Information and Inspiration for your poetic journey 

The National Poetry Month Issue, April 2010
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In This Issue
Minding Words
The Write Direction
Poets to Know
Catching Voices
Creating Space for Writing
The Cook, The Writer, The Gardener, The Business Woman
Discover New Poetry Markets and Get Published
The Poetics of Community
The Writing Life
Writing the Life Poetic Zine

Publisher & Editor:
Sage Cohen


Brittany Baldwin

Dale Favier

Sara Guest

Dave Jarecki

Christopher Luna


Toni Partington

Shawn Sorensen

Steve Williams

Study with Sage Cohen

Poetry for the People
Level 1 and Level 2

Six classes in six weeks - taught by email. Starting May 3, 2010

Learn More and Register

"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.
For your  bookshelf

WTLP cover with link

Like the Heart cover with link

The Writer Mama

The Writer Mama


The Darkened Temple


HTBI cover

Happy National Poetry Month!

Throughout April, good 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 love poetry, and find fun, new ways to tune into (and write) the poetry of your life.

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,

Sage Cohen
Publisher & Editor
Minding Words
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 has 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.

He 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.
The Write Direction
By Steve Williams

Only she knows the name of that place
below the throat, above my chest:
skin stretched over speech, swallow,
breath.  Velvet case of cantos
beneath beard and wrinkles.  Notch
of creases, angles, altered trajectories,
pulsing pipes.
Her lips inherit that hollow,
speak oral history
renewed by vows unrecorded. 
Nameless notes are composed here,
penned on staves of quiet cantatas,
diary entries-unwritten.

* * * * *

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
By M

"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.
Originally featured in three candles

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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.
Poets to Know
By Dave Jarecki
for Jen
If I say, Go gently, go loudly, go as gently or loudly 
as you wish. Do not do as I say. 
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 trees bloom, 
before the slip between winter and spring,
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 drink. 
If you forget how to sip, funnel your lips.
Fall into a bend against the floor. 
Swallow then choose any cobweb as yours. 
Or float through a mirror at first chance. 
I'll keep busy watching shadows fall in the yard. 

* * *

The Writer MamaDave 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

Craft Lessons from PDX Poets
frankincense &
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
The demon dog of American crime fiction
struts off leash
pronged collar in the limo
signals with hands and fingers
to elongate our applause
riveted, we wait for the juice
I am
The Cold Six Thousand
The American Tabloid
La Confidential
don't ask about my mother
My Dark Places
rover's name is Blood
devil dog chases boys
who witness murder
suffer what can't be solved
stay dressed for school
lunch money in tight fist
dog barks a reminder
remember when the printed word sat high?
now it's thwarted by Internet invaders
they are language killers
who cite inaccurate history
get your facts right people
he's a canine
crawls to or from
booze, dope
literary glory
remarks on women
he loves
spends days on the couch
on his back
calls us ordinary
mesmerized, captive
says he'll 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 PartingtonToni 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.
Email: [email protected]

The Cook, The Writer, The Gardener, The Business Woman
Indian Hills
By Brittany Baldwin

In the mountains
where I'm from
your neighbors are too far to see,
so things echo across the canyon
to remind you you're not alone
chopping wood.
In the morning a tractor pushes snow off the road
maybe just to turn around and do it again.
I walk through the woods
smelling the occasional burn of stoves
my feet popping through to last weeks snow.
I watch for tracks
and dogs who run free,
thinking of the mountain lion
that took my cat last winter,
and my dog the year before.
Thinking 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 distanced horizon
and a loneliness of silence
I've always found more comforting
than buses and cars.
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
cause the city certainly hasn't brought me closer to people.
I still trust a dog or a horse way more to cheer me up
and find some fun.
In the city I sit in silence at the end of the bar and read,
avoiding the pretty boy's eyes
trying to get up the nerve to come up and talk to me.
I watch his hands and shake my head.
Seems like 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,
or feeling the hard hands of my man pull for me in sleep.

* * * * *

Brittany BaldwinBrittany 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 of stars.
Tell me you love me tell me especially
after the last student has smiled. We are
the dawn, the trembling, awakening child.

* * * * *

Jenn LalimeShawn Sorensen is a published, award-winning poet whose work can be viewed at, 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 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.
The Poetics of Community
By Christopher Luna

ignore the old babble
press your knuckles into
the concrete semi-circle
your circumstances
            utterly dissimilar
            undoubtedly transfiguring
inhale the sweet-smelling plant
being burned nearby
and push through the stone
into a new view

* * * * *

The Writer MamaChristopher 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.

Email: [email protected]
The Writing Life
The waitress
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
There are buildings like this
everywhere, with women
like me in them.
I have been eating
pink and white and red
peanut M&Ms made
for Valentine's Day and sold
at a post-romantic discount.
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
feel welcomed, simply for walking
into a restaurant, sitting down,
dropping his shoe.

* * * * *
Jenn LalimeSage 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 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.


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.


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.


Want 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.


On March 2, I gave a poetry 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.

And now, you can listen any time you want -- for free. Get comfortable at 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 the page).

Be prepared for five sets of poem-triggering prompts throughout the conversation to ignite your poetry pilot light -- or keep it burning bright.


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.


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.

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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.

Tune 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.

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Saturday, April 17
A two-part workshop and a reading -- all in one, poetry-packed day

Manzanita Writers' Series
Hoffman Center
594 Laneda Avenue
Manzanita, Oregon

Poetry: From Pen to Page to Published
1:00 pm 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

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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, 2010                         
8 NE Killingsworth St.                                         
Portland, OR 97211
Paper Tiger Coffee                                              
7pm, Thursday, April 15, 2010                  
703 Grand Blvd.
Vancouver, WA 98661
Moonstruck Chocolates
6:30pm, Sunday, April 25, 2010
45 South State Street
Lake Oswego, OR 97034-3929
(503) 697-7097

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Wednesday, April 21, 7:00 p.m.
100th monkey 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 max). 

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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)
Jonesy's EatBar
400 E. 20th Ave
Denver, CO

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Barnes & 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 all.

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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 Dystopia One that has been featured on Dr. Demento's radio program, is now available via iTunes.

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Read a poet a day here!

Workshops include:
  • Attic Academy workshops during the spring for junior/senior high students
  • Poetry from the Personal, part of the "Attic @ the Dojo" series
Learn more at Dave Jarecki's web site or at The Attic.

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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!]

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Check out past issues of the WTLP zine in our archive

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