Thursday, October 24, 2013

Halloween Poetry Reading Online

Once again, the Science Fiction Poetry Association is featuring their annual Hallowe'en Poetry Reading, a half-dozen poems read by the authors, featuring spooks and jack o' lanterns and candy, and available for free in audio form, with poetry by
  • David Kopaska-Merkel 
  • Shannon Connor Winward
  • David L. Summers
  • Adele Gardner 
  • Dennis M. Lane
  • F. J. Bergmann
  • Mary Turzillo
  • Liz Bennefeld
  • & yours truly, Geoffrey A. Landis 
Looking for something to listen to on the evening when ghouls and children walk the night?  Check it out!
Photo by GL 2012
And, if you prefer to get out and do your celebrating with poets on Hallowe'en night, how about trick-n-treating over to the Hallowe'en show of Ray McNiece and Tongue & Groove at the Barking Spider?  8pm, over on 11310 Juniper behind Case-Western-- a good time is guaranteed.

Friday, October 11, 2013


A Christmas holiday has not gone by in recent years without my parents giving me the current edition of Best American Poetry.  Anthologies serve a wonderful purpose of gathering a variety of poems by different poets and bundling them together into one convenient package.  

A drawback, however, is that I don’t always share the same taste in poetry as the editor of the anthology.  It is not uncommon for me to dig into an anthology with enthusiasm, only to find my mind quickly wandering and skipping poems, and then me snapping the book shut dissatisfied.

That is why when attending the Palm Beach Poetry Festival several years ago, one of the ideas shared during a poetry workshop resonated with me:  create your own.  Not an anthology that you compile and publish, but one more akin to your own personal poetry journal. 

The first step is simply to purchase a blank journal.  

Next, write down your favorite poems in the journal. The act of copying each poem by hand creates a special focus that will enhance your experience of the poem, as well as what you learn from it to enrich your own writing, not to mention that putting pen to paper is fast becoming a lost art in this era of technological advancement. 

The first poem that appears in my poetry anthology is a poem by Carolyn Forche titled, The Colonel.    This powerful poem was part of a workshop I attended in the late 1990s, and one I will never forget, nor tire of reading.

The last step?  Find a favorite quiet spot on those stressful days, grab your one-of-a kind anthology, and lose yourself in the poetry that makes your heart sing.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

World Zombie Day

Skeleton at the Voodoo Museum, New Orleans
Voodoo Museum, New Orleans
Don't look behind you, but World Zombie Day is coming up on Saturday October 12. Do you have plans yet?

open grave
the moonlight glistens
on coffin splinters
--Joshua Gage

If you don't, here's a plan for you: hide away safe indoors with a good book.  Let me suggest Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse, Joshua Gage's book of zombie haiku, out from Poet's Haven.

Check in at World Zombie Day Headquarters on Facebook.

"open grave," from Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse, copyright Joshua Gage, used with permission

Friday, October 4, 2013

I'll Have a Poem With My Coffee, Please

To jump start our day, many of us need that cup (or a few!) of coffee.  It’s an addiction.  A habit.  Something we think we need to power through.  We wake up, feel more alert and alive--prepared to greet whatever comes our way.  Our healthier selves have other daily routines—brushing our teeth, eating fruits and vegetables, exercise.  And then, of course, there are the guilty pleasures—a cocktail, slice of chocolate cake, a cannoli.

But a poem a day is the best habit to form.  In this modern era, it’s also an easy, low cost addiction to fuel. 

In April 2006, during national poetry month, the website started its Poem-A-Day project.  Simply sign up on with your email, and each morning a poem will be delivered right to your electronic doorstep to savor as you start your day.  Another e-newsletter source for a quality daily poem, as well as interesting trivia about writers and moments in history, is Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac [].

For those with an iPhone or Droid, there are many free poetry-related apps as well.  Some inspiring apps include Poem Flow and The Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Mobile App. [Share your other favorites in the comments below!]

Of course, there always is the tried and true traditional method:  visit your local library or independent bookstore and ensure your shelves and bedside table are stocked with volumes of poetry.  That way, you will have no trouble meeting your recommended daily dose of poetry.

What are you waiting for?  Start your poem-a-day habit today, and feel the positive difference a day makes!

"Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits."  ~ Carl Sandburg


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau