A Poet’s Haven~Alan Boles, Administrator~Poet in the Spotlight

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Our Choice For This Early Tuesday Afternoons

Best Poem And Our Poet In The Spotlight,

Josie Cook


An Unexpected Summons

Come, you fragile poets filled with the sea’s liquid.

Come and leak your speech upon our parched beaches!

Come and sing with the ocean’s primordial influences.

Come and sanctify our living dictionary.

Come and listen to our seas–rivers–the many lakes.

Come and offer a levy to our tributaries.

Come and accompany us.

Come with your mask of shifting personas falling away.

Come with your torches burning.

Come add your bouquet to the existing aroma.

Come bring your artfulness for our sake of the art.

Come with your lacerations, tender and red.

Come with your heart brilliant or obscure.

Come with your words for the distinguished dead.

Then go to the notorious graves and remember their souls.

And recite all of your remembrances.

Yes, come and find your passion; your true natural ability:

The marriage of thoughts to be esteemed hydration.

–J. E. Cook ©2016

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The Dear John Show

Another Poem of mine included in the live show this Sunday. 

Welcome to The Dear John Show, Sunday 26th May 2019. Live poetry readings from around the world, here on Facebook. With Nina Thilo, Christine Barker, Chris Edridge and myself, Your Host, John Kavanagh.

Visions in my Sleep

I am looking for the most
Beautiful place on Earth,
With long, blue & green views,
And silhouettes of black twisted trees
On the distant skylines,
Fields of sunflowers in a variety of
Colors,
Sweet air drifting in on a slight breeze.

Endless expectations with lovely views,
Possibilities for fresh blue waters with
Cascades of showering droplets
Among the grasses of flowing fields.

The evening star against dark blue skies
Filled with pinpoint lights,
Pastures of horses & ponies roaming freely,
With moon against the black indigo at
Midnight,
Purifying richness in the hills of green.

Fading silver lights at dawn as the woods fill
With watchers of the night like weasels and
Raccoons and the lonely owls up high.

It’s a dream and it is mine. I am hypnotized by
The beauty of it in the visions I see. Gorgeous
Views with mild darkness set after the remains
Of the day.

To disappear from my bed into this world would
Be pleasant with a life of freezing coldness gone
Forever with roads of climbing beauty before me
Often without any real stress to bother me.

Reality returns in my old house with fifty plus years
Spent and my battered coffeepot filling the air
As it brews with a scent of waking,
As I think about the philosophy of living and death
Of strangers,
Dreadful histories glancing through my brain,
Outside my window, the birds sing and their pretty
Voices sooth my ears hiding the pain of all my years. –J. E. Cook © 2019

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Shared Sunsets by J. E.Cook, read by John Kavanagh, live

I would like to thank John for picking my poem to read this Sunday and doing it so well on his live show that he hosts every Sunday on Facebook. 

Give a listen here and take in the lovely poetry shared live with a poetry community of caring individuals. 

St. Paddy’s Day with Poetry on the Dear John Show~

This one (below) by me was read by Nina Thilo this Sunday on the show.  She does such an excellent job of reading my work live. 

 

The Small Town Life of Rae Michaels

Cigar boxes, old trailers, and

a Texaco station

Past the Gardenia patch,

Skipping through the woods

On the dusty path,

Watching a group of tramps eat out of cans

By the still tracks,

Rae was restless and she wanted more

Than this small town gave her,

She thrashed in her cold sheets

This morning,

Rising early to greet the bluebirds,

Bucky right at her heels,

Scaring those little birdies away,

 

Her hands were empty of silver coins,

She wanted more from here,

Gleason’s Barber Shop was

Hopping with male chatter,

Her daddy was fixing stuff again

Outside the garage doors,

Bucky still by her side

With his tongue hanging out,

Jimmy across the street collecting

Nehi bottles in his wagon,

Hardy walking with him,

Telling him about the weather

Down South,

Curls & Stuff Salon

Full of ladies under pink dryers

With glam magazines in their laps,

And a cup of tea or coffee

nearby them,

Why couldn’t she find her

Happiness here?

 

Miss Martha lets her

Hangout at her place,

Her son a bit slow in the head,

Wears his hair clipped short

Because his mom wants it

That way,

She brings him sweets from

MacAlister’s Drug store

And Miss Martha

Always treats him like a baby

Still at the age of eleven,

Wiggly in his seat on the porch,

They watch the silos being filled

Together while Bucky naps near,

Mac arrives clutching his ball and bat

Against his chest,

Asking them to join him at the park,

Rae sits aside her book in her lap,

Miss Martha is inside making fudge,

Rae puts her nose to the screen

To tell her they’re leaving,

They race across the open fields

Of mustard and tall grass,

Bucky chasing them from behind,

Another afternoon in the sun

With friends on the baseball diamond,

The gang is there,

Daisy, Alice, Teddy, and Sam.

Rae decides maybe, life isn’t so

Bad here after all.

The game starts and she finds

Herself lost in the gathering of

Friends as the sun beats down on

Them together in the dust, the heat,

And the beauty of sharing with close

Friends and also competing for just a little while.–J. E. Cook © 2019

Listen to the show here:

Special Thanks to Nina Thilo for reading my poetry again this weekend! Always a pleasure to be featured on this live show with John Kavanagh as the host.  

Ali Cobby Eckermann wins $215,000 literary prize~Unemployed Indigenous poet~ Some Dreams do Happen.

The Windham-Campbell prizes are unique in that authors generally have no idea that they are in the running for one. Administered through Yale University in the US, they do not have an open submission process but take nominations from appointed members of the literary community.

Ali Cobby Eckerman

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/01/unemployed-indigenous-poet-ali-cobby-eckermann-wins-215000-literary-prize?fbclid=IwAR2NR9ORkWDXrx0c1WXNGQuAg7X7uqwFiEz0RljDHdb4JHDVGuTgNacpZV8

All information from the link above.  Just passing it along for all poets to read!

Her words:

“My son and my grandsons are moving back to South Australia in the next few months, and it will just allow us some stability to grow up together under the one roof,” she said.

“I haven’t really had that option before in my life. Just the thought of maybe being able to purchase a home or rent a home, and for us to be together and have that stability is something pretty new to me.

“I’ve been so grateful for the recognition of my work so far, and could never have foreseen something of this magnitude.”

The awards will be presented in September in a ceremony at Yale.

“It also feels like an award that is honouring my family’s story, and the three generations of us that didn’t grow up together,” said Eckermann.

“I want to accept this award on behalf of my grandmother who walked out of the Maralinga bombs [the British nuclear testing that occurred near Maralinga, South Australia, in the 50s and 60s to the great detriment of local Indigenous people] with her little children, and then my mother was taken from her – to my grandmother and my mother, who were so dignified in their pain. Life changed so dramatically for them, and they stayed really dignified and that’s the legacy they’ve given me.”

I love it when people are given a chance to be something better because they worked so hard for it, and finally, it pays off, even though it is their passion to create instead of working in some dead-end position where they will never bloom into what they dreamed of being during their lives.

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Pacific by Tom Drury

Pacific

Well, I have read two of his books back to back.

This one is a bit weak at the end, I felt it took another turn towards the ending. There are some crazy twists inside this novel. However, this turn is peaceful with a beautiful view! 

I do admire going back to these characters! I do like visiting them again.

There is a mystery at times, passion in some relationships, there are imaginative qualities, too. Drury’s freeform is something I admire because I use it often in my writing, too. He catches the small town feel, flavor, closeness and it is nice to read here inside these pages. Moral codes are tested along the way as this story unfolds and builds with these characters and their shared connections.

Going back to Grouse County, I love the New Luddites that emerge with Micah as he goes out on his own to another place. Charlotte is an active voice in his world. She seems to ground him.

Lyris is fighting with her ghosts and her past. Tiny is still being the bad guy with his petty movements in this community. Surprises enter and laughs are involved. The Laughing Bandit is exposed in time. A shipping giant is missing nine packages and Tiny’s car drifts along the snow-covered highways. He stops at the tavern and he encounters Sandra Zulma. Then, things change.

Louise is someone I admire and I like hearing her voice. Hans Cook is taking care of her mother by being there. Mary Montrose dreams vividly. Louise has a close connection with Mary. They know what each other is thinking by their connection. They are agreeable in most cases after discussion. Mary saw Louise in her dream and she thought she was a beautiful woman and told Hans this. Dan supports Louise through her loss.

Micah wants to buy a California smoke but isn’t old enough. “I saw you at the marijuana doc’s” (p.171). A man takes a silver case out and hands Micah a joint. Micah thanks him. This man, Mark invites Micah to stay with him and his girlfriend on the beach. She is Beth with the freckles, green eyes, and strawberry blonde hair. They hang out eating curry and drinking red wine together. Beth paints and doesn’t sleep well. Her and Micah connect. They sit on the porch together and watch the moon. “down to the sea”(p.173).

Sandra is seeking Jack in the woods. Lyris is seeking out Micah through Joan. At the beach, Lyris calls his name, and he forgets the lost match. He hugs her. They walk down the Pacific and she enters the water. They wade in the surf together. Lyris’s yellow dress floats on the water’s surface. The gulls are silent but present above them. A ship is on the horizon and they stand hand in hand. The waves hitting them but they are never moving. It is over.

Two different communities brought together here. Haunted souls with promises and circumstances.
But, there is peace at the end.

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I like this cover image; however, mine looked like the above image. 

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Another cover image: I prefer the one above with the colors and bridge!

Sweet & Crazy, A novel by Patty Dann

Sweet & Crazy

 

Many funny moments & many sad thoughts, too.

At thirty-nine, Hanna Painter has returned to her hometown of Ash Creek, Ohio. Her husband, Ed is dying of cancer inside their home. Pete is four when his father passes away there. This is the start of Hanna’s journey without her husband by her side.

Hanna, a young widow and her son trying to go on after the death of her husband. Now, a single mom that had hopes of a bigger family instead of a smaller one. Pete becomes a five-year-old expressing so much laughter while his mother grieves inside for what she had once and it is gone. Her close friends and her dreams are keeping her afloat.

Little Pete tells his mom, “Now you’re a window,” he says this after his dad dies in their home. He is quicky, and a comical boy often during this story.

Hanna is teaching older women to write about their lives at the local YMCA and she also works at the local library. Eventually, Pete starts kindergarten and he quickly finds a best friend, named Omar, the Indian son of Mazur, who runs the local cleaners in a strip mall in their town.

Pete wants to keep of his father’s stuff and he moves most of it to his closet for safe keeping. Their neighbor, Thomas becomes a central person in their lives. September 11 becomes an important topic among these characters as the story unfolds and shows us what they felt about it. Thomas works as a cooper at the eighteenth-century colonial restoration outside of town that he calls The Hill. However, he also leaves town often on business. During one of his road trips, a girl appears in his drive. She is driving a flashy sports car and Hanna sees her from her kitchen window.

Hanna, Thomas, and Pete form a  new family together. The Twin Towers are attacked and changes appear in their community.

Prejudice thoughts are a recurring device towards the end of this book. Mazur and his family are a target in the community and Hanna finds herself puzzled by this and the why behind it. Maureen enters Thomas’s life and in turn, she enters into Hanna’s too. The Hill is a setting where the characters often meet or retreat to during the story. Hanna’s dreams are central, too as these characters grow closer to each other.

I’m on page 144 of 208 of Sweet & Crazy: and, Pete asks his mother about the mailman, “Why is he wearing those special gloves?”

The whole story is about Hanna and her life. The ending leaves me thinking about some of the other characters and what happened to them. However, I think Hanna finds what she is looking for through Thomas in the end.

Patty Dann’s writing is very poetic throughout this novel and a joy to read.

Sweet & Crazy

The End of Vandalism

The End of Vandalism by Tom Drury

“Rather than writing about international events, I write about individual lives,” –Tom Drury

I think this is Drury’s first novel and it is so impressive!

There are some very sad moments; however, there are also many funny situations, too. The vivid landscape and sense of place are moving as a reader turns the pages. This contemporary story is full of characters so like real life with the daily events. I counted about sixty-eight characters inside this novel and all of them are vivid in their own personalities and their unique flare is brought to life through Drury’s writing voice. His made-up world is filled with these people in their community as they live their daily lives together.

Louise Darling captured my heart as I read her story and experienced her emotional life. She is my favorite character in this book. Her relationship with Dan is eye-opening to what couples can overcome if they stay faithful to each other. I often thought Dan was going to stray or maybe, Louise would move on and never return to her marriage. Their shared loss is the most heart-breaking moment inside this novel but when they reunite it is also the sweet spot of this novel.

I laughed out loud often as I read this one. My first novel by Drury was The Black Brook. Then, I watched the movie, based on his Driftless Area. I loved this movie and bought it so I could watch it again. His amazing storytelling makes me want to read more of his writing.

“I love the way that people speak,” he says. “Sometimes when I didn’t know what was going to happen next, I would bring in a new character and see what they said.”–Tom Drury

This novel has a lot of emotion tucked into the pages! So, the overall experience is somewhat drawn from inside the individual reader’s soul.

“There is elation and sadness, death and birth, love and jealousy, co-operation and betrayal. All the great emotional transactions that happen wherever people come together.”–Tom Drury

The End of Vandalism has a sequel titled, Hunts in Dreams. I am going to look for this one and get it. I can’t wait to read more about these characters and their community.

Drury’s writing reputation is further enhanced by the film version of his novel, titled– The Driftless Area, which he himself adapted for the screen so do yourself a favor and watch it! The movie has an impressive cast that includes Zooey Deschanel, Anton Yelchin, Frank Langella, and Ciaran Hinds. I enjoy watching it again and again!

 

lock and key by Sarah Dessen

 A story about sisters, family, and discovery.  There are keys that fit the locks to open the possiblities to reach your future. Dessen writes about Ruby’s journey to her destination and what it brings with it to help her fulfill her goals.

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

I finished this one and that made me sad because I am still thinking about these characters and their relationships with each other.

This is a beautiful story about relationships in general and learning to trust after being hurt. The story behind the key follows with the reader as this unfolds and it plays a big part in the theme and the progression of these lives.

Dessen crafts a progression of her main character, Ruby with all the facets on display as this young girl develops into a wonderful person with an adult insight into relationships and what is important to a family unit.

“Our definitions were as different as we were ourselves.” (288) Quite a quote to remember and take away from this novel.

Ruby’s thesis on the term family is often a part of this story, too. She becomes a unique student with her goals driving her toward finding the right college or university to attend after she completes her education in a new location with new friends and a new family unit.

I read the paperback edition of this one. The key is a small part of the cover image but I know what it looks like from the description and the big part it plays in Ruby’s life and another woman’s career. Ruby’s key becomes a noted item that helps another character find her success and also helps her find love right around the corner from her where it has always been located. This older character’s progression leads her to love, trust, and letting go.

Ruby’s relationships inside this thick volume are intriguing and she begins to see more inside these people instead of what is only located on the outside of them.

This is one of my favorite novels and I will remember it for a long while. Just like Ruby remembers the boy next door in this story. Supporting characters are apparent and moving.

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