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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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News & Announcements

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

Best of the Net Poetry Nominations

Poetry Breakfast is thrilled to announce our nominees for this years Best of the Net.

Congratulations to:

Gabriel Muoio for “Mother’s Glasses”

Mark J. Mitchell for “An Aging Goddess Starts Her Day”

Laurie Kuntz for “Self Portrait”

Tricia McCallum for “Just for Today.”

Ekta Somera for “yellow paint”

Max Reif for “College”

A Thank You to June’s Supporters of Poetry Breakfast and Other News

A special thank you goes out to the following patrons for helping support and fund Poetry Breakfast:

  • Judith Carroll
  • Rose Amato

Poetry Breakfast is now ad free which means our web costs have significantly increased. Since the beginning of Poetry Breakfast, the editor and found, Ann Kestner, has covered all costs associated with running the journal.

You can help offset those costs by becoming a Poetry Breakfast Patron at https://www.patreon.com/PoetryBreakfast

It’s simple. Basically, you voluntarily “subscribe” to Poetry Breakfast. These voluntary subscriptions start at just $2 a month.

Poetry Breakfast does NOT charge reading fees and is FREE  to read. So, there is no source of revenue other than the kindness of Poetry Breakfast Patrons.

Find out more about being a Poetry Breakfast Patron at https://www.patreon.com/PoetryBreakfast

IN OTHER NEWS:

1.
A comment section will appear under all poems published from here out. The hope is that poets will have a chance to see how their poems are being received via actual words and not just number of likes.

Plus, it will give readers a way to reach out and let poets know how much they like a poem.

2.
We have five new poems coming this week from: Faye Nunez, Max Reif, Mark J. Mitchell, Ingrid Bruck, and Gabriel Muoio.

That’s all for now. Here’s wishing everyone has a wonderful week.

Best Wishes,
Ann Kestner, Editor

Adding Something Heartier to the Menu

Amidst the angry political debates and petty trolling social media feeds, I set out to make Poetry Breakfast remind us of our common humanity.  Touchy topics were avoided.  Social statements rejected.  The goal was to connect us through the emotional and life experiences we all share.

This approach has been a respite to many.  I’ve heard often from our readers that they look forward to the morning poems as a break from the turmoil and bitterness we are bombarded with daily.

But this past week, I realized, we are in a way putting our heads in the sand instead of standing up during such a crucial moment in history.  For the first time I broke my rule of not publishing my work in Poetry Breakfast.  I have never wanted to promote my poetry here.  However, my conscience forced me to publish “Because of the Clinic, I am Alive to Tell You This,” a poem about my personal experience with abortion.  It appeared in Poetry Breakfast the same day that the marches for women’s reproductive rights took place throughout the United States.

As a result of that, I’ve come to realize that Poetry Breakfast needs to have the courage to speak up on issues personal, political, and social.  We cannot afford to avoid these realities anymore.  We have a responsibility to face today’s challenges.  Yes, we.  Not just myself as the editor, but we, the Poetry Breakfast community, both poets and readers.

With that in mind, our menu is expanding to welcome poetry on important issues.  What will not change is the gentleness and compassion that is the soul of Poetry Breakfast.  We will tackle social and political issue with strength from the heart, not from the ideological fist.  Take a look back at one of the few social issue poems that did make the menu, “Gray River” by Patricia Biela. 

This is not a complete change of the menu.  Just an addition.  Most days you will find the poems you have come to expect, but now, on some mornings, you will wake to a social issue worded with compassion and sincerity.  The heart of Poetry Breakfast will always remain the same.

Ann Kestner, Editor

 

Because of the Clinic I am Alive to Tell You This

Because of the Clinic, I Am Alive to Tell You This

I have come here almost alone, with only my self
and my dying baby. It is too early to be this sick.
No woman could survive a pregnancy like this.
There is no crowded waiting room here,
and yet the room is so full of energy and emotion
that the air seems compressed and hard to breathe.

A woman is crying, sitting at the edge of her chair,
her head bowed. In front of her a man speaks
in a language I once tried to learn but never did.
He towers over her like a fierce giant
waving his arms, his legs spread like a boxer.
One does not need to understand the words.
If she keeps the baby, he will kill her.

They call me back, gently, to a calm and quiet room.
I sit beside a woman draped in scarves with a religion
I have heard of but do not know much about.
While I wait for the ibuprofen to take effect
we talk like old friends, like we are sitting in the living room
sipping tea in the afternoon. She has five babies.
She has nothing left for another one. She has no more
to give, or really, nothing more to be taken.
If her husband finds out, he will kill her.

There is a little stir from the nurses over how
weak and swollen and sick I am. They determine
I am well enough for the procedure. I am
comforted and cared and loved through
this lesser of two tragedies.

This is not what I feared it would be.
I am not judged. I am not injured by this act. I have
arrived here already wounded and in need of this care.
There is a saving grace here. There is an undisguised truth here.

Here with one woman who would be killed for keeping the child,
one that would be killed for not having anything left for another child,
and I who would be killed by a pregnancy no child could survive.
Here is not a choice we have made.
Here is where our lives are saved.
This is life.

 

Poem by Ann Kestner, Editor of Poetry Breakfast.

While Poetry Breakfast usually stays out of political issues and controversy, I could not keep quiet today.  I am not able to get to the marches, so I am marching my words here. I will also be taking the poem out to read at an open mic tonight.  Our voices, those who have had abortions, need to be heard.  The world needs to know we are not killers.  We are good women.  The poem is autobiographical.  I’ve not written anything more than what truly happened that day.  Many debate and make this political, but this poem is the true story of three woman at an abortion clinic one morning more than 15 years ago.

#StopTheBan – Ann Kestner

 

Poem has previously appeared in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change.

A Happy Return – Notes from the Editor

After taking a year long hiatus, it feels great to be back.  There’s a joy in knowing new people are discovering and loving the poems featured in Poetry Breakfast.  Giving poets a wider audience for their work is, of course, a major part of my mission as editor.

But, it’s also heartwarming seeing submissions from poets who have been sharing their work with Poetry Breakfast since it first began in 2012.  The familiar names are like friends arriving in my inbox.  And oh, how painful it is when I have to send a rejection to one of them.  Not for the quality of work.  Our regulars here are good.  Subject matter is usually the reason.  Sometimes I just get too many submissions on one topic or the other and can only accept a few.  But I think maybe I’m starting to ramble.  Let’s just leave it at, I do feel like a friend just sent me a letter when I get a submission from a poet previously published here at Poetry Breakfast.

Don’t worry.  I’m good at separating my joy and judgement.  Recognizing a name doesn’t influence my decision to accept a poem or not.  It just makes me happy to get the submission.  And makes me feel even worse if I have to send a rejection.  It really does make my stomach turn when I have to send out those rejections.

Steering away from the depressing though of rejections, there’s another thing that’s been a delight to see now that Poetry Breakfast is serving up poetry again.  I’ve received a lot of comments and messages from readers about how happy they are to be getting new poems.  Some readers started receiving our morning poems via email in 2012 and they’re excited to have the poetry flow into their inboxes in 2019!

I can’t take credit for the folks who have loved the poems all these years nor for the new followers we’ve gained in these first few days of Poetry Breakfast reopening.  It really is the poems that keep people reading.  The poets deserve the credit for that.  All I can say is that I’m thankful to all the poets who submit their work and to all the readers who trust me to find the best jewels of language I can for them.

It’s great to have Poetry Breakfast back, great to have so many poets and readers back, and wonderful to see our Poetry Breakfast community growing.

 

Wishing the best to all of you,

Ann Kestner, Editor

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