Sunday, May 12, 2019

End of the Spring Semester! Here Comes the Sun!

Scopello, Sicily  May 2018 Photo by Meghan Rose Tonery

These are the cats that own the town of Scopello. Someone  would cook huge pots of pasta for them. See the one standing on two legs, eating his dinner.

This year we will be going to Galway and Silgo, Ireland. Another island culture.Can't wait to see the Burren with its wild orchids.

The Spring semester is over. It went by so quickly.  I worked constantly.  Now its time to recharge the battery and reflect on the year thus far. 

Looking forward to getting things in order now.  Set some summer goals besides maintaining the garden.  It's been a cold spring.  This past week, the weather alternated rain, then sun, then rain, then sun.  It's raining now. Yesterday, after attending St.John Fisher's graduation, Peter and I decided to do some errands.  We found a chicken house on the side of the road (in really good shape) and drove up
to the homeowner to see if he was selling it or giving it away.  Our good luck. Free!  So we stopped everything and figured out a way to drive the chicken house back to our house, which wasn't far away.  This little excursion could have been a total disaster. The chicken house in splinters in the middle of the road. Another hand of good luck, and we were able to make it back to our house without an incident.  Soon this will be a happy chicken house!

Recent publications:
Lyric essay and Poem.


I am grateful to all the editors who  have supported my writing, and have given me the opportunity to reach so many writers and readers worldwide.   It's been such a gift.

During poetry month, I only wrote a fistful of poems, not 30, as so many accomplish every year.
I only went to a couple of readings.  My energy is slowly coming back, so I am hoping I will have more get up and go through the summer months.

I have a lot to do now.  Time to switch gears and focus on things that are within reach.

Happy Mother's  Day!

Friday, March 8, 2019

The First Week of March, 2019, Racing towards Spring . . .

March 8th, 2019:

It’s Friday morning.  The sun’s shining, the air’s still quite cold.  We have a yard full of new snow. I have been working on lyrical CNF essays and poems for several weeks now.  Wrote a sonnet Wednesday, much to my surprise.  It’s a single sentence with internal rhyme (another surprise), and it’s about the first day of Lent (yet, another surprise). I have no idea what’s going on in my mind’s writing room these days, why some things are so out of the blue, but this poem seems to be a gift. Inspiration began with looking out the kitchen window, watching cardinals that flit branch to branch in the crab apple tree, then make their way to our feeders.  I love watching the dance.
Sonnets are not my forte. Those who are successful writing sonnets do so without any hint of cliché. I have always felt the heft of cliché in my attempts. My hunches were confirmed by poets(mentors) I trust. Yep, that isn’t so good, they’d say. Consequently, I have steered away from sonnets. However, I love reading them, and really I admire poet Henri Cole’s sonnets.  So gorgeous and witty and new. Some critics have called these “pseudo-sonnet form.”  Doesn’t matter.  All that matters is I remember them. His words and images.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Snow Angel Guide Us to Spring!

Photo by P. Tonery

In the month of February, we have experienced all kinds of weather in western NY.  Ice storms, snowstorms, wind storms, and patches of sun and warmer than usual temps, then plunging cold, Polar Vortex.

It's the last day of February.  I have just updated by web site, which was long overdue.  

Publications in 2019:

“(Un)resolved” The Pangolin Review, January, 2019
“May Life Be Kind White It Lasts” Blue Heron Review February, 2019
“For a Glimpse of the Sea” Amethyst Review, January 11th, 2019

“Fighting Death” Amethyst Review, February 18th, 2019 
 “With and Without” Amethyst Review, March 23rd, 2019
 “Nothing” Blueline 40th Anniversary Edition, Spring, 2019
 “The End in Sight,” “these woods” (couplet) and “slow moving fog” (haiku)
 The Bamboo Hut, February 2019.
 “The Lopsided Ticking of Dali’s Clocks” The Ekphrastic Review, January, 2019
“What Can I Spare?” Subterranean Blue Poetry, upcoming issue in 2019-2020
 “The Kiss” Quill and Parchment, February, 2019
 “One Breath— ” Clementine Unbound March, 2019
 “Look Up, Slowly” (Haibun) Plum Tree Tavern, February, 2019
 “Soap: Snow” Third  Wednesday, June, 2019
 “Once, Removed” Tiny Spoon Literary Magazine, 2019
 “Waiting on the Edge of the Invisible” and “Distance between Stars” Red Eft Review, March 2019
“Thinking of A Cure for Cancer after Looking at Thousands of Eyeless Fish Wash Up on a New   Zealand Beach” Otoliths, March, 2019


“Over (cast)” A Story in 100 Words, January, 2019
“Snow” A Story in 100 Words, January, 2019
“(Re)do” Grey Sparrow Journal, February, 2019
“The Hold-up” A Story in 100 Words, February, 2019.

CNF Essays
“The Orchard” Nature Writing, February 2019
“Hair(cut)”  Eunoia Review, March 2019.”
“Mirage” Otoliths, March 2019

Nominations, Awards
“Cry, Baby” Lost Balloon nominated for the Best Microfiction Anthology, 2019

Finitude, a micro-chapbook, Origami Poems Project, February, 2019

Last year, I finally made my goal of 100 publications in a year. I am hopeful that I will do that again this year.  Of course, this success depends upon my ambition to write and revise every day.
Teaching can slow this process down a bit because writing is an inward practice whereas teaching is outward.  

I have been extremely busy with workshops, going into the schools, working with students, 6th -12th grades.  I have been inspired by their originality and ways of seeing and understanding the power of metaphor. It makes me hopeful.   The strong critical thinking skills.  Kudos to their teachers who have encouraged them to have big ideas.

I have just finished 6 cycles of infusion therapy; with robotic radical GYN surgery in December for ovarian cancer.  As of this moment, I am cancer free. Once again, I am looking out upon uncharted territories. The six months went by quickly.  I had wonderful care, and now I am on my own, trying
to create a new routine, which includes everything I love to do.

What am I planning? 

Another vegetable garden, I have stacks upon stacks of  seed catalogs to peruse daily, and I do, imagining  the rows, leafy and green and abundant, despite the new 8 inches of snow.

Travel!  Near and far, with good humor and a light suitcase.  I think this will be the decade of many experiences(good, bad, ugly) you know how that goes, when you are out of your element.

Writing and making art!  Of course.

Onward!  Follow your snow angel!


Saturday, February 2, 2019

February 2nd: Early Spring in Ground hog's sight!

Photo by  P. Tonery: Sun Dog,  Winter Morning

In an eyeblink of New Year, January came and went. Our weather  (Polar Vortex) has been cold to the bone. The Spring semester at St. John Fisher started three weeks ago, and The College at Brockport started this week. So far, all is well.

Today, the Ground Hog didn't see his shadow, so he predicts the promise of an early Spring-- make it so weather gods.

In 2018, I had the grand total of 106  acceptances (poetry, fiction, essays, reviews). 100 acceptance has been my annual   goal for several years , and I have been a bit short. I was so surprised that I actually did it this year.  I feel extremely fortunate to have my work appear in so many fine journals. Now I am working on  a new collection of poems and a collection of 100 100 word stories.  I began this work in December 2018, during those limbo holiday weeks, when everything is strangely quiet and time seems to move at a slower pace. Now I am not sure if I am on foot or horseback, and the beginning of every new semester is wild with do this--
no, do this-- and somehow, everything gets done.

Recent work published in December: 

Dime Show Review: (100 word Story)

 Poems in Ekphrastic Review.

Poems in Burning House:

Consider sending your creative work to these fine journals.

 Quote for the Day:

“When you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, your fugitive presence, inevitably you think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgment of the gift you have been given, which is life itself. And I think the world tends to forget that this is the ultimate significance of the body of work each artist produces. That work is not an expression of the desire for praise or recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitude for the gift of life.”
                                                        ~ Stanley Kunitz

Friday, December 21, 2018

Dish Garden  called "Scopello"  created by M.J.Iuppa in June 2018. Photo by Meghan Tonery

Dreaming of a small villa on the terraced hillside of Scopello . . .

It's merely days before Christmas, 2018.  My two youngest children celebrate their birthdays this week: Meghan Rose on 12/18 and Nick on 12/21 (today!)

I had robotic gyn surgery on 12/17, and even though it was a radical procedure, I am doing well.  They give this a recovery of 1-2 weeks; yet, by yesterday, I  am feeling better and better. I actually went out and did a bit of xmas shopping with Peter and then we decided to grab some dinner. It was so much fun to be out and about.  I am pain free now too.  The miracle of modern medicine. What would normally be 6-8 weeks if it had been a laparotomy is now an eye blink of recovery time.   So grateful for my good care and results. It's been quite an adventure since August, when  I was thrown into uncharted territories. Every week has tested my ability to handle the challenges I was (still am, but not much longer) facing.  I have had good care from family to friends to all (medical professionals) who have guided me thus far.  For the past three days, I have been both retrospective and introspective about what has transpired from end of August until now. I have been doing everything to keep my life as normal as possible.  I have not played the I'm not well card at all.  Whenever anyone asked me for help, I was there for them, and vice versa.  It has been salvation.

So here we are and it's nearly Christmas.  Wishing everyone peace, sending everyone love.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Poetry (re) Views . . .17 years later . . .

For the past month, I have been rereading some poetry reviews by David Orr that appeared in Poetry magazine in 2001. Orr is a tough critic. Much like Dorothy Parker.  Not afraid to say: ' Antony and Cleopatra travel on the Nile on a barge, and the barge sank.' Orr makes me a bit nervous. In one review, he considers the mundane and the concept of what is publishable;that is, poems that are thoughtful, polished, and  unsurprising.  Unsurprising = competent =  in his words 'eminently publishable.' I continue reading and realize his point is not all published poems deserve to be collected into a volume of poetry. He detests 'wise' poems and prefers short lyrics. He wants verbal facility, but sneers at poetry professionals. He thinks these poets and their wholly publishable poems are foolish; at best offering the reader a metaphorical muddle, rather than something that moves beyond its gesture. Orr seems to be quickly bored by the perfected endings. Most often, couplets, which aren't incompetent, and  most often are effective and moving, but have become the poet's formula-- the "Wait, for it, big ending." Obviously, in 2001, he was hell bent on putting the spotlight on the seven steps to writing the essential "Workshop Lyric Poem." He had had enough of the same old, same old  life lessons.  He wants something more.

It must still be true.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018! Is the Coast Clear?

Photo: P.Tonery, taken several years ago,on Red Rooster Farm.  I love this picture.

Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving at the the farm, with 18 family members!  It's been fun having my adult children home for the holidays.  I am feeling particularly blessed this year. We had a great harvest. Our root cellar is full of many jars-- all lined up and ready to make something delicious on cold winter nights.  Ah, when we open those jars, we can smell and taste the best days of summer.  Have given a lot of our efforts away, and still  we have an abundance.

It literally took more than 10 weeks to do all the processing, which was right in sync with the Fall semester and grading, grading, grading. And on the eighth day, they rested . . . No such luck.

So it's onward.  Now we have a few quiet days before the real marathon begin. The end of the semester is always a wild whirlwind. I have many conferences scheduled for next week. Looking forward to talking to my many creative writers about their work, which should strike terror into many writers' hearts, because they are the new batch of competition.  I have some exceptional writers at both colleges.  All of my classes have been going well this semester.  I have 5 in total.  147 students. All writing. I grade approx. 294 papers per week.  I have a batch to do this weekend, and then the final portfolios. We only have  two weeks left of school, then finals, and once I cross the finish line: Jingle Bells!

Enjoy those leftovers!