Thursday, January 17, 2019

THE DEATH OF MARY OLIVER AT 83

Today poet, Mary Oliver, died from lymphoma. (That is the cancer that killed my husband, Barry. It loves to take the good ones.)

Mary Oliver was widely known and greatly admired. She loved nature and "dead poets" who, she said, were her friends when she was a child. 

I like accessible poetry like Mary Oliver's poems. Following is a quote from the article on NPR announcing her passing. 

"Mary Oliver isn't a difficult poet," Franklin says. "Her work is incredibly accessible, and I think that's what makes her so beloved by so many people. It doesn't feel like you have to take a seminar in order to understand Mary Oliver's poetry. She's speaking directly to you as a human being."   https://tinyurl.com/y7dkxdxc 


When I first began reading Oliver's poetry, I thought of her as a young woman hiking through the fields, strong and healthy. I thought of me when I was young and healthy walking in the woods, exploring small things, bringing home yellow, pink or green pieces of fungus growing on a downed tree. I checked out the bird's nest in low-hanging branches, hoping to see baby birds with wide open mouths. We had still ponds on the farm where blue herons stood on one leg waiting for something, I did not know what. In tall dead trees, black crows congregated and cawed like a chorus of bad voices.


Max, my brother has always been enthralled with the natural world. When I was about four or five years old, he would hold me up to look into the blue bird's nest in the wood fence posts.


I grew up loving nature, all living things, plant or animal. The prickly may-haw bushes, the wild plum trees that grew along fence rows, the chinaberry tree with its fragrant flowers and little green berries, they all piqued my interest. And I loved wildflowers. In early spring a field of Easter Lilies blanketed a low lying pasture. My sister and I picked handfuls to take home to gift our mother. On the hill where large oak trees grew wide with heavy limbs, tiny wild violets hid where only those who knew their secret could find them.

You can see why Mary Oliver's poetry appeals to me.

I am listing some links so you can listen to Mary Oliver read her poetry or you can read her words.


The Summer Day

When Death Comes

Mary Oliver reading Wild Geese







Sunday, January 13, 2019

Writing about Poetry Today

I hear from writers who say this time of year they just can't get motivated or inspired to write. I think that it is universal. When we spend time in our homes because of the weather, we find other things we need to do or want to do and just put off writing.

I found a wonderful site tonight that should give writers and poets plenty to think about and possibly to write about. Twenty-Five of the best poetry writing prompts had me making notes by those listed so I can write a poem or a story that the prompt uncovered deep in my mind.

https://trishhopkinson.com/2018/12/18/125-of-the-best-poetry-writing-prompts-for-poets-via-writers-relief/

Visit this site and let me know if you found anything that jolted a memory or an image for you.

One of my poems was accepted yesterday for publishing in April during the Poetry Parade on www.yourdailypoem.com The editor, Jayne Jaudon Ferrer has gone a great job with this site.

She says: This site exists for one purpose only: to help dispel the ugly myth that poetry is boring. Granted, a lot of poetry is boring, but you won't find it here. At Your Daily Poem, you'll find poetry that is touching, funny, provocative, inspiring, and surprising. It may punch you in the gut, it may bring tears to your eyes, it may make you laugh out loud, but it most assuredly will not bore you.

If you subscribe, you will receive a poem sent to you daily. 
Go the Archives of Your Daily Poem. Under the Bs in authors you will find my name.
Read other poems by me that were published and sent out to subscribers of Your Daily Poem. If you are a poet, think about sending one of your poems to Jayne at www.yourdailypoem.com

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

What Should be My Word for 2019?

Last year I chose a word for the year. I printed it and posted it in several places in my house where I saw it every day. My word was

FOCUS.

I know I have a big problem staying with a task until it is finished. I have been told that my house is evidence of this issue. My dining room table is covered right now with papers--papers pertaining to four or more tasks I started but have not finished. But next week, I will focus on those tasks and complete them.

I am contemplating what my word for this year should be
First I have to decide what I want to accomplish this year. I always have such grand plans for the next twelve months that I over-schedule myself. Then I suffer with physical pain from lack of rest and being too stimulated mentally to sleep well. I absolutely make myself sick. My sister, Gay, can attest to this. 

I know others have this same problem. Some of them are my good friends. Owning a home takes so much of our time and finances. I have been making a mental list of what has to be done to my house this spring. My deck needs repairs and painting.

My health is uppermost in my planning for the next twelve months.I will begin with physical therapy and go on to water exercises as I try to deal with fibromyalgia and other concerns that have no name. I already incorporate massage therapy and chiropractic care in my regimen. That takes way too much of my time.

Of course, my work with NCWN-West is always of the utmost importance. Soon I will be scheduling readers for Coffee with the Poets and Writers for the months of March through November 2019. NCWN West will sponsor a workshop by Valerie Nieman this summer. We will need to publicize this event with emails, articles in local papers, etc. 

We are going to hold another Day for Writers in August. Carol Taylor is co-chairing that event with me. This all day writers' conference is a time consuming project as we search for the best presenters, arrange for a caterer, and line up volunteers to help with all the details.

I want to teach a couple of workshops or six week courses on memoir writing at Writers Circle around the Table. Maybe I can teach another course for the Institute of Continuing Learning at Young Harris. I enjoy these classes, seeing my students improve their writing and hearing their unique stories.

My own writing tends to get pushed way down the list of things to do, but I hope to get a poetry book published this year, and I am working on a collection of short stories. Estelle Rice and I will continue to market our book, Paws, Claws, Hooves, Feathers and Fins. We have been overjoyed at the reception this book has received. But it has taken much time and work to get it out there and let people know about it.

Wow! I get tired reading all my plans for this year. I didn't even mention working on my genealogy. 

We know it takes patience, persistence and perseverance to achieve success.

Maybe perseverance should be my word for 2019. What do you think?

Definition of perseverance :
 continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering


What would you choose for your word for 2019?







Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Sound of One Voice



Watch and hear this song sung by the USAF Band.  It made me weep.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q41ctPLDHvU

The following is a comment about this beautiful song. I think we all agree that union and harmony is what is needed in our country today.

Chris M. said:

"USAF Band, you make this retired Airman proud...thank you! And your voices and your instruments make a wonderful sound that reminds us all that in America's great diversity, there is real beauty in unison and even more in harmony, but not in discord. Aim high always--God bless you."

Saturday, December 29, 2018

End of Year Promote Your Book Party

https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2018/12/29/end-of-the-year-promote-your-book-party/

Charles French is helping writers to promote their books here at the end of the year.
Visit the link above and leave your book info in a comment. He asks that you then reblog his post on your blog or website.
This is a good way for us writers to help each other get the word out about our books.
Thanks, Charles French. And thanks to Abbie Johnson who posted this on her blog.