liars, and those are so far lost from Truth that they would not know it

IF IT BIT THEM IN THE ASS.

Saving What’s Left

“It’s broken.” My grandson stands over his red fire truck. The wheels have come off. The boy’s lower lip thrusts out and I can see that his heart is broken too. If I tell him that it’s just a toy, he won’t be comforted. This was the only truck in his world and now his grief will carry him to a child’s little hades, for just a minute. What is a minute to a three year old? It may as well be forever. For the duration of that minute all hell breaks loose and his tears and rage fill the room till all the grown-ups flee. Except me. I’m the baby sitter. I know how he feels. 

The world is broken, our world.  And it was we who broke it, stuffed it, neglected it, tore its roots out. Has it come to this? My grief for a broken world carries me to my own hades, my underworld of sorrow where what has been done cannot be undone until we have atoned like ancient Jews on Yom Kippur.? What punishment do we receive if we fail to atone? Regret, more like: oh the regret we have yet to feel as the land sinks and the seas rise. Our earth is frangible, it can be waylaid like the victims of highway robbery. “Hands up, planet!” The men in dark suits are digging holes. “Can’t you see we’re busy here? Go away with your storms. We know how to deal with your kind!”

They’re only doing their jobs, they’re following orders. 

“Take them away”, croaks the man in the suit and tie. “Take them away and hide them in the deepest mines.” ]

It’s broken. Can it be fixed? The next generations are tasked with this inhuman mess. They will have to be strong beyond what we know. They will have to develop themselves in unforeseen ways to have the stamina to work within the broken systems on the derelict highways. Armageddon will be indefinitely postponed. It already happened and we missed it. We were busy fighting. The next apocalypse will hit us before we’re ready. That is the nature of things. We have only the promise in Luke and Mark and John, Christians before Christianity, who learned that the lilies of the field will always be in their raiment, even if it is only in heaven. 

_____________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

_______________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


An ATV ride on an autumn afternoon

I took an ATV ride today and just had to share the fall colors with you.

Aspens are my favorite trees, as you might guess. Let me also share a poem about them which seems fitting. This is a minimalist poem which I’m particularly found of. It was published in Colorado Life magazine (September/October 2016). I do hope you enjoy it.

Aspen Tree

Dark eyes staring out of white bark

Scantily clad by quivering green leaves

Turning waxy yellow in fall

Stark and exposed in winter

For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Mind Fields: Poems And Ideas For The Field Of Mind

Intrinsic humility is the understanding that one’s own life may be full of fascinating details but the lives of countless others are equally as fascinating to themselves as your life is to you.

Sound of  rainfall:

tiny infant fingers

tapping the roof

thousands at a time.

The Enemy

Life is not my enemy. True,

It will kill me before too long but

death is the act of highest compassion.

I have a purpose. How kind of life to provide

me with that sense of my being.

Life is not my enemy. How would a great teacher be

a nemesis unless it was necessary? Life is not my enemy.

We Must Fix What Is Left

Oct 31, 2022

“It’s broken.” My grandson stands over his red fire truck. 

The wheels have come off. The boy’s lower lip thrusts out and I can see that his heart is broken too. If I tell him that it’s just a toy, he won’t be comforted. This was the only truck in his world and now his grief will carry him to a child’s little hades, for just a minute. What is a minute to a three year old? It may as well be forever. For the duration of that minute all hell breaks loose and his tears and rage fill the room till all the grown-ups flee.  Except me.  I’m the baby sitter.  I know how he feels.  The world is broken, our world. And it was we who broke it, stuffed it, neglected it, tore its roots out. Has it come to this? My grief for a broken world carries me to my own hades, my underworld of sorrow where what has been done cannot be undone until we have atoned like ancient Jews on Yom Kippur.? What punishment do we receive if we fail to atone? Regret, more like: oh the regret we have yet to feel as the land sinks and the seas rise. Our earth is frangible, it can be waylaid like the victims of highway robbery. “Hands up, planet!” The men in dark suits are digging holes. “Can’t you see we’re busy here? Go away with your storms. We know how to deal with your kind!”

They’re only doing their jobs, they’re following orders. 

“Take them away,” croaks the man in the suit and tie. “Take them away and hide them in the deepest mines.”

It’s broken. Can it be fixed? The next generations are tasked with this inhuman mess. They will have to be strong beyond what we know. They will have to develop themselves in unforeseen ways to have the stamina to work within the broken systems on the derelict highways. Armageddon will be indefinitely postponed. It already happened and we missed it. We were busy fighting. The next apocalypse will hit us before we’re ready. That is the nature of things. We have only the promise in Luke and Mark and John, Christians before Christianity, who learned that the lilies of the field will always be in their raiment, even if it is only in heaven. 

I Forget

September 26, 2022

I forget that evil tyrants run the world.

I forget that artists and thinkers

barely exist, barely scratch by

with a sigh, with patient resignation.

I forget that kindness is hindered

at every turn by evil intentions of those who command

the power of Calamity.  I forget

that bad guys have no love

but don’t even miss it. I forget

that tenderness is

but a beginning to ever greater tenderness.

I forget that

we create ourselves in versions

of the pattern laid down within

the great infinite Memory. I forget everything

except that I exist and sometimes I forget that, too.

What I remember is this: I am aware of you. I am aware of your scent and the streams of feeling that flow between us. 

That I Can Never Forget.

________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

__________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Treasuring Poetry – Meet poet and author, Yvette Prior and a book review #Poetrylovers #readingcommunity @bookreview

Today, I am very excited to welcome Yvette Prior from Priorhouse blog as my September Treasuring Poetry guest. Yvette is among the first bloggers I met when I started Robbie’s Inspiration and she was always encouraging and supportive of my artwork and writing. Thank you, Yvette.

Today, Yvette, a talented poet and author herself and a huge supporter of other writers and bloggers, is going to share some of her thoughts about poetry and some readings from her lovely poetry book, Avian Friends.

What is your favourite poem and why?

Winter Chill

Stood and listened

to birds tweet and whistle

had breakfast to make

day to begin

stuff to do

but standing

in winter chill

at the back door

harmony

stopped me

hope flew in

melodious infusing during a winter chill

trees still bare

yet birds were there

dulcet air

momentary loss of care

cold days

soon to part ways

winter hard is exiting

birds returning

spring soon erupting

green grass, pleasant breeze

flowers, butterflies, bees

replacing freeze

shivering, I shut the door

musical deliverance once more

Behind the poem

Winter Chillwas written about a brief experience I had when I opened the backdoor one winter’s day. I was stopped in my tracks. It was the first time I had heard the birds in a long time and their “harmony stopped me” as “hope flew in.” I am not what people would refer to as a “birder.” I do not put out seeds and we don’t have any feeders on our property (although I might add some later). The birds have just found a nice little habitat on their own and I am grateful. In this poem, I described the scene exactly as it unfolded -opened the door, heard the birds, and I was reminded that a better season was on its way. This idea could apply to more than just a cold weather season ending – it could also apply to the trials and heavy times in life. Challenging times do not last forever and sometimes we might just need to pause – in the midst of a difficult season – and find small (healthy) ways to enjoy “momentary loss of care.” Hope can mean so much too – and so anytime we have Hope fly in – let’s embrace it. 

Please share a poem you enjoy and why you enjoy it

This is just to say by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

***

and which

you were probably

saving for breakfast

***

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

Williams’ poem whispers so much to me and one takeaway is the freedom someone felt to indulge in the plum. There are times we sacrifice times we do outreach and hold back – but this depicts the opposite – it shows us someone so comfortable with the other person where they ate the plum (while knowing the person was saving it). The poem makes me smile because I can imagine how juicy and tasty it was. And the title and tone of the poem lets us know that the consumer here is not apologizing for eating it either. That’s my take. 

What are your plans for your poetry going forward?

I try to write every day, in a paper notebook, and most of this year I have been busy working on non-poetry projects so I only wrote a handful of poems this year. My goal is to get back to my musings with poetry. Even if all of the poems do not make it into a future book, I enjoy writing them.

 I started writing in middle school but really got into poetry while in college. In between classes, I created free verse poems. I moved words around andenjoyed simple rhyming schemes. 

I know that folks sometimes put down the easy rhymes, but I like them.  It is not about creating difficult poetry for me – it really is a type of solitude with words and ideas. 

Thank you, Yvette, for your lovely answers and for being my guest today.

Yvette has shared a lovely YouTube video recital of some of her poems from Avian Friends.

My review of Avian Friends by Yvette Prior

What Amazon says

In Avian Friends, you will find more than forty poems that offer encouragement and uplifting stories. The poems are free rhyme and connect to different life scenarios. Each poem also includes a “behind the poem” section, which provides personal reflections, teaching tidbits, and ideas for wellness. Backyard birds inspired the poems and the topic of faith has been gently woven in (not in a religious way) with the hope that diverse readers can enjoy the content.

The poems in this book are not complicated poems; instead, they are light and can lift the reader’s mood. The poems are for those who do not always read poetry – as well as for the poetry lover.

My review

Avian Friends is a delightful book of poetry that centres around the author’s interactions with birds in her personal life. In the reactions and interactions of her avian friends, the author finds threads of similarity to human reactions to circumstances and experiences and in relationships. She weaves these thoughts into the observations expressed in her poems.

One of the most interesting section of poems for me where the ones written following the death of a young and close relative. The author’s grief is palpable and her understanding of nature and the role of all creatures in the cycle of life help her come to terms with her sorrow and emotions.

An verse from Part III Life and Death:
“The nest was found
on the ground after the storm
nestlings didn’t make it
we mourned
fuzzy little creatures
oversized eyes
chests without air
buried with care
patting down soil
reminded me that we, too, will die …”

I have referred to the poet as the author because there is a lot of reflective prose in this book. Each poem is followed by a discussion which provides the poet’s inspiration for the poem, and includes quotes and information about birds and other aspects of life that contribute to the meaning behind the poem. I really enjoyed these explanatory sections and gleaned a lot of insight into the poet’s emotions and thought process from it.

Enjoyment of this book is certainly not limited to people who love birds as, in many instances, the birds are a metaphor for human life. This book will be enjoyed by all lovers of poetry.

Purchase Avian Friends

Amazon paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Avian-Friends-Yvette-Prior-Ph-D/dp/1973831228

Amazon kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Avian-Friends-Encouraging-inspired-Backyard-ebook/dp/B07QHNZF81

About Yvette Prior

Yvette Prior lives on the East Coast of the United States with her spouse, Chris, and together they have three adult children, two grandchildren, and no pets (after having many dogs over the years).

Yvette enjoys working with people and her varied work background includes education, social work, hospitality management, and lots of outreach. Her passion area is studying about health and wellness and after earning a Ph.D. in I-O Psychology, she poured into waiting book projects and she has not stopped writing since.

Her goal as a writer is to educate, edify, and encourage readers. Her personal blog can be found at priorhouse.wordpress.com

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9 about Count Sugular and his family who hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com. where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Treasuring Poetry – Welcome poet and author, Patty Fletcher and a review #poetry #bookreview #poetrycommunity

Today, I am delighted to feature poet, author, and blogger, Patty Fletcher and share her thoughts about poetry and her favourite poems. I really enjoyed the poems included in this post, those written by Patty herself, and those included in A Poetic Apostrophe. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

What is your favourite poem?

Hello, Robbie. Before I begin, I’d like to thank you for including me in Treasuring Poetry.

Honestly, poetry isn’t my forte. I do, however dabble some and in fact this poem, Ever Lost in the Moment was eventually published in an issue of The Avocet Nature Magazine.

It is a favorite because writing it allowed me to put words to a fantasy which played out in my head.

What inspired you to write this particular poem?

In the poem, Ever Lost to the Moment you see two lovers who have longed for one another for many years finally come together. This, along with the raw bones of nature roaring around them makes it magical to me and since I’m a huge believer in manifestation I still read this poem with the belief that one day it might come true, and I like the lady in the poem may be reunited with someone I love and we would come together as the lovers in the poem do.

Here it is below for your reading enjoyment.

Ever Lost in the Moment

By Patty L. Fletcher

The scorching wind roared angrily across the jagged peaks above. The thundering waves pounded the steep cliffs below.

 Standing, their bare toes clinging to the rocks, naked in the fading day. Faces moist with the ocean spray.  The sunset a ball of fiery molten liquid melting into the churning sea.

He, seeing her there, dangerously close to the edge. She, breathing the dank salty air. Her ebony hair streaming long and beautiful round her there.

He, drinking her in, his senses catching fire with want and desire, she, like a deer, sensing danger in the wind, felt him there.

Turning to him her mouth parting in a gorgeous smile, they stood, the only sound the roaring of the wind, pounding of the waves, and song of the gulls. Their hearts beat as one. In perfect time with the rhythmic sea, they knew, they would be, ever lost in the moment.

Ever Lost in the Moment was originally written in 2018 and the rewriting of it was inspired by:  http://scvincent.com/2019/02/14/thursday-photo-prompt-new-writephoto/ .

Another of my favorites, I happened upon while putting this interview together is called Ice Cream on the Fly. I wrote it after a visit from my daughter and six grandchildren after eight years of separation.

It tells the tale of our last day together and still makes me laugh until I’m near tears.

I hope you enjoy it too.

“Ice Cream on the Fly”

By Patty L. Fletcher

May 14, 2021

Ice Cream on the fly.

Sun shining bright in the sky.

Laughter on the air.

Happiness everywhere.

Kids got a sugar high.

Go to the park, let them swing, run, and slide.

Ride the merry-go-round round and round.

Oh, jeez if I did that after ice cream, well, I’d be sick on the ground.

Finally, momma says time to go. Must go home to ready ourselves so on the second part of our road trip we may go.

Back in the van rolling home with the setting sun.

WOW! We’ve had a great week of visiting and fun.

Home again, out we all flow.

Into the house we troop. Just one, big happy chattering group.

Eddy, we’re back nearly in unison we call. Eddy, no longer put off by our noise at all.

Meow! Jeez, what’s a cat to do. Nearly starved waiting for you.

“Who needs the bathroom?” I call. But though several said they did no one makes a move.

“OK, you snooze you lose.” I call to the room at large and then into the bathroom I barge.

Just when I think we’re gonna make it through the week with no serious issue. My beliefs are quickly washed away.

I flush and ready myself to leave the room when suddenly, Oh! What from yonder toilet breaks? What the… not to curse in several languages, all of my strength it takes.

Water is flowing across the floor, with every second which passes there is more and more.

Then, as I try to flee with my very life, the door refuses to budge and I fear I’m to be washed away.

“Oh! Oh! Oh! I scream! And yet, the water continues to stream.

“What the…” I demand of the air. This flipping water is everywhere.

“Turn it off! Make it stop!” Polly commands. Yet dumbfounded I continue to stand. “Turn it off! Turn it off!” She continues to insist, but in my brain, I continue to resist.

“I don’t know how.” I hear myself say. All the while knowing it’s not what I mean to state.

Suddenly my brain and fingers, they won’t connect. I’m panicked, what would one expect?

I am shoved aside, and Polly flashes past with a mighty cry.

“Here, in the back, turn it quick!” Still the words in my mind will not stick.

Then I see the water is everywhere. And all we can do is stand and stare.

Finally, with me and the others tucked safely out of the way, my oldest granddaughter begins to wipe the flood waters away.

After a time, all is set to right. We sit having supper in the deepening night.

Sweet Eddy hovers near, in hopes a morsel to his paw will drop near.

All too soon we’re calling good night. For they must rise with the early morning’s light.

Into the van sleepily Polly’s six-pack of kids, my beautiful grands they will fall.

As sure as the sun will warmly rise into the morning’s sky. I already know tears of good-bye I shall cry.

So, my friends I say to you wherever you go or what you do, be sure to hold those nearest and dearest to you.

Because you never know when they will return to you.

What are your plans for your poetry going forward?

Until recently, I never gave it much thought but while rummaging around in folders looking for some pieces, I could use in a Paranormal Romance Science Fiction manuscript I’m working on I ran upon a few more poems I’d written while dreaming of love lost so, I’ve been thinking more about trying to learn how to correctly write poetry.

I can write it but I’m never certain if I’m writing in the correct form. But as with a lot of things I want to learn, I keep putting it onto the back burner to simmer while other works bubble happily on the front of the stove.

Here, is one of the poems which was written after an encounter with someone with whom I used to have a secret relationship with.

I hope it’s OK to share.

If Only a Moment

Patty L. Fletcher

 January 22 2018

They stood, their backs to the world, safe.

 Even if only for a moment, happy and content.

Their arms round each other, her head on his shoulder.

His body, strong and lien. Muscles at the ready, hands like a cloud of thunder.

His voice, deep and rich.

They move through the house, talking in each room.

Stopping in the hall for a kiss.

Going onward into the study.

There, only a moment.

Moving as one to the bed.

Tumbling together, in a tangle of hands, arms, and legs.

Fire between his fingers, cold, as ice, yet somehow flames on her skin.

As they flow together, their passion runs deep.

Her mouth on his.

Their bodies become one.

They melt together in the molten lava of their sex.

Their hearts fly.

Their passions rise.

Her need peeks.

His fullness she seeks.

Together they explode, the white-hot throbbing, hums low.

After, they stand.

 Their backs to the world. safe, if only for a moment, happy and content.

What is your favorite poem?

Robbie, had you asked me this a month ago, I’m not certain I’d have had a great answer. Though several of my clients are poets and some of their poetry does speak to me nothing has spoken to me quite like A Poetic Apostrophe by Joan Myles, Annie Chiappetta and Winslow Parker.

Here it is below for you.

A Poetic Apostrophe

By Joan Myles, Annie Chiappetta and Winslow Parker

Good poetry is the expression of an open heart and a creative spirit. The ability to fashion these qualities into moving and meaningful word images develops with practice of course. Practice rooted in honest self-reflection.  And sometimes, the honest mirror of self-reflection resides in another poet.

Several months ago, Annie, Win and Joan started coming together to be that mirror for one another. In weekly sessions they alternate between reading and analyzing famous poetry and creating their own. They use the craft of such notables as Robert Bly, Amy Lowell, and Wallace Stevens as tutor and springboard for experimentation with word choice, rhythm and style.  The three are dedicated to the process of learning as they write, grounding their exchanged feedback in honesty– for the sake of the poem only.

When the trio found Edgar Allen Poe’s    piece, A Valentine less than pleasing, they used Billy Collins’s poem Workshop as inspiration to devise a suitable response.  While each response relates to a specific element in the poem, all of them acknowledge  Poe’s use of the apostrophe.

The apostrophe isn’t only a punctuation mark used in writing. It’s also a form or style of poetry. The Poetry Foundation defines an apostrophe poem as An address to a dead or absent person, or personification as if he or she were present. An apostrophe may provide a structure or reason for the poem. It can also provide tonal and figurative effects such as giving the poem an intimate or ironic tone.

The literary apostrophe is a tonal element of Poe’s poem, to be sure. But the essence of the piece feels more like a riddle. You see, “A Valentine is an acrostic wherein the letters of the poet’s love interest are to be discovered.

Now for the Poe poem the trio studied

A Valentine

Edgar Allan Poe – 1809-1849

     For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,

         Brightly expressive as the twins of Loeda,

     Shall find her own sweet name, that, nestling lies

         Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.

     Search narrowly the lines! —they hold a treasure

         Divine—a talisman—an amulet

     That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure—

         The words—the syllables! Do not forget

     The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor!

         And yet there is in this no Gordian knot

     Which one might not undo without a sabre,

         If one could merely comprehend the plot.

     Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering

         Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus

     Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing

         Of poets, by poets—as the name is a poet’s, too.

     Its letters, although naturally lying

         Like the knight Pinto—Mendez Ferdinando—

     Still form a synonym for Truth—Cease trying!

         You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.

This poem is in the public domain.

And below are the individual apostrophe poems written in response:

A Raven’s Dark Valentine

By Ann Chiappetta

There is only one poem I like, the

One with chilled somberness and a raven

This one, though, bores me

Taunts and jabs my intelligence 

like the ebon beak

of the more Popular poem.

When I think of you

The sitcom comes to mind, you know

The one, with the altered family

Who lives on Mockingbird Lane. 

And I snicker, recalling

the family’s clock that should have

held a   black forest cuckoo.

I only wish what was once thought clever

Will never be more.

The Tell Tale Valentine

by Joan Myles

right off the rhythm grabs me line by line

a beating heart of sorts this valentine

but just as quick a mystery you pose

the name of your beloved to disclose

Greek allusions bleak confusions play

as I attempt the task and lose my way

I must confess I find it all a bore 

your raven spoke with wisdom” Never More”

Poe’s Poem

By Winslow Parker

So, Mr. Poe,

Acknowledged mournful poet and macabre storyteller,

You wrote a love poem to Miss Frances,

Who died young,

Just like your tragic heroines.

You hid her name,

In the heart of your poem,

A clever way of declaring your love.

But then you spoiled it all with:

“You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do,”

Did you think so little of her intellect,

Her knot untying skills,

That you could not resist the impulse to make her feel small

In the presence of your mighty wit?

Is that love?

4/26/22

©2022 Winslow E. Parker All Rights Reserved

Annie, Win, and Joan encourage you to read poems wherever you may find them. Take your time to linger over the poet’s choice of words and images, to delight in shifting rhythms and rhymes, to let your mind and spirit play. And if you should find your thoughts stirred by an unexpected turn of phrase, or bedazzled by a sudden insight, a simple smile will do. For that’s the poet’s gift to you!

Why do you like this poem?

As you can see, not only is this an incredible piece of work by three poets but it’s as if the universe heard me grumbling about what I don’t know concerning the writing of poetry and WHAM! Just like that, a lesson appeared.

As I’m reading over this before sending to you, it occurs to me, I might have a poet somewhere within waiting to emerge.

Before I leave you today, I’d like to ask you indulge me with the privilege of sharing one more poem I wrote. This was written shortly after I returned from The Seeing Eye® with my first guide dog Campbell.

The Puppy Grew Up and Became

Once upon a time long ago,

When you were very small you know.

In the morning’s early dawn you were born,

But all too soon from your mother you were torn.

You were sent to live far away with a family you thought forever you would stay.

You learned the neatest and  most awesome tricks.

So much more than chasing sticks.

You learned to sit to rest to lay,

You learned to obey in every way.

You did all these things so very well,

And every day you grew.

All too soon your life changed again,

And you made another new friend.

He was your teacher, your very own guide.

Would you forever walk by his side?

No! This was not to be.

You learned all you could from him,

And then,

You were given to me.

Fast we became best of friends,

And it is with me you will now stay until our work together ends.

In honor of Guide Dogs, puppy raisers, Trainers, and Handlers Everywhere!

Thank you, Robbie for allowing me to share a bit of my poetry with you. Though I’m sure you have more talented poets than I among your guests it’s been a pleasure.

Review of Pathway to Freedom – Book One: Broken and Healed – How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life

What Amazon Says

In this, the first book in her memoir trilogy, Pathway to Freedom – Broken and Healed: Book One – How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, Patty shares how her decision to gain complete independence with the help of ‘The Seeing Eye Guide Dog’ school in Morris Town, New Jersey, reveals to her a glimpse into worlds she had never before known existed. Once home from ‘The Seeing Eye’ she soon begins to realize all is not right in her world. Watch your step as you journey down the pathway with Patty and Campbell, for there are many obstacles along the way. There are triumphs and tribulations, tears and fears, but through it all that forever guide by her side, King Campbell works tirelessly to keep her safe from harm.

My review

When I started reading this book I thought it was a memoir of the author’s experiences being trained as a guide dog handler by the Seeing Eye Institution in the USA. I was keen to read about Patty’s experiences and learn more about the process of both training a guide dog and also the handler of the guide dog. I’d realised from conversations and correspondence with a few non-sighted friends that the handler develops a very close relationship with the guide dog and I wanted to learn more.

This book did offer that insight into the training process offered by Seeing Eye and I followed Patty on her informative and wonderful journey of gaining independence through becoming a handler. I was interested in all the detailed including the different types of training the pair undergo including a trip to New York.

Right from the beginning of the book it was obvious that Patty was in a difficult relationship with a man who did not have her best interests at heart. This flawed relationship is also a major theme in the book and the negative impact on Patty of having to walk on eggshells around her partner in many areas of her life was evident and upsetting. Certain details about Donnie were also revealed that make him quite a difficult character to like the least of which was his ill-treatment of his own two dogs.

The last section of the book was a little unfulfilling for me as I didn’t really understand why Patty’s relationship with her trainer from Silent Eye and her daughter broke down completely. I could make a reasonable assumption about it based on the information provided, but I would have like a little more clarity. I would also have liked to have known a little more about Patty’s father and how he recovered from his ill health.

All in all, this is an interesting and compelling story and certainly a worthy read.

Purchase links

Amazon US

About Patty L Fletcher

Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren. From April 2011 through September 2020, she owned and handled a black Labrador from The Seeing Eye® named King Campbell Lee Fletcher A.K.A. Bubba. Sadly, after a long battle with illness on September 24, 2020, King Campbell went to the Rainbow Bridge where all is peace and love. In July 2021, she returned to The Seeing Eye® and was paired with a Black Labrador Golden Retriever cross named Blue.

PATTY’S BLINDNESS…

Patty was born one and a half months premature. Her blindness was caused by her being given too much oxygen in the incubator. She was partially sighted until 1991, at which time she lost her sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. She used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.

WHERE SHE LIVES AND WORKS…

Currently, Patty lives and works in Kingsport, Tenn.

She’s the creator and owner of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist), The Writer’s Grapevine Online Magazine and the creator and host of the Talk to Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing Podcast.

WRITING GOAL…

Patty writes with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disabled from the non-disabled.

HOBBIES…

Patty’s hobbies include reading, music, and attending book clubs via Zoom.

FAVORITE TUNES…

Some of her favorite types of tunes are classic rock, rhythm and blues, and classic country.

FAVORITE READS…

Patty enjoys fantasy, science fiction, and books about the supernatural. She loves books by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Norah Roberts, and many more. Some favorite books include Norah Roberts’ Hide Away, Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.

SPIRITUAL FAITH…

Patty describes herself as a spiritual Walker. She says she knows both Mother Goddess and Father God and embraces all they have to offer.

CONTACT…

Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

Visit:  https://pattysworlds.com/

About Robbie Cheadle

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Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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