A 2Jane ‘House’ (2sday Poems)


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Two prolific poets approach ‘house’ through different doors:


by Jane Cooper

What was the blond child building
Down by the pond at near-dark
When the trees had lost their gildingcooper
And the giant shadows stepped
To the water’s edge, then stopped?
With intent fingers, doing a boy’s work
In a boy”s old sweater
She hammered against her dear world’s dirty weather.

Proud of her first house
Which boasted an orange-crate ceiling
A pillow, a stuffed mouse…


from Poetry, Oct. 1958




by Jane Hirshfield

An hour is not a house,
a life is not a house,
you do not go through them as ifjane-hirshfield-2012-448
they were doors to another.

Yet an hour can have shape and proportion,
four walls, a ceiling
An hour can be dropped like a glass….

from Poetry, Apr. 2013

Bonus tidbit: Hirshfield on The Art of the Metaphor (TED talk)

Sunday Sentence #34


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My weekly contribution to David Abrams’ “Sunday Sentence” project in which participants share the best sentence read during the past week “out of context and without commentary.”

Falmouth smiled, a very contained smile, carefully poured out, like a half measure of some valuable liquid and not to be wasted.

SOURCE: Winston Graham‘s novel The Four Swans (the sixth Poldark book)



Odd Bits from a Creative Life (Aug’15)


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Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the Poldark novels.  Yes, I was first hooked by the handsome, curly-haired Irishman (Aidan Turner of BEING HUMAN, THE HOBBIT and the Dante Gabriel Rossetti mini-series DESPERATE ROMANTICS) who stars in the latest television remake, but I quickly came to appreciate the quality of Winston Graham‘s writing.  I have just finished #7 in the novel series.  I had the old Fontana paperback versions (not the reprints pictured above), and all of these were gripping and dense with a refreshing, good-natured Cornishness and enough soap opera-ish drama to keep one’s pulse permanently elevated.  My copies also had some strange and yet charming messages tucked into the front matter about the 70’s gas crisis and some pencilled-in notes about grocery ads.

I am told that books #8-10 are not nearly as well done, but that #11& esp. #12 make it well worth the slog.  I’m sure that I will not find the details of French politics as off-putting as some who gave book #8 just disparaging marks.  I also quite like the idea of the introduction of a new bad boy who is after Ross’ cherished daughter.

I have also just picked up the Morland Dynasty series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, which is another set of novels known for its rich English history. I have started right in the middle of the arc with the French Revolution title.  This was recommended to me by another Poldark fan, so I expect to enjoy it as much as the W. Graham books.


This has largely been confined to writing math problems for college texts the past few months, and an occasional foray into the historical novel I have been working on for quite some time.  I have also been up to some soft selling work in promotion of my mother’s new release, A TALENT FOR MURDER, a southern cozy mystery.  Nothing new in the poetry world, beyond submitting sporadically to a few journals that are reading in summer.


Here are my latest new acrylics on canvas.  The first three are 16x 20 and the last is 20x24in.  Inquire about sales.


A Poem for my Grandfather on the Anniversary of His Death


–for R. Davis

I try to see the sunshine in
the trees and not the bugs.

I try to leave no scars,
but lately I feel my body

is becoming one. Ugly
enough to some, but a sign

to me that I am living as
fully as a soul can live.

Where I go next, I enter
raw, as the moon enters

nightly. I think I can hear
the angels in the Holy City

singing. They sound like
lovely birds. I think this

boatman has now become a
captain. I mount my horse.

#ReadWomen 3×3: Poetry Collections to Grab


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lostletterscoverphotoFrom Maria Miranda Maloney:

The Lost Letters of Mileva ( Pandora Lobo Estepario, 2014)

prose poems in the voice of Albert Einstein’s first wife

==>Great interview about the collection on WORDS ON A WIRE podcast





From Ilyse Kusnetz:

Small Hours (Truman State, 2014)

a T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize winner, interweaving history and science into a tapestry of her own blood

==> Sample Poems here




From Pulitzer winner, Claudia Emerson:

The Opposite House (LSU Press, 2014)

the first of several posthumous collections from LSU Press, based around a line from Dickinson and full of mossy elegies and Virginia creeps

==>Title poem at Blackbird





No publication date yet, but some engrossing”teasers” for Helen Ivory‘s collection of collage/cut-up poems at Knives Forks and Spoons Press.  Find the goods at  AND OTHER POEMS and Helen’s Blog. 7076145

Coming this summer: Sara Henning’s Garden Effigies at dancing girl press. So far only this tweet to go on, but given the feast that was Sweeter Water and the quality of DGP pubs, it should be great.

Another release from a favorite press:

Hedy Habra’s Under Brush Strokes (Press 53) which is all about ART. yes! Already in love with the cover.



Got your own finds (including your own publications)? Share in the comments.

Rapture& Wolves (2sDay Poems)


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Poetry, above all, is a series of intense moments – its power is not in narrative. I’m not dealing with facts, I’m dealing with emotion.” –Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy

from Rapture


When did your name
change from a proper noun
to a charm?

Its three vowels
like jewels
on the thread of my breath.

Its consonants
brushing my mouth
like a kiss.

I love your name.
I say it again and again
in this summer rain.

I see it…

[Full Text Here]


from The World’s Wife


At childhood’s end, the houses petered out
into playing fields, the factory, allotments
kept, like mistresses, by kneeling married men,
the silent railway line, the hermit’s caravan,
till you came at last to the edge of the woods.
It was there that I first clapped eyes on the wolf.

He stood in a clearing, reading his verse out loud
in his wolfy drawl, a paperback in his hairy paw,
red wine staining his bearded jaw. What big ears
he had! What big eyes he had! What teeth!
In the interval, I made quite sure he spotted me,
sweet sixteen, never been, babe, waif, and bought me a drink…

[Full Text Here]



#SundaySentence Plus



For weeks now, I have participated in David Abram’s #SundaySentence challenge.  This week, instead of sharing just one sentence without commentary as per his rules, I’ll be sharing a handful of great ones from Vietnamese author & activist Duong Thu Huong‘s  Novel without a Name

I was recently introduced to this moving account of the Vietnam war by Caroline of the Beauty is a Sleeping Cat blog as part of this year’s Literature & War Readalong.  Over on Caroline’s blog, I said how blown away I was by Huong’s rich prose, and called it a perfect storm of a book because of the way that the descriptive elements, dialogue and characterization came together so beautifully.

A perfect example of characterization in this passage, which describes a liaison agent that is guiding main character Quan into another sector of the Communist-occupied area:

He had a pug nose and puffy red eyes, the kind of face they say brings bad luck. There was something sinister about him. But then he was just a faithful liaison agent, by all appearances a gentle, decent man. God bless him.  After all, he had survived 317 bombardments.

Then there is this passage, which details an improbable find that Quan makes in a decaying, bombed-out shelter after the liaison agent leaves him on his own:

I hacked away colocassias along a rock wall. A house appeared, or more like a room without a roof, sealed off by four rock walls, meticulously layered like a box without a lid, bottomless. In the middle, in a hammock strung between two trees, lay a human skeleton. It looked as if it was sleeping there. The bones, intact, shone an immaculate white…The dead man’s face was frozen in a toothy grin; his teeth were shiny, straight. They were the teeth of a young man. Like me, he must have wandered for days and days in this surreal valley shrouded in fog, choked with vegetation….

The fog rolled across the ground, seeped into my armpits, crawled up my neck. I heard, as if in a dream, the strain of a flute….

The immaculate skeleton looked at me, laughing, as if to say, ‘So I’m still whole. Magnificent, isn’t it, companion?’ The nylon hammock  [too] was still in perfect shape. Our civilization of plastics has worked miracles for this century.

That knock-out line, “spoken’ by the skeleton, just hangs there in all that lush vegetation haunting me well into the next scenes.  Soon after this encounter, in another shelter, a now bedridden Quan examines his surroundings:

My head resting on my palms, I examined the bunker’s roof beams. On the main beam, in a furrow, I spotted a nest of fleas. Sated, they slept soundly. The war was a paradise for them. They lived well, always satisfied. We offered them unlimited blood. This was a meagre tax compared to the tributes the bombs claimed from us.

Everything about that paragraph is just…pulsing…like those falling bombs.  More later on my thoughts on the book and its author.




Not Just 2: A Plethora of Medusa Poems & a Giveaway


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Frederick Sandys (1829-1904)



One of my favorite finds from National Poetry Month is Negative Capability author Melissa Dickson’s  SweetAegis:Medusa Poems.  Enjoy Medusa’s Dilemma (and a bonus poem over on the Dead Mule blog. ) Here’s a link to an interview about the collection.






Alice Pike Barney, 1892

Alice Pike Barney, 1892




Louise Bogan’s darker Medusa is from Poetry’s archives.  The full collection  Body of this Death (1923) is available as a FREE download in several formats at archive.org. Find out more about Bogan’s life and career at Modern American Poetry.







Caravaggio, 1597


Carol Ann Duffy’s Medusa is part of The World’s Wife collection and is widely studied in Secondary Schools in the UK. A brief bio from the British Council.  Hear her speak on her fairytale/mythological characters in an hour-long Reflections Of The Poet Laureate lecture.









Slam poet Patricia Smith’s Medusa is even more dazzling in person.  Get your performance fix from this Hampshire Slam Collective video






Finger Tat by Bang Bang

Finger Tat by Bang Bang



The great Sylvia Plath reads her Medusa in a vintage video find. Astute listeners will note that the spoken version differs slightly from that in The Collected Poems.






***Have a Medusa poem of your own or admire that of another poet? Post in the comments for a chance to win a set of handmade bookmarks with fairytale/mythological themes.



Odd Bits from a Creative Life (MAY ’15 ed.)


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So, friends, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one these.  Let me just dive right on in:









I happened across Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities while flipping channels between educational shows one weekend.  Even though I am not an avid gardener or especially interested in plants, I rushed to the library for a copy.  And I have to say that it has been a really exciting read. Caught my mother making notes from it for the next Flower Patch mystery.

Also came across Louise Gluck’s Meadowlands at a used bookstore. Reading the books back-to-back before writing has produced some interesting poems, including one about Peter Peter Pumpkin-Eater and another about cesium poisoning in the Arctic via contaminated lichen.

Won several of the Big Poetry Book giveways from last month as well as one from Deep South Magazine. Haven’t got to all of those titles just yet. By the way, Deep South has great Literary Friday round-ups  for those who are into Southern Lit.


Besides the giveaway books, with review copies I am literally swimming in poetry. But since my philosophy is that you can never have too much poetry, I am all smiles.


If you are a fan of my Sabotage round-ups, you’ll see reviews soon for titles from El Zarape Press, Mouthfeel Press and LSU Press.  I won’t spoil the fun by revealing the specifics just yet.

On the submission front, tidy batches of poems have gone out to several journals, and I’m hoping to have some publication news on the chapbook(s) soon.  Since it is now Short Story Month, I have been busily revising some of my short stories, including a dark fairy tale set in Cajun country that required some extra care in keeping the patois authentic.

Before the end of the month, I plan to get to Greg Sarris’ Grand Avenue: A Novel in Stories  which I hope is as good as Watermelon Nights.  I’ll try to post something on the blog when I’ve had time to digest.

On my other blog, I finally released the (Christian, character-focused) high school American history curriculum that I authored.  And despite my fiction writing group falling apart, I have managed to add some new scenes to my novel-in-progress. More on this later.

Have just discovered the #FairyTaleFriday challenge on Twitter.  This looks like it would be fun.  Too late to start on the ‘tremor’ theme for today, but I hope to contribute something next week if time allows.


Despite all this writing, I have not given up on art. Below are a few of my newest paintings. Pardon the terrible lighting! I usually wrangle my little brother into taking the photos.  This is what you get when I do it myself.  The colors are much more vibrant in person, trust me.

I have also nearly completed my paper-cuts series. The latest bunch incorporates fairytale themes and uses a pastel palette.  Since most of the earlier works are out at journals and zines (and I hope to submit the latest round), you’ll have to wait for a sample.





Well, that pretty much does it for now.

If you’d like to contribute a GUEST POST on your creative life, please drop me a line at bonesparkblog@yahoo.com.

Go Ask Alice (2sDay Poems)


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Alice in Wonderland by Lucia Stewart (prints available at Fine Art America)


Today’s post features not two poems, but two readings by women poets.  Alice Friman reads at The University of Georgia for Seat in the Shade: Summer Poetry Reading Series, while Alice Notley comes to you from The University of Chicago in a reading sponsored by the Renaissance Society.  Links to the collections read from by both Alices follow the videos. 














Purchase Vinculum at LSU Press.

Culture of One available at Penguin/Random House.

Songs and Stories of the Ghouls from Wesleyan University Press.


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