Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Milwaukee to host small press festival


Poetry News

Midwest Small Press Festival

By Harriet Staff
Poets in the Milwaukee area may want to check out the First Annual Midwest Small Press Festival running from June 1st through the 3rd. Their mission:
As a small group of Writers, Bookmakers, and Artists in Milwaukee we are planning an event to celebrate the regional accomplishments in the burgeoning small press movement. We hope our efforts in organizing the first Midwest Small Press Festival in the city of Milwaukee will prove successful in establishing a regional network of literary investment, productive ingenuity, and artistic engagement. We hope to set in motion a traveling institution, in which each annual installment hails from a new municipality, furthering the regional ownership of the festival, an artistic family hosting a holiday soiree each in turn.
Small presses in the Midwest may also want to get in touch with them to find out how to help this festival grow as it moves forward. Check it out.

Posted in Poetry News on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The language of poetry and wine

"Wine is bottled poetry" R.L. Stevenson

    The myriad categories of both wine and poetry too often confuse the neophyte. Poetry and wine appeal to and affect the head and may go straight to the heart. Both can transport you anywhere. Both have a huge capacity to surprise. The best wine and poetry offer a mind bending combination of intensity, finesse and grace. Both may have balance and harmony, give pleasure and provoke thought. Poor quality in wine or poetry may provoke gastric acidity, confusion, ill temper, boredom and headache.
  Beginning poets and wine-tasters should start simply. They should slowly work up to nuances and sincerity in the depths of each. Gradually their senses, perhaps over years and after slow, careful study and tastings should recognize the complexity and density beneath each poem or wine.
    Not all wines are drinkable nor are all poems enjoyable. But, whether complex, simple, earthy, animal-like, delicate or subtle, flowery or fruity, sec or sweet, enjoyment, refreshment and increasing interest are the result of imbibing both good wine and poetry.

Cheers, prosit, skol, good reading!
Elliot O. Lipchik

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sunday Morning Press: Portals and Piers

With or Without Music

When you have a poem to write, that is, a daydream to transcribe or edit, do you play music in the background? Or does the lightest distraction, the most microscopic noise, mute the muse?

Poets who believe daydreaming invites epiphany or at least reveals a psychological truism, require a silence generated by their own special quietude to be productive. Branching from a pre-time pedigree of aesthetes, they operate under a canopy of fragile magic, guided by interior chanting. Break the spell with someone else’s song and a good poem will never be.

Other poets require the mediating affects of music to daydream their way into a poem. They believe we may never realize we are all in a state of shock and that history, more often than not, is haunted by human silence. These poets rely on the benign intrusion of music to alleviate the chill of wordlessness. Like most of us, they are moving toward something unsayable that cannot go unsaid. They conjoin the emotions and memories triggered by their favorite playlist to a personal iconography that becomes a poem we could all use.

Where do you fall? Do you work alone or with music?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Portals and Piers

Sorry it took so long, but here is the book cover. Thank you for the photo, Dmitry.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


A while ago I borrowed a book from a friend:
How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1999)
by Edward Hirsch

In this book he gave a description of the many forms of poetry as well as examples by poets past and present who are or were considered the masters or in some cases the progenitors of each discipline. While I enjoyed reading and learning about the various forms of poetry from around the world, the most intriguing to me was the tanka. Tanka is an ancient Japanese form, let's say a cousin to the haiku. The both evolved from the waka family; waka simply means Japanese Poem, the term was coined to differentiate Japanese language poems from the more traditional kanshi, Chinese language poems written by Japanese poets. The tanka is made of units or phrases which when translated to western languages follows a 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic line form. After reading the examples presented by Mr. Hirsch, I was compelled to try my hand at this beautifully short form. Tradionally, the tanka are not titled, they are simply numbered. My offerings which follow below have both the number indicating the order in which they were written as well as a title.


awakened by name
angels calling at dawns light
you were right to come
set free your dreams and sleep now
you have passed the suffering

orange peel and lemon
spiced with coriander seed,
purple verbena-
decaf mandarin orchard
celestial seasonings

the dragonfly swoops
a blur of sivery-green
aerial assaults
mosquito clouds are dispersed
fireworks play second fiddle

birdsong and green tea
blades of grass collecting dew
tepid mug in hand
I drink deeply the morning
tasting its spice on my tongue

this body will melt
into the earth like all things
great and small must do
no matter, it is only
a vessel to hold my pain

the demons are there
swimming in a sanguine sea
signalling evil
messages to nerve endings-
pain anchors itself in me

when the waves hit shore
do they disappear or slip
quietly, unseen
beneath the surface to some
mysterious beginning

Hopefully you enjoyed reading these tanka as much as I enjoyed writing them and sharing them with you. Please share any comments and feel free to send in your own tanka. I look forward to reading them.
Chris Austin

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Woodland Pattern's Annual Poetry Marathon

The authors of Portals and Piers reading at Woodland Pattern's annual poetry marathon.
Sat. January 28th, 2012

Steve Pump

Elliot O. Lipchik

Chris Austin

Stephen Anderson

Paul Joseph Enea

Paul Enea, Chris Austin, Steve Pump, Stephen Anderson, Elliot Lipchik

With fellow 6pm readers:
Paul, Sally Kuzma, Elliot, Chris, Joan Miller, Stephen, Susan Firer, Jim Hazard

Thank you Woodland Pattern
and don't forget...

Photos by Jordan Austin