The Argument of Trees and Living with Ghosts Two Works by K Eltinaé

Another excellent post.

IceFloe Press

Living with Ghosts

I wanted to name you Aya. Both the poets and the prophets would have protected your every step had we stayed behind. But I, your mother, met a fate far worse than your drunkard father who they found foaming at the mouth near the barracks. I am writing to tell you, I am sorry I brought us here to live forever between worlds. The first song, the only one I ever sang to you, Aikedollie, was a song schoolgirls sang about love. I could only remember parts of it, so I clung to the chorus, and named your heartbeat after it. Aya.

Abdel-Rasul, the eldest fisherman told us to pack our belongings and meet him behind the abandoned pier, to trust him to take us somewhere we could seek refuge in after part of our city sank underwater. Yet, he did not step onto the boat that…

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Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Beth O’Brien

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

LP cover

Beth O’Brien

is an English Literature student at the University of Birmingham. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Light Perception, was published by Wild Pressed Books in November 2019. She is the Editor of Mad Hatter Reviews, a site that reviews books, e-books, theatre, music, and even the odd podcast. Having been born visually impaired, Beth grew up on audiobooks and audio-described theatre, and these loves are still going strong.

She is also a reviewer for Riggwelter Press, and has quite happily picked up a range of jobs that require her to write, whether that be travel articles, student blogs, or website content. She has had her poetry (and the odd short story) published in Foxglove Journal, Nine Muses Poetry, Dear Reader Poetry, BellaOnline Literary Review, Eunoia, Pulp Poets Press, Peculiars Press, Picaroon Press, and Bonnie’s Crew.

When not reading, writing, or listening to an audiobook at double speed, she will most likely be found snacking, drinking tea, and/or planning a trip to somewhere or other.

Light Perception can be purchased from Wild Pressed Books for £3: www.wildpressedbooks.com/light-perception.html

The Interview

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

I think reading inspired me to write. But, also, the fact that I have always enjoyed doing it. I’ve written poetry since I was a child – although, I cannot say whether anything I wrote deserves to be called poetry! Poetry can be so beautiful and have such a powerful impact, and I think reading it was what let me realise that it was something to appreciate.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

I don’t remember having a moment of being introduced to poetry. I know I studied it in school. I enjoyed looking at how poets could use beautiful metaphors to discuss something completely separate, and yet make their meaning clear. I have a clear memory of studying Maya Angelou’s poetry in school – I must have been 15. Her work is so striking, emotional and beautiful, and I remember having to stop, just to have a moment to take everything in properly. This wasn’t an introduction to poetry, but it was definitely a moment of realising that I loved it.

3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?

It’s not something I think about while I’m writing, really. I’ve found the writing community to extremely supportive and kind. Although it always nerve-wracking thinking that better writers than yourself have read your work!

4. What is your daily writing routine?

Terribly, I don’t exactly have one. Poem ideas can come at really inconvenient times. I find it easier to write when I’m feeling any strong emotion – whether I’m happy, sad, angry, or whatever. But my routine is pretty chaotic. The notes section of my phone is full of poems. Sometimes just a line or two, sometimes half a poem, sometimes the whole thing tumbles out in one go. I’m definitely not advocating this as a productive way of working, but in many ways, it means I can write anywhere, which is handy!

5. What motivates you to write?

I love it! I know that’s a cheesy answer, but it’s also true. It’s also amazing when someone responds positively to something you’ve written. Even if you make someone cry – which, I know, sounds mean – knowing words that you’ve put in a specific order has prompted such emotion in someone else is beautiful (and a bit scary!). I find poetry a really good way of saying things I might otherwise struggle to say in day-to-day conversation. It helps me in lots of ways, which is also great motivation.

6. What is your work ethic?

I just try hard, really. It doesn’t always work out, but I like feeling like I’ve done as well as I could have at that moment.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I loved reading as a child, and I still do now. I grew on up on reading Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo, J K Rowling, Philip Pullman, among others. I read a lot less poetry when I was younger, but an overall love of reading and writing is definitely down to the books I loved as a child.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

I have huge admiration for Margaret Atwood. If I’m 79 and doing a tenth of the things she is, then I’ll be proud. I read Alias Grace when I was 17 and I thought it was so cleverly written, and since have read a lot of her other novels and poetry since. Aside from writing, I admire Atwood for her work for women’s rights and her environmental activism.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

I think I write as opposed to doing something else because writing helps me. I find it really good way of understanding and clarifying my own thoughts and ideas. I feel better after writing, whether I share it with anyone or not. This reward makes it worthwhile, I think.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

I’d say write a lot, read a lot, practise a lot. It’s okay to write terrible things and not everything anyone writes is good, but you always make it better. And, I’d say that even though it is scary, sharing your working and getting feedback and advice is really important too.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I’ve been working on lots of poems on the theme of mental health, food and body image. But I’m also trying to make myself write more prose! I’ve been writing a short story sequence in which one character from each short story is in the following story, and I’m really enjoying writing this!

12. What made you use plain language in your poetry, as opposed to elaborate metaphor or rhyme?

I wanted the poems to be accessible. I think there’s not enough talk around disabilities as it is, and it’s something that people can often talk about indirectly. I don’t believe poetry has to be allusive and confusing to be poetic. So, in writing Light Perception, I wanted to talk about experiences, spotlight moments or memories that have stuck with me – some of them for years – and frankness seemed the most effective way of communicating this.

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Alana Saltz

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Alana Saltz

Alana Saltz

Alana Saltz is the author of the poetry chapbook, The Uncertainty of Light (February 2020). She’s the editor-in-chief of Blanket Sea, an arts and literary magazine showcasing work by chronically ill, mentally ill, and disabled creators. Her essays and articles have been published in The LA Times, The Washington Post, Huff Post, Bustle, and HelloGiggles. Her poems have appeared in Occulum, Five:2:One, YesPoetry, LadyLibertyLit, and more. You can visit her website at alanasaltz.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @alanasaltz.

here’s the best link for purchasing the book:

http://blanketsea.com/uncertaintyoflight

 

The Interview

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

Honestly, my love of poetry was probably sparked by my elementary school English class’s creative writing exercises. I remember learning about the form at a young age and feeling drawn to it. I wrote a lot of poetry as a way of venting and healing through my teen years and got more serious about it in college, workshopping pieces in my college writing critique group. I took some time away to write prose, but I came back to it a couple years ago when I got burnt out on longform writing and wanted to get back into a form I’d really enjoyed in the past.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

My parents read some poetry books at bedtime, authors like Shel Silverstein and Edward Gorey.

3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?

If you mean the abundance of poets from previous centuries being taught in school, I didn’t think much about it until recently. I noticed at the time that it was always refreshing and enjoyable when a contemporary poet, especially a female or diverse contemporary poet, was included in my college English classes. I related to the work so much more and found it more engaging and accessible.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I don’t really have one, and I don’t write every day. I don’t think that’s necessary, and it’s certainly not always possible. My illnesses can get in the way of having the time or energy to write, so I write when I have inspiration and/or the time and energy to focus on it. But I tend to work on writing-related things almost every day. If I’m not writing, I’ll submit work to journals, brainstorm, and/or work on promotion and marketing for upcoming projects.

5. What motivates you to write?

Being someone with multiple marginalized identities and undiagnosed/misdiagnosed illnesses most of my life, I think I’m driven by the desire to be heard and understood and to connect with others in a meaningful way. I also really enjoy when people tell me they got something from my work or related to what I was expressing. That’s a wonderful feeling.

6. What is your work ethic?

I’m very driven when it comes to writing, unless I’m in a slump or feeling too sick to work. I don’t know where it comes from. It’s something I’ve always had with writing.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I read a lot of genre work when I was young in addition to contemporary work. I also read across genres. I think that’s helped me stay flexible and creative even if I start getting stuck on a particular project or writing a particular genre. I don’t feel like I have to be one thing. I can explore and go where my inspiration takes me. I also think that I write what I most enjoyed reading as a teen. As fun as fantasy books could be, I resonated the most with realistic and true stories, and that’s what I ended up writing.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

There’s so much great work going on in contemporary poetry. Most of the books I read and buy are from small press authors because I want to support those presses and my talented poet friends. Small presses take risks and seem to care more about diversity and representation. I really admire poets like Nadia Gerassimenko, Chiwan Choi, Hannah Cohen, Wanda Delgane, Orooj-e-Zafar, Avery M. Guess, and many more I don’t have enough space to mention. They’re conveying important experiences and experimenting with form in unique and compelling ways.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

Writing is my obsession. I can’t quite say why. I like to think I have things to share, experiences that could bring new awareness to issues many of us face, and I put a lot of thought and care into my work.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Read and write. Then read and write more. Keep doing that until you feel good about your work and start sending it out. Don’t get fixated on the end game of a published book or big deal by-line. Start with smaller magazines. Establish credits and a voice. Hone your craft. Get a lot of feedback. Then go where the work takes you.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

My debut poetry chapbook, The Uncertainty of Light has just been published. I have another chapbook that’s currently on submission, which is a compilation of erasure poems from the classic horror novel, Flowers in the Attic. I’m also working on a new mico-chapbook.

(I am asking Alana more specific questions about her book. I will add her answers and my replies as I receive them)

 

 

Two Poems by Mbizo Chirasha. . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Powerful prompt.

THE POET BY DAY

Sandstone rock formations typical of Mapungubwe National Park courtesy of Laura SA under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

The Kingdom of Mapungubwe (or Maphungubgwe) (c.1075–1220) was a medieval state in Southern Africa, the first stage in a development that would culminate in the creation of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe in the 13th century.



This week’s prompt is graciously hosted by Zimbabwean poet, Mbizo Chirasha. 

MAPUNGUBWE

Land of baobab, land of eagles
Mapungubwe,sagging with ambition of nujoma, madikizela and sobukwe
Land of crocodiles and spiritual eagles- Mapungubwe
Rivers groaning with sweet tongues and sacred laughters
Mapungubwe – dream of stones
Bones and spirits quietly sleeping under the burden of peaceful rocks
Your songs , mapungubwe rhythm to bones of dead heroes and sleeping heroines
Mapungubwe ,crying tears of laughter, struggle and freedom ,
Mapungubwe!

Editor’s Note: nujoma is Sam Nujoma, a Namibian revolutionary, anti-apartheid activist and politician; Madikizela is Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a South-African…

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.recovery.

Tribulations of a mouse

sonja benskin mesher

good news indeed
hopes that you improve
steadily

with good things to eat
with plenty of drinks for

we must not get dehydrated
time off work is good for they

will find how good you are
and how it is without you

maybe
maybe

i will go to the orchard
and maybe not for the
stress factor
may be high

too much for a mouse like me
do you think it will be heavy
work

too much for a mouse
like me

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Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Amanda Crum

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

 

Amanda Crum

is a writer and artist whose work has appeared in publications such as Eastern Iowa Review, Barren Magazine, and Corvid Queen, as well as in several anthologies such as Beyond The Hill and Two Eyes Open. In 2019, her short story “A Shimmer In The Parlor” was a finalist for the J.F. Powers Award for Short Fiction; her book of horror poetry, Tall Grass, made the shortlist for a Bram Stoker Award nomination the same year. She is also a nominee for the Best of the Net Award and the Pushcart Prize. Amanda currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and two children.

https://amandacrumwrites.wordpress.com/2018/01/21/the-journey-begins/

The Interview

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

I’ve been writing poetry since I was very young. I grew up in a trailer park and I used to take a notebook on walks around the neighborhood and make up little haikus and songs about what I saw. It was such a great way to stretch my imagination and to learn more about the way the world works.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

I honestly don’t remember! I always loved to read as a kid, though, and I fell in love with language at a very early age.

3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?

I never thought about it until I was in my 30s and started focusing on my writing as something that could be published. I would scour the internet reading everything I could find, gathering inspiration and educating myself about those who had come before me. It was intimidating, to say the least, and at first I felt silly for even trying in a field where so much greatness had already been established. But writing is such a part of me that I knew I had to push forward and honor the ones who paved the way.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I have two kids and work a full-time day job, so nighttime is my writing time. I stay up into the wee hours working on whatever project I have going, because that’s the only time the house is quiet enough.

5. What motivates you to write?

I wish I knew where that compulsion came from. It’s always been there, as long as my memory runs back. The feeling of being inspired and then being able to pull the right words from the atmosphere is such a high.

6. What is your work ethic?

I’m an extremely hard worker, to the point that I have to make myself slow down a bit every now and then. When it comes to writing, I always have four or five projects or ideas I’m working on at a time, and even when it’s stressful, I’m at my happiest when I have a lot on my plate.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I was always an old soul, even when I was very young, so I read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and when I was a little older I discovered Stephen King. Those styles of writing–the old fashioned, language-heavy, noir tales and the character-driven horror–merged to create my own style.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Carol Goodman writes haunting, lovely tales of murder and secrets and loss. Her use of language is so beautiful it makes me cry. Alix E. Harrow, a fellow Kentuckian, is my new favorite. I just finished The Ten Thousand Doors Of January and it seemed to complete me in a way that few books ever have.

9. Why do you write?

I write because I have to. There isn’t a choice. If I don’t write, I lose a part of myself.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Read. Every day. Read books, newspapers, magazines. Read children’s books and young adult books and fantasy and horror. Read non-fiction. You cannot be a writer if you don’t read.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

Right now I’m editing my middle-grade fiction book about an Appalachian girl with magical talents, and I’m also working on a horror tale that I think might morph from a short story to a full-length novel. I have an idea brewing for a futuristic western, too. I’m all over the map!

Exploring “Chanter” A Pagan’s Year (Stubborn Sod, The Headpoke And Firewedding, Ghost Holiday) A creative exploration of sources used to create my poetry series, featuring the cracking art of Marcel Herms.

Stubborn

Stubborn Sod January

Chanter 1

 

Chanter 2

 

Exploring “Chanter”

My “Chanter” is also called Carmenta, or Carmentius. Goddess of song and poetry. Why haven’t I called her that? It’s to do with my aversion from using Latinisms and Greekisms  that hold their own, not always positive baggage. So, I try to find the etymological root of the name. This approach is prone to dangers, wrong ascriptions, the modern world invading. I go with my gut feeling.

Here is a link to one of the websites I used.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/religioromana/2013/01/carmentalia-the-womens-festival/

She has two sisters. One looking forward, one looking back. Three women as companions occurs throughout the three books in various guises.

A woman takes us out of the year in the final volume, in preparation for release this year and Chanter brings us into the New Year.

(More on the poem “ice crackles faces” and Marcel’s painting to come)

The Encyclopedia of Obscure Sorrows

Excellent Lorette.

Eunoia Review

after John Koenig

after The Dead Toreador, Édouard Manet, 1864

  1. All the art in Seville is making our eyes bleed. We cannot bear the beauty of another palacio of a million mosaics, or the clatter of one more café. We follow the swans around the bend, under a bundle of low leaves, into the soundless grove. I’ve told you already to go off and find yourself a young woman, someone who could keep up in this heat, but you were too busy fiddling with your camera battery to assuage my neuroses.
  2. If I was afraid to come here with you, it’s only because I was afraid of what I might lose.
  3. There is an old woman in flowing purple and red scarves, armloads of bangles, and sensible shoes. I do a double take, thinking for a strange second that I was passing some kind of mirror.
  4. When I turn…

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