Merry Christmas/ Happy Holidays

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate! I’ve put my poetry on the back burner for the last couple of months with the holidays and other things going on that prevented my time alone that I usually spend writing and submitting. I hope to get back into the swing next year! It’s been a year of bad health for me (4 surgeries from Jan-May for under the skin cancer on my face) and sinus/sore throat problems I have had since September. I’ll take a more in depth look at my year in writing later. Here is the story behind one of my favorite Christmas Carols, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.


Top 9 Ways To Kill a Thanksgiving Bird (Again)

1. Leave the giblets IN the plastic bag inside the turkey. Place in oven until the poisonous smell fills the kitchen.

2. Forget to turn the oven ON.

3. Forget to turn the timer ON.

4. Float the turkey in a sea of juices…he probably needs a bath, and will look cute as a boat for the gravy.

5. Be considerate and take the turkey’s temperature under his wing instead of up his rear.

6. Overfill the fryer with oil, any oil except Peanut Oil. Enjoy the fireworks instead of the turkey. Or, to set the stage for a reenactment of the Civil War, complete with canon, make sure the fryer is sitting on unleveled ground.

7. Wait until 11:03 a.m. to take the turkey out of the fridge and find out it is STILL frozen.

8. DO inject yourself instead of the turkey with your favorite drink …we wouldn’t want the chef to dry out during cooking!

9. If all else fails and the turkey comes out perfect, there’s always the old Christmas Story standby—let the neighbors’ dogs in for a little snack before dinner.

Now it’s the turkeys outside going “gobble, gobble” instead of you and yours!


I’m sorry the pictures are blurred. I took them through the glass patio doors so I wouldn’t scare them away.

Poetry, Morality, Politics and Other News

What is the moral authority of a poet? What is the newest software for poets? Is the BAP on the up and up? Should poets have a “message?” Should poetry readings replace prayers? Who was a scandalous poet in the 20s? Here are some interesting articles concerning poetry that I came across online recently:

Poets and Moral Authority 

“Writers have no more moral authority than plumbers or butchers,” German poet H. M. Enzensberger stated at the Prague Writers’ Festival at Nová scéna.
He is also quoted in the Prague Post as later declaring that “…while in terms of literature poetry is a minority practice, a society without minority opinions and eccentrics is simply not viable. But all of this is a parochial view of poetry. Every kid out there knows 200 pop songs by heart – and that is not prose,” he said. “Even small children in kindergarten have their little verses. Poetry is an anthropological thing, like counting. We’re programmed this way.”

Why I Write: Natasha Trethewey on Poetry, History and Social Justice 

When Natasha Trethewey was asked to detail “Why I Write” to get into a graduate university program, she says her father told her to read an essay on “Why I Write” by Orwell. Orwell claimed that writing without political thought was empty, dull. She says poets always have to defend why they write, not as a judge, but an advocate. She almost didn’t get into the program because she was thought of as “too concerned with her message to write ‘real’ poetry.” She looked up “message” and it said it refers to a theme with political, social or moral importance. What’s wrong with that? She asked. Haven’t these things always been a part of poetry? I ask that, too! In this video, “Why I Write: Natasha Trethewey on Poetry, History and Social Justice” she talks about how we “write what we are given” and that includes our influence of political, racial and spiritual backgrounds.

Poetry in Schools

News around the world does support the fact that there are schools who are promoting poetry in the classroom. My own school’s third graders wrote books of poetry, drew their own cover pictures, had them published and had a reading. Here are some other articles on poetry in the schools.

1. First graders in Leroy Wood Elementary School at Fairhaven write and read their poetry.  

2. Well-known Auckland poets were instrumental in a community and school poetry project involving workshops with the theme Matariki, the Maori New Year, in ten primary to secondary schools in Otahuhu, Devonport and the North Shore. 

3. Free software by Aviary has been developed that will allow children to make their poems into a multimedia composition. Professionals can also use it to edit their works.


Check out the poem in Glen Beck’s The Overton Window book trailer. It’s from The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling. Regardless of your political beliefs, I think a poem as a trailer is a cool idea. I just like the poem, which you can read in its entirety for now, anyway.

Anis Shivani Blasts BAP

Anis Shivani lets Best American Poetry editor David Lehman have it with both barrels! WOW!!

 David Lehman’s Incestuous Coterie: Why the New ‘Best American Poetry’ Sucks Even More Than Its Twenty-One Predecessors

Poetry vs. Prayers?

Jayne Buckland, the Enfield Mayor of the Enfield Council, north London, decided to open their council meetings with poetry readings in place of the usual Christian Prayer. Seven of the ten people involved in the council hold Christian beliefs. Doug Taylor stated that “Prayers for those who wish to have a few moments of quiet reflection will be held in the mayor’s parlour before council meetings.


The shocking life of diva Edna St. Vincent Millay—open marriage, bisexuality, mandated skinny dipping in her pool, alcohol during prohibition, drugs and a strict rule of “do not disturb” during her strict writing hours, or else!

Happy Father’s Day

I am proud that I still have my dad. He is of the most impeccable character; one would have a hard time finding any fault in him. He is a wonderful father to his 3 daughters, grandfather to our 5 sons, great-grandfather to our 2 great-grandsons, (first granddaughter is on the way), and 4 adopted great-grandchildren. My parents were born at the beginning of the Great Depression. Dad was telling me about the WWII rationing of gasoline, tires, sugar, meat, silk, shoes, nylon and even pepper. He, nor mom could understand why there was a shortage of pepper, maybe something with the ammo? At least they didn’t have to worry about destroying planet earth back then. Perhaps they should have. But their water was clean, and the ozone layer still existed; then factories brought the air pollution. I wonder how bad it will get for us; the rationing of power and fuel.

My parents went through some tough times, put they pulled together, never apart… each playing their assigned role in our lives without question or complaint. Being born of that stoic generation, they often held us at arm’s length, with strict rules for behavior and an expectation of success. They were not huggers, they did not tell us “I love you,” in words…but we knew.

Writers Conference: 4th Annual Mississippi Writers Guild

Don’t miss the Mississippi Writer’s Guild Conference held at the Riverwalk Casino in historic Vicksburg, MS on August 6 & 7. Pay by June 30 to get the early bird discount! You can register and pay online or by postal mail. Formal Critiques are available. The convention will begin Friday night, August 6 with Literary Artists Onstage, in which writers are welcome to read their short stories or poetry at this time. The convention continues on Saturday, Aug. 7, with the Opening Keynote Speaker and four workshops of your choice and ends with the Keynote Speaker and Panel Discussion. Authors may sell their books at the workshop, which is set up through the Lorelei Books Store.  There will also be a silent auction to benefit our nonprofit writers guild. Please see the MWG website for all details. Here are the outstanding Presenters at our writer’s conference this year:

Regina Brooks

The Keynote Speaker is Regina Brooks, founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC, based in Brooklyn, New York. She is on the faculty of the Harvard University publishing program, and is the author of the children’s book, Never Finished! Her workshops are “WRITING THE UNDENIABLE BOOK PROPOSAL,” and “WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LITERARY AGENTS.”

The Closing Keynote Speaker is Katie McHugh, executive editor at Da Capo Lifelong Books, part of Perseus Books Group, the largest independent trade publisher and distributor. Ms. McHugh is the author of many nonfiction titles dealing with diet, health, cooking, parenting, relationships, self-help, lifestyle, and inspiration. Her workshops will deal with small press and women in publishing.

Lauretta Hannon

Lauretta Hannon has been called “the funniest woman in Georgia” by Southern Living. She is the author of The Cracker Queen—A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life, Gotham 2009, (a Southern Indie Bestseller three weeks afterits release), has been a commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and on Georgia Public Radio’s Georgia Gazette. She has been nationally-acclaimed as the most award-winning communications expert in higher education. Her workshops are “DON’T WAIT FOR ‘EM TO DIE,” and “MARKETING MOJO.”

Hestor Bass

Hester Bass is the author of  the biographical The Secret World of Walter Anderson, winner of the 2010 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, and multiple other awards. Her workshops are “I THINK I CAN: WRITING FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS,” and “AGENTS AND EDITORS: YOUR PARTNERS IN PUBLISHING FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS.”

Dr. Alan Brown

Dr. Alan Brown, professor of English at the University of West Alabama, began collecting oral ghost stories in 1993 from people he met while lecturing for the Alabama Humanities Foundation. These stories were published in The Face in the Window and Other Alabama Ghostlore (1996).  His workshops are titled, “HOW I GOT PUBLISHED: NAVIGATING THE WORLD OF SMALL AND UNIVERSITY PRESSES” and “PRESERVING FAMILY HISTORY.”

Copyright Questions: Is Glee in Violation?

Does Glee infringe copyright laws by their remakes of songs such as Madonna’s Vogue musical video and Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 hit Physical? Fines could total $150,000 for each of these instances. The fine for the use of a camcorder to record Physical could reach $300,000. You may think children would be excempt from the illegal use of such copyright infringements, but think again. According to the New York Times, Girl Scout troops were told by the the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) that they must pay royalties for their public performance” of copyrighted songs at camps in the 1990s.  There are also cases against Youtube videos of kids dancing to copyrighted songs. A Brainerd, Minn. mother refused a $5,000 infringement fine for file sharing, and is slugging  it out in court with RIAA (representing 4 major companies) . The fine has gone from $1.9 million to $54,000.  What is the law concerning copyright? Here are six.

Bloggers, be aware of  copying things into your blog without getting permission. Even if you credit a photo or written work you may be in violation of these laws.  Credit is not permission!

Happy Birthday Bob Dylan!

I love Bob Dylan’s poetry and song. He has written 44 albums in 46 years. He is amazing and inspires me to write.  One of my favorite Dylan songs is “Jokerman.” Did you know that in April 2008, Dylan received a Special Citation Pulitzer Prize ‘for his profound impact on popular music and American culturemarked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power,’ or that he was not only a singer/song writer, but he is also a writer, film director, actor, radio broadcaster and artist? He appeared in ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’ (1973) and in ‘Masked and Anonymous’ (2003). He has a collection of drawings and sketches he did while on tour called ‘Drawn Blank’  (1994). 

For Bob Dylan with love on his birthday… from Shillong –