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Poetry Breakfast

Serving a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry book reviews to feed poets' and poetry lovers' souls.

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The Final End to Poetry Breakfast and the Passing of a Dear Friend

Christopher Vaughan
Chris taking me out to the diner.

I know it comes as a shock.  But Poetry Breakfast has come to its final end.  I had planned on posting a fitting farewell and explanation this past Sunday, but instead I found myself writing an obituary for a beloved friend.

We’ll start with him, Christopher Vaughan.  He was the one who introduced me to Emerson’s essays and spent countless nights sitting beside me drinking coffee while I wrote poetry.   I never imagined writing his obituary.  Many of us, his good friends, where close to his parents.  One friend, John W. was like a second son to them.  But his mother and father passed a few years back.

As for the rest of Chris’ family, well, we don’t know or understand what they are going through.  We only know that they refused to allow friends to any services and have even refused to publish an obituary.

It’s been difficult for the many dear friends Chris had.  And he had many.  He was a character that words couldn’t even begin to describe.  Loyal, true, loving and sometimes a little crazy.  Anyone who met him never forgot him.

Without the opportunity to go through the traditional services and grieving process, we set up a memorial site for Chris through EverLoved.  I was tasked with writing the obituary being the writer that I am.

I welcome you to visit the site.  Give your love and condolences to his dear friend John and to all his amazingly close friends who are grieving right now.

Chris was diabetic and on dialysis for several years before passing away from kidney disease.  On his memorial page we have arrange it so donations can be made to the American Kidney Fund.  They provide financial assistance to those on dialysis.  It seems best to honor Chris by having his passing help other to live on.  Even a small donation of a few dollars would mean so much to those of us who just lost an irreplaceable soul.  Knowing the loss of his life can give life to others matters greatly.

UPDATE:  You all must have said a lot of prayers for us.  The family is now “welcoming friends” to attend the burial.  Thank you for all the love you sent us.

 

Okay, now on to the passing of Poetry Breakfast.  There comes a time for all things to pass.  I’ve taken breaks and put the journal on hiatus before.  But I know now, it is time for me to permanently move on.

I’ve been honored to receive your poetry submissions and I am humbled to know that you let Poetry Breakfast be the journal through which you shared your work with the world.

I wanted to write more about closing Poetry Breakfast, but my words for the passing of things, of someone, have all been used.  Poetry Breakfast will remain online with the poems archived for as long as I can afford to keep the site up.

I want to thank Sarah Russell for ending our journey on the perfect note.  The last post was a review of her book I lost summer somewhere.  In that review the final poem to grace Poetry Breakfast appeared.  That poem, by Sarah Russell, is called “The Cottage” and its last lines are:

“Afterwards, I tidy up, wipe away
drops spilled in the pouring. I save
the leftovers though they’re getting stale.
I may crumble them on the porch rail
tomorrow for sparrows
before I garden.”

The words bring tears to my eyes, thinking of cleaning up our morning coffee cups and crumbs.  And knowing it is time now for me to find a new garden to grow.

Thank you to everyone.  We had a good long run.  The kitchen is permanently closed.  Go tend to your gardens now.  Grow.

Love Always,

Ann

Poetry Book Review: “I lost summer somewhere” by Sarah Russell

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It’s no surprise Sarah Russell’s poems have appeared in Poetry Breakfast a few times.  She has a unique way of taking our life experiences and trimming them down to the emotional core.

In I lost summer somewhere she tackles relationships, hopes, losses, and the inescapable events we experience in our lifetimes.  With each poem there is a raw tenderness – a very rare thing to find – but something she does almost instinctively.

She has the gift of both illuminating what we already know of our life experiences and simultaneously guiding us to see them in a completely new light.

 

Details:
Available from Amazon and Kelsay Books
Paperback: 78 pages
Publisher: Kelsay Books (April 20, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1949229793
ISBN-13: 978-1949229790

Sample Poems:

When I told truth to go away

we were girls –
blossom-cheeked,
skipping rope with life.
“I can’t be your friend,” I told her.
“You know my secret.”
Truth shrugged. “OK.
I’ll be here when you need me.”
She waved goodbye, and went
to live in the hills
with hummingbirds and foxes.
I stayed behind, secure in my choice,
though joy was hard to find, I never
trusted love, and I reacted oddly
to the seemingly mundane –
lilies made me nauseous, Black Beauty
gave me nightmares, a breeze against my neck
could make me cry. After fifty years,
I looked for Truth again.
She hadn’t changed – still young,
sweet, smiling, glad to see me.
But I’d become Wilde’s portrait in the attic—
haggard, bitter, burden-stooped.
I asked what would have happened
if I’d let her have her way.
“You’d have suffered” she said. “People
would have shamed you. They’d say
you made it up. But you’d be free.”

 

 

The Cottage

I’ve grown quiet here. My mind
has opened to woodsong
and the smell of earth turned
by a trowel.

I enjoy solitude, even when regrets
and the throb of an old lover happen by.
Sometimes I invite them in, make
a ritual of teacups on starched linen,
a silver server for the scones.
We reminisce ‘til shadows trace
across the floor, call them away.

Afterwards, I tidy up, wipe away
drops spilled in the pouring. I save
the leftovers though they’re getting stale.
I may crumble them on the porch rail
tomorrow for sparrows
before I garden.

Reviews:

Melancholy, exuberance, nostalgia, fulfillment, contentment, longing—Sarah Russell hits all the spots, and there isn’t one poem where a woman won’t be able to identify in some way. She’s singing all our songs, putting into magical words things we felt so often but never knew how to tell. This book has deep sadness matched by laughter, gentleness, love and a sense of adventure. It was a privilege being there with her, living what she remembers, identifying with every line. “‘I want to live,’ she said, / and this time I knew / she didn’t mean forever.” Indeed—who hasn’t been there. I LOST SUMMER SOMEWHERE is a book of poetry you will find difficult to put down. A rare gift, a gentle journey from life’s morning into the evening, and deeply moving.”  —Rose Mary Boehm, author of Tangents, From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden, and Peru Blues

“Sarah Russell brings us into her world, a world of “dream-filled summer nights,” where “leaves are October butterflies.” Readers will connect with poems about love found and lost, the end of a long marriage, illness, new love, aging, and death. Russell’s poems sing the important moments of life. It’s a song that stays in your mind, drawing you back to the poems again and again.”  —Nina Bennett, author of Mix Tape and The House of Yearning

“Sarah Russell’s poems don’t have to crawl under your skin. They have always been there. If you haven’t known a suicide or gone through divorce or cancer, you’ve known the fear. If you’ve never had a love you’d marry twice if you had three lives, you’ve felt the longing. Russell may have lost summer somewhere, but she has found what makes us human.”  —Alarie Tennille, author of Waking on the Moon and Running Counterclockwise

 

About the Poet:  Sarah Russell has returned to poetry after a career teaching, writing and editing academic prose. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication Theory from the University of Colorado. Her poems have been published in Kentucky Review, Red River Review, Misfit Magazine, Third Wednesday, Psaltery andLyre, and many other print and online journals and anthologies. She has won awards from Goodreads, Poetry Nook, and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. This volume of poetry received an Honorable Mention for the 2018 Concrete Wolf Louis Award. She lives in State College, Pennsylvania, with her husband Roy Clariana. They spend summers in Colorado to be near children and grandchildren. She blogs at:  SarahRussellPoetry.net.

The Gathering, or Years that Fall Apart – A Poem by Ann E. Wallace

The Gathering, or Years that Fall Apart
by Ann E. Wallace

I think they come
in waves of seven,
the high tides rolling
with luck and comfort,
so slowly and staying long
enough to tease permanence

but in time,
the waves grow
weaker, forget they
once reached so far into
the highlife years and
took up residence

in abundance,
where the joyful
past is now stranded
but I cannot go
back before
my time

because
these are my
years for falling
apart, when the
easiness of
just

a few
years ago
collapses under
violent force
and must be
gathered
anew

 

 

About the Poet:  Ann E. Wallace’s poetry collection, Counting by Sevens,is forthcoming in summer 2019 from Main Street Rag. Recently published pieces in journals such asMom Egg Review, WordgatheringSnapdragon,Rogue Agent, and Riggweltercan be found on her website AnnWallacePhD.com. She lives in Jersey City, NJ and is on Twitter @annwlace409.

Family Tongue – A Poem by Rahat Tasneem

Family Tongue
by Rahat Tasneem

My father has many tongues,
but little feelings to go with them
and is sparse with his words.
Maybe you don’t need too many words
when you have a miscegenation of languages
at your disposal.

My mother is certain, and verbose in her monolingualism.

I struggle between my two languages-
one found, one forgotten.

All of us still fail to understand each other.

 

 

About the Poet:  Rahat Tasneem, a writer of prose and poetry, is a development professional and a social researcher. She has recently enjoyed a creative writing workshop in Paris at Paris American Academy taught by the likes of Major Jackson, Elliot Holt, Rolf Potts, and Dinnah Lenny. She is currently editing her first fiction manuscript titled, “A Thousand Dark Rats”, which she hopes she will be able to share with the world someday.

Link to social media pages:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rahatasneem

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rahatasneem/

Persephone – A Poem by Dawid Juraszek

Persephone
by Dawid Juraszek

Has she been trapped
too deep
in darkness by desire
away from the sky she grew up with

Has she been a captive
of the underworld
for too long
fuelled by its attractive forces

Has she been held
under too enthralling a spell
to renounce the powers
of making things wither

Is it now too late for her
to emerge out into the light
fresh-faced and innocent of heart
and believe everything is going to be fine

 

About the Poet:  Dawid Juraszek is a bilingual author and educator based in China. A published novelist in his native Poland, his fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in The Remembered Arts Journal, Amethyst Review, The Cabinet of Heed, Amaryllis, The Esthetic Apostle, Artis Natura, The Font, and elsewhere. Visit https://www.amazon.com/Dawid-Juraszek/e/B01DJBWC2K

Sidewalk Talk – A Poem by Shelby Lynn Lanaro

Sidewalk Talk
by Shelby Lynn Lanaro

What are your dreams?
you ask me puffing peach-mint
hookah smoke outside
the falafel house on Howe.

Where do you want to go
in the world?
What will be your legacy?

I’m not sure how to answer,
but I know the night is calm.
The air moves freely, not pushed
by wind, and the stars don’t feel

need to outshine streetlamps.
They’re content behind the curtain
of clouds, yet still shining; they know
they are, know their purpose.

And I’m content, sitting here,
not yet knowing mine.

 

About the Poet:  Shelby Lynn Lanaro is a narrative poet who uses life’s events to inspire her work. While many of her poems are based on her own life, Shelby enjoys taking on the voices of others to tell their stories through her poems. In 2017, Shelby earned her MFA in poetry from Southern Connecticut State University, where she has led several poetry workshops and now teaches Freshman English. Shelby’s poems have been published in Dying Dahlia Review and The Feminist Wire. One of Shelby’s poems will also appear in a forthcoming anthology by Stormy Island Publishing.

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