Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sisyphus the Homeowner

Yesterday, I swept leaves from our deck and patio. This morning, I looked out and saw that both were in the process of being covered once again by the maple leaves falling from the dozen trees in our back yard.

Today, I approached yet another Sisyphean task: submitting poems to journals. Send them out. Get them back. Send them out again.

What makes you feel like Sisyphus?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gival Press Anthology Wins National Award

Congrats to Robert Giron and Gival Press for its good news! Poetic Voices Without Borders 2 has won the 2009 National Best Book Award for Fiction & Literature: Anthology, from USA Book News.

Not only does this excite me because Gival Press is a great local publisher, but also because one of my poems happens to be in this issue alongside many other DC-area poets.


Toiling away in anonymity here. Just a brief post because I couldn't resist the siren call of these red poppies.

Becky Mae Poppy Fields Necklace and Earring Set GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cleaning House

The first half of October has been a whirlwind of organization around here. Garage. Landscaping. Cellar.

This week, I began rummaging through what I labeled as "Archive" boxes. I'm no Andy Warhol, but there's a lot of crap I've saved over my lifetime. Some of the items from my childhood, I've resurrected and given to my own daughter.

In my rummagings, I came across a pristine stack of about 20 bus posters featuring one of my poems, "The Rose Forgets Its Beauty," which were published through the 2007 Arlington County Moving Words competition. I'm offering these signed posters for sale over on my web site.

I also managed to find some unusual items like a 1918 10-pfennig Kriegsgeld coin (don't bother trying pilfer it, it's not really valuable, just kinda cool). About a dozen 3D laminated 1-riyal stamps from Umm-Al-Qiwain. Some old school trophies & plaques that prove I once knew stuff.

Two more boxes await.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Recurring Subjects in Poetry - Penelope

Is it inevitable that a poet should write about Penelope? Over the years, I have seen so many that I wonder if there's an anthology somewhere on the subject... I don't think I will ever write one about her. But I will write about gardens and insects. Flowers and fairy tales. More subjects that have probably been done to death by poets.

The challenge is to "make it new", whatever subject you choose. It's been done before. Here's Dorothy Parker's "Penelope":


In the pathway of the sun,
In the footsteps of the breeze,
Where the world and sky are one,
He shall ride the silver seas,
He shall cut the glittering wave.
I shall sit at home, and rock;
Rise, to heed a neighbor's knock;
Brew my tea, and snip my thread;
Bleach the linen for my bed.
They will call him brave.

For me, what makes this poem "new" is the last line that colors everything that came before it. All but the last line are things we already know about Odysseus and Penelope from the story. In fact, we know they will call him brave, too. But it is Parker's ordering that gives us the edgy perspective of a Penelope that may not be wholly convinced of the last fact (They will call him brave). Or, who feels she is the brave one for waiting all that time.

What do you think is the best poem on the subject of Penelope and Odysseus? Is there a poem that you think really takes the story and turns it upside-down and inside-out?