Good news! PSI member John Hinton will be joining us as one of our featured poets at the Social Distancing Social on April 25! He'll be talking about his writing inspiration and newest release, Blackbird Songs, which came out this winter. Join us for a brief interview. (We'll have some prepared questions, and you can ask your own live.) Participants will have the chance to win an ebook - all you need to do is show up and comment! Sign up for the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1871821312950293/.
I want YOUR poems for our Robin Round April 25!
We're just 10 days away from the Social Distancing Social for Poets! (Sign up here - https://www.facebook.com/events/1871821312950293/)
I'm preparing materials for Poetry Society of Indiana's traditional Round Robin, but it will be slightly untraditional this year. I encourage any poet (PSI member or not) to send me a brief poem (3-16 lines is best, absolutely no more than 30) by April 22. You are welcome to send an image with it, but if you don't have one - no worries! I will find one for you. (I actually really love pairing your poems with images.) At the Social Distancing Social, I'll post your entries.
If interested, please send your short poem to me via Facebook messenger or email email@example.com.
Side note, we may have Manningham winners attending, so keep your poems appropriate for the occasional middle-schooler.
The poems may be previously published.
You may submit as many poems as you like. If we run out of space I'll feature you in an upcoming Premier Poet's Corner and on the PSI website.
Can't wait to feature YOUR work!
Today we highlight a beautiful collaborative poem spearheaded by Jenny Kalahar. She writes:
"I asked poets far and wide to contribute to a chain poem, and here is the end result from myself and 18 creative friends (not necessarily in order): Alys Caviness-Gober, Mary Couch, Sarah E. Morin-Wilson, Shelly Gambino, Deborah Petersen, David Allen, Nancy Simmonds, Kathy Jo Carter, George Wylie, Dennis White, Tamara Horton Saylor, Harold Taylor, JL Kato, Michael Strosahl, Chuck Kellum, Spike Morin-Wilson, James Green, and Patrick Kalahar. I did a little editing to keep the flow and style, but not much. I hope you love this as much as I do! Thank you to all who participated! I'll be publishing this in the state poetry anthology this autumn."
Books I’d always meant to read and finally did
Kind words I wanted to say came from my lips
Poems I thought about writing I sat to write at last
A painting I wanted to study, a leaf I wanted to press
Prayers once stuck in my throat were said
Fear pushed aside to find some hope, some peace
A song I used to sing haunts my frozen memory
And in the torrents of rainfall beyond my window
Run the blurred faces of loved ones far away.
I push aside my cobwebbed fears then remember
Cobwebs glisten like diamonds in sunlight after rain.
I see sunshine rise once more through oak trees
Stand on my porch, smell the sweet aftermath of a downpour
Discover daffodils have burst forth from nourished ground
Remember spring from my youth and know grandma’s words of wisdom:
“This too shall pass.”
And yet the passing is stretched out thin,
A membrane of too little patience over too much uncertainty.
My nerves pervious as a face mask
Handsewn from scraps of frayed restraint.
We fear to go outside
To be around the gatherings as we used to
Living essentially for the day.
Hope is strong; may it continue to stay
A serendipity, a grace,
A stepping aside to a new, yet familiar, path,
Allowed to dream, nestling to a body-mind-soul rejuvenation.
This quintessential rest
Prompting a fully hopeful and appreciative
Awakening, long, long overdue.
Emptiness overtakes us sometimes.
We write poems we can’t speak to the gathered crowd
Looking for signs of digging a new beat
Or a sublime inner rhyme.
No appreciative applause feeds our ears
So we pretend.
We step onto the back porch,
This year’s spring break destination.
We play salsa,
Our meetings and morning mass virtual,
Embracing our desire to release our nesting selves,
Crying, “Clean on, I say, clean on!”
The sunny day wears a friable tent of fear.
Pets look for quiet spaces to rest.
From the accelerated inhabitance pressure
We begin to see our home as … a home.
Shelter reimagined surfaces in our consciousness
But the haunting, echoing words of essential and non-essential
Wear thin my once leather-like skin of fragile ego.
I must and I will resist those whispers
And cling to my wavering yet intact hope
While trying to hold the world together—my part at least,
With a few words, a measure of grammar,
And an occasional metaphor that takes root and sprouts.
Words of this time hang as droplets
Between us until hope becomes viral as well.
Sequestered with my dog and cat and spouse,
The truths that I came in with I am sure
Will out pan this pandemic on our house.
The truths self-evident evince truth yet
God is not dead, and He does not forget.
We count the days and I count my blessings
As the counting of death mounts.
Unceasing, uneasing, fear-teasing,
While each of us wonders
Who might be counted next.
One day, perhaps not soon, or perhaps tomorrow
The ice of today’s strained requirements
Will melt away forever, and others’ tears
Will make the only circles in these now-still puddles,
Echoing through the water “I, too, shall pass,”
Ripples expanding into stillness and clear reflection.
Remembered, then forgotten--
Not even the ghost of memory,
Not even the last shiver of iceberg.
But I am being thin.
Breathe in, breathe out. And sing
While I can. Perhaps you will join in?
I’ll admit the darkness swirls my thoughts.
Creeping in with my welcome-home hugs,
Tearing into our homestead bliss.
I miss the good old days
Without counting six feet off,
Searching for smiles behind masks.
I meditate on the distant horizon
And listen for messages on the wind,
Doubting the present hours
And imagining a thousand years:
A hope for rebirth in a new Arcadia,
Earth restored—with the help of Man.
I’m thrilled to announce that poet Curtis L. Crisler will make a special guest appearance at PSI’s online Facebook event: Social Distancing Social Media Social for Poets! This event will take place entirely on Facebook, April 25, 1:30-3p. Sign up here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1871821312950293/. Invite your friends!
As some of our PSI members may know, Curtis Crisler was lined up to be our featured speaker at Spring Fling. When we had to cancel our in-person event due to coronavirus concerns, I reached out to him to see if he would be willing to drop by our online event briefly to talk about his latest project. Not only did he say yes, he’s donating a signed copy of Indiana Nocturnes, his brand-new release! We’ll be giving away both a copy of Indiana Nocturnes and “This” Ameri-can-ah during our online event. (PSI members who attended the Spring Fling at Fox Island a few years ago, you will remember Curtis read selections from “This” Ameri-can-ah and was a hit. Thank you, Nancy Simmonds, for the donation of “This” Ameri-can-ah.)
All you have to do to enter the giveaway is show up to our online event on April 25 and participate in the comment section. Any US resident, PSI member or not, is eligible to win. You must be age 13 or older to enter. (Young poets, encourage your guardians to enter and share the book with you if they win!)
About Curtis L. Crisler:
Curtis L. Crisler was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. He received a BA in English, with a minor in Theatre, from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), and he received an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
He has two poetry books out: Don’t Moan So Much (Stevie): A Poetry Musiquarium (Kattywompus Press) and “This” Ameri-can-ah (Cherry Castle Publishing). His recent poetry chapbook Black Achilles (Accents Publishing) was released in 2015. His previous books are Pulling Scabs (nominated for a Pushcart), Tough Boy Sonatas (YA), and Dreamist: a mixed-genre novel (YA). Other chapbooks are Wonderkind (nominated for a Pushcart), Soundtrack to Latchkey Boy, and Spill (which won the 2008 Keyhole Chapbook Award).
He is the recipient of a residency from the City of Asylum/Pittsburgh (COA/P), the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), Soul Mountain, a guest resident at Hamline University, and a guest resident at Words on the Go (Indianapolis). Crisler received a Library Scholars Grant Award, Indiana Arts Commission Grants, Eric Hoffer Awards, the Sterling Plumpp First Voices Poetry Award, and he was nominated for the Eliot Rosewater Award and the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Award. His poetry has been adapted to theatrical productions in New York and Chicago, and he has been published in a variety of magazines, journals, and anthologies. He edited the nonfiction book, Leaving Me Behind: Writing a new me, on the Summer Bridge experience at IPFW. He’s been a Contributing Poetry Editor for Aquarius Press, and one of the Poetry Editors for Human Equity through Art (HEArt). Crisler is an Associate Professor of English at IPFW.
Visit him at http://www.poetcrisler.com/.
COVID 19’ll GET YOU
The Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and creative process of poetry.