Thirty Days of Poetry. Day #21

Day 21: SWWIM

Celebrating poetry by highlighting 30 days of literary publishers who produce poetry you can listen to, watch, or read, in 5 minutes or less.

Some of my very best days are spent on hiking trails, and the ones that rate as all-time favorites are those spent exploring with my grandson, Brayden. He’s a flash, moves as fast as time. He looks deeply and loves to ask questions like, “Would you rather live in a world made of candy or of gold?” 

If you have time to peer intently into a daily lyric, and you move quickly through your day without time to linger quietly more than a moment, you might enjoy SWWIM, on online journal that publishes one poem, each day.

From the SWWIM “About” page:

“SWWIM (Supporting Women Writers in Miami) was co-founded by Jen Karetnick and Catherine Esposito Prescott. SWWIM publishes, promotes, and celebrates women writers, trans and cis women, nonbinary, intersex, and other gender-expansive communities, with a year-round reading series held at The Betsy-South Beach in Miami Beach, FL and the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.”

Brayden once told me I was his favorite toy ,and every day spent with him, and his sister, leave me jubilant, and as roughed up as the Velveteen Rabbit. So when I found “Embrace” by Lara Payne, I knew I’d found the perfect poem for my grandson.

It begins like this:

Do take a minute to click on the photo to link to read the entire poem. And if you’re intrigued by how two editors make time to publish a poem every single day, read my interview with the SWWIM Founding Editors, Jen Karetnick and Catherine Esposito Prescott on this blog, link here.

Wishing you a refreshing day with enough time to pause and look deeply at something, or someone, that brings you great awe.

Thirty Days of Poetry. Day #20

Day #20: Apricity Press

Celebrating poetry by highlighting 30 days of literary publishers who produce poetry you can listen to, watch, or read, in 5 minutes or less.

April is National Poetry Month, true. And it’s now May. Yes. But I’m going to keep on keeping on until you get 30 days of poetry pairing.

Day #20 is for my beautiful granddaughter, Leah.

Leah is five years old. She makes up stories and wants to write them down, as naturally as she walks and breathes. She dances and paints, and is captivated by mud and bugs. For Leah, and for the entire generation of upcoming writers, thinkers, dancers, artists and curious dreamers, I recommend Apricity Press.

Apricity is the first journal I’ve encountered that includes dance alongside poetry, prose, fiction, and art. It’s a multi-genre feast.

ARTWORK BY GIADA ROTUNDO

From the Apricity Press “About” page:

            “Apricity Press is an annual online publication of poetry, prose, short fiction, visual art, and dance works. Embodying the obsolete word it was named after, Apricity aims to manifest the feeling of the warmth of the sun in the winter in all that it publishes. 

Established in 2015, Apricity Press was created to fill an immense void in the publishing world. While there are a myriad of presses, literary journals and magazines, many lack the ability to publish multi-genre works, especially dance works. Because of this, Apricity constructed a space where incredible literary, art, and dance works could be published side by side, showcasing the tremendous inherent connections between the forms.”

Issue #6 features more than 30 pieces of art, literature, and performance. It was hard to pick a specific piece for Leah, but I had to go with Poem Diary, a two-poem animated art video, subtitled with English, while read aloud in the original Bengali by the creator, Adwaita Das. It’s truly a magical experience to listen and watch.

The first poem begins like this:

fireflies live in water as well

have you thought of it?

how the sea sparkles at night

or how dreams surge like stars

FROM POEM DIARY BY ADWAITA DAS

May you put things together in new ways today. May you stay in touch with all your dreams.

Thank you for all the kind responses to this series and for asking me to pick a personal poem just for you.

Thirty Days of Poetry. Day #19

Day #19: Arkana

Celebrating National Poetry Month by highlighting 30 days of literary publishers who produce poetry you can listen to, watch, or read, in 5 minutes or less.

Do you have a friend who is happiest in the dark, always willing to fling themselves into mystery for some kind of enlightenment? This describes my friend Alicia who also happens to be happiest when traveling. Anywhere. Any how. Always trying to learn something from someone she doesn’t know. For Alicia, and fellow explorers, I recommend Arkana: A Literary Journal of Mysteries and Marginalized Voices.

From the “About” page:

Arkana lives in the Arkansas Writers’ MFA Program at the University of Central Arkansas. The magazine was spawned in Spring 2016 and launched its inaugural issue in November that same year. This fully online publication is staffed and edited by graduate students and accepts submissions from the whole universe at large.

OUR MISSION

Arkana seeks and fosters a sense of shared wonder by publishing inclusive art that asks questions, explores mystery, and works to make visible the marginalized, the overlooked, and those whose voices have been silenced.

There are so many excellent poems in the current issue online, but for Alicia, I must recommend two poems by Alyea Pierce, a National Geographic Explorer, an award-winning author, educator, international speaker, and performance poet. Alyea Pierce’s work, according to an interview in National Geographic, is “aspiring to provide a voice for the voiceless, I center my creative projects around the exploration of Latino and Hispanic, Caribbean histories, the celebration of all things woman, and the untold narratives of marginalized persons.”

You can listen to her, and read for yourself, “28 Days” and “Return” in Arkana’s current online issue. The words have haunted me.

“Return” begins like this:

On her first morning 
back in this village
her mind is empty
and bones numb to the smell of heat

She tells her body 
to unbind itself into loose change
and bury high-tide shoulders 
back into its place…

FROM “RETURN” BY ALYEA PIERCE

Explore a little more today. Ask a hard question. Listen well.

Thirty Days of Poetry. Day #18

Day #18: The Acentos Review

Celebrating National Poetry Month by highlighting 30 days of literary publishers who produce poetry you can listen to, watch, or read, in 5 minutes or less.

There’s a stunningly quiet, incisively observant, kind and curious young woman I know. I’ll call her L because she’s also shy. L asked me a while back why it was so hard to find poetry reflective of her experiences, a life spent often in overlooked shadows of well-known cities here and there.

For L, I found The Acentos Review, a multi-lingual, quarterly online journal featuring poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art and translations.

From the Mission Statement:

The Acentos Review shoots from the spring that is the Acentos Bronx Poetry Showcase and The Acentos Foundation in supporting the work of Latinx writers. 

The Acentos Review publishes poetry, fiction, memoir, interviews, translations, and artwork by emerging and established Latinx writers and artists four times a year.  The LatinX community is international and so, too, do we pledge to represent that international community.  We welcome submissions in English, Spanish, Portuguese, a combination of two languages, as well as the use of indigenous languages.    

The debate may rage forever as to who or what constitutes Latinx art. Here, there is no such identity crisis. We are already here, writing the histories of our neighborhoods, following the traditions of our ancestors, as well as the poetic traditions that came before us. To paraphrase Baldwin, the poet’s task as historian is to keep the story new, even when the telling is costly. This is the aesthetic we foster at Acentos. It is always about the word, the work, and it all begins here.

“Loneliness” by Marcella Peralta Simon

Because L is a native Californian, I chose two poems by Jesús Cortez set in Anaheim, California.

The first one begins like this:

Lincoln Avenue

I sometimes gaze at the palm trees,
such a California thing to do,
cliches and romanticism—
but nobody thinks of 
Lincoln Avenue for postcards
or for poems or tales of
magical realism—

FROM LINCOLN AVENUE BY JESÚS CORTEZ

Keep talking to your neighbors, yes, and also to those you pass on the street on your way to somewhere else. Keep listening more.

Keep reading poetry.

Thirty Days of Poetry. Day #17

Day #17 The Ekphrastic Review

Celebrating National Poetry Month by highlighting 30 days of literary publishers who produce poetry you can listen to, watch, or read, in 5 minutes or less.

Visual artists of any media have my deep respect. My talents don’t extend to that kind of creative expression, but I try to sketch or paint on vacation as simple practice for noticing detail. The Ekphrastic Review is a recommendation for my friend Christina. She walks through the world seeing patterns and shapes, auras, and color; she’s a multi-media artist and this journal suggestion is for her, and for you, if the visual arts stir your ability to be creative in language arts.

The Poetry Foundation defines an ekphrastic poem, for readers new to the word, as, “a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

The Ekphrastic Review offers regular a regularly updated online poetry publication, online workshops, biweekly prompts, writing contests, and special events. From the journal’s “About” page:

The Ekphrastic Review  “is an online journal devoted entirely to writing inspired by visual art. Our objective is to promote ekphrastic writing, promote art appreciation, and experience how the two strengthen each other and bring enrichment to every facet of life. We want to inspire more ekphrastic writing and promote the best in ekphrasis far and wide.”

One of my recent favorite poem groupings in the journal is inspired by a collage art sequence by Pam Chadick Aloisa. Three poets, Thomas McGuire, Sarah Nance, and Jessy Randall, respond to her work.

The beginning of the first poem goes like this:

Peace Lily (with Peace Walls Leading to a Haiga)

1.
Good fences make good neighbours
So chimes the grey-haired poet.
But what of walls?
 
2.
Sometimes it takes a wall to keep the peace–
That’s what the Ulster Irish say and exactly 
What I saw standing on the Falls Road, Belfast…

From “peace Lily (with peace walls leading to a haiga) by Thomas McGuire

May your day be colorful.

Thirty Days of Poetry. Day #16

Day #16: Button Poetry

Celebrating National Poetry Month by highlighting 30 days of literary publishers who distribute poetry you can listen to, watch, or read,  in 5 minutes or less.

This one’s for me (and my family.) We’re heading to the beach. So, dear reader, you’ll be on your own for a bit. But I’m leaving you with one of the big, bigger, BIGGEST poetry resources.

There’s no way you could experience even a fraction of all the offerings on Button Poetry before I return. And yes, I’ll continue when vacation is over so you get 30 full days of poetry pairings. Thank you so much for all your comments and matchmaking requests.

Button Poetry, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, publishes books, hosts workshops, and poetry slams and is widely known for its viral poetry slam videos. 

The Vision Statement is direct:

We seek to showcase the power and diversity of voices in our community. By encouraging and broadcasting the best and brightest performance poets of today, we hope to broaden poetry’s audience, to expand its reach and develop a greater level of cultural appreciation for the art form.”

One of my recent favorite recordings s is “Thunder Thighs” by Lia Hagen.

It starts like this…

I’m 10 years old and wearing my first pair of short shorts…

May we all strut with Lia’s confidence, and may we never behave like mean moms.

In case you get lonely for a daily poetry fix, I’ll set you loose on this task: Prepare to enter the first ever Button Poetry Poem Cover Contest. It’s free. Check out the details. Let me know if you enter. Open April 29 – May 16, 2022.

And let me know what you’re reading, listening to, watching, writing until I return.

Thirty Days of Poetry. Day #15

Day #15: EcoTheo Review

Celebrating National Poetry Month by highlighting 30 days of literary publishers who produce poetry you can listen to, watch, or read, in 5 minutes or less.

Today’s journal recommendation is for my gal pals, my soul sisters, my neighbors. We share lives, lemons, lavender, and ideas while living and walking on Acjacheman land. There are no fences; we share space with wild things. Rattlesnakes. Great Western Owls. Bats. We water each other’s gardens, know almost every trail out our back doors. And we talk constantly about how to coexist.

“Who has rights to the pomegranates I water? Me or squirrel?”

“What do you think about turning off my fountain because the coyotes come to drink at night?”

“If all is predator and prey, why shouldn’t I exterminate the gophers?”

If you love to consider, and reconsider, what it means to live in harmony with all creation, then EcoTheo Review might be a nice poetry match for you too.

From the “About” page:

EcoTheo Collective envisions a world in which care for the places we inhabit, the people we encounter, and the lives we lead makes for lasting beauty in art, nature, and community. 

In the work we publish online and quarterly print editions of EcoTheo Review, we cultivate conversation and connection with artists and writers to bring original work to a wide audience invested in the relationships between ecology and theology, earth justice and social justice. ETR was founded in 2013 at Princeton Theological Seminary as a literary journal dedicated to “enlivening conversations and commitments around ecology, spirituality, and art.”

EcoTheo Review, the literary journal, is just one of many offerings from the EcoTheo Collective. You can join a virtual Book Club on April 24 to discuss chapters of Our Biggest Experiment: An Epic History of the Climate Crisis by Alice Bell with journal editors, or participate in an online poetry event on May 3 featuring Victoria Chang and Elisa Gabbert.

What should you read today? There are so many favorites I could share from the recent EcoTheo Review. But I’ll give you Burrowing Habitat” by Jacob J. Billingsley because it stayed with me long after I finished reading.

It begins like this:

My neighbor says he hopes to kill
the woodchucks, thinking they are moles.

How old do you have to be
to want to kill something

so harmless. I tell him
they are good 

for the soil—keep 
it breathing.

burrowing habitat by jacob j. billingsley

Do follow the link and read the rest of this poem, and many more if you’ve got some time.

I hope you keep breathing.

And reading poetry.

And living close to those you live close to.

Keep questions and conversation open and always keep talking to your neighbors who may, if you listen well and share generously, become friends you cherish.

Thirty Days of Poetry: Day #14

Day #14: RHINO Poetry

Celebrating National Poetry Month by highlighting 30 days of literary publishers who produce poetry you can listen to, watch, or read, in 5 minutes or less.

Maybe you’re like my friend, S, who has endured so much loss, too much pain. She uses art to get closer to healing. If that describes you, and if you find a deep appreciation for words rendered with sculptural virtuosity, then RHINO Poetry might your kind of journal too. 

The RHINO Poetry “About” statement:

The Poetry Forum/RHINO Poetry is a non-profit literary organization, primarily devoted to the publication of RHINO Poetry, an annual high-quality print journal featuring well-crafted, diverse poetry, flash fiction, and translations. While remaining committed to our print journal, all poems will be placed online throughout the year.

RHINO Poetry occupies a niche somewhere between academia and the emerging poetry scene – devoted to creative work that tells stories, provokes thought, and pushes the boundaries in form and feeling – while connecting with our readers and audience.

Here’s a RHINO Poetry bonus: In addition to reading the journal online, you can also virtually attend RHINO Reads, an online quarterly reading and open mic poetry event. The next event is April 29, featuring poets Paul TranNan Cohen, and Teresa Dzieglewicz.

My current RHINO Poetry journal favorite is “Father Weaver” by Jamaica Baldwin, winner of the 2021 RHINO Editors’ Prize.

It opens like this:

If he wasn’t janitor he’d be gravel artist, he’d be glitter farmer, he’d groove skate
down beach hill to Isley Brothers. If he wasn’t janitor he’d be tennis racketeer,
ocean tamer, cicada sequencer, he’d turn his knit cap upside down to catch fire

flies, load them into pitching machine, point upwards and shoot stars into sky.

Father Weaver by Jamaica Baldwin.

If your heart hurts today, be gentle with yourself.

If you find a poem that heals, please share it. 

Thank you all for reading along.

Thank you for all your suggestions, and for trusting me to be your poetry matchmaker. 

Thirty Days of Poetry. Day #13

Day 13: Please See Me

Celebrating National Poetry Month by highlighting 30 days of literary publishers who produce poetry you can listen to, watch, or read, in 5 minutes or less.

In my circle, you don’t have to look far to find someone working as a medical provider or caregiver, either paid, or unpaid. Today’s literary journal, Please See Me, is for all my caregiver friends collectively, and more specifically for my friend Michael, a doctor who works in a hospital palliative care clinic. He wears his compassion, kindness, intellect and vulnerability as naturally as his white coat.

Please See Me, according to the Mission Statement, is “an online literary journal that features health-related stories in the form of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and digital media, including photography, podcasts, and short films. Our mission is to elevate the voices and stories of vulnerable populations, and those who care for them. At the heart of our publication is the cultivation of meaningful patient–provider partnerships in the spirit of wellness. To that end, we publish work written by patients, family members, creatives, caregivers, and providers.” 

One of my favorite poems in the latest issue is “Love Lost & Found: For Qi Hong” by Yuan Changming.  It begins like this:

1. Missing in Missed Moments

Each time I miss you
A bud begins to bloom
So you are surrounded by flowers
Everywhere you go

“Love Lost & Found: For Qi Hong” by Yuan Changming

You can hear the poet read aloud. And if you have a little more than five minutes, take a look at the 13 other poems, or watch the three and a half minute film titled, “Please See Me.” Its dialogue is like a poetic play; the film is the inspiration behind the journal.

Be well. Be kind. Share poems that touch you. 

Thirty Days of Poetry. Day #12

Day #12: Mithila Review

Celebrating National Poetry Month by highlighting 30 days of literary publishers who produce poetry you can listen to, watch, or read, in 5 minutes or less.

My friend Nita inspired this post. Do you know someone like her? Every conversation opens a portal into philosophical depth. She has one foot firmly grounded in the maze of the present, while her spirit dwells in the possibilities of futuristic fantasy.

For your speculative, most imaginative, most wild-minded friends, I suggest Mithila Review.

Mithila Review is an international science fiction and fantasy magazine founded in late 2015. One of the co-founding editors, Ajapa Sharma, describes the journal like this: 

“Mithila is a referent. It is a symbol. It can speak to the times when we have felt that we don’t quite belong. It can speak of the times when we have felt the urge to lurk away and disappear or the times we’ve felt the need to stay. It can speak to the time when we liberated our anger and pain in ways that have only fed the creative river within us. Mithila Review is space for our collective celebration and playful engagement with language. We hope that it can speak in all kinds of ways.” 

Each poem in Mithila Review is accompanied by gorgeous artwork, and most include a recording of the author reading. One of my recent favorites is “We’re Refugees Who Found Love Searching For Atlantis.”  Bonus: there are two versions of the same poem.

Poet Holly Lyn Walrath, writing in English, uses pantoum form to explore the drift dream of displacement, and there’s also an Italian translation “Siamo profughi che hanno trovato l’amore ricercando Atlantide” created by the late Marco Raimondo. You can read more about the collaboration between Holly Lyn Walrath and Marco Raimondo on her blog post titled:“New Poem Up at Mithila Review.”

The opening stanzas, in English and Italian go like this:

The ocean is a vessel cast in the heat of the stars
We walked there in the twilight and sang skysongs
Our bodies were translucent and full of darkness
How we carried our homeland in our bones

L’oceano è un vaso forgiato nel calore delle stelle
Vi siamo giunti al crepuscolo e intonato astrocanti
I nostri corpi ormai traslucidi traboccavano oscurità
Custodendo la terra natia nelle nostre ossa

After your poetry pause, take a minute today to connect with your deep-thinking friend. Ask how they’re doing, what’s on their heart. Do you dare share a poem with them?