Sunday, April 28, 2019

Brian Beatty On Larry Levis

Borrowed Trouble: Micro Tribute to Larry Levis (1946-1996)

I wouldn’t write at all if it weren’t for myriad writers before me whose works showed me what was possible. The poems of this series are small offerings of respect, of thanks, to those muses. – Brian Beatty

Larry Levis

New Harmony, Indiana, 1995.

Our afternoon game of pool lasted
well into the night of the student poetry reading 
we agreed would be better off without us.

The bar jukebox blared the Allman Brothers’ 
“In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” on repeat as if to bring her 
or this failed utopia for three-two beer back to life. 

Low-point townies followed me into 
that toilet’s toilet to share their idea of an elegy. 
Until you appeared at the men’s room door to give me my cue.

– Brian Beatty


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Brian's most recent collections of poetry are Dust and Stars: Miniatures and Brazil, Indiana. Don't miss Brian's columns on the great poets: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Tobi Alfier - Insomnia

Why Insomnia Can be Bad, or Good


According to Wikipedia, stream of consciousness is "a  narrative mode  or method that attempts to depict the multitudinous thoughts and feelings which pass through the mind of a narrator".

According to Tobi, this is what I think about when I’m not sleeping or writing.

Thank you to everyone who commented on the blog post, Facebook, and email, and voted for your favorite color for Sanity Among the Wildflowers. Twenty edited and updated poems, a font you can read without reading glasses, an afterward about the history of the book, fifty-two pages, $5. THANK YOU Rich Soos, for your infinite generosity.

Based on your opinions, and the cover artist’s opinion, we went with red. There are some wildflowers the exact shade of red that was used, so it makes sense. For anyone who notices that I deleted a comment below…it was my comment. It had a typo and I couldn’t edit it.

To all you wonderful writers, may your first chapbook give you as much happiness as this one gave me - twice!

Click to buy: $5
Speaking of cover artists, three years ago, Judith Ortiz from Hondo, TX designed the cover of somersaults with life by r soos, writer, editor and publisher extraordinaire. To celebrate the end of National Poetry Month 2019, you might want to order it. The cover is a joy. You know the poems inside will be too. 152 pages. $5.

Even though there are just a few days left of Poetry Month to finish your 30 poems in 30 days, write baseball poems, put poems in your pocket, etc. - don’t forget to pay your bills! I’m the first person to quote Ron Carlson Writes a Story, about getting your butt in a chair and writing; you’ll be writing by candlelight if you don’t take care of the bills. So yeah, forget vacuuming, forget cleaning out the garage, but open that pile that’s been sitting at the end of your desk (unfortunately for me, I also got stuck being on the phone with multiple doctors and multiple 1+800 phone numbers…if your insurance changed this month, take care of that too).

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th. You may have a tradition for this. You may not celebrate. One thing we do for many holidays is pick a perfect photo, make a card at Walgreens, and glue-stick a perfect poem inside. Seriously, all you need is a poem, a glue-stick, and a $2.50 card made with a sentimental photo. “Sentimental” means whatever works the best for that person. It could be a 1936 Buick, or a wedding photo. Likewise, the poem. As long as it’s short, it could be a beautiful three-line poem like Rich writes. It could be a lovely bayou poem like Jeff writes.

Or enough about your poems, if there’s a special poem by someone else that would fit in a card, use that. Just be thoughtful about the length. “What I Like in a Man Besides a Mustache” by Diane Wakoski might be odd for Mother’s Day, and you’d have to print it in 4pt font.

Let’s talk about books for a second. We all probably have favorites that we think someone else would love. You would be celebrating National Poetry Month by buying a book by a favorite writer, and celebrating Mother’s Day by sharing that book (I JUST got a text from Jeff from Barnes & Noble saying Adam Zagajewski has a new book out, and ours will be coming tomorrow. Happy Mother’s Day to me!).

Click to buy: $5
If you’re on Facebook, you might want to send a friend request to a writer you like. That doesn’t mean you have to participate in their conversations, but you may find the journals that accept them, journals that don’t, and questions they may have.  Be thoughtful about who you choose. If you’re not a fan of politics, or cat pictures, don’t friend the person for whom that’s their life. By friending a new writer, you will see posts by other writers they know. The circle can grow wider and wider, a lot of it will be interesting, and if/when you have something to say, writers you respect will read you.

Likewise Facebook groups. There’s a closed group called “Calls for Submission (Poetry, Fiction, Art)”. A LOT of the submissions are for online journals. Some are print. This isn’t the place to get in an argument over online vs. print. Consider it one more resource for submissions and submit to the ones you want.

And finally, friend the journals that appeal to you. You’ll get updates on submission windows, themes, contests, and so on.

Keep writing!!! Think of anything new to write about? Think of any new forms to try? Just because National Poetry Month is almost over, that doesn’t mean you should stop writing.

My stats for the month:

Only two poems written. I like them a lot, but in terms of batting averages that kind of sucks. Both are free verse. Neither are about baseball L

One 1098-word piece of short fiction written. This needs one more edit, and it‘s ready to go.

Three submissions made. From the “Queen of submissions”, that’s shameful! I did get a few acceptances for submissions made prior to April, and I did receive a few contributor copies, but as they say in “marketing land”, if you don’t keep the pipeline full, it’s going to dry up.

As you know from above, my very first chapbook from 2005, Sanity Among the Wildflowers, has been reprinted. Yes, I edited all the poems, and proofed it, but the home run for this, and all the thanks, goes to Rich!

Prompts for May, if you’d like:

            Title: This is the part of the story I left out:

Subject or line: All through the city, losers find salvation
           
For all teachers getting ready for finals, good luck to you. For all parents and students getting ready for finals, good luck to you too.

For all upcoming June graduates, congratulations!!!


No excuse to stop writing!!! Do your very best, and enjoy!!


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Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Slices Of Alice. She is also co-editor with Jeff Alfier of the San Pedro River Review. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Brian Beatty On Raymond Carver

Borrowed Trouble: Micro Tribute to Raymond Carver (1938-1998)

I wouldn’t write at all if it weren’t for myriad writers before me whose works showed me what was possible. The poems of this series are small offerings of respect, of thanks, to those muses. – Brian Beatty

Raymond Carver

A man between marriages
fishes through a garbage bag

full of dirty laundry
in search of loose change

for cigarettes
and/or beer.

Down at that convenience store
the girl behind the counter has given up

asking to see his I.D.

– Brian Beatty


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Brian's most recent collections of poetry are Dust and Stars: Miniatures and Brazil, Indiana. Don't miss Brian's columns on the great poets: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.

Review of Crossing The High Sierra

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Crossing The High Sierra by John Brantingham


John Brantingham has spent a lifetime wandering the High Sierra, and in this poetic tribute he invites us to hike and backpack beside him and his artist-wife, Ann, through an iconic landscape—from Mineral King to Huckleberry Meadow, Kaweah Gap to Alta Peak, Mist Falls to Moro Rock. Along the way, he captures a sense of place that’s both immediate and deeply rooted in memory.

John has a straightforward, conversational style that’s like talking to a good friend. You get the feeling you’re sitting across from him while he enthusiastically tells his stories from the backcountry. In the title poem, he talks about “the emotion of this place in high summer”—


the way it makes you turn inward,
the way you get that church feeling,
the one you always wished you’d found in mass
when the priest would swing his mitre of incense
but you never did, and that was the reason
you knew you had to leave it behind.

The natural world he knows so well abounds in mystery. In “Half an Hour on Silliman Pass,” he writes:

…Annie points to a hawk
circling down below us. It’s a hundred feet
above a meadow, and we watch it hunt
until it plunges into our unknown. We talk
about how life is always a mystery,
how most of what happens is just out of sight.

Evoking the unseen, his poem “In these Autumn Caves” begins:

This autumn, as the dogwoods
in the High Sierra glimpse me

into a sense of what color can be,
the stream that flows past me

seeps also downward into a cave
that no human will ever see,

into a world of rock, water, and creatures
that have lived only there

for 50,000 years, becoming animals
of darkness with their own passions and dreams.

What they know, we will never know.
What they dream, we will never dream.

In this volume, you’ll meet bears tearing apart logs to devour termites, and a coyote who “had so much/of his life ahead of him he could just let/time pool around his heels.” You’ll become acquainted with sugar pines and manzanitas, snow plants and turkey vultures, and feel the region’s mounting losses—the vanishing glaciers, the devastating fires.

There are moments of humor, too—like the poet’s memory of his boyhood self dancing on the edge of Moro Rock and singing his favorite song, “Salt Peanuts, Salt Peanuts.” Or the sense of geologic time being like a slow motion bossa nova by Jobim.

In the end, there’s no separation between poet and landscape. As John says in “Several Miracles of the High Sierra”:

One of the miracles being
that once I enter the forest,
I am the forest and the memories
and fears and joys I bring
are the forest as well.

Last and certainly not least, this book is a love story. It begins with a dedication to Ann, and ends with “Sing the Frogs,” a poem that ties the High Sierra to the time when their relationship began. Crossing The High Sierra is a satisfying read for both mind and heart.
           

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John Brantingham is the first Poet Laureate of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. He has authored ten books of poetry and fiction, and his work has been featured in hundreds of magazines. He teaches at Mt. San Antonio College. He and his wife, Ann, teach poetry, fiction, and art classes at the Beetle Rock Center in Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest. Learn more at




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Book Reviewer Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, and she is the author of seven poetry collections. She co-edited the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens. www.cynthiaandersonpoet.com









Friday, April 19, 2019

Tobi Alfier - Chapbooks


The History of “Sanity Among the Wildflowers”

You may have heard me say before how much I love making chapbooks. How they’re shorter so they can be read in a sitting or two, they don’t get boring, and you have more control over them.

If they’re self-published, you can decide on the cover yourself, make up a name for “your” press, price them reasonably, be sure you keep an archive copy for yourself, and learn something new every time. I hope the story of this book inspires you to make one. Once you get started, you’ll be on the road to chapbook happiness, and you’ll never look back!!

Here we go…

I’ve been writing since dinosaurs walked the earth. That doesn’t mean it was any good, just that I’d been doing it. In 2005, I began to read at weekly readings, and submit my work for publication. I always say that every poem has a story behind it, and if you want to know the story, ask me at the break. No one ever asks. The same is true about why I started reading, and publishing. It’s sad. It’s personal. If you want to know, email me at sprreview@gmail.com. I will not be offended if you don’t ask.

Jack Grapes
One weekend I was at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, and I happened to meet Jack Grapes. Jack is a well-known, larger-than-life poet and teacher.  The final project for his Beginner’s class was to make, and turn in, a chapbook. Well heck!! I’d been thinking that it was time I started making my first chapbook; this was an omen!

As I’d been going to readings, I’d been buying chapbooks from the featured poets who I liked. I had been keeping notes of what I liked about some of them.

So…
I knew what poems I wanted to include,
I wanted the title to be the title of one of the poems,
I wanted the cover picture to be one of my aunt’s. She’s a fabulous artist.

I didn’t know anything about the computer. I knew I’d need my mom’s help with everything from the Table of Contents to everything else. I named the press AV8TRX Press in her honor, because she’s a pilot. I also named it Carpeted Stones Press for no reason. I liked it.

My mom found a press out by her in Calabasas who gave her a price of $300 for a box of 100. DONE!!! My greatest joy was learning that the guy who did the printing made an extra copy for himself, and he read it on his lunch breaks. Fourteen years later that still remains one of my greatest joys (and yes, I am a dork).

What I Have Learned Since Then, Otherwise Known As Don’t Make The Same Mistakes I Did…           

  1. Don’t let ANYONE but you proof the manuscript before printing a hundred copies. That means first line, last line, period at the end, ALL punctuation, even the colors of the printer. Printers can be calibrated, and it can make a huge difference.

  1. It may look “more professional” to have your entire poem on one page, but as a poet friend said to me “do you want to look more professional? Or do you want to be kind to your readers?” 10pt font is TINY. I have never done that again.

Old Days
  1. In the “old days”, we learned to put two spaces after a period. Now it’s appropriate to put one space after a period. Do whatever you want, but be consistent. In Windows you can do it by using “Home”. “Replace”.

  1. Likewise em dashes. I know there’s a way to do them on the keyboard, but you could give me a million dollars and I won’t be able to do them. Use “Insert”, “Symbol”, “More Symbols”, “Special Characters”…the first one is the em dash…,”Insert”, “Cancel”, (done).

  1. There’s “self-published” and “self-published”. My books were great. I turned one in for my class and I was proud of it. But now, I have two left. One I sent to Rich for his library, and one is in my archive “after I’m dead” box.  That’s it.  You want to make sure you get an ISBN number so your book is available on Amazon, and maybe Barnes & Noble.com and some libraries. The ISBN number will be listed inside your book, on the page with your publisher information on it. Why do you do this?


  1. Because if people like your work, they are going to look you up and buy every work of yours that they don’t have. And if your book was self-published in 2005, they probably won’t be able to find it now.


Why I’m so very thankful to Rich Soos and Cholla Needles Press:

  1. Rich is going to reprint “Sanity Among the Wildflowers” for me.

  1. My voice is still the same, but I have learned a lot about writing in the last fourteen years. I will have an opportunity to edit all my poems, give them better linebreaks, bettter punctuation, and a decent sized font so we don’t have to include a pair of reading glasses with every copy.

pretty cute picture
  1. I have gotten married!! I can use my married name, update the dedication, update the ridiculously short bio, unfortunately update the pretty cute picture 😔.

  1. I will have an ISBN!!! So from now on, anyone looking for me will find me!! I’m doing the happy dance, and I hope you do the happy dance too. Chapbooks are a blast! Ask me anything you want to know and I’ll be thrilled to tell you!!
AND

because of technology and democracy you can help Rich and I decide what color scheme works best with the updated version of "Sanity". We can have the plain vanilla white-edged cover as above, again - to maintain the "feel of the original", or we can have one of these more colorful covers: Please comment and let us know which meets your eye the best =:-):





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Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Slices Of Alice. She is also co-editor with Jeff Alfier of the San Pedro River Review. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

April 14! Open Poetry Reading - You Are The Featured Poet!


We are releasing the 28th issue of Cholla Needles!

On April 14, from 3-5 PM at Space Cowboy Books, YOU will be our featured reader. We are celebrating the arrival of issue 28 with all the local poets who appear in the issue, and any member of the community who wishes to be part of this celebration of National Poetry Month. Bring a poem with you and let's celebrate our love of poetry of all kinds as a community! See you at Space Cowboy Books. We all look forward to hearing your work!

Brian Beatty On Denis Johnson

Borrowed Trouble: Micro Tribute to Denis Johnson (1949-2017)

I wouldn’t write at all if it weren’t for myriad writers before me whose works showed me what was possible. The poems of this series are small offerings of respect, of thanks, to those muses. – Brian Beatty

Denis Johnson

Nights I had too many beers
I would declare war on streetlights 
the color of those Tibetan salt rock lamps
new-agers now claim ease tension.

Please. Respect my fear and intelligence.

I’ve slept off nothing. Passing trains 
rattled the faux wood walls of my studio apartment 
with outdoor furniture dragged upstairs, 
trains clacking louder than any gun.

Undergrads cued up to die along those same tracks.

– Brian Beatty


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Brian's most recent collections of poetry are Dust and Stars: Miniatures and Brazil, Indiana. Don't miss Brian's columns on the great poets: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.

Review of Finding The Azimuth

Finding the Azimuth by Lisa Mednick Powell
reviewed by Cynthia Anderson

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Yes, this reviewer has to look up the word azimuth. What I find is, “the direction of a celestial object from the observer.” What I get from reading Lisa Mednick Powell’s poetic memoir is the trajectory of a life—an azimuth made up of many roads and journeys, jumping backwards and forwards in time, all happening at once and all leaning into the wind.

Lisa blends prose and poetry, plus her own artwork and photos, to tell her story. A veteran of the music business, she starts young and takes big risks to realize her dreams. “When I quit school in 1978, I gave up almost everything for music,” she says. In “New York/New Orleans,” she relates, “I bled on my keyboard and sax reeds. I played hard enough to hurt myself—I felt I had to. I am sure I hurt some other people too.”

Yet wherever she goes, she finds affirmations—“I met bums on the bowery who told me I was blessed.” An old man on the Southern Crescent train stares hard at her, seemingly understands what’s at stake, and offers, “You’ll do just fine.”

She tours in the U.S. and Down Under with The Chills, crisscrosses Oklahoma with the Red Dirt Rangers, and plays with more other bands than you can count. And in between, she travels some more. “Quintana Roo/Yucatan,” contains this vivid description of visiting Chichen Itza:

You can climb that inner flight of stairs and get very close to the past…you will never think about time the same way…Once you glimpse into the deep past, it never leaves you alone and you carry it with you like a fossil in your pocket. Your own distant past and recent experience move toward each other and you feel a window start to open.

Her years in Austin include playing with James McMurtry and Ray Wylie Hubbard. One night the actor Matthew McConaughey is in the audience and screams her name repeatedly—she ignores him, not knowing who he is. She leaves part of her heart in Texas, recounting:

There is a soothing quality that I always feel performing on a wooden stage in an old hall with sawdust on the hardwood floor. When I play a waltz with a good band in a Texas dance hall, I get lifted off my feet. I get to dance with all the cowboys.

Her poem “Texas Haiku #1” concludes:

At the hour when neon
always looks its best,
colors still pulsing

in parts of the sky—you
might see a star hanging
like a bit of chrome against a fender.

It is the moment that stretches:
after you buy the bottle and
before you drink it.

hear & buy the CD here
Her spare, taut writing cuts close to the bone. The last piece in the collection—a long one titled “A Plastic Orange Raincoat, a Little Drool of Blood, & Chaos on the Girl”—wanders the azimuth using wind speed as its gauge and ends in 2008 when she lands in Western New York, taking a break from the music business and earning an MFA. That’s why this book exists. 

A bonus is that each prose vignette begins with a great quote from a great songwriter. But the prize is Lisa’s writing. She knows what she’s doing, and she’ll take you on a ride you won’t forget. And by the way, she’s a great songwriter, too.

Lisa Mednick Powell is a musician and songwriter who lives in Twentynine Palms, California with her husband, bassist and songwriter Kip Powell. Together they have a band called Arroyo Rogers, playing country hits from the 60s and 70s plus their original compositions. www.lisamednickpowell.com

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Cynthia Anderson  is a poet & writer in the Mojave desert.



Friday, April 12, 2019

Tobi Alfier - Inspire Your “Kids” to Read and Write


Don’t think this is exclusive to parents. You could be a grandparent, teacher, nurse, doctor, librarian…even a barista or waitstaff at a family friendly restaurant. Anywhere you are in a place to ask “oooh, what are you reading?” you are in a position to inspire. Anyone who is younger than you is a “kid”.

Inspiration Example: I spent most of Wednesday in “Health Insurance Hell”. At one point I said to the very nice woman “I can tell you anything you need to know about 401(k) plans, but I know nothing about insurance.” “Yeah, I need to start saving”, she said. That was all I needed to hear. At the end of our conversation, I was no longer crying in frustration, she’d learned something, and I felt like I’d inspired her to start saving for retirement (yes, I am a dork). It wasn’t reading or writing, but I hope it was inspiration.

It works that way with poetry – this IS National Poetry Month after all – and it works that way with fiction, short fiction, memoir, any kind of writing, and reading…JUST because we are focusing on poetry this month doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to keep “kids” excited about anything to do with words! (In my opinion 😍 ).

In April of 2008, Prism Review, published by the University of La Verne, had a “Sleepover Issue”. The submission window was open for 24 hours, and the issue was printed the next day. Jeff and I submitted. My nine-year-old son Owen submitted also. Jeff and I were accepted. Owen was not. We agonized over how to tell him. When we finally did, he threw his clenched hands up in the air in victory, and yelled “NOW I’M A REAL POET!!!!

My poem from The Prism Sleepover Issue (somewhat inspired by the art of Belgian artist Jean - Michel Folon, a favorite artist of mine and also a favorite of my wonderful Aunt Debbie, a gorgeous artist herself):

Surrealist, Mon Amour

                                    I

A ladybug lands on her collarbone.
He wants to lick it off her,
get some good fortune for himself.
But she unrolls the window, tells
him to gently help the ladybug free.
He picks it up with fingernails—square,
like unopened Valentines, the same way
he makes his bed—precise. 
Her collarbone free, she tells him
to lick it anyway, and she drives straight,
the car honing a razor’s path through desire.
He does not wear scent.  She leans toward
him anyway.  Wants to take a picture of him
in front of the window and kiss his neck.

                                    II

The label in her shirt says 13 years married.
She tucks it in and pours a glass of wine,
it makes no difference.  Change is heavy.
When she empties it out of her purse
she walks lighter, looks at the cherry blossoms
in the valley of hearts.  Hearts floating like
paintings of melting ice cream between
green and purple hills. Her roll of stamps
also has cherry blossoms but they are for
right-handers.  She awkwardly pays
her debts and otherwise does kind things.
She has left-handed scissors and a left-handed
fish knife.  No one else thinks about this.

                                    III

They can’t take their eyes off their hands.
They talk about them over and over until
their hands become organic.  They would
name them, but then the beautiful
sea-creatures of them might come alive,
undulating in their exhalations
and changed breaths.  What would be
the explanation—they do not know, and they
take turns raising them to their lips, his finger
innocently yet deliberately stroking
the inside of her wrist, her pulse keeping time
with their unspoken words and unblinking eyes.
Time is interesting.  So is quiet.  So is the sea.

THAT’S inspiration, and what we need to do.  If you teach a group, or are in a group, whether it’s practicing English in an ESL class, or practicing typing…it doesn’t matter. Make a project for yourself (try and get extra credit, what the heck?) Take a group of people, tell them to go outside and write what they see, or write what they hear. When they come back in, show them what makes a line break…it’s not like how you breathe, it’s how you put an important word at the end of a line, and a teeny unimportant article at the beginning…Remember: not everyone watched “Conjunction Junction” on TV…you may need to explain what an article is. Even if you’re not a teacher, and God knows I’m not one, you can explain an article.


Have everyone read their work out loud to themselves all at the same time. It’ll be noisy for a few minutes but so what? MAKE IT FUN!!! Before they know it, they’ll have a poem! It may be horrible but who cares? It’s National Poetry Month and they’ll have a poem!!

Seeing the way people write will give you intel on authors you can suggest to them. Not necessarily poets…authors. And here is where you shouldn’t worry too much about the age of the people you’re talking to and the authors you suggest. My nine-year-old read books from the “Tweens” section all the time. He read all the Harry Potter books, All the Eragon books, The Chronicles of  Narnia, The Boy in theStriped Pajamas (which he’s now reading in German), and so on.

The same works for you!! What do you like to write? Make an effort to read that way too! Are you a narrative poet who likes to write about food? Read “Garlic and Sapphires” by Ruth Reichl. Read Jim Harrison’s “Roving Gourmand” books. Read (and submit to) anthologies and journals focusing on food.

Like magical stories? Read “Crescent” by Diana Abu-Jaber. Southern works? Poets Jack Bedell, Dixon Hearne, William Wright, Tyree Daye. Fiction writers up one side and down the other. And on and on. There are a ton of gorgeous books and authors who write in and about Northeast Canada! Annie Proulx, Howard Norman, poet Ross Leckie, The Fiddlehead, a journal based in New Brunswick…”Our editors are always happy to see new unsolicited works in fiction, including excerpts from novels, creative nonfiction, and poetry.”

Fiction writers, memoirists, and poets! Read them all and be inspired by them all. Before you know it, you’ll have written a poem with some sadly beautiful woman sitting at a copper bar, tapping her nails on the counter as she waits for a Kir Royale, and you’ll realize the drink was inspired by a book by Georges Simenon!

Now let’s just say you do work in a restaurant, and you see someone sitting alone at a table reading a book. What harm does it do to ask them “oooh, what are you reading?” Is it the worst thing to have them feel like they are not eating alone? (Note: If it’s “The Story of O”, or any book that raises the hair on the back of your neck, have someone walk you to your car when your shift is over).

You can’t have writing without reading. Why don’t you bring someone along with you on your journey? Kids, adults, book club members, writing group members…help match them up with what might resonate with them. They will remember you forever. They will read forever, and hopefully, they will write forever.




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Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Slices Of Alice. She is also co-editor with Jeff Alfier of the San Pedro River Review. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.