Events

National Poetry Month: Edgar Allan Poe

84477_v9_ba.jpgEdgar Allan Poe is one of the most known writers/poets among readers and non-readers alike. His name, and his work, are dark and emotional. “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity,” is one of Poe’s famous quotes. And done of the best quotes to describe his work, in my opinion.

And everyone recognizes Poe’s raven. “‘Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’/Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”‘ When Poe’s name is mentioned, the first thing I picture is the raven flying; and of course a heart under the floorboards.

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His work was one of the turning points in my interest in poetry as a high school student. I know that a lot of my peers felt the same way. Even those who were not avid readers like myself have found great interest in Poe’s works. The darkness he portrays, the madness, the use of symbols most often related to omens (both good and bad!), and the vivid imagery all have played a significant part in the macabre curiosity in Poe’s work.

Today we recognize Poe for his writing and influence in the poetry realm. Happy National Poetry Month Poe!

 

About Corinne

CA Bio ImageCorinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University and her MPS in Publishing from George Washington University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013, taking over the company in 2019. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites, and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve.

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Poetry on Instagram

Over the last few years, poetry’s presence on Instagram has been growing. The ability to mesh two mediums, imagery and beautiful words, has been around for centuries. But today, the accessibility to quickly put together a lovely phrase and an even lovelier image is so easy that it has taken Instagram by storm. Mashable did an article, titled The radical, democratising power of Instagram poetry, in October 2018 about the rise of interest in poetry via mediums like Instagram. Interest has exploded in millennials particularly, per the article. Millennials, who are the leaders in social media trends have spurred this revolution, and revival of poetry interest . Mashable noted that while literary leaders have scoffed at the Instagram poetry movement; young readers are loving it.

If you’ve never considered purchasing a book of poetry, I encourage you to check out some of the poets below. You can view snippets of their work on their Instagram accounts and whet your appetite. Take a poetic tour of the internet and enjoy this artistic medium wherever you are! And while you’re at it, check out @poetryfoundation to meet even more authors and writers during National Poetry Month.

These are some of the top Instagram poets that we follow.

  1. @rmdrake
  2. @cleowade
  3. @rupikaur
  4.  @atticuspoetry
  5. @langleav
  6.  @poeticpoision
  7.  @yrsadaleyward
  8.  @tylerknott
  9. @nayyirah.waheed
  10.  @nikita_gil
  11. @moonmuze
  12. @mustafathepoet
  13. @adrianhendryx
  14. @quarterlifepoetry
  15. @langleav

 

Do you have a talented Instapoet that you follow? Make sure to share their information in the comments so other readers can discover their craft.

Rewriting Poetry

As an angsty teen, I wrote a lot of dark, broken-heart poetry. As I flip through pages of old journals, review old Word documents that are buried years deep in my hard drive, and even peek at that blog I started years ago when I thought my poetry was great; I realize that poetry is a reflection of the times.

I spent some time last year rewriting some of my poetry from when I was younger. I changed words, lengthened stanzas, reorganized structure: but I never got rid of the original. Instead, I put them side by side: a child’s love poem vs the adult version of that very same poem. I’ve decided to share one here in the hopes that it encourages some of you to reflect on some of the poetry you wrote back in the the day, you know naive ones that makes you cringe.

 

Choices (1st Edition)

We waken, only to remember the faded wisps of the evening’s dreams.
By the time our feet touch floor and hair drips from the shower and the sun
intrudes into our bedroom we are charging towards the black, blankness
of midnight where we may fall in love with freedom; only to reawaken into
the nightmare our union has become.

We have romanticized our ability to trick, cheat and be ourselves
into proper love; a word where we mask our resentment of time
in the simple duties of marriage:

-Dishes
-Laundry
-Mowing the lawn
-Sweeping the stairs

Eventually, the dishes pile up because the meeting went late.
The laundry remains in your basket because I can’t stand the smell of her perfume.
We hire a landscaper because business trips call us away on the weekends.
And when we don’t return home to climb the stairs, who really cares if we don’t sweep them?

 

Choices (2nd edition)

I waken to harsh
white light
forcing its ways into the bedroom.
You blink
to the sound of birds
screaming from your post on the couch.
For a moment,
we ignore the sun,
hanging on to the faded wisps of the evening’s dreams.
By the time our feet touch floor and hair drips from the shower
we are charging towards the black, blankness of midnight
where we may fall in love with freedom;
only to reawaken into the nightmare our union has become.

We have romanticized our ability to fake proper love.
Our world has become a place
where we mask our resentment of these new selves
in the simple duties of marriage:

-Dishes
-Laundry
-Cleaning the bathroom
-Mowing the lawn
-Sweeping the stairs

Eventually, the dishes pile up because the meeting went late.
The laundry remains in your basket because I can’t stand the smell of her perfume.
Your sink is dusted with chin hairs because I’ve escaped to the spare bathroom.
We hire a landscaper because business trips call us away on the weekends.
And when we don’t return home to climb the stairs, who really cares if we don’t sweep them?

 

Reflection

This was oddly challenging, emotional, and fun. I encourage anyone who has written poetry to try this. Dig down and find that angst filled Tuesday in high school, when your crush decided to date someone else; unfurl that crumpled piece of paper with your tear stained words on it, and try again. It’s a very real way to see how far you have come as a writer, and as a person.

I have discovered two things: my vocabulary was severely limited when I was younger and I had the very cliched emotional range of a teaspoon. Our skill in writing grabs the reader, but first our experiences must grab us.

 

Assignment!

Share you re-writes with us! Send us your original and re-worked version to EditorInkSmithPublishing@gmail.com.

 

 

About Corinne

CA Bio ImageCorinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University and her MPS in Publishing from George Washington University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013, taking over the company in 2019. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites, and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve.

 

National Poetry Month: William Shakespeare

Everyone knows who William Shakespeare is. He has graced many classrooms, theaters, and households for generations. As a student who found herself in many literature classes, my time with Shakespeare was one spent analyzing the structure, decoding the metaphors, and connecting the words and events to social and political happenings in the years in which the pieces were written.

As a graduate, and as someone who spends her time amidst countless books, across multiple genres, I was drawn back to Shakespeare. Mostly because of the beautiful editions that have since been published of The Bard’s great works, but partly because I wanted to read them without the pressures of responding to them in essay format. I wanted to read for the sheer purpose of enjoyment rather than academic excellence.

And so, in honor of National Poetry Month, I started with his Sonnets. They can be found all over the internet, but I wanted to share one of my favorites them. I encourage all of those who have read Shakespeare, or any author for that matter, for the sole purpose of academic requirement, to go back. Fresh eyes allow us a new opportunity to appreciate the works of centuries past without the pressure to see the author’s meaning/intent. Instead, we get the opportunity to feel it.

 

Sonnet XXV

Let those who are in favour with their stars
Of public honour and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlook’d for joy in that I honour most.
Great princes’ favourites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun’s eye,
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die.
The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foil’d,
Is from the book of honour razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toil’d:
Then happy I, that love and am beloved
Where I may not remove nor be removed.

 

 

About Corinne

CA Bio ImageCorinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University and her MPS in Publishing from George Washington University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013, taking over the company in 2019. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites, and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve.

Independence Day (1996) by Greg Lehman

Name something good
about a place where nobody dies,
some endless beach of a world,
temperate, well-lit, so calm
the ennui has room to grow solid
on the air,

and the people you’re with
will never go anywhere else, every
bit of them, inelegant,
prone to bumbling
the weight of balance I need
to be who I am, their pact
against composure
unbreakable, keeping peace
from ever hovering down
to find you again.

I can’t see it either.
The way things are
there just isn’t a way
around moving from one spigot
to another, draining worlds
into our hands and the hands
of our young. Come on. You
do it, too.

Still, like anyone,
we could be mistaken,
so if you can do better
we’ll hear you out.

But do not expect us
to not be proactive
in the meantime.

 

 

About Greg LehmanGREGGGGGGY_B&W-25

Greg Lehman earned an MFA in creative writing from Lindenwood University and a BA in journalism from California State University at Fullerton. He has published and edited as a professional journalist, and continues to pursue the field through his website loudowl.org. He also enjoys writing short fiction and novels, as well as poetry, sometimes

  

Ghosted by Greg Lehman

I never saw the poet again,
leaving things hanging
is far from silent, quiet
like a needle’s pain

around a sound
that must be there
between skin
and the finest of points, I

can’t name its pitch, maybe
she heard it, but would not
lend her volume, unwilling
to lend a clear medium

as this puncture sank, pulling
a knot that caught nothing, not
one word, graceless or the limit
she put on grace,

but what better reply
than the one that tells you
which timbre
lacks credence?

What is more graceful
than the clarity of pain
as explicit as skin
and a needle? Poise

is a gift, a plunge,
a finely cut form for knowing
where rhythms will land
before the first stanza
can end.

 

About Greg LehmanGREGGGGGGY_B&W-25

Greg Lehman earned an MFA in creative writing from Lindenwood University and a BA in journalism from California State University at Fullerton. He has published and edited as a professional journalist, and continues to pursue the field through his website loudowl.org. He also enjoys writing short fiction and novels, as well as poetry, sometimes.   

Running in Santa Ynez Mountains by Greg Lehman

1. I told myself
I went left at the river,
that taking the sound
of water
would bring me back home.

2. The bobcat glared
at the edge where asphalt
meets earth, until
she looked my way,
took her time disappearing
long before
I was anywhere close.

3. No matter where
a raptor might find you,
or which one it is,
osprey, owl,
hawk, harrier, kite,
vulture, eagle,
or caracara, they are always
above where they are,
even the trail
we share for a moment,
the steps I take
are worlds below eyes
that see everything
and see through it, decide
what to take
with talons as hooked as fate,
just as sharp, sparing nothing.

4. The downgrade gentles impact,
robs the brunt of each footfall
in tandem with how much restraint
I let go, trades
prudence out, it’s scary,
this is steep, this
can fuck me up
riding legs
that have never been
more my own.

 

 

About Greg LehmanGREGGGGGGY_B&W-25

Greg Lehman earned an MFA in creative writing from Lindenwood University and a BA in journalism from California State University at Fullerton. He has published and edited as a professional journalist, and continues to pursue the field through his website loudowl.org. He also enjoys writing short fiction and novels, as well as poetry, sometimes.   

National Poetry Month: Shel Silverstein

When I was in the third grade, my teacher, Mrs. Froriep, was insistent upon our class reading and writing in tandem. It was not enough to read the words and enjoy them in the way authors organized them, but also to use our imaginations and create our own writings, and to respond to the books we were reading. I attribute a lot of my joy in writing to this woman. But I also attribute that joy to the authors and books that she connected me to as well.

As I get older and engage with different books and writing styles I always look back on those times in her class when she would pull books out for us to read together. It was always followed by those quiet moments of reflection and digestion of the content we were currently ingesting. One of the first poetry books she introduced me to was Shel Silverstein, Falling Up. In honor of Poetry Month Ink Smith has decided to dedicate today to this childhood author. His work has, and continues to, grace the bookshelves of countless classrooms across the nation inspiring children to both read, and perhaps, to write.

 

“There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.”
Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein

 

What was your favorite Shel Silverstein piece? Share in the comments!

 

About Corinne

CA Bio Image

Corinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University and her MPS in Publishing from George Washington University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013, taking over the company in 2019. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites, and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve.

jazz is by Peter Carlos

jazz is
    (for Michael Castro)


a call out
and a response
jazz is
e-motional
jazz is
ex–pression
jazz is
exploration
jazz is
hot
and chill
and cool


jazz is

              Peter Carlos

 

 

About Peter Carlos

Peter Carlos has attended the Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Vermont in 1976 and 1979, where he studied under Mark Strand and Robert Pack. He graduated with a M.A. in Creative Writing from Middlebury’s Bread Loaf Graduate School of English. His poetry and photographs have appeared in American Poetry Review, Image, River Styx, The Oakland Review, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, among other small literary journals. He is author of a chapbook, Praise the High Grass, and a book of poems, Dreamfish. He is the Program Chair of Cinema Arts at Lindenwood University.