The Shape of Emptiness, Regina O’Melveny

41tWo62lerLFrom end of life to hope in life, O’Melveny’s collection (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2019) explores the hardships and loss of one generation to the hopes placed in another. At the core, the speaker dealing with the loss of a long-absent father, the death of a mother, the buoyancy in her relationship with her own husband and daughter.

“Grazia’s Teeth” explores a grandmother’s handling of a child’s baby teeth collected and hammered into the grooved wood of a door, likened to “tiny shells, / pearl mushrooms in gray wood, / or half-moons that rise…” In the end, the speaker reflects how her own daughter “…still has teeth / to lose and lives by magic.”

This cyclical, lyrical read will, at times, leave you breathless. From her poem, “Three breaths”

one breath to take
the measure of things
and one breath to carry
down into the yielding
lungs of the sea – a bell
of breath, a lantern of air.

It leaves me to contemplate not only the magic we encounter when brushing up against the wild of the natural world, but the magic we carry within.

Poppy Road Review

Thank you to Editor Sandy Benitez of Poppy Road Review for running “In the Park” on this fine first of September.  It’s the perfect way to initiate a change into autumn, especially after a night of music on the dock at the net mending shelter and a knockout display of aurora borealis.

From Poppy Road Review’s website:

Poppy Road Review is a literary journal featuring free verse poetry, haiku, flash fiction, and occasional interviews with poets.  Journey with us on the road to poems that linger and haunt–discover poems of enchantment, fantasy, fairy tale, dreams, dystopian, flora & fauna, magical realism, romance, and anything located deep in-between the cracks.  

Poppy Road Review

Every Ravening Thing, Marsha De LA O

40945105This is a book that will take up residence on my “keeper” shelf. From cover (bright and wild) to titles (intriguing) to memorable verse, Every Ravening Thing is a read that I’m happy to have taken a chance on. Consider some of this sampling of titles: “Poem for the parched,” “Star Pine” and “Space-time Tsunami.” The poetry is well-crafted and fresh, rife with imagery. The final poem, in perfect placement within the collection, is breathtaking. “To the Grandmothers” includes the epigraph, “Chernobyl, thirty years later” and contemplates the wild space abandoned by disaster and the “Old women with side gardens and jars / of moonshine alone in empty villages…” Each poem included here offers the reader and moment of surprise, if not more. Well worth the read!

Coffee Poems

Thank you to Editor Lorraine Healy or World Enough Writers for including my little tribute to coffee, “Dutch Fry Baby” and “Too Many Reasons Not to Go Home” in Coffee Poems:  Reflections on Life with Coffee.  Lorraine sums up the intent of the publication perfectly in her forward:

What struck me most as I read the submissions for this anthology was the sheer amount of new vocabulary which accompanied that old plain staple of the cafe or the diner, the cup of coffee.  Cell phones and their cameras, roasters, vegan cake, baristas, soy lattes, drive-through windows, macchiato, McDonald’s, Apple Pay.  Maxwell and Folgers turned into Starbucks ubiquity, coffee-pots that wake before us and offer that first hot hit of the day.  As a child moved from the bottle to milky cafe con leech, as a native of a city so imbued by coffee that index and thumb two inches apart signals espresso, it made me wonder about this new age of coffee arabica

227 pages of poetry devoted to coffee?  Yes, please!

World Enough Writers, CoffeePoemsCoffee Poems 2019

Porkbelly Press/Sugared Water No. 6: Cartography

Thank you to Poetry Editor Ashley Blake for including “Katie’s Cabin” in this handbound publication, Cartography.  Inside, a plethora of directional, wayfaring writings.  I love their note just inside a page or two:

If we could candy words, we’d eat them to bellyaches every afternoon.  We carry journals and collect chapbooks like Smaug ripping through a gold-sequin disco.  If we’re lucky enough to leave something behind that enriches the dialogue of writerly types around the world, so much the better.  Send us your stuff — we’ll only hoard it for a little while.


Whiskey Island Magazine

Whiskey Island Magazine is a literary magazine published by Cleveland State University. It is a biannual publication.  While I’ve never been to Cleveland, or really the surrounding area for that matter, I do love the description of place featured on the magazine’s homepage:

It is currently the site of a salt mine, the largest marina on the great lakes, and the last refuge of the Cleveland-invented, industry revolutionizing Hulett Ore Unloaders: city landmarks on their way toward extinction, see 1 or 2. A rich mythology of bootlegging on the island has been unavoidable, along with eponymous burgers at various area restaurants and an array of empty Canadian beer cans.

Whiskey Island (the land mass) is actually a peninsula and can be found at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio. A distillery was built there in 1836, hence its name. The island has suffered multiple incarnations: it has been a dump, a US Coast Guard Station, a ship graveyard, and a predominantly Irish immigrant shanty town.

The journal has proven to be the perfect match for a poem I penned last summer for my traveling friend, Karen, titled “Men Who Serve You Coffee.”  Thank you to the editors of Whiskey Island Magazine for giving this one a home.

Lost and Found: Tales of Things Gone Missing

Much gratitude to Editor Terri Karsten for publishing two of my poems, “No Plot of Earth for Me” and “Top of the World Highway” in the anthology Lost and Found:  Tales of Things Gone Missing by Wagonbridge Press (Check out their Facebook page).  The work of 57 writers is gathered here, a healthy balance of prose and poetry.  Terri Karsten held a Facebook launch of the anthology, a great use of social media and opportunity for contributors and interested parties alike to share their thoughts on the collection and writing in general.    The anthology promises to be an engaging summer read!