Writing the Life Poetic Zine
Publisher & Editor:Sage CohenColumnists:Brittany BaldwinDale FavierSara GuestDave JareckiChristopher LunaMToni PartingtonShawn SorensenSteve WilliamsCOLUMNIST BIOS
"Sage was able to respond to each poem (and poet) in a uniquely
sensitive way, meeting the material (and its creator) exactly where it
is. In other words, her responses show what living as a poet is all
about. What a gift this is." -- Amanda H.
Happy National Poetry Month!
folks like you and I will be coming together to celebrate and share poetry. Whether you are a
practicing poet or simply curious about the possibilities of poetry, this is
an ideal time to prime your poetry pump, connect with other people who
poetry, and find fun, new ways to tune into (and write) the poetry of
This month, the Writing The Life Poetic Zine editorial team would like to share our own poems with you -- as well as our good news -- in the hopes that it will remind you how much is possible in your own poetic adventure.
The last article in this issue offers a range of suggestions for
participating in the conversations, explorations and adventures poets
are sharing this month -- and links to get you connected.
Wishing you a poetic and productive National Poetry Month!
Your friend in poetry,
Publisher & Editor
By Dale Favier
My blood is indigo.
I am no mere soldier: I soar
above hour and mile, each capillary
a darkened trembling midnight blue.
I will live forever now. Cut loose
from death, from illness, from love,
I suck the stars from their places:
they beat in my
gut like drums of light.
* * * * *
Dale Favier h
as taught poetry, chopped vegetables, and written software
for a living. Currently he works half-time as a massage therapist and
half-time running a database for a non-profit in Portland, Oregon. He
is a Buddhist, in the Tibetan tradition. He writes about meditation
and poetry, and whatever ever else he may be interested in at the
moment, at Mole
has an M.Phil. in English Literature from Yale, but he never wrote much
poetry until he began blogging, a few years ago, and fell in with bad
companions. With them he eventually brought out an anthology, Brilliant Coroners.
His poems have also appeared in Qarrtsiluni
and The Ouroborus Review
. His first chapbook, Opening the World
, will be coming out next year from Pindrop Press.
By Steve Williams
* * * * *
Only she knows the name of that place
below the throat, above my chest:
skin stretched over speech, swallow,
Velvet case of cantos
beneath beard and wrinkles. Notch
of creases, angles, altered trajectories,
Her lips inherit that hollow,
speak oral history
renewed by vows unrecorded.
Nameless notes are composed here,
penned on staves of quiet cantatas,
* * * * *
Steve Williams lives and works in Portland with a lovely woman who writes and edits much better than he but refuses to admit it.
Two women in the garden of the ward
"I had a farm in Africa, at the
foot of the Ngong Hills . . .
In the day-time, you felt that
you had got high up, near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid
and restful, and the nights were cold." ~~ Isak Dinesen, "Out of Africa"
On restful mornings, Emma
and I tie crimson bandannas around our heads. We are told the florid color will
make our movements through the garden easier to track. For security we must
share a single pair of pruning shears. Only the red-headed woodpeckers who nest
in dead trees accept us as their own. Old growth branches of the butterfly bushes
need heavy pruning, but Emma's hands are clumsy and her clippings modest. The
tranquilizer has left her tentative. Each cut, the nurses assure, will move her
nearer to the sun.
She does not speak ill of
anyone but herself. I read to her of Blixen's farm, slightly bitter scents of
coffee-blossoms. She asks if she might smell the pages as though perfumes could
linger there. Emma is loved by someone poor and must leave this place when the
money runs out.
One limpid evening, I
knot the end of my bandanna on the branch of a sawtooth oak; I imagine the
fabric hangs like the newspapers say Emma did in the cold of the night. I hack
so far into the heartwood, I know the butterfly bushes will not live. A legion
of woodpeckers ascends, bow their red heads in deference to me on their passage
to more hospitable climes. I have cut with so much passion the pruning shears
are split in two, yet I find myself no nearer to the sun.
in three candles
* * * * *
M has served as Associate Poetry Editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection
for the past one hundred years or so. More than a few editors have
found her poems acceptable, and included them in their journals. She
received her B.A. in literature so long ago, she's pretty certain her
diploma has crumbled to dust. She also serves as an administrator of on
online poetry workshop called Wild Poetry Forum. If you cannot find her
(she never answers her cell phone), call Powell's Books. The employees
there know exactly what room she's in. And most importantly, she is
very grateful for the enormous amount of love in her life.
AFTER YOU HAVE LIVED
By Dave Jarecki
If I say, Go gently, go loudly,
go as gently or loudly
as you wish. Do not do as I
If I say, Go to the light,
stay as long as you like.
Do not ask what it is. I won't
point it out.
The sky is ink today, a white
neither cloud nor ooze.
Fog would like to grab us before
before the slip between winter
as if we can see seasons on
their way in or out.
I'll pour you a shot in your
favorite glass tonight.
Come in as you wish and
If you forget how to sip, funnel
Fall into a bend against the
Swallow then choose any cobweb as
Or float through a mirror at
I'll keep busy watching shadows
fall in the yard.
* * *
Dave Jarecki writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction from his home in Portland, Oregon. In addition, he facilitates writing workshops throughout the Greater Portland area. You can read and listen to his work at DaveJarecki.com
|Craft Lessons from PDX Poets
By Sara Guest
you can't tell by looking at people
who they love
we can talk the talk of a milkscape
as if we've never said it before
it's well known the scenery arches beneath us
spiders flying against pennies
to wit we must murder the rod
to spare the reel
* * * * *
Sara Guest, a native mid-westerner, has been tripping the light
wowtastic in Portland, Oregon since 2004. A longtime producer and editor,
Sara works as a program coordinator for Write Around Portland and volunteers with Literary Arts and VoiceCatcher (currently as board chair). She writes poetry and fiction and is a voracious reader and lover of Powell's City of Books.
|Creating Space for Writing
A boy without a dog is like a man without a mother
By Toni Partington
For James Ellroy, Wordstock, Portland, OR 2009
dog of American crime fiction
struts off leash
collar in the limo
hands and fingers
wait for the juice
The Cold Six Thousand
The American Tabloid
don't ask about my mother
My Dark Places
can't be solved
in tight fist
dog barks a
remember when the printed word sat
now it's thwarted by Internet
they are language killers
who cite inaccurate history
get your facts right people
crawls to or
on the couch
on his back
tell us everything
I love the American Idiom
I am the minority
My viewpoints don't mesh with the arts
Clyde said window peeping is kosher, and
my wig wasn't on too tight
before my mother's death
I can't fight fame
the borzoi needs another meal
a taste for gruel in the madness
ask me anything - what? - advice?
get more sleep, then
write like a motherfucker and don't look back
* * * * *
Toni Partington lives and works in Vancouver, WA. Her poetry has appeared in the NW Women's Journal, the Anthology of the River Poets' Society, VoiceCatcher 3, the Cascade Journal
and others. Toni's other work includes career/life coaching, editing
services for new and emerging writers, and grant writing. This winter
she joined the editorial collective for VoiceCatcher 4. She holds a BA
in Social Work and an MA focused on Literature and Literary Editing.
Before that, Toni was a high-school drop out, pregnant and then married
at age 16 whose life came faster than it should have and toughened her
into a self-described survivor. Today, her circle includes family,
friends, dogs and poets, not in any particular order.
|The Cook, The Writer, The Gardener, The Business Woman
By Brittany Baldwin
are too far to see,
echo across the canyon
you you're not alone
morning a tractor pushes snow off the road
to turn around and do it again.
through the woods
occasional burn of stoves
popping through to last weeks snow.
I watch for
and dogs who
the mountain lion
that took my
cat last winter,
and my dog
the year before.
that somehow I ended up in the city
and how I
can't speak loud enough there
with so much
to drown out.
I miss a
loneliness of silence
found more comforting
And next to
a river I drag my man out of town for a night.
I watch him
sleep with one arm reaching exposed across the tent to hold me.
And I am
trying my hardest to leave town
city certainly hasn't brought me closer to people.
trust a dog or a horse way more to cheer me up
In the city
I sit in silence at the end of the bar and read,
pretty boy's eyes
get up the nerve to come up and talk to me.
I watch his
hands and shake my head.
in town I got to be better at drinking than I am,
got to have
more money than I have,
got to speak
up and outshine the ladies all around me.
And none of
this will ever bring me closer
to the way I
feel watching the stars at night on the warm hood of my car,
the hard hands of my man pull for me in sleep.
* * * * *
Brittany Baldwin runs a small catering and personal chef company that
maintains its own organic garden. She has written poetry in Portland
for eight years while starting her own business and self publishing her
own poetry collection, Broken Knuckles Against Knives, Cutting The Food To Feed Me Through This
(2005). In 2002 she received a BA in Creative Writing from the
University of Colorado. Her poetry has appeared in the poetry
collections Ephemeris and Broken Word: Alberta Street Anthology Volume 1 and 2.
She has appeared on KBOO's Talking Earth, won an honorable mention in
the Oregon State Poetry Associations fall 06 contest and was featured
in the 2006 and 2007 Silverton Poetry Festival.
|Discover New Poetry Markets and Get Published
|No Universe We Know* * * * *
By Shawn Sorensen
We reached Webuye town, St.
Anthony School For the Hearing Impaired,
all my senses made senseless, you are
embraced by hundreds of black faces ivory smiles
at the gate, hands and arms reaching
out to hold, brightness surrounding
your outline burning away
the edges of Kenya's borders,
and I give up my definition
of honeymoon, of marriage
and instead embrace the endless air of our
days, rarely weighing the past.
Our universe means unknown sovereignties,
yet always a familiar sensation, your presence
pushing me to more unknowns.
One more dozen handshakes and we are led
to a lunch hall full of kale, corn paste and inquiring eyes,
then your old residence, volunteer who vacates his lodging for
our fledgling endeavor of mapping a growing cosmos
Tell me you love me tell me especially
after the last student has smiled. We are
the dawn, the trembling, awakening child.
Shawn Sorensen is a published, award-winning poet whose work can be viewed at mannequinenvy.wordpress.com,
Winter 2008 edition. His poetry submission goal is to send something
in at least every other week and get published/recognized a few times
per year. He's written dozens of complete book reviews, including dozens of poetry titles, on goodreads.com and braves a perilous river crossing to be the Community Relations Manager at Barnes & Noble Vancouver. After
getting dry and attending to numerous shark bites, he plans and hosts
an every-2nd-Wednesday Poetry Group event that's always at 7 pm, always
features the area's best poets, and always has a great open mic.
By Christopher Luna
ignore the old babble
press your knuckles into
inhale the sweet-smelling plant
being burned nearby
and push through the stone
into a new view
* * * * *
Christopher Luna is a poet,
editor, artist, teacher, and graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of
Disembodied Poetics. Publications include Cadillac Cicatrix, eye-rhyme, Exquisite Corpse, and the @tached document. Chapbooks include tributes and ruminations, On the Beam (with David Madgalene), and Sketches for a Paranoid Picture Book on Memory. GHOST TOWN, USA, which features poems and observations of Vancouver, WA, is available through Cover to Cover Books and Angst Gallery, or from the author.
By Sage Cohen
* * * * *
kneels to place Theo's fallen
shoe on his foot with the care
of a courtier. As she speaks
his name, both faces break
from bud to blossom. Foot
in hand, she tells him
are buildings like this
me in them.
I have been eating
white and red
Valentine's Day and sold
I know that once we reach
a certain age, faces no longer
open. I press the cut flower
of this promise to my chest,
clutch the menu, quietly say
into the space where I just asked
for pancakes, May my son always
welcomed, simply for walking
a restaurant, sitting down,
Sage Cohen is the author of Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry (Writer's Digest Books, 2009), The Productive Writer: Tips and Tools for Writing More, Stressing Less and Creating success (Writer's Digest Books, forthcoming in 2010) and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World. Sage has been awarded first prize in the Ghost Road Press poetry contest and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She teaches the popular online class Poetry for the People. Learn more at sagesaidso.com and
|Satisfaction. Surprise. Success|
Make the Most of National Poetry Month
By Sage Cohen
Whether you have days or weeks or minutes to spend enjoying poetry this month, there are endless ways to find your way forward. Below you will find a round-up of opportunities to learn with me -- several of which are free -- to get you going or keep you company along the way.
GET A DAILY TIP FOR CULTIVATING YOUR POETRY AND
Every day this month, Reading Local Portland will be featuring a daily tip from yours truly about
cultivating your poetic lens, lifestyle and language. You'll find tips
on craft, publishing, online resources, community-building, poetry
prompts and more.
THE POEM-A-DAY CHALLENGE
National Poetry Month is the
perfect time to put your poetic pedal to the metal and start burning
some rubber -- in the company of many thousands of other poets who are
doing the same. I dare you to write -- and share -- a poem a day! Details about daily prompts and sharing your work here.
GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF POETRY FOR UNDER $20!
a friendly, informative, fun guide to writing and publishing poetry?
I've written a creative companion to take you there! Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry (Writer's Digest Books, 2009).
And for a
straight-up shot of coming-of-age, on the rocks, you are invited to
experience my poetry collection, Like the Heart, the World.
TWO-HOUR POETRY WORKSHOP (by podcast)
On March 2, I
workshop on The Inkwell. In this two-hour poetry
workshop-meets-contemplation of the life poetic-meets interview, I
covered so much poetic ground that my voice nearly gave out.
now, you can listen any time you want -- for free. Get
your computer with a pen and paper, and join me in my longest monologue
yet about how to tune into the poetry of your life (and get it down on
Be prepared for five sets of poem-triggering prompts
throughout the conversation to ignite your poetry pilot light -- or keep
it burning bright.
THE PROSPERITY IN YOUR LIFE POETIC
I have a new article in
Read Write Poem titled
"Shifting Our Lens from Poverty to Prosperity." I hope you enjoy it
and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
REMEMBER THAT YOU HAVE ALL DAY
The fiction writer Grace Paley was once
asked in an interview, "Grace, you are a mother, a teacher, a writer and an
activist. How do you find the time to do it all?" To which Grace replied,
"Well, I have all day." This is your friendly reminder that there is time for
poetry if you make the time. I hope you will make today -- and every day -- all
that you'd like it to be.
|Columnist News & Celebrations
If you really
want to get inspired by the full spectrum of possibilities in the life
poetic, check out all of the good news from WTLP zine columnists. You'll get a sense of how many ways there are to write, publish, celebrate and share a life of poetry.
* * * * *
PUMP UP YOUR POETRY IN CLASSES WITH SAGE COHEN
Poetry for the People, Levels 1 and 2
: MAY, 2010
Six classes in six weeks--taught by email
If you're ready to take your poetry to the next level, I'm ready to
support you! The next sessions of Poetry for the People Levels 1 and 2
begin in early May.
into the poetry of your life -- and get it down on the page -- while
cultivating your craft toolbox and fine-tuning your revision skills.Get all the details and sign up now to reserve your place!
I'll be posting
student poems on the Writing the Life Poetic blog
throughout the month to celebrate their work
and their commitment to the life of poetry.
Poetry for the People class scholarship
applications now open
Would you love to take the Poetry
for the People
Level 1 or Level 2 class starting in mid January but can't afford it?
Then you qualify for
The Poetry for the People Scholarship. And the time to apply is now!
Sage Cohen will be accepting applications until Monday, December 28 for
Poetry for the People Level 1 and Level 2 classes.Get all the details and apply now.
TONI PARTINGTON GOES ON TOUR WITH HER NEW BOOK, WIND WING
* * * * *SAGE COHEN READS AND TEACHES AT THE MANZANITA WRITERS' SERIES
Saturday, April 17
two-part workshop and a reading -- all in one, poetry-packed day
594 Laneda Avenue
Poetry: From Pen to Page
to 3:30 pm, (all ages) // cost: $25; $15 for students
In this two-part workshop, poets of
any level will get inspired -- and get writing -- through a variety of
prompts and exercises. Following a break, we'll discuss the art of
successful submission for publication. Learn more and register.
Sage Cohen poetry reading,
followed by open mic
7:00 pm to
9:00 pm // cost: $5
* * * * *
The alchemy of Toni's powerful poetry and soul-expanding delivery style is not to be missed! Come on out to experience Toni live!
In Other Words
(Reading and Mini Workshop with Eileen Elliott, author of Prodigal Cowgirl)
2pm, Saturday, April 10,
8 NE Killingsworth St.
Portland, OR 97211
Paper Tiger Coffee
7pm, Thursday, April 15,
703 Grand Blvd.
Vancouver, WA 98661
Sunday, April 25, 2010
45 South State
Lake Oswego, OR
* * * * *FIGURES OF SPEECH READING SERIES & OPEN MIC (HOSTED BY M AND STEVE WILLIAMS) PRESENTS EILEEN ELLIOTT AND HENRY HUGHES
Wednesday, April 21, 7:00 p.m.
art studio at 110 S.E. 16th Ave., Portland, OR
Come on out to experience the fine
poetry of Eileen Davis Elliott and Henry Hughes, and enjoy one of the most welcoming and wonderful communities of writers in town. Plus, you are invited
to participate in the open mic (two page
SHAWN SORENSEN HOSTS AN EVENING WITH OREGON BOOK AWARD WINNER PENELOPE SCAMBLY SCHOTT ON APRIL 14
* * * * *M PERFORMS AND PUBLISHES
M's poem "Pneumonia," was a finalist in the Naugatuck River Review
's Narrative Poetry Contest and featured in the Winter 2010 issue.
M will be representing Naugatuck River Review
in The Literary Death Match
at the AWP Conference.
She's a jaw-dropping performer; if you're at AWP, you won't want to miss the opportunity to meet M or watch her strut her stuff!Thursday, April 8, 8:00 (doors open at 7:00)
400 E. 20th Ave
* * * * *
Wednesday, April 14, 2010Barnes & Noble, Vancouver, WA
Shawn features the very best authors along with an
open mic and free coffee, all within the Portland area's 3rd largest
bookstore. It's even gotten better as we host a easy-going poetry
critique group from 6 - 6:45 in our cafe the night of Poetry Group. Welcome to
* * * * *
CHRISTOPHER LUNA IS PUBLISHING, PUBLISHING, PUBLISHING -- AND OTHER EXCITING STUFF
Christopher Luna was recently
published in Chiron Review's All-Punk issue
. He has forthcoming work in Soundings Review
and The Night Bomb Review
. Luna was also recently tapped to serve as a
national judge for the Scholastic Writing Awards
of 2010. "Steve
Buscemi," a spoken word collaboration between Christopher Luna and
that has been featured on Dr. Demento's radio program, is now available via iTunes.
* * * * *
DAVE JARECKI FEATURES A POET A DAY & OFFERS WORKSHOPS AT THE ATTIC
Read a poet a day here
Learn more at Dave Jarecki's web site
Attic Academy workshops during the
spring for junior/senior high students
- Poetry from the Personal, part of
the "Attic @ the Dojo" series
or at The Attic
* * * * *
DALE FAVIER IS AVAILABLE TO DO MASSAGE IN YOUR HOME (IN PORTLAND, OR)
I'm taking new clients in my massage
practice again (I was so busy for a while there that I wasn't!) And I have a
heated fleece now that's comfy cosy. [Editor's note: I don't think I'd still be standing (or typing) without Dale's extraordinary massage skills. Five-stars!]
* * * * *Check out past issues
of the WTLP zine in our archive
* * * * *