Please post your questions and comments there about poetry, Walt Whitman, Dylan Thomas, Emily Dickinson, Robert Louis Stevenson. Shel Silverstein, Allen Ginsberg, Adrienne Rich, Leonard Cohen, Alice Notley, Joyce Kilmer, John Greenleaf Whittier, and more!
My pal Hallie Ephron, one of the Jungle Red mystery authors, has invited me to guest blog on Jungle Red next Friday, February 25. their tagline: “8 smart and sassy crime fiction writers dish on writing and life. It’s the View–with bodies.”
The Jungle Red website features eight women mystery authors, many of them winners of prestigious awards: the Edgars, Agathas, Anthonys, Neros, and more.
Of course, I won’t be talking/writing about Private investigators, or who was responsible for that corpse in a mystery novel, but about my poetry–how I came to it, my writing process, where I come up with ideas for the poems.
My poetry collection, Baltimore Girls, is in the works at Finishing Line Press, although the February 24 delivery date has been pushed a few weeks later. Pre-orderers, please be patient–this small literary press in Kentucky is working as fast as it can to get the book to you.
Take a look at the Jungle Red blog now, and again on February 25 when I blog. Its interactive feature allows readers to comment or ask questions of the guest blogger, and I will be checking in all day (and early evening) long to see what you have to say.
Hallie will start us off with her interview with me, and you, readers, can take it from there!
Hope to see you–virtually–on February 25, from 9 AM EST to 9 PM EST! Please come!
The Color of Her Volkswagen
Atlas blue. First Bug I ever saw.
It showed up one day, a shiny little thing
in Miss Kay’s driveway two doors down.
Their old Dodge long gone.
People on our street drove Chevys or Fords,
nobody even knew how to say Volkswagen,
were skeptical about a foreign car, but
Miss Kay packed up picnic basket, playpen, her toddler son,
the baby, her Coppertone oil. There was room
for my sister and me. I rode in the front,
watched Miss Kay shift the gears, her pedicured feet
depressing the gas pedal, working the clutch
like an extension of her body. She tuned
the radio to WFBR, the Four Lads sang
Standin’ on the Corner Watchin’All the Girls.
She didn’t like rock n’ roll.
When we got to the swimming place, an old
quarry now flooded with water, now a club
where you bought a daily membership,
the loudspeaker blasted my kind of music—
repeated every hour. We ate peanut butter sandwiches,
Miss Kay plunged into the water from a dock.
She wore a green bikini, adjusted the top
over her small breasts when she emerged from the water.
I slathered on her suntan oil, bounced the baby.
Around us, teenaged girls mixed iodine and baby oil,
greased up their arms and legs and shoulders,
lit Newports and blew smoke rings.
I longed to be like them. Homeward, the blue VW
rolled up and down country roads back to the city,
steaming streets, dried little lawns.
[Reprinted from Maryland Writer’s Association magazine, Pen-in_Hand, January 2017]
Catherine Mumford Cave, Miss Kay in this poem, shuffled off this mortal coil on September 22, 2016. She was a kind and inspiring neighbor who shared her talents as a cook, gardener, seamstress, and all around cool adult with the neighborhood kids. She also gave me my first babysitting job. I wrote this poem last winter.
My poem, “The Color of Her Volkswagen,” about an afternoon at Oregon Ridge Swimming “Club,” circa 1960 , appears in the winter issue (page 17) of Pen-in-Hand, the official literary and art publication of the Maryland Writers’ Association. Mad props to Sr. Carol Wheeler, and Sr. August Reilly, RSMs who taught me in Creative English class at Mercy High, Baltimore, and my 21st century poetry mentor, Boston Poet Laureate Emeritus Sam Cornish…
This is the day we do that summing up.
Annoying, isn’t it, the way
we tally and sort the year’s days
into the things –or people—we like and those
that caused us pain? We inventory
and discard, if we’re smart, whatever
no longer works, or what
carries no joy. We have this need
to take stock, as though we
were running a giant store full of
stuff, boots and gloves, or jars
of face cream and scented soaps.
This year let it alone,
think instead of the faint yellow blush
on the forsythia. Soon we can snip
its branches, hammer the stems
against the stone walk, set it all
in warm water in an old jar.
The small blooms, and then
tender green leaves will unfold
in the corner window.
Reprinted from Hedgerow, # 19
Here’s a reprint of a poem I wrote a couple of years ago, about the day after Christmas, also known as St. Stephen’s Day. Fans of Downton Abbey will know that Boxing Day takes its name from a British tradition — families with servants gave them the day off, to allow them to go home and visit their families. Employers gave their staff gifts in “Christmas boxes.”
Pre-ordering window for my forthcoming poetry collection, Baltimore Girls, part of Finishing Line Press’ New Women’s Voices series, runs through January 6, 2017. You can pre-order online here.
as part of the poem-a-day “Transitions” Project–A poem-a-day by a different poet responding to the recent Presidential election, from Nov. 9 to Jan. 20
Inside: A Christmas cactus written off as finished, done,
Now ablaze with pink blooms.
A succulent dish garden stuck between dead and not-dead.
A Trader Joe’s orchid, leggy, elegant in its eight-bloom orchid hat. Continue reading “December 11: Sunset 4:13 PM /Catalog”
.. to those who pre-ordered “Baltimore Girls” last week! Thanks to my cousins in Ohio and Baltimore, old UNY of Maryland pals from high school days, former teaching colleagues at Boston U, Westwood women, my St. John’s family, my librarian network, Dwight Street alums, Stamford friends, and Barnard women. Continue reading ““Baltimore Girls” -Enormous Gratitude!”
I was a junior in high school when my my mother took me downtown to Ford’s Theatre to see “Black Nativity.” I had never heard of Langston Hughes before, Continue reading “Black Nativity”