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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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poems

If I was born a boy, I would have been my brother – A Poem by Robin Gow

If I was born a boy, I would have been my brother
by Robin Gow

“William”
but we call him “Billy”
because my dad is “Bill”
and my grandfather was also “Bill.”

I would have searched the antique market
for old leather prayer books.

I would enjoy Necco wafers and Smarties and
I would wipe their sugar-chalk on my thighs.

I would be straight.

I would like girls who smell like blackberries
and who might also vaguely believe in God
like me

I think about this all the time
what a name does to a person.

What did my first name do to me?
After all those years.

When people say “Sarah”
I still look up

as if she’ll be there.

 

 

About the Poet:
Robin Gow’s poetry has recently been published in POETRY, the Gateway Review and the Roanoke Review. He is pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Adelphi University and currently serves as the editor-at-large for Village of Crickets and the social media coordinator for Oyster River Pages. He is an out and proud bisexual transgender man passionate about LGBT issues. His first full-length collection is forthcoming with Tolsun Books.

Tucson Morning, 6 a.m. – A Poem by Geraldine Connolly

Tucson Morning, 6 a.m.
by Geraldine Connolly

I walk through the neighborhood
past the ends of driveways,
doors locked tight to guard sleepers.

The day opens like a new recipe.
I want to follow its neat
measurements, solve its problems.
Each breeze stirs a blossom.

I smell something, sweet, dusty, earthy—
sage and creosote, a whiff of mesquite.

I find a quail’s nest, its small eggs close

to my shoe like bones about to break.

I often walk, away from the thought
of border crossings, away from breaking
news toward the patient saguaros,
a babble of doves surging up
from the saltbush.

 

 

About the Poet: 

Geraldine Connolly is a native of western Pennsylvania and the author of four poetry collections: Food for the Winter (Purdue), Province of Fire (Iris Press) and Hand of the Wind (Iris Press), Aileron (Terrapin Books.)  She is the recipient of two N.E.A. creative writing fellowships in poetry, a Maryland Arts Council fellowship, and the W.B. Yeats Society of New York Poetry Prize. She was the Margaret Bridgman Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and has had residencies at Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and The Chautauqua Institute. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Cortland Review and Shenandoah. It has been featured on The Writers Almanac and anthologized in Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High School Students, Sweeping Beauty: Poems About Housework and The Sonoran Desert:A Literary Field Guide. She lives in Tucson, Arizona. Her website is http: www.geraldineconnolly.com  and Facebook author’s page: https://www.facebook.com/geraldineconno/

Book Review – No Such Thing as Distance by Karen Paul Holmes

I never expected to find a few recipes at the end of a poetry book.  But that is what concludes No Such Thing as Distance by Karen Paul Holmes.  Strange as it seems, they fit perfectly.  The poems are filled with “ingredients” – a dab of family history, immigration, marriage; a pinch of illness, death, divorce; along with measurements of geography.  Karen’s poems illuminate how the ordinary is really a combination of extraordinary ingredients.

I let the words of other’s who have reviewed No Such thing as Distance fill you in on more about the collection.  For the moment, I’m still in the kitchen surrounded by all the amazing ingredients.

No Such Thing as Distance Cover FRONT

No Such Thing as Distance
by Karen Paul Holmes
Paperback: 102 pages
Publisher: Terrapin Books (February 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 099821597X
ISBN-13: 978-0998215976
Available through Amazon and Terrapin Books.

 

 

Sample Poem:

Macedonia Bean Soup

His mail gets forwarded now
but sometimes a letter slips through.
My ex enters my mail slot,
his address, mine once again.
An envelope might even slap
Mr. and Mrs.

This sadness, some say
it will linger. My cheerful self
will have a chink.
Does it add character?

I pass the Heavenly Ham shop,
think of the bean soup
my dad taught him to make
and see them in our kitchen
chopping yellow onions just so,
the secret pinch of mint,
peppers a little too hot for me
but not for them,
how of all the sons-in-law
he was the one who asked to learn,
how I will never have his soup again.

Perhaps one day, I’ll make it myself.
Call the leaving a blessing, move
to the shore of a silver-blue lake,
mountains echoing fireworks
on the Fourth of July,
chinks of brilliance in a black sky.

Reviews:

Karen Paul Holmes is a convincing poet.  In No Such Thing as Distance, she mends the body/mind split, the life/death split, the love/betrayal split, the parent/child split and its reversals—a mother in a coffin in a blond (instead of gray) wig. With grace, beauty, and humor, she explores how the past remains the present through music, art, pop culture (Barbie and the Beatles), as well as her rich cultural inheritance.  A truly empathetic writer, Holmes feels her family’s medical procedures and provides us with food (even the recipes!)  She knows that Zumba and the waltz are all part of the same great dance.  Her title may signal quantum physics, but it’s also how close this poet whispers in her reader’s ear.” – Denise Duhamel, Scald

“What marvelous poems these are, and how complete a collection. Like a circus aerialist who makes us gasp one moment and laugh the next, the poet takes us from her immigrant father’s Macedonian roots to her own maturity, to the life of a woman who is smart and well-read yet knows her way around a Coney Island hot dog and finds the attentions of a drunk cowboy oddly flattering. There are so many good poems here that it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’ll put my money on “Confessions of an Ugly Nightgown,” in which a dead woman’s shapeless article of intimate apparel says it can still rouse a sleeping husband and is loveliest as it lies on the floor.” – David Kirby, Get Up Please

“Karen Paul Holmes lifts up the extraordinary found in the everyday. Here are poems that brim with finely-crafted detail, anchored to place while at the same time embracing change and impermanence. “Gulls winter here. / Like all fleeting things, they’re special to me,” she writes of a morning scene at her lake home. In poem after elegant poem, Holmes takes us across generations and countries as she grapples with larger issues, unafraid to explore the fullness of love and loss, the circularity of life. “I lived this day once,” she tells us, “and then lived it again.”” – Nancy Chen Long, Light Into Bodies

About the Poet:

Karen Paul Holmes has two full-length poetry collections, No Such Thing as Distance (Terrapin, 2018) and Untying the Knot (Aldrich, 2014). She was chosen as a Best Emerging Poet in 2016 by Stay Thirsty Media. Publications include Prairie Schooner, Valparaiso Review, Tar River Poetry, Poet Lore, Diode, and other journals and anthologies. Holmes hosts the Side Door Poets in Atlanta and Writers’ Night Out in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She also teaches writing classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School and other venues. http://www.karenpaulholmes.com

Again – A Poem by Bernadette Ní Riada

Again
by Bernadette Ní Riada

A narrow strip of dawn hangs vertically
in the space where heavy drapes

don’t quite meet. I lie in stillness
watch the grey blur morph into day.

Barefoot, I walk to the window
slide the disconnected pair apart.

Light instantly spreads itself
around the room

across the tracks of fractured sleep
visible now, in twisted creased up sheets.

I hear the familiar,
first stirrings of a household.

Again, I befriend
the dream of wakefulness.

 

About the Poet:  Bernadette is a native of – and lives in – Co. Kerry, IRELAND. Her work is published in Poetry Ireland Review, (Ed. Eavan Boland). The Anthology Still In The Dreaming, (Ed. Annemarie Ní Churreáin). The Haibun Journal, (Ed. Seán O’ Connor). Other publications in which she is published include, River Poet’s Journal, A New Ulster, Duilleoga, Little Gems and Ireland’s Eye.
She has read her work on local radio, (Radio Kerry). and last year, she was guest poet at the ‘On The Nail’ reading series in Limerick.

Tilt – A Poem by Laura Winkelspecht

Tilt
by Laura Winkelspecht

There’s that certain quality
when someone speaks to you
after you’ve lost the other half

of your whole, that soft prodding,
that subtle emphasis on the word are
in “how are you?” that head tilt

of concern that I am compelled to fix
like a crooked picture: “I’m okay,”
I say because anything else

would cause their heads
to roll off their necks
with the sharp sadness of it all

About the Poet: 

Laura Winkelspecht is a poet and writer from Wisconsin who writes with the hope of finding some lightning among the lightning bugs. She has been published in One Sentence Poems, Rat’s Ass Review, The Lake, Poets Reading the News, Millwork, and others. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Caught – A Poem by Nynke Salverda Passi

Caught
by Nynke Salverda Passi

A moth’s tetrapterous body is impaled—
++++++as if by the pins of its eyes—

on the green screen door of my kitchen.
++++++The powdered edges of its wings

pulsate with the calm of death
++++++upon the faint extinction of its breath.

It is early fall, the air paper-thin
++++++as if it could tear. I can’t tell apart

the squares of mesh from the moth’s
++++++nacreous skin. My mind tries

to capture this scene in luminous words
++++++and turn this ordinary door

that needs a coat of paint and a new knob
++++++into relic or shrine.

Then the barest flutter of pensive,
++++++passive rage trembles through the moth’s

caviling frame. It dies so young, so
++++++surely, and it has no name.

Now I’m awake it dies, and as I slept
++++++last night, its life had just begun.

 

 

About the Poet:
Nynke Salverda Passi was born and raised in the Netherlands. Her work has been published in CALYX, Gulf Coast, Red River Review, Illya’s Honey, and The Anthology of New England Writers, among other places. Her poetry has been anthologized in Carrying the Branch (Glass Lyre Press) and River of Earth and Sky (Blue Light Press). Together with Rustin Larson and Christine Schrum, she edited the poetry anthology Leaves by Night, Flowers by Day. Her story “The Kiss” was nominated for a Pushcart, and her essay “Oom Ealse and the Swan” was one of the finalists in the 2014 Editor’s Prize of The Missouri Review. Nynke has 20 years of college teaching experience in creative writing and is director of The Soul Ajar, a writing center offering workshops and collaborations exploring the relationship between writing, creativity, and healing.

Find her website here: https://www.nynkepassi.com/

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