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JOhn Sibley WilliamsJohn Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Controlled Hallucinations (2013) and Disinheritance (2016). A five-time Pushcart nominee and winner of the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize, and Vallum Award for Poetry, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Midwest Quarterly, december, Third Coast, Baltimore Review, Nimrod International Journal, Hotel Amerika, Rio Grande Review, Inkwell, Cider Press Review, Bryant Literary Review, RHINO, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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About the Book:

A lyrical, philosophical, and tender exploration of the various voices of grief, including those of the broken, the healing, the son-become-father, and the dead, Disinheritance acknowledges loss while celebrating the uncertainty of Disinheritancea world in constant revision. From the concrete consequences of each human gesture to soulful interrogations into “this amalgam of real / and fabled light,” these poems inhabit an unsteady betweenness, where ghosts can be more real than the flesh and blood of one’s own hands.

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  • Disinheritance is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

 

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I’m lucky to have been passionate about books since childhood. Perhaps it’s in part due to my mother reading novel after novel over her pregnant belly every day. Perhaps it’s in part due to my own restlessness, my need to make things, and my love of words. But I began writing short stories in middle school, and I continued in that genre until my early twenties. A handful of those stories found publication in literary magazines, which was eye-opening and oddly humbling.

I was 21 when I wrote my first poem. Before that, I had never enjoyed reading poetry and had certainly never considered writing one. It was summer in New York and I was sitting by a lake with my feet dragging through the current caused by small boats when suddenly, without my knowing what I was doing, I began writing something that obviously wasn’t a story. What was it? Impressions. Colors. Emotions. Strange images. I didn’t have any paper, so I used a marker to write a series of phrases on my arm. Then they poured onto my leg. Then I realized I needed paper. I ran back to the car, took out a little notebook, and spent hours emptying myself of visions and fears and joys I don’t think I even knew I had. That was 17 years ago. Since that surreal and confusing moment by that little city lake, I’ve written poetry almost every day.

What was your inspiration for Disinheritance?

Disinheritance was inspired by a few pivotal moments that occurred within a few months of each other, namely the illness and passing of my mother, a terrible miscarriage, and my wife and I’s struggles to move forward and redefine the landscape of “family”. To explore grief more fully in this collection, I adopted various unique voices, like those of our miscarried child, the hypothetical boy he might have grown up to be, my mother in her last moments, and my wife as she struggled to cope.

So Disinheritance shows a far more personal side than most of my poetry, though I hope the poems speak to larger, universal human concerns about how we approach mortality and what roles we play in each other’s’ lives.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Though each poem and story possesses its own unique demands, my work is always heavily rooted in human attachments and disconnects: to others, to self-perception, to nature, to language, to the past and future, to grief and self-reclamation. All the more as I age and recognize losses and gains as part of a reciprocal, organic system, my creative mission is to examine human experiences and how we deconstruct and cope with them in order to foster honest conversation about what it means to interact with the world.

The topics through which I explore these themes are greatly varied and derive from a broad range of passions: family, tradition, art, culture, history, politics, landscapes, and seasons. The structures I employ are similarly varied, from narrative to experimental to ekphrastic, according to which structure best conveys the work’s specific goals. However, regardless of topic, I always try to express a sharable, universal experience by balancing concept with emotion and by focusing on layered metaphors and the innate musicality of language. My writing dually emphasizes form and sound, as rhythm carries a resonance beyond literal and figurative meanings.

How long did it take you to complete the collection?

The poems in Disinheritance were written over a nine to twelve month period. Then it took me about a month to weed out the weaker poems, find a fluid order for the stronger ones, and edit each piece to fit the overall theme of the collection.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Although I don’t have a specific place or set times to write, I do write daily and am quite disciplined as it comes to carving out enough time. Of course, some sessions bear less fruit than others, and some poems take a few hours while others take months. But every time I sit down to write, however fruitful that session ends up, is a wonderful and necessary experience.

Ideas, phrases, and images emerge at the oddest times, so I’ve taken to carrying a pocket notebook everywhere I go. During my daily work commute. In the hospital visiting an ailing friend. While walking my dog. Even in the middle of a live concert or film. Though I tend to write best when outside, inspiration can come from anything. At its core, I think creativity is all about curiosity and how one chooses to communicate with the world. As adults, we’re programmed to think linearly, reactively, and, dare I say it, boringly. But if we retain a bit of that childhood innocence, that unabated curiosity, then we can find metaphors in everything. Why look at the night sky and think “sky, moon, stars”? Why can’t the sky be a river? Why can’t the stars be that part of our hearts we leave open to love?

My process is a bit different with every poem. Some pour forth as if on their own, leaving me the easier task of revising for sound and clarity. Other poems take serious effort, time, and struggle. But generally my approach is to have one or two notebooks filled with phrases and images splayed out before me. Whenever I feel stuck, I reread my old notes and see if any fit the poem I’m working on. Interestingly, that approach tends to yield results that even surprise me.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Most of my work is not overly narrative or overly personal, so it was an exciting challenge to write from a part of my heart still raw and healing. While writing these poems, I often struggled with how much real life information I should include vs. how much I should leave unsaid, how many details vs. how much ambiguity. As every reader has her own experiences to contend with and approaches the world from her own unique vantage point, there’s always that nagging challenge of finding the right balance between being true to my own experiences and being true to the experiences of total strangers. How can a poem be both personal and universal? I suppose that is always a significant (and fun) challenge, though all the more so with this collection.

What do you love most about being an author?

Definitely reader reaction. We have all read poems or novels that truly moved us, that made us reconsider ourselves, that illuminated the beauty and power of language. It has been indescribably rewarding to know my work has touched others in that way. When a total stranger who perhaps stumbled across your book or had it recommended to her contacts you out of the blue to say how much it inspired her, that is a potent feeling. When you’re giving a reading and you can see that glow in the audience’s eyes, that is unforgettable. Even after around 50 or so readings across the country, I am touched every single time someone goes out of their way to express their thoughts on my work. That’s what it’s all about. Trying to use language that lifts up off the page and resonates with people.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

Unfortunately, there are only a handful of big poetry publishers, so mid-size and small presses are really the best fit for poets who are not seeking self-publishing. My previous chapbooks and my debut full length collection were all published by small presses staffed by passionate editors. I feel very lucky to have worked with them. For this new collection, Disinheritance, I sought a slightly more prominent press, and I was honored to be accepted by Apprentice House, a great press run by Loyola University students.

I signed the contract back in November 2015, and both editing and design began a few months later. I was quite impressed by their openness to my input, which isn’t overly common with traditional publishing. They really listened to my thoughts on interior formatting and cover design, and they accepted my decisions on their editing suggestions. Though the book could have been published earlier this year, the press and I decided on a pub date of September 2016 to allow for an extensive Advanced Reader Copy phase. Apprentice House was kind enough to send out many ARCs to literary magazines for pre-review purposes. Working with them has been a wonderful experience.

Where can we find you on the web?

https://johnsibleywilliams.wordpress.com/

 

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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.

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PND Bio

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

Add Patricia’s Books to Your Goodreads List:

Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia

My Magnolia Memories and Musings

 Blog Tour Link:

http://worldwindvirtualbooktours.weebly.com/tour-reflections–magnolia-memories.html

 

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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
doors
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
Genre:Poetry
Pages: 52
Format:Paperback,eBook
Website: www.nadiajbrown.com

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Rose DesRochers is the founder of Today's Woman, a site catering to writers–both men and women–of all levels and genres, including poetry. The site features articles, stories and interviews and also publishes press releases. It also has a forum for writers to share ideas and promote their work. In this interview, DesRochers talks about what makes her site special.

Why don't you begin by telling us a little about yourself? Are you also a writer?

Yes I am. I have been writing poetry for 20 + years. I am also a freelance writer. I have written several articles and essays.

How did Todays-Woman.net get started?

In the beginning Today's Woman was going to be a woman's portal. I changed my mind and decided it would be a friendship community for both men and women. Some of the first members joined and started submitting their writing. It took on a writing theme of its own, so we began to gear the site more towards writers. Today it is a full fledge writing community.

Who is your audience?

Our audience is writers of all genes, but a higher percentage are poets.

What does your site offer readers and writers?

Today's Woman Writing Community has a useful selection of services including author interviews, regular columns, interactive forums, and a place for writers to share their work for critique by their peers. We have monthly writing contest that spark member’s creativity and we have a variety of writing lessons submitted by experience writers to help writers. We also offer a full directory of links to literacy resources, famous poets, online book store, and an area in our forums of calls for submission and writing contests. We also offer our visitors and members a writers warning section that keeps them up to date about various poetry contests and publishers to avoid.

How do you become a member?

All you need to do is register. Potential writers must be 18 to join. You have a choice between a free account or a premium account.

Are your members mostly women?

Funny you would ask that. The name gives the impression that the site is only for women, but we have an equal number of male members. Sometimes we have more male members posting that women. Our webmaster is male, our co-admin is male and even our moderator is male. What would you know this month's writer of the month is also male. Maybe we should change the name to Today's Man?

What types of promotional opportunities do you offer in your site?

Today's Woman Writing Community offers writers the chance to be recognized as writer of the month. In addition any writer can submit a link to their website to our link directory. For a small fee authors can advertise their book on our website.

What types of articles and stories do you accept for publication?

We are interested in seeing well-written articles on writing, self-help, humor, motivation, true stories and other articles that might be of interest to our loyal readers. Members who join can submit any story, except erotica, to our story board.

What is the hardest task in running such a site? The most rewarding aspect?

Administrating Today’s Woman has been a wonderful experience for me. Not only have I made some wonderful friends, but I have grown in my own writing.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?

Todays-Woman.net has been a team effort. The site not only belongs to me, but the members. I’m very lucky to have a supportive family and the kind of members, friends, and staff who are willing to devote so much time and energy to helping all writers fulfill their goals.

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