Saturday, August 28, 2021

Last Days of August: Looking Back on Summer

 
Ontario Series, #1, July, 2021

M.J. Iuppa

Over the summer, I made nature collages: stones, shells, sea glass found on the Lake Ontario beaches.  I created scenes, which I hope inspires tranquility. The gift of summer, of being barefoot and walking on the sandy beach,close to the lip of the lake.  I have made four of these so far. Framed them in 4x6 black frames. They are small windows.  Two have been taken to new homes. I was thrilled that they were desired. It made me happy. New skill: I learned how to use a glue gun without removing my fingerprints.

As soon as the Spring semester ended in May, our planting season began.  My husband had great luck starting our plants from seeds in our greenhouse.  He even started flowers: Moon flowers, Lupines, Zinnias, Sunflowers, Marigolds-- all with great success.  Our flower gardens have many colors and have been fun to watch them grow and multiple.

We successfully planted three gardens: North, East and South, which total 5000 square feet. This is a lot to maintain.  Now we're harvesting our efforts.  Canning tomatoes, from sauce to puree, to whole in tomato juice. A steamy process.

It's been warm here.  The heat is always expected in August, but this summer was truly pleasant, with many mild days and a decent amount of rain and sun. Perfect for gardens and orchards.  So far, we have stayed ahead of our harvesting.  I think I planted more than 200 tomato plants, cherry to plum to a variety of slicers. Thus far, nothing disappoints.

Besides gardening, I gave myself a writing challenge. To write  every morning, which I did faithfully at the start of summer, and was successful in completing poems, 100 word stories, lyric essays. As the summer progressed, I had to divide my attention.  Big garden commitment.  Of course, the gardens need the care of small children.  I mean things can get out of control pretty fast.  So I fussed over everything every day. You guessed it, in the morning, before the sun got too hot.  A chunk of writing time spent in the garden.  But not lost time, I think I was writing in the garden.  Loose thoughts coming together in my head.  Lines repeating as I weeded.  It was good work.  I am grateful for this life on the farm.  How it restores me. 

A lot of change:  I made the decision to retire from St. John Fisher College after 24.5 years.  It's startling to  realize that I have been teaching there, January 1997 to August, 2021. So many classes and bright students, and papers and tests, and creative writing and visual art, and performances and readings, and laughter and discoveries and collaborations.  I will miss that the most. I am grateful to my many wonderful colleagues (faculty and staff).  I received a lot of support in my efforts to bring quality Art programs to St. John Fisher College. I am grateful for my work experience there.

Now I will continue teaching at The College at Brockport this semester and the next. Closer to home, with three classes to teach. No night classes.  I am looking forward to the start of this semester on 8/30/21.  I taught remote courses all last year.  It's going to be wonderful being face to face in the classroom again. Hopefully, all of us will remain healthy as we navigate through the semester.  It can be done as long as we're aware of what we need to do to stay safe.

Lastly, I wanted to create several manuscripts this summer, and I was successful. I have a micro-chapbook of prose (lyric essays and a prose poem) called In a Silent Way; a chapbook of  twenty-four 100 word stories called Rock. Paper. Scissors.; and my fifth full-length poetry collection called The Weight of Air. I have submitted these manuscripts to chapbook competitions and presses. 

On 8/6/2021, I submitted The Weight of Air to Kelsay Books for possible publication.  It was accepted on 8/19/2021, with publication scheduled for May, 2022.  I am thrilled by this good news. 

Soon, the air will change, and shadows will grow longer, and autumn with be upon us. Another change of season.  




Sunday, June 6, 2021

June 6th, 2021: I have No Idea How It's Suddenly June

 

Photo: Meghan Rose Tonery, June 2020

Time for Confession?  I Hear Ya! 

Suddenly, It's June.  The work and stress of teaching is like the memory of childbirth.  Already, I have forgotten the intense labor of those last weeks. True, I learned a lot, teaching in the "remote" format, but  I missed being on campus.  I am looking forward to teaching face to face in Fall 2021.

Somehow, I found the energy to do a fistful of end of year reports by their due dates in May as well as  editing the upcoming 2021-22 catalog copy. With each task checked off the To-Do list, I felt lighter and lighter. I have forgotten my high anxiety, which was complicated by the number of hours I spent online.  It's a little nutty how working from home doesn't have the "limits" of shutting your office door for the night or weekend. Instead, work is always there.  I think both instructors and students suffered from this "constant" presence of work to be done.  I am not sure what exactly I learned  this past year. I stepped up; my students stepped up.  We got it done.  Now we're looking around, feeling a tiny bit lost, because we are suddenly free to do whatever we want.   For me, that feeling of being oar-less is disconcerting, but I somehow right myself after two weeks of drifting . . .  Now working on new poems and stories; edited my novella, hoping that it holds up for my readers (we'll see what they say!); sending manuscripts of prose and poems out. It's been 4 years since I've put together a manuscript.  The process requires such concentration to get it just right (we'll see what they say!).  

Of course, time doesn't wait here on the farm.  Our gardens (5000 square feet) are nearly planted to capacity.  We are out there in the early morning, trying to get things done before the sun and its brash white light fries us to a crisp.  It's been plenty warm lately.  Gardens are looking good, too.

My time in the garden is a meditation on whatever I'm writing or editing.  So I can weed a couple hours; then come in and work a few hours on writing projects.  I hope this will be a summer of healing and accomplishment.  Here's hoping we have bushels and bushels of produce!  







Thursday, April 1, 2021

This Thirst by M.J.Iuppa Reviewed by Adrian Koesters March 31.2021

Here is the link to the review of This Thirst:
 

 https://adriankoesters.com/f/m-j-iuppa-this-thirst#0e166538-1ba1-45c1-a30f-bcaff452678c

 

Thank you, Adrian Koesters for this review.

Kaktus Reading on March 30th, hosted by Jules Nyquist and John Roche, featuring cousin poets M.J.Iuppa and lauren Ayers

 

Thank you to Jules Nyquist and John Roche for giving me the opportunity to read with my cousin.  I read from my collection This Thirst (Kelsay Books 2017)

Cover Artwork by Elizabeth King Durand

Here is the You Tube link to our  poetry reading on March 30th, 2021:

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

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sunday: January 10, 2021: What A Week.

 


Photo: P. Tonery 2020: Red-Headed Woodpecker.

Private Life:

It's hard to believe that we're nearly mid-month of the first month in the New Year. I have been trying to be "intentional" in everything I do this year.  I have been reading for my own pleasure 30-45 minutes a day.  Love the big print books I rented from the Brockport Seymour library. Currently reading three women (nonfiction) by Lisa Taddeo. At first, I wondered what I was getting myself into by selecting this book, without really knowing what it's about.  Endorsement from Elizabeth Gilbert is why I picked it up.  The library visit is not the luxurious browse. It's find what you need or want, and move on. I wanted to see if the book club that I had attended twice in two years was having its meeting online. No longer associated with the Brockport Seymour library, but still led by a woman named Dryad or Driad, who strangely didn't like me, because she knew I was a writer and teacher. I think she was worried that I would take her authority.  Hardly my intention, I just wanted to read a few books and listen to the discussion. I wasn't successful sticking with it because my teaching at The College at Brockport occurred during the hour of the Book Club's meetings. Too bad, because I really liked the people, including Dryad the leader, who attended the club.  During the shelter in place, The Book Club moved to The Sweden Senior Center; yet, the Seymour library still reserves the books for the members.  I was hoping that they were participating via zoom meeting and I could attend again. A librarian named Stephanie helped me.  She phoned the Book Club leader.  I guess when Stephanie revealed my name, the Book Club leader bristled and said, "Tell her that the membership is closed." So I am out of luck.  I have been banned from a Book Club.  I am going to read the book slotted for their next meeting: The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards.  So, I'm hoping I'll find another Book Club for this year.

 I have been attending readings, far and near, since the start of the year.  I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to the featured readers and the open mics.  Zoom has made this possible. I realize how many prefer in person readings, but this Zoom platform has made opportunities for so many who wouldn't be able to attend in person.  I hope, after the pandemic lifts, that this platform will remain, giving all  interested the opportunity to attend readings, concerts,  lectures, and so on. 

During the next 3 weeks, I will continue to work on writing and art projects and prepare for the upcoming semester, which starts on 2/1/2021.  I am feeling healthy.  Trying to get back to reduced sugar intake.  I had quite a bit over the holidays . . . Just because. Need to take those long walks, again.

 Public life:

My eyes are spinning in oil.  I have been reading newspapers online, cover to cover.  Watching the events on January 6th horrified me and my family.  We sat transfixed for hours, trying to make sense of what what happening in the Capitol. It was so scary. I am beseeching our leaders to do everything necessary to put an end to the Trump chaos. The leaders who supported this chaos should be dismissed from their positions.  They are a danger to us all.  It's time to send a clear message to these people who have blindly put their faith in believing the lies.  I believe  the next four years will be a time of reconstruction of  our values and moral integrity.  We will make it so.  I am fed up with racism, prejudice, bias, greed, deceit. It has to stop. I do believe, people to people, we can making a difference.

Do not hide from this challenge.  Do not depend on someone else to bring peace and understanding to  our communities across the United States.  Have courage to be kind and considerate of everyone. Listen and speak with good intention.



 






Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Summer happened in CoVID -19 2020.

Glorious Peas!  Our gardens were exceptional this year.  A bounty of fruits and veggies. Spent hours upon hours in the gardens, weeding, waiting . . .




This is a turkey egg.
 

North garden was the Irish dream. Lavender, white and golden potatoes.  Big harvest this year.

All photos: MRTonery, 2020

A lot Has Happened Since June. Time to Reboot.

 


Photo: MRTonery, 2020

Publications for 2020: 85 in total

Poetry:

“Morning, Listening to that Faint Thunder” Nine Muses Poetry (UK), January, 2020

“What Will Be Left, in Leaving” Freshwater Literary Journal, 2020

“How Bright the Moon Shines Tonight” and “No One Owns the Clouds,” Third Wednesday, Spring, 2020

“Without Force (2)” and “The Day Turned Dark” Front Porch Review, April 2020; July 2020

“Epiphany in January” Amethyst Review, February, 2020

“That Wasn’t What I Thought” Amethyst Review, March 2020

“Advent” and “Nothing Is What It Seems” Live Nude Poems, February, 2020

“Orion” Tar River Poetry, October, 2020

“City Street Performance” Plum Tree Tavern, February, 2020

“What Was Lost” Eunoia Review, April, 2020

"In an Instant Comes a Gust of Whiteness” The Lake, April, 2020

Triolet: “Things Are Not Always What They Seem” Amethyst Review, May, 2020

“Out of Reach” Red Eft Review, March, 2020.

“Seeking the Self, Beyond the Self” Nine Muses Poetry, UK, June, 2020

“How to Expect, the Unexpected” The Pangolin Review, April, 2020

“Sometimes the Lights Onstage Are So Bright” Prometheus Dreaming, April, 2020

“Waiting for You in Rain” The Eunoia Review, May, 2020 

“Strait of Reflection” and “A Chance to Catch One’s Breath” Dreams Walking, 2020 

“Melancholy” Plum Tree Tavern, June, 2020

“(Out)look” and “Vespers” Amethyst Review, July and August, 2020

“Days of Empty Hours” Clementine Unbound. July, 2020

“Weathering This” and “Eden, Rising” Red Eft Review, June, 2020 

“Ephemeral, Lasting” and “In Every Way” Global Poemic, June, 2020

“The Weight of Air” and “Not Light (hearted)” Nine Muses Poetry, UK, September, 2020

“Calling Hours” Alba, A Journal of Short Poetry,  2020

“I Have Things to Tell You,” “Every Word,” and “A Growing Compulsion”

Dreich 5, UK, March, 2021

“Another Shade of Yellow” Third Wednesday, July, 2020

“Season of Quarantine,” “Second Chance,” “Obscurity,”

“Fair Weather” Ink Pantry, August, 2020

“Mise en Scène” Anti-Heroin Chic, October, 2020

“Comparatively, Speaking” Prometheus Dreaming, October, 2020

“Fool’s Moon, Full Moon,” Trouvaille Review, October, 2020

“Dwelling, Here” Amethyst Review, January, 2021

“Captivity” Front Porch Review, January,2021

The Gravity of Rain” Red Eft Review, November, 2020

“What Am I Saving?” Red Eft Review, November, 2020

“No Small Thing” and “Strandhill Beach in May,” Poetry and Place, December, 2020

Fiction:

“(Re)cycling” City. River. Tree. Spring 2020.

“Far from Home,” “After, Ever,” “The Memory House,”

  and “Mask of Loveliness,” Otoliths, February, 2020

“She Says,” Lost Balloon, February, 2020

“Caught on Tape” A Story in 100 Words, January, 2020

“Wonder” A Story in 100 Words, February, 2020

“Nearly, Magnolia, Milk Candy Review, May,2020

“Tit-for-Tat” The Dribble Drabble Review, May, 2020

“Almost Positive” and “Intimate Places” Otoliths, July 2020

 “Living Alone in Covid-19 Times, The Drabble, May 2020

“No Exit” The Dribble Drabble Review, 2020

“From Where She Sat” City. River. Tree. 2020

“Rock. Paper. Scissors.” Written Tales, 2020

“Exchange” 100 Word Story, 2020

“Hemmed-In” and “Mixed Tapes” Otoliths, 2020

“Holding, Still” The Dribble Drabble Review, Spring 2021

“White Noise” Milk Candy Review, Winter, 2021

 

CNF Essays:

“No One Knows I’m Here” Eunoia Review, January, 2020

“No Plans Come to Mind” Eunoia Review, February, 2020

“Perspective” Eunoia Review, September, 2020

“Possessions” Otoliths, 2020

“Between Worlds” reprinted in Flash Frontier, December, 2020

“Another Dark Place” Eunoia Review, February, 2021

Reviews:

Truɘ Enough, by J.R. Solonche (Dos Madres, 2019) The Lake, 2020

 

Anthologies

"Clotheslines" CNF essay (reprinted) in Stone Gathering, Summer 2020

“No One Owns the Clouds” poem (reprinted) in Lummox Anthology, Summer, 2020

“Help me Find myself” and “Living Alone in Covid-19 Times” 

Shelter in Place, Staring Problem Press, 2020

Anniversary issue of Grey Sparrow, “To the Small Child Holding a Balloon” (poem), 2020

 

Awards

Wigleaf The Top 50 Very Short Fiction 2020, and Long List stories:

Iuppa, M.J., "She Can't Settle Down," Milk Candy, (December 12, 2019)