Tag Archives: poetry

A poet and I didn’t know it!

PJ here. I’ve just returned from a week in Nashville, Tennessee, home of some of the most amazing song writers and musicians of our time. My husband and I had a lovely time there, celebrating the wedding of my eldest step-son and seeing the sights, but I’m always happy to come back to new England, especially with this amazing stretch of weather we’ve had.
Pond pic in the fall In fact, if it gets any prettier up here in the hills, I’ll never want to leave home again.

One of the awesome parts of being in Nashville was hanging out with all of the talented musicians who play in all the Honkey Tonk bars on Broadway. it made me wonder if I’d missed my calling.

Like many writers, I started when I was young, just learning the nuts and bolts of the English language and exploring the intricacies of stringing words together to tell a story. My first efforts were very elementary, and I soon lost interest to more physical pursuits, but once I hit my teens and turned to expressing myself through poetry, my writing blossomed. I had more than one revelation about myself and my world view from re-reading those angst-filled sonnets I wrote about my broken heart and my relatively tragic teenage life. I continued to keep journals and write poems through my twenties, pouring my heart onto the page in an effort to understand myself better, to free my chaotic emotions, and to cope with the challenges of life as a single parent. I used my writing as a way to tell my story in bits and pieces of lyrical prose, snapshots of my spiritual and emotional growth. I haven’t written poetry in years, but I still remember the cathartic power of the exercise.

I want to be clear here; I don’t read much poetry, and never did, although reading the wisdom of Kahlil Gibran changed my life and probably saved my soul at a critical point in my young life. I occasionally pick up a romantic poem by Pablo Neruda and find inspiration in his impassioned writing.

I find poetry to be a bit like bourbon—it’s a lot of work to enjoy it. You have to take it in, swirl it around, ruminate on it, and then decide if you enjoy it enough to swallow it. Usually if you can get past the taste of it on your palette and the burn on your throat as it goes down, you might decide it’s worth trying again. You might even grow to love it passionately, every experience superior to the last.

I could still pass on the bourbon, but writing poetry hooked me in, even if the likes of Tennyson and Dickinson left behind a bit of a funky aftertaste. The interesting thing about writing poetry from my teenage perspective was that it was a safe place for me to express painful emotions, dark thoughts, and deeply rooted beliefs that I was constantly questioning. The cool thing was that being a music lover, I saw how popular music trends seemed to follow suit. It’s no wonder that the angst of a heart rending ballad always resonated with me. Music, as with poetry, enables you to tell a complete story in very few words—including a happy ending if you so choose.

When I began writing PIECES OF LOVE, my next to be released contemporary YA romance, I decided my main character, Ali, was going to sing and play guitar. Of course, being sixteen, she hesitates to share her talents with others for fear of not being good enough—a circumstance we can all relate to, I’m sure. In writing Ali’s story, it dawned on me that I would have to give her an opportunity to explore her feelings through her music.

opry land guitarSo on my lunch break at work one day, I wrote a poem for Ali. Once I wrote the poem—a desperate and emotionally charged anthem to a lost loved one—I then decided the words needed to be set to music. Those of you who know me, know that I love to sing. I don’t play an instrument and I can’t read or write music, but I can carry a tune. So I started trying to put the words to music in my head. After a few short minutes, a tune came to me. I got so excited, I downloaded a recording app onto my phone and recorded the song so I wouldn’t forget the tune. In about a half hours’ time, I’d written my very first song, called Pieces of Love. I also had a new title for my book!

Lucky for me, I have a neighbor who is an awesome guitarist. He has agreed to help me record the song and use it as a theme song, which will be accessible from a link within the e-book. Pretty cool, huh?

So what about you all? Do you like poetry? Hate it? Do you read it often? Who’s your favorite poet? Or are you like me—preferring to write it instead of read it?

My Doxie, A Poem and Me

It’s snowing off and on as I write this, and I’m thinking of my two favorite other snow days when my husband didn’t have to go to work, and we had the days to ourselves. One of those days, while the snow piled high outside, inside, we listened to music and read and talked, warmed by the fire. The second time, we braved the elements to have lunch by firelight at a local rustic inn.

Those are romantic moments to me. I’ve often said we romance authors are all married to engineers even if they aren’t engineers. My husband is an educator, teacher of English and former high school administrator. But really, he’s an engineer. He’s linear, he’s a one-thing-at-a-time guy, he doesn’t sugar coat anything. He solves problems. Don’t all heroes?

Another favorite memory happened on a summer day when he wanted me to listen to an album of poetry — Billy Collins — so we drove to Litchfield listening to the CD, had lunch, and continued listening on the way home. After which I immediately wanted to start writing poetry because listening to Billy Collins just inspires you that way.
One of the poems, “The Revenant,” really resonated with me. It was from the viewpoint of a dog in the afterlife, finally confessing his true feelings about his long-time owners, words to the effect of — I never liked you. I hated the food you made me eat. I despised this. I never liked that.
You get the idea. A litany of dislikes and resentments. It made me look at my mini-doxie in a whole new light. Did she hate me? Despise the “naming of the parts” game I played with her? Hate all the silly nicknames I gave her? Did she resent my re-naming her “Munch”?

She was my mother-in-law’s dog, as I may have mentioned previously, a gift after the sudden death of mom’s then canine companion, Casey. The problem was, mom was ninety at the time, had macular degeneration, and was pretty unsteady on her legs.
So my Munchkin started out in pretty shaky circumstances: taken from her mother at 6 weeks, flown up to NY, put in the hands of strangers who then gave her to an elderly nearly blind lady who couldn’t properly care for her.

Something had to give; a year or so later, something did: mom fell, went to the hospital, and we took Midgie. At the time we had our beloved galumphing lab mix, Maggie who was about four times Midgie’s size. We honestly didn’t know what to expect. Mom always thought Midgie would be eaten alive by Maggie. But that didn’t happen.
They got along just fine. Midgie — or Munch — would chase Maggie around the kitchen-dining-living room and then hide under her legs so Maggie couldn’t find her. Or she’d climb up on the couch pillows dive bomb onto Maggie’s back. When they slept, Munch’s body language imitated Maggie’s. I really think Maggie taught Munch how to behave.

She was, as was Maggie, the Best Dog Ever. We were privileged to love her for ten years, and our beloved Maggie for twelve. We lost Maggie to cancer two years before Munch passed away a dozen days into 2011.
Munch’s was the hardest passing to bear, maybe because we’re that much older. And so, the first time in 45 years, we don’t have a dog in the house.
In truth, I’m a little scared. What will he think? What if he hates us? How will we know? And, after all, we still have memories and pictures – and a cat.
I really don’t want to wonder if Munch was happy — I think she was — I loved her to pieces, walked her, fed her, spoiled her rotten, made up songs about her, played with her — but a year after that lovely lunch in Litchfield, that Billy Collins poem continues to haunt me. I never liked you …
And still I wonder …
Did she hate me?

Do you have a pet? Would you? Wonder, I mean …]
How powerful words are.
How about you? Any pet stories to tell? Any poems that resonated on that level? Meantime, I’d seriously advise you to occasionally look deep into your pet’s eyes and try to divine what she or he is really thinking.

(You can read The Revenant on-line.)

Thea Devine’s books defined erotic historical romance. She’s the USAToday best-selling author of 25 historical and contemporary romances and a dozen novellas. She’s currently working on an erotic contemporary romance. She misses her Munchkin terribly.

Australian Visual Artist – Glenise Clelland

Happy Friday everyone! Casey Wyatt here.

Regular visitors to this blog know that I am huge fan of Twitter. And thanks to Twitter, I connected with a wonderful and talented artist from Australia. She was kind enough to visit a writer’s blog to tell us about her artwork and books. One lucky commentor will win a copy of her book – LOVE FALLS IN LOVE WITH LOVE. Please be patient, due to the 18 hour time difference, Glenise will respond to comments on Saturday!

Let’s hear what she has to say:

As an Australian visual artist, sculptor and writer I have had many exhibitions and 5 books published over the past 40 years.   My paintings are in Government, Corporate and private collections in Australia and overseas.   Art has taken me to interesting places always with a sketch book in hand.   Returning to my studio, I have the ability to recall details of colour and light and to rekindle the emotions first experienced when I did the sketches.  Memory training is an important part of any art education.

 I have a particular love affair with the Pacific Islands and their people and have travelled and worked in Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa ,Tonga, Solomons and PNG.  Some of my paintings of the South Pacific, Australia & Europe, can be seen on  www.gleniseclelland.com.au & www.australianpaintingsales.com.au

 Many people ask ‘how long did a particular painting take to do?”  My answer is simple – 66 years.  From the first moment we open our eyes we absorb and feel everything around us.  For me all my paintings/creative endeavours are imbued with my life experiences.   If I can translate some of my wonderful experiences and love of life onto a canvas or in my writing for others to share then I have been a successful artist/writer.  If someone pays good money for my art then that is a bonus!  I paint for the love of it – but I do get a buzz if someone loves it too.  Andy Warhol said  “Business art is the step that comes after ART.”  Do you agree?  Or do you paint to sell?

  It is an anxious time before every exhibition for any artist when the public (and critics) will view the work that has come from my thoughts and feelings.  Every thought you have is your own and when you make a painting it lays bare your very soul.  Sometimes I look around an exhibition of my own work and wonder whose hand has made the marks?  No one else can make the marks you make –every artist is different.   Even the master forgers who try so hard to copy a masterpiece are usually found out because they do not make exactly the same mark as the original artist.  So I am now confident that my art is unique to me.  Matisse once said “It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like anyone else.”   It has taken me many years to say with confidence, after 40 years of  exhibiting and writing , “ art is what I do”.

 In 1980’s I wrote 3 Children’s books with the Queensland Cancer Society promoting sun cancer awareness for children.  The theme was ‘put a hat on your head, and cover up when playing in our harsh Qld sun’.  The books had 2 children having adventures with Australian animals –the children and animals all wearing hats – and the books went into kindergartens for preschool kids.  I still meet adults now who remember and enjoyed the ‘Sunny Solar’ books.   The books can sometimes still be found on ebay –as ‘rare and collectable’!  Google my name and see!

One thing that does ‘peeve’ me these days, with artists posting their art work on the computer, is the unscrupulous people on the internet who steal artist’s images.  With no Australian copyright deal with China, two of my prints were stolen by a company in Hong Kong and distributed worldwide with no royalty to me!  They also appeared to be stealing images from famous artists such as Andy Warhol, Matisse, Picasso & Gauguin.   I believe after threats to sue the company it went out of business.  I am now very wary and mark my images with (C) or my name.  It was good for my ego to be selling worldwide -but not for my bank balance.

Has anyone else had this problem?

 My recent collaboration with award winning Australian poet Mocco Wollert on 2 art/poetry books about love and sensuality was a departure from splashing paint onto large canvases!   Mocco and I are from very different backgrounds but as wives, mums and grandmothers we have shared many of life’s experiences. 

Mocco and I were introduced by a gallery director who was familiar with both my paintings and Mocco’s writing.  She thought we could combine art and poetry into a successful book.   Un-beknown to me at the time Matisse illustrated 2 books of poetry and now our books are being sold at the Matisse exhibition in Gallery Of Modern Art in Brisbane!    For many years Mocco has been writing and winning awards for her emotive poems and has had 5 books published and her work has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers.   From my early days at art school I have always found working with a live model breathes life and feeling into my work resulting in many exhibitions of my nude paintings and drawings.  We harmoniously married together the photos from my large collection of work and Mocco’s large volumes of poems to create our 2 quality books “Of Loving and Sensualities” and ‘Love Falls in Love with Love’ . This was in itself a creative process – with no room for egos!   And we have 3 more books ready to go!  Unlike Matisse’s illustrations, I did not illustrate Mocco’s words and she did not write to my art work.   This makes our 2 books unique and different with 40 expressive images and 40 emotive poems.  The words evoke pure emotion and the sensitive images are diverse visions of the human form drawn from life.

One of my favourite poems from “Of Loving and Sensualities” is     

Don’t wake me                                

from  Love’s  dream

I want to hold

my  dreams  of love

not  you.

 

Love is golden

 in the inky blue

of  midnight,

 sleep has  drawn the curtains

 to stop the dawn. 

 

Don’t wake me

 Leave  me my dream

to  ride the horse

 of  love’s  imagination

 tomorrow.

Our books have been described as ‘gently erotic’.   I would love to know what you think. 

You can follow me –ArtyGlen-on twitter. Visit my website www.gleniseclelland.com.au  for more information and read more poems from the books on authorsden.com.

14th February is Valentine’s Day and it is a celebration between couples of their love for each other usually by an exchange of gifts.

My 2 books “Love Falls in Love with Love” and ’ Of Loving and Sensualities” are perfect romantic books with loving words for couples to give to each other to celebrate their love on Valentine’s day .

Books for lovers (or would be lovers!) to cherish.

The books are hard cover 21cmx21cm and can be sent from Australia to anywhere in the world for special price A$20 +postage.  Or can be ordered from your local book store, or POD on line from amazon, B&N, etc.+ ebooks.

Love Falls in Love with Love   ISBN  9781921479618   

Of loving and Sensualities       ISBN  9781921479595      

These are books to cherish. 

My advice to all creative people is to dream –but dream with your eyes wide open. Then translate your dreams into a vision we can all enjoy.

Glenise Clelland

Thanks Glenise!! Remember, one lucky commentor will win a copy of Glenise’s book.  Don’t be shy!! Ask away! To see more Glenise’s stunning artwork, please visit her website.