Saturday, January 31, 2009

Last Day of January

It's been so cold and snowy, one of our black and white chickens has been laying crooked eggs . . .
What does that mean? I woke up early this morning, before dawn, and could see the shadows of seven deer moving single file through the apple orchard. By daylight, thirty robins were in the crab apple tree. They appeared anxious, pecking at the frozen fruit. Our resident pileated woodpecker was hanging on the feeder and new snow falling. Quite a sight from our kitchen window. This winter has been tough on the animals foraging for food. They are taking risks coming closer, and within reach of the cats . . .

* * *

The Northville Review is now live! Looks terrific. I personally like online ezines.
Here are my favorite ones: The Centrifugal Eye, Apple Valley Review, Lark!, The Hobble Creek Review, The Public Republic, Brevity, Smokelong Quarterly . . . What online journal do you read? Recommend?
I love the immediacy of online journals-- a poem, story, nonfiction essay, just a click away.
I appreciate the increased readership, too. I have been introduced to many fine writers by reading online. True, I will always love books, and many of these online zines have made print anthologies, which is the best of both worlds. I imagine the sales of the printed version would increase because of the online visibilty.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Taking care, cure or curse?

Okay, went to the doctor's yesterday for an interval check.
As the Doctor is listening to my lungs and heart, I spy a baseball bat in the corner.
I break my held breath and say, "Doctor, why do you have a baseball bat in this exam room?
Do you hit non-compliant patients over the head? " He starts giggling, like that cartoon dog: hehehehehee . . . I"m sure he's having fun visualizing this. It could be me. I could be the one he wants to bop on the noggin.


Good news, one of my stories will be on the launch of a new online ezine: The Northville Review. It goes live on Friday. Here's the link:
Let me know what you think of the story.


Today is my long day at Fisher. I've been up since 4 a.m. preparing for classes. I teach a night class on Thursdays. It's Encounter with the Arts and we're going to see the play The House in Hydesville. It's about the Fox sisters. Their house was moved to Lily Dale NY, which is still the center of Spiritualism. I know my students are going to enjoy this. It's a late night though. We'll be back by 11 p.m. We all ride a bus (hard to convince upperclassmen that we have to do this. But I told them that they should consider it a limo.) Thank goodness, they have a sense of humor!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Online publications

Two of my cinquain are in the current issue of Amaze: The Cinquain Journal

The editor is poet Deborah Kolodji, whose haiku, senryu and cinquain are to be admired for their
deep imagery and grace. Check out the journal online. Try the poetic form.

Also, Ballard Street Press now has a blog. Here's that connection:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday blues, weekends are too short!

The second week of the semester: we're off and running. Meetings, meetings, meetings.
Some exciting things will be happening on campus this semester.

Susan Deer Cloud will be visiting on March 18-19th 2009. Reading her poetry on March 18th in Golisano Gateway at 7:30 p.m. (open to public) and visiting a class on March 19th. Looking forward to this, Susan is a Foothills Poet!


It's so cold, I'm going to make some soup today. I can stir the pot and chip away at all the things that need to be done by tomorrow, the start of another week. What I want to do is read and drink tea.

Next week, taking my Encounter with the Arts class to GeVa Theatre to see The House in Hydesville. This play is premiering at GeVa. It's about the Fox sisters and has a local connection too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009 Excitement in the Air!

All eyes on Washington. The change has finally come!

Since the mid-sixties, as a young middle schooler, my life of service and teaching began. Weekly, I went to the Baden Street Settlement House in Rochester NY and worked with the children in a partnered reading program. The nuns at the Academy of the Sacred Heart decided that our theology classes should be social action classes. Get our of the schoolrooms and let our actions speak. Be aware of our neighbors. Since then I have surrounded myself with like minded people, young and old, who are inventive in making life better for those who need help. Those who need help can be anyone, at any time. I think our new president is of the same mind. The change in our country and how we present ourselves to the world is going to be dramatic. Dramatic and possible.

The whistlestop speeches alone were inspiring. The concert on the Lincoln Memorial steps demonstrated how music can unify and create a community of believers. I'm one of the believers. I'm joyful. To see Obama and his family as our first family is a dream come true.
Today should be a holiday. Not sure how I'm going to teach my afternoon classes, the excitement will be hard to contain; and truthfully, why should it?

My sister Andrea Jepson is in Washington for Hawaii's Inaugural Ball. Can't wait to hear about the celebrations there. I'll be on the sidelines watching the wide screen at St. John Fisher. But sidelines or not, we'll all be there when President-elect Obama takes his oath. The crowd's cheer will roar, coast ot coast. I say, Yeah!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Launch of the Adelaide Project, linked cinquain

Just sent off an elaborate email to the poets who will be participating in the Adelaide Project.
The linked cinquain will begin on January 24 2009 and complete on March 28, 2009. We will have a celebratory reading in April 2009.

This will chase the winter blues away. Thank you Just Poets members for participating in this project.


Mary Biddinger (The Word Cage) asked three questions about things that we're thankful for, but at the time didn't realize we were thankful.

1. Typing (argh!) I'm such a snip. In my day at Our Lady of Mercy High School, I took personal typing and Sister Margaret Mary, whose face looked like a strawberry set in whipped cream, told me I didn't work to my potential because I looked at my hands; and I said, Sister, I'm never going to need typing, I'm going into academics. I know: totally insane. I think of her every day
as I cluck and coo over the keyboard like a chicken. Telling the story makes me think twice about what comes out of my mouth. It makes me laugh too because nuns always have the last word, always.

2. Music. I'm thankful for music and how it creates a community. I loved singing in a choir. Wish I were singing in a community choir now. I should look into that possibility.
3. The brutal critique by Haiku editors. You betcha 17 syllables or less, I'm getting better at this form.


Just received in the mail yesterday, The Poets Guide to the Birds edited by Judith Kitchen and Ted Kooser. It's lovely-- so honored to be included in this anthology. This collection will appeal to birders. I know many birders. Actually many birder friends are poets.
I wonder, could you read these poems and count it as a sighting on a life list? That could be a two for one, especially for folks who can't get out when the weather is acting up. (It's pin needle cold in Western NY.) Will have to buy extra copies. This will be a perfect gift.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's snowing double negatives . . .

Yesterday was the beginning of the semester. New snow, new syllabi, new students.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I am at St. John Fisher from early morning to late evening. Last night's drive home, especially the last mile down Moscow Road, was a nightmare. The blowing and falling snow was spinning everywhere. The visibility: zero. I couldn't see mailboxes or telephone poles. I was driving, white knuckle, less than 10 mph, with blinkers on and praying I was in the middle of the road and not headed for a ditch or cornfield. I crept along, thankful for the random (brief) sight of houses and porch lights and occasional streetlight and rare other car driving toward me. Oh, I think it's going to be a difficult winter. Made it home and came in with wind and Toodles, our black cat and a whoosh of snow, and my husband greeted me with a puzzled look-- Is it bad outside?

Today more snow . . . cold, so cold.

Going to work on an art project today. It's visual artist Angela Amato's concept for a V.I.T.A. L. residency. Thought I would do the project, so I would have first hand knowledge of making the art. It's a terrific concept. I think the children are going to really enjoy it. The project incorporates poetry, which I will be working on with the fifth and sixth graders. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Poetry Midwest : Issue 22

Hurray! Here's the latest issue of Poetry Midwest

Four of my poems appear in this issue, and I was delighted to find Rainier Writers Workshop poets, Michael Schmeltzer and Stan Sanvel Rubin included too.

Check out the website for Poetry Midwest's quidelines. Editor and poet, Matthew W. Schmeer is a pleasure to work with. I like his vision and good nature. Poetry Midwest
is one to read, again and again.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Launch of the Bird's Eye reView

Check It Out:

Amy L. George, editor of Bird's Eye reView, announces the launch of the first issue,

featuring poets: Samantha Bell, Maroula Blades, Corey Cook, Richard Fein,Gabe Gregoire, Faith Hoffman, Jason Huskey, M.J.Iuppa, Ami Kaye, Maude Larke, Lyn Lifshin, M.V. Montgomery, Edward Nudelman, Rhonda Poynter, Heather Ann Schmidt, R Jay Slais and Antonio Vallone.

Next open reading period is February 1, 2009 to June 1, 2009.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Weekend Plans: Little Christmas

Hard to believe that it's the 10th of January and there's a tree standing in my living room.
We grow Christmas trees on our little farm. This one was voted exceptional by my family, and
it's still holding on to its needles. We are reluctant to take it down. Packing up the ornaments is double dose of melancholy for me, and I usually do it alone. I may wait until Monday to do this.
We're celebrating little Christmas on Sunday with family. It will be good to see them and catch up.


Still in the process of getting my syllabi together. Truthfully, I have no idea where my enthusiasm comes from. But it's percolating. I have some decent plans for the semester. It's definitely going to be lively. I'm truly excited about my Encounter with the Arts class. We're going to have a lot of fun. There are some wonderful opportunities in Rochester. Just a step away.

Report on my goals:
Thus far:
1. Attended Just Poets meeting on January 3rd. Enjoyed the lecture on the Dodge Festival.JP Members and Poets:Donna M. Marbach, David Michael Nixon and Kathy Van Schaick presented
What We Got Out of Dodge, a look back at their experience at the 2008 Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival. The traveling threesome shared anecdotes, poems, and other tidbits from their adventure at the largest poetry festival in North America.


What I enjoyed about this lecture/presentation was hearing what captured their attention and listening to the sample of poems that showcased the poets who inspired them. All three are wonderful readers.

2.Went to see the final show of Barefoot in the Park at the JCC, in which my daughter Meghan Rose Tonery had a lead role. The show was exceptional. Standing ovations. Such fun!

3. Went to the JP Reading and Open Mic. Featured Poet: Jan Wenk Cedras.


Truthfully, I could listen to Jan for as long as her voice holds out. I'm intrigued by her work. How it twists domestic incidents and imagination. She wrestles with her art-- always "making it new."

I'm also intrigued by cinquain, and David Michael Nixon is accomplished in this poetic form.
I am trying to get "The Adelaide Project" started, whereby 12 poets will write response cinquains; 5 per poet, totalling 60 linked cinquains. Of course, trying to get this together, is "like herding cats." Cliche I know, but so fitting. So if you're reading this and want in on the project to honor Adelaide Crapsey,please Let me know.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Just Poets reading tonight at Barnes & Noble at 7 p.m.

Slow sift of snow . . .

It's 4 p.m. and I'm nearly done with my work for the day. I'm watching the snow from my office window at St. John Fisher. Will stay on this side of Rochester, so I can attend the Just Poets reading at Barnes & Noble tonight. Jan Wenk Cedras is the featured poet. I'm so glad I will have the opportunity to hear her read. Open mic follows. Hopefully Just Poets from the east side of Rochester will brave the weather.

I think it's going to be a good night for poems.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First Thoughts

Just before dawn, velvet quiet and new snow in the orchard:

After semester grading, after holiday meals and celebration with family and friends, after
settling into my do-as-I-please schedule, the return to my usual life is calling. Meetings this week, then by Thursday January 15, the new semester begins. I have been enjoying this time off. Reading, writing, knitting, daydreaming-- a lot of daydreaming.

Have written several poems and "eyeblink" fictions-- my interest since the Winter Wheat Festival at Bowling Green this past November. Once the semester begins, my writing, which I believe requires an inward motion (all about me) collides with teaching which is an outward motion ( all about them). I'm constantly juggling between the two. Consequently, I've set some goals. I decided that the best way to maintain goals is to create "the list of goals" on a quarterly basis, and add.

So here's my list thus far:

1. To have a lot of fun this year. Go to more readings, lectures, art exhibits, music, and so on.

2. To complete my collection of essays (writing) and send my third full length collection of
poems out into the world.

3. To pick out new seeds and trees from the catalogues that just arrived.

4. To be here now, in the moment. Know that it's live and I'm living.

I think I will keep a weekly report on these goals. See if the quarterly plan works.