Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

PND TOUR BannerI am always repeating the story of how I started to write poetry.

Because of the origin of my poems, I feel that were gifts to me.

When I share a poem with readers, it’s like sharing a treasured gift.  I wrote my very first poem on February 14th, 2007.  I woke up out of my sleep with this poem swirling around in my head. I got up and quickly scribbled it down.

The poem was “Our Place”. It was the first of many more poems to come. After that day, the poems just started to flow and flow. Within the span of about six months, I had written well over 200 poems.

Most of the poems in both of my books Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia and My Magnolia Memories and Musings came from that initial period of writing/inspiration.

It’s funny that I very rarely, ever, sit down to intentionally write a poem. Most of my poems come to me as I am going to sleep, waking up, or ODDLY, when I am alone in my car.

I can safely say that well over 50% of them came to me and were written in my car. It still amazes me when I hear myself say that.

I call my car my ‘personal think tank.  When I am riding alone, with no conversations to distract me, with no music on or inside noise……..the magic happens. I have little scraps of paper, envelopes, bills and all kinds of things with poems scribbled on them.

I feel that my poems came and come to me in that way because they are truly an overflow of the heart. My poems are filled with my love for Mississippi and the southern way of life. It is my hope that, through my poems, I can help others see the many positive things about our state and region. Most of what everyone hears about Mississippi and the south is very negative. But I want to show that there is so much more to the story.



Where to Purchase Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia

Amazon Paperback
Barnes & Noble Paperback

My Magnolia Memories

Amazon Paperback
Barnes & Noble Paperback 

Patricia’s Website / Facebook

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Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia

My Magnolia Memories and Musings

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I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of poems by Nadia Janice Brown. They are spiritual, inspirational and full of ‘writer’ sensibility, which I love. The tone is ‘quiet,’ making this little collection perfect for your night table, to be read before bedtime.

Brown’s pen touches upon various subjects: God, the Genesis, marriage, fear, happiness, love, inspiration, writer’s block, and the daily tribulations and insecurities of writers, just to name a few. Some poems break the general tone and are more serious, such as the one titled, “So this is Love?”

I’ve gotten used to broken things,
Even now to hear rage slice through
portrays a semblance of normalcy.
The brunt of your fist pelting my spine
is the only fixture in this home.
And you say this is love?
Sorry does not undo the scars
perverting my features,
will not restore fractured limbs.

Some of Brown’s lines are beautiful and vibrant, such as these ones from “England:”

…I am standing on a Manchester bridge
feeding birds with crumbs of desperation,
giving them portions of my worries.
What they don’t eat is packed away and
stored like lunch meat in the marrow of
my bones…

The author also includes several short essays among the poems, thus creating a sense of variety with her prose. Subjects such as what is your purpose in life, planning and preparing for change, living your dream, procrastination, and overcoming the author’s blues come alive under this author’s pen. If you enjoy poetry or have a friend or family member who does, I recommend you grab a copy of this uplifting collection.

Nadia Janice Brown lives in Miami, Florida where, apart from writing her own books, she helps other authors promote their work as a publicist for Author & Book Promotions at www.author-promotion.com. She’s also the author of Becoming: The Life & Musings of A Girl Poet and the award-winning book Unscrambled Eggs. Nadia can be reached through her website at www.nadiajbrown.com

Buy from AMAZON.

Book Title: Becoming: The Life & Musings of a Girl Poet
Author: Nadia Janice Brown
ISBN#: 978-1-257-98917-1
ISBN-10: 1257989170
Publisher: lulu.com
Pages: 52
Website: www.nadiajbrown.com

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Instant Poetry (Just Add Words!)
Third Edition
By “Laughing” Larry Berger
ISBN-13: 978-1450255523
ASIN: 1450255523
September 2010
52 pages

Purchase HERE.

I was intrigued when I received a copy of this poetry chapbook for review. It isn’t the typical poetry book. The author, ‘Laughing’ Larry Berger, ‘wrote’ or improvised these poems onstage as part of an audience participation free verse sets at coffee houses in Los Angeles in 1996.

It isn’t easy to write poetry, much less improvise it in front of an audience, which is why I was delighted to discover Berger’s wit, imagination, and flair for language.

The verses, some as short as a few lines and some long enough for two pages, explore various subjects and themes, from fun and light to serious and transcendent.

A good example of the author’s lighter poems is “Bubble Gum.” It catches a moment, a single snapshot of pure joy.

Soft and warm between my teeth,
an old lover returns
sweet and tangy inside my mouth.

Over and over she dances,
building evermore desire.

Slowly she turns up the heat,
stoking the fires
her passions no longer confinable
releasing the rapture of the moment!

And then
She slides along my tongue
For one

A recurring theme in this work is the idea that modern men are trapped, caged, slaves and prisoners of their own cars and apartments. The following stanza is from “Leprosy.”

Rotting corpses walking down the street
are they really so different from you and me?
They get up, go to work, come home,
all in steel and concrete coffins.

In other poems, such as “Four Thousand Years Ago (The Crack Baby’s Prayer),” the author takes a philosophical look at life, presenting the reader with a grim picture of society, injustice, and the violence inflicted by humans throughout history. Berger uses the symbolic metaphor of rivers red with blood—this metaphor, by the way, is also recurrent in some of his other poems.
Some of my favorite poems in this book are the ones where Berger captures one single moment of happiness in a world where disaster looms in every corner. For example, in “Green Tea Ice Cream,” which is about the prediction that the world will end in 2012, Berger ends the verse with:

Right now
I’ve got my green tea ice cream
I’m happy.

There are a several memorable lines in this collection. This from “Ten Foot Pole.”

Thousands homeless
or out of work, downing
Anti-depressant medication
As that statue out in the harbor
Spreads her legs to the world.

The following, my favorite, is from “Stop Laughing!”

To stop laughing
is to resign ourselves to
coffins of skin!

I’m not sure if Berger meant to leave his best poem for last, but “Cold KFC in N.Y.C.” was definitely the best for me. The poem, which reads like a story, is about a man who has just been mugged in Grand Central:

You see
an hour ago
I was kissing concrete
back at Grand Central
with the barrel of a
.357 shoved into the back
Of my skull.

The man, who has just missed death, goes back to his crummy, cold flat and collapses from terror and exhaustion. Later he wakes up hungry and the only thing left in his fridge is some cold KFC leftovers. Berger ends the poem—and the book—with:

And folks
I’ve got to tell you!

Instant Poetry (Just Add Words!) is a collection of forty-eight poems. I was surprised at the author’s creativity, good humor, and, at times, depth about the human condition. Some of these poems were performed on stage along the West Coast and New York and were created in interactive poetry readings. It is a unique and ingenious concept. I don’t read poetry often but I found Instant Poetry engaging and interesting. If you enjoy poetry and would like to try something different, I recommend you grab a copy of this book.

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Latina author Thelma Reyna’s first poetry book (a chapbook) is on advance sale now. BREATH & BONE is one of the very few poetry books written by a Latina in the latest round of new releases by the venerable Kentucky publisher, Finishing Line Press. The number of copies they publish in late April (the release date) will depend totally on how many copies are ordered during this advance sale period. That will also determine how many author copies the author will receive as “payment” for the book.

Please support this author’s sales campaign and order a copy now! Price is $12. Order at http://www.finishinglinepress.com/NewReleasesandForthcomingTitles.htm .

Feel free to spread the word. The deadline is March 2.

About Thelma Reyna:

Thelma T. Reyna is author of The Heavens Weep for Us and Other Stories, which was a Finalist in the 2010 National Best Books Award/Short Stories Literature competition by USA Book News. Her stories, poems, essays, book reviews, and other non-fiction have been published in literary and academic journals, textbooks, anthologies, blogs, and in regional media for over 30 years.

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I’m sure that it differs for each writer. We all have our quirks and idiosyncrasies, but for me, the poetry writing process is quite different than the fiction one. With fiction, it’s much more craft than art—with deliberate plotting, careful construction, character spreadsheets, and timelines. I’ve got to have a pretty clear outline before I start and tend to work in quite a regular, linear way, focusing primarily on the storyline and the character development as I progress. With such a long term process, discipline and scheduling is the only way to get on. With poetry, it’s very different.

I usually start with a concept or theme. I know, for example, that my topic will be Christmas. I need to write Christmas themed poems for a collection I’m pulling together with my writing partner Carolyn Howard-Johnson. But it’s May for crying outloud, and I’m so not in the mood to write about Christmas (not sure I was in the mood in December either!), so I need to find some twist or inspirational hit that will give my work something fresh and interesting to engage my muse. So I’ll go exploring. Usually, in my case, somewhere sciency like Scientific American, NASA, or New Scientist (the quality of their writing is excellent, and inspiration is always easy to find there).

Other pretty regular sources of inspiration for me are Seth Godin’s blog, where he recently did a post on The Levy Flight – about the random but regular patterns that animals take when foraging and how that might apply to marketing. This may not sound very Christmassy to you, but because poetry must be fresh, the combination of an idea like the Levy Flight and Christmas can often spark some fairly original thinking. I found a recent article on New Scientist about some new thoughts on a Theory of Everything, and began a piece titled The matrix, with its opening lines “Stuck in the attic, behind retired lights, cracked ornaments, and threadbare tinsel” and then let the images work almost intuitively, moving the poem into a region that develops as I begin playing with the images until there’s a very clear picture that I’ve presented. Once I’ve got it – the overall picture, then the revision begins, and like all writing, that’s where the real change happens. You must revise, and change and tighten, and eliminate superfluous words or any concept that isn’t crystal clear. With poetry, I would say that revision is even more important than other forms of writing because you only have a few words to convey a huge amount of meaning. It has to be perfect, tight, and evocative without being either too obscure, or too overt/trite.

That’s a balancing act that only comes with a lot of work on finding the perfect, exact word or image to illuminate what you’re trying to say. Nearly every decent poem I’ve written has been revised many times, and often (possibly always) with the help of someone objective.

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry book Repulsion Thrust, the novel Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment: How to Review Anything and four other poetry chapbooks Quark Soup, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and the newly released Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks.

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