I wish I had the opportunity to meet Lou Crabtree. She was a native of Washington County, Virginia.
She died in 2006, just as I was starting to think of myself as a real writer.
Some of her poetry boggles the mind. For her biography and more information about her work, click here.
One of my favorite poems of hers is called "He Cut My Garden Down." Its stark imagery and matter-of-fact verse convey how a wife can come to hate an abusive and oppressive husband.
The Commonwealth of Virginia declared her a Laureate of Literature in 1988.
Article by Joe Nutt, on Spiked-Online.com.
"Words are so quickly and so easily traded that they are in danger of appearing just as grubby and manhandled as common currency. Technology has contracted the period between thought and expression to the mere seconds it takes to stab a few words out on a keyboard."
"In poetry we road-test words to destruction; squeeze impossibilities out of them and combine them to form beautiful structures unimaginable in any other context."
I'm happy to report that one of my poems, published years ago by Bluestone Review, will be republished by a different journal in 2018.
This journal focuses on our engagement with the natural world and the resulting environmental crises.
My poem "Office Escape" is published in the July 2017 edition of Contemporary Haibun Online.
CHO is a quarterly journal of contemporary English language haibun. The editor is Bob Lucky.
I'm pleased to have my poem "Eleionomae" appear in the Summer Solstice 2017 edition of Eternal Haunted Summer.
This journal features poetry, short fiction, and essays about the gods, goddesses, heroes, myths, and folklore of the world. Rebecca Buchanan is the editor.
Although I've dabbled in haibun, I still have a lot to learn about this literary form.
However, I am happy to report that one of my pieces has been accepted by a journal for publication in July.
Today I received notice that my poem "Eleionomae" will be published in June. I'll post details at that time.
Today I'm happy to see my poem "Summer Son" published by BELLE RÊVE LITERARY JOURNAL.
Here's a link to read the poem and explore other writers in the journal.
In honor of National Poetry Month, I'm sharing one of my favorite poems. It's from the book Kettle Bottom by Diane Gilliam Fisher. This is a very powerful and moving piece.
I turned the quilt over on the bed
when the neighbor women come in
to cover the mirrors and stop the clocks,
hang black crepe over the doorframe.
Onliest pretty thing I had, that quilt.
Not a old feedsack quilt, but a Wreath
of Hollyhocks, cut from Aunt Zelly’s
pattern and done up from a piece
of double-pink Mama brought me
from Kermit, soft Nile green for the leaves,
and new bleached muslin to put it on.
I quilted every inch, stitches no bigger
than a speck of meal. He wasn’t home,
night I finished. I put it on the bed,
took my clothes, and got under it.
When I heard him in the kitchen,
I called and told him it was done,
And you know what Mama says, Harlan,
you get a wish, first night under a new quilt.
It got real quiet, then here he come
running. I’d put out the light,
he knocked his shin on the cedar chest
trying to get to me on the bed.
I was fixing to fold it up, get it
out of my sight, when the siren blowed.
I didn’t go. I already knowed.
The quilt was ruint. Big oily smudges
and coal-black handprints where he hadn’t
finished washing up. I cried and carried on so
when I seen it that morning
he couldn’t look at me before he left,
it made him feel so dirty and bad.
I turned the quilt over on the bed
to keep them on me,
I am from hoarded photos,
shoved in a drawer,
wrinkled young faces
folded against time.
“Where I’m From.” Bluestone Review (Spring 2007).
I'm pleased to announce that BELLE RÊVE LITERARY JOURNAL will publish my poem "Summer Son" in May. I'll post a link when it appears.
I'm pleased to announce the publication of an untitled micro-poem in the print and online editions of Three Line Poetry Issue #39.
Three Line Poetry is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating three-line poems and poets.
The journal's tagline is keep it simple, zen will follow.
"Now I seek comfort in the liturgy
of late night laundry.
I roll towels into neat bundles,
pick lint from the dryer trap,
retrieve ragged t-shirts,
discover the one you got at Lollapalooza.
I bury my face in cotton,
inhale the clean smell of Clorox,
and fall out."
From "Night Laundry." Sawmill Boys, Brighid Editions (2010).
full of stardust
who abandons his wrench,
picks up his pen."
From "Wanted." Explorations (2009).
"I am coal dust and spun sugar,
honeysuckle and vinegar,
hollow and deadly as a cat’s paw."
From "Appalachian Goddess." Explorations (2009).
Find hard-faced boys
with anthracite eyes,
who were too wise too soon,
schooled in hell’s shafts,
seams and slack.
From “Appalachia, Man: Can You Dig It?” A! Magazine for the Arts, vol. 15, no. 4. (April 2008), print.
Climbing onto the porch of the old house,
we hide from piggy eyes, wiry hair, cursive tails,
sacks of lard with cloven hooves.
Stiff-legged, they stalk back and forth,
eyeing our fingers and toes.
From "Revenge." Sawmill Boys, Brighid Editions (2010).
The season’s sacrament
begins with thimbles
-- tiny communion cups --
and needles to pierce
soft cotton batting.
Below the quilt’s altar,
cupped in supplication,
receive red thread
to stitch blessings of warmth.
From “Snow Day.” The Distillery, vol. XV, no. 2 (January 2009).
Would you mourn,
my lizard king,
for this hollow mountain?
Cry for high walls,
a crownless queen?
From “Scream of the Butterfly.” We All Live Downstream: writings about mountaintop removal, ed. Jason Howard, Louisville: Motes Books, 2009.
Wash away the black fuzz
of diesel and dust,
and we’ll fumble in this dimwitted light
’til our tarnished love sparkles in the dark.
Twine yourself around me:
we are tight as the laces of a steel-toed boot.
From “Wise County Man.” Bluestone Review (Spring 2007).
Serenade me with the
stutter of Jake brakes on coal trucks
traveling down mountains.
Anoint me with the
pickled tang that hangs heavy
around the red bubby bush.
Lay me down in horsemint
and hemlock shadows,
shallow valleys, hallowed hills.
From “Anoint Me.” Poetry. 2009 Explorations Contest, Mountain Empire Community College.
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