Poetry Club Talks…Louise Gluck Pt1

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-4gjpa-f354f8

Topic: Louise Gluck
Host: Linda and Amory
Poems: “New World” and “Matins”
Recorded: November 21, 2020

Our first two-parter!
When Louise Gluck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2020, the NYT recognized that many were unfamiliar with her work. One of their writers posted five poems, from five different collections, to introduce her. Linda shares a brief Gluck bio and Amory introduces two poems.
In Part 2 Poetry Club discusses Gluck’s poem “Parable of the Hostages”

 

TY TAEM!

I’m very excited to have a small collection of my poems published in The Abstract Elephant Magazine this month. It’s such a beautiful magazine with an ideal mission. Please visit it sometime soon.

The Abstract Elephant Magazine is an interdisciplinary, digital publication dedicated to understanding the issues of the human condition through the arts, the sciences, and philosophy. This magazine began with the intention to create a space for comparative endeavors and interdisciplinary research since our basic belief is that improvement in the human condition takes place in open dialogue and debate.”

Check out my work here: https://abstractelephant.com/2020/11/23/before-after-poems-quarantine-covid-19-shannon-laws/

Thank you!

Photo by Tim Oun on Unsplash

Poetry Club Talks…Methods and Strategies for Composing

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-bgsrw-f2de88

Topic: Methods and Strategies for Composing

Hosted: Ron

Poem: “Altered Landscape” by Ron

Recorded November 14, 2020

Ron puts his money where his mouth is by submitting his own poem (below) for this week’s discussion on strategies for composing.

On a yet uneventful fall morning 
we tuned in, all channels, to news breaking.
We saw the monolithic twins tower
beyond the New York City skyline, higher arching   

emblems of America’s enormous
wealth, unassailable power,
and leadership in world affairs;
and life-source of our nation’s busy-ness    

The planes appeared, at first, 
at the bottom of the screen, 
by their diminutive presence,  
simply to augment the scene,
then, turning toward the center,
disclosed their sinister intent: 
to shatter our national serene    
and apprise us of the error   
of our culture and content,  
by a sacrifice obscene,             
and realize the awful threat of terror.       

then collapse in a cascade more sudden
than our startled eyes and minds could follow    
into a burgeoning mountain of rubble, 
the billowing dust veiling the vast hollow,    

and watched the constant replay, mesmerized,
unable to withdraw our captive sight
or avoid awareness of the massive scale of life
entombed within that monumental blight,    

on the altered landscape of our lives
condemned always to carry the remnants:    
seared mercilessly in each mind’s eye,
the indelible images and events. 

Day 157: No Place to Lament

But O For the Touch of a Vanished Hand, 1888, Walter Langley. In 1882, Langley settled in Newlyn, Cornwall. The subjects of his paintings were typically Cornish fishermen and their families. The title is taken from the Tennyson poem ‘Break Break Break’.

As you may know, I often record a rough draft of a poem on my phone when inspiration strikes. This morning I revisited some of my recordings from the year. I’d like to offer the original recording and the poem (draft) that came from it.

This recording touched me. I forgot about this day and I’m thankful I took the time to hit record. Please note that I use a hands-free phone system in the car.
This recording was made in a safe & legal manner.

No Place to Lament

August 20, 2020, day 157 of the U.S. Pandemic

Yesterday I thought I was going to have a meltdown
an honest to goodness meltdown
I needed to cry
to have a good cry

Every so often I need to do this

There are times when the weight of my world is felt
When the lack of things I need is noticed
and I want to cry
a good cry
Not just any kind of cry
but a true wailing
Where my face becomes a waterfall
I transcend to trance
Weighted emotions leave your body
through the antenna of outstretched arms
Become a blubbery mess of emotion prepared to
exclaim at the pinnacle of a moment
Poised with a justified invocation, complaint, request,
expression of confidence, and vow of praise
to the Lord That Fixes Everything!

The when is now
the place…
I do not have

At my apartment
a neighbor would hear and complain
In my car
eyes blurred by tears cannot see the road
At work
Security cameras capturing me
beating my chest could cost me my job
“She’s unstable. She must be replaced”
In the woods
If I cry out, alone to moan, and
demand justice, preach to the trees—
no, a hiker will come by
call the police reporting,
“There is a woman in the woods who sounds
like she’s being beaten! Protect us!”

So, I do not lament
I keep it inside,
except…

sometimes, at night
a little lament leaks
out my eyes
onto the pillow
quietly
softly
and no one is
none the wiser

Poetry Club Talks…

Photo credit Jaredd Craig, on unsplash

NEW! NEW! NEW!
Poetry Club is here for three reasons, to increase the understanding and appreciation of poetry, illustrate healthy communication between people of different opinions, and promote the creation of new poetry clubs in your neighborhood.

Since October 2015 we have been meeting in local coffee shops in our city, Bellingham, Washington. It started when four of us took Ron’s “Introduction of Poetry” class at a local community college. We enjoyed it so much we asked Ron if he would like to continue the discussion in a casual atmosphere. Currently, we are about 5-7 people who meet every Saturday online. Every week we discuss the work of a different poet, classical to contemporary.

Thank you for listening, participating, and for loving poetry.

Contact us via our Facebook page– https://www.facebook.com/Poetryclubbellingham

S1E1 Poetry Club Talks Charles Bukowshki

Poet: Charles Bukowski, b.1920- d.1994
Hosted: Shannon 
Book: What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, Published June 1st, 2002 by Ecco Press (first published June 5th, 1999), Paperback, 416 pages
ISBN: 1574231057 (ISBN13: 9781574231052)
Poems Discussed: The Mice, The 12 Hour Night, and a video feature available here: Tom Waits reads Nirvana by Charles Bukowski  https://youtu.be/W-vdPkESLZs

Podcast Recorded: October 10, 2020

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Thank you Cirque Journal

Reviewing my submissions and acceptances for 2020 tonight and holy moly I forgot about a publication in the 20th issue of Cirque Journal! Such a beautiful PNW Rim magazine.

Cirque brings together the finest literary and artistic talent from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

Cirque was founded in 2009 by Anchorage poet Mike Burwell. Cirque, published in Anchorage, Alaska, is a regional journal created to share the best writing in the region with the rest of the world. This regional literary journal invites emerging and established writers living in the North Pacific Rim—Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Yukon Territory, Alberta, British Columbia, and Chukotka.

Cirque #20 celebrates 10 years in print. It’s a large issue of 175 pages. We are glad you will be part of it.

Sandra Kleven
CIRQUE

Read the current issue below. I’m on page 74, but check out the whole issue. Good stuff ALL! https://cirquejournal.com/

Photo by Dave Herring on Unsplash

The Showbear Family Circus

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Thank you The Showbear Family Circus ( http://lanceschaubert.org/ ) Lancelot Schaubert’s and Tara Schaubert’s liberal arts circus, for including my poems, Crab, Grandmas Closet, and The Bog in your November 2, 2020 edition.

Your website stimulates the senses. Selected articles, short stories, poems, words jump off the page! I love this philosophy you have…

We want to focus on the liberal arts philosophy because we hope to reorder common ways magazines and readers think about news, scientific research, creative writing, and art reviews. We want all of the work shared at the Showbear Circus to focus not on money, power, lauds, or pleasure but on whether the thing made, the thought reasoned, and the feeling felt are good and beautiful and true. 

You can find my poems in the November 2nd edition on the main page and here:

http://lanceschaubert.org/2020/11/02/crab/

http://lanceschaubert.org/2020/11/02/grandmas-closet/

http://lanceschaubert.org/2020/11/02/the-bog/


Truly an honor.
Thank you,
SPL

Poem: Tide Out

Tide Out

The sail that leans on the light of dusk
Gives subtle shade to the port side
Lady Spider works hard in the cool shadow
Knitting at the rail corners
She bounces about her web
Forming it into the perfect triangle

The window sits still

Fathomless shades of grey and green churn
Over and over foamy lips spray the air with
A violent kiss
Kisses
More kisses than
My eye can count

The ancient war between
Obsession and responsibility
Will never finish
Spider on boats
A Northern winter wind
A broken heart at sea
Waiting for a fresh light
That follows a storm

#

I found this poem in my folder from 2012. Riding a Ferry was a regular part of my life years back. Approaching the winter months I am reminded of those days, going to work or taking the ferry to visit friends, family, or going on a trek to Costco, when the weather was stormin’. I LOVED it! The ferry captains and crew are amazing! When the boat is rolling and you get knocked out of a booth but you’re still above water–that is a good day.

This evening I’m feeling this spider that inspired the poem. It was building a web outside in the window frame of a Washington State Ferry. A bit of a surprise to discover. That takes serious vision and risk.

##


video credits at sites

Lightening and ferry boat ~ Friday Harbor San Juan Islands Wa
Saved by Irene Pomerinke

Fire Ants

Since August I’ve noticed the quality of my work was dissipating. I was re-reading emails and reports that I sent and noticed they were missing syncategorematic words, words that do not stand by themselves. (had to do it. How often do you get to use syncategorematic in a sentence?) “of” “and” “at” “a” –just missing, my fingers said, “No, I’m too tired to type these today, thank you.” So, I scheduled some vacation time. My budget was $0 but the need great. Four days of stay-cation the solution.

On my third day in, a transformer blew right. in. front. of. me.  It filled my front windows with a bright blue, green, and pink light show.  The twisted sound of electrical screams shouted up to the sky! I was sitting on my couch watching the news and BOOM! It startled me.  I screamed.  When the flash was gone my brain took about 2 seconds to figure out the transformer 150 feet from my front door blew.  Opening the door I walked out along with 15 or so other apartment neighbors.  Our eyes wide, pointing and smiling in shock at the transformer.  Two of our bravest walked over to see if there was evidence of a fire starting in the pine needle laced lawn.  Everything looked good.  

One of the old-timers said, “It was a squirrel.  The last two times, squirrel.  They set them off around here.”

Electrical transformers transfer energy between circuits, switching energy from one voltage to another. But when flooded with too much electricity, the sudden surge can cause a transformer explosion. … Older transformers can explode when their insulating materials begin to fail. Or, when an animal touches them in the no-no spot.

Here they are the culprits in order of, um…number of casualties, highest to lowest according to the magazine Electrical Engineering Portal:

Squirrels,
Mice, rats, and gophers,
Birds,
Snakes,
Fire ants, and
Large animals (cattle, horses, bison, and bears).

What animal was a surprise to you? For me, it was fire ants. An investigation was spurred. Fire ants were accidentally introduced into the US from South America in the early 1900s. Since then, they have spread widely across the southern US, displacing native ant species and causing reliability problems by building nests in electrical equipment.

What…WHY would fire ants climb up a pole, possibly vibrating from their perspective, all the way to the top and then boom?  Sure it’s an excellent metaphor of GOP-types lock stepping behind trump, but ANTS acting as a Suicide Squad? No. 

The ant story is a bit more grounded.  (pun intended.)  The ants cause a transformer to blow by building nests inside the ground equipment casing. Like this photo shows. Ants learned fast that the casing provides warmth during winter months, a dry nesting site during heavy rains, and an undisturbed nesting site throughout the year.

Fire ants nesting inside a transformer (photo credit: iaeimagazine.org)

I continued to travel along the fire ant trail. Who were these trouble makers? My only personal run-in was at a lakeshore in Arizona many summers ago. I remember a bare leg receiving bite after bite because I had the audacity to stand in one place for too long. I saw them as savagely fierce creatures, like tiny packs of blood thirty wolves! Turns out they have a tighter relationship than any pack of wolves. In extreme conditions, fire ants have the ability to flip their minds from “individual” to “group” setting and form protective shapes. Shapes that can create air bubbles underwater and withstand moderate pressure. They become so like-minded, choreographed in unison, holding each other tightly, they can become a single squishy glob. This video blew my mind:

In America, we value our individuality. We use to teach constructive and critical thinking in the elementary grades. Any person should be able to hear the facts and come to their own conclusion. In a diverse group, there is strength when solving a problem because different types of minds (artistic or engineering for example) come up with unique solutions. One of those ideas is the answer to the problem.

Humans are not ants.

However, the idea of these tiny creatures holding on to each other, hugging each other, in order to survive a deluge, is inspiring.

Poem: The 27th Day

too funny!

The 27th Day
Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.
-T.S. Eliot

Getting out of my car today I noticed a bee.
A large and fuzzy bumblebee slowly moving its legs
on the parking lot blacktop of my apartment building.

I saw a video once where a person found a honey bee in distress
gave it a little sugar water and it flew away happy.
I thought I would do the same for this fellow-creature.

I raced inside, grabbed a small bowl, and quickly concocted
a love potion of room temperature filtered water
with a pinch of raw, all-natural sugar into the bowl

Without saying a word I stepped up along its side, my feet
ten times its length, my silence like the voice of God shaking
mountains into the sea. A front bee-leg lifted up in proclamation-

STOP! Do not step on me!

I gave it a little at first, pouring my potion near its mouth, then watched
and waited. I looked for movement in the folded cellophane blanketed atop
the black and yellow body. A black thin tongue darted in and out of the puddle.

The rescue a success, I went inside and continued with my evening.
I was quiet about my good deed. The next day I saw it. Flattened. In line with a neighbor’s back tire. Inches from the stain of the dried sweetened water.

The bee did not fly away in search of flowers to bounce on. It did not sleep as I slept, with lighter shoulders knowing everything was reconciled between bee and human. What did I do wrong?

Perhaps it was evil to intervene. Perhaps I poured sugar water onto the ground to restored life, perhaps I gave a dying bee its last drink.

My Walk

This evening I went out for a walk. I walked four blocks in one direction turned right two blocks then came back to my home. It was colder than I was dressed for. Winter is coming.
I’m quietly thankful this evening. It is unexplainable. The Dalai Lama said, “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” Some days it is easier to defend the inner peace layer than others.
I’m wondering when during a casual conversation three American friends will look at each other and say something like, “Remember when everyone had to wear masks?”

Thank you for visiting my site. Please stay safe. Take care-
Shannon