April inspires a good stroll, at least in Northeast Florida. If weather can be perfect, we’ve got it. Moderate temperatures, lots of sunshine, and the ever-present breeze that makes this such a comfortable place to live. With the idea of a stroll in mind, I’d like to invite you to take a poetry stroll, but instead of watching children play, dogs chase Frisbees, and gardening enthusiasts put in their petunias, we’ll gaze at a few poetry sites.
Nicki Leone hails from North Carolina. I first met her when I read at a booksellers’ retreat sponsored by the Southeast Independent Booksellers Association. Nicki comes off as a low key, gentle sort. I remember thinking to myself she looked like a writer; at the time, she had a management position with a large independent bookstore. I was delighted to learn last week that Nicki Leone has had her first poem published, and in a major daily newspaper no less. Intersection is one of those haunting poems that stays with you; the title struck me as perfect, because it works on several levels, among them the intersecting of the poet's with the reader’s own experiences. I’m sure we’ll see more fine verse by this young poet who I am certain will blush when she sees herself mentioned here.
The villanelle is one of our language’s most difficult forms. I’ve been working on a lot of poetry information for The Writer magazine’s online site. A few days ago, I scrolled through the general poetry forum there and found a villanelle that made me want to try the form again. The poem, “Lament for the Absence of Content” written by a grad student named Christina, is on the Poetry Thread. The winning poem in Poetry Spotlight I, “My Muse” by Mary Rose Betten, is on a special thread at the top of the page; it’s in free verse. Please do visit the pages and comment on the Poetry Spotlight poems. Comments by Kim Addonizio, Alfred Nicol, and Dr. Claudia Grinnell are on the winner’s thread; Spotlight 2 winner will be critiqued by Patricia Gray, David Wright, and Shoshauna Shy. Articles on the site include a roundup of comments from award-winning poets (“What makes a poem rise above the ordinary?”), and a sneak preview of upcoming guidelines for poets who’d like to read at the Library of Congress for Poetry at Noon.
I discovered a site by a fellow Floridian G. Michael Palmer and co-founder Orson Scott Card. Strong Verse has some interesting work, a forum, and an open submissions policy. Guidelines suggest a preference for accessible poetry.
Jacksonville is home to a number of publications, and at the top of the literary category is Mudlark, edited by William Slaughter. I hope to meet him when I return to college this fall—I’ll be taking courses at the University of North Florida.
There’s an interesting article at Newsday, Plotting a course back to Long Island about one of my favorite novelists Carol Goodman, whose latest book THE GHOST ORCHID I’ve highly recommended in a previous column. What does this have to do with poetry? Goodman’s latest book includes some incredible poetry by her husband Lee Slonimsky whose work I wouldn’t have likely discovered had I not been a fan of hers. I highly recommend reading both novelist and poet. I plan to pick up Slonimsky’s book when it’s released by Ochises Press. I hope both of these talented writers see their work gain a broad audience.
Do visit Creative Writer US for news about writing, contest announcements, book reviews, essays and just about everything related to writing. We’ve just posted a National Poetry Month tip page for teachers and poetry enthusiasts.
If we go any further, we’d have to call it a run rather than a stroll. I hope you enjoy the sites I’ve pointed out—and please do read poetry, lots of it. We’re having a special month!
Recommended poetry link of the week: The Writer magazine online.
Why? For going beyond the call of duty for poets.