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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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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.

Where It Hides – A Poem by Samuel Oladele

Where It Hides
by Samuel Oladele

Follow the silence
into the heart of the scream,
the mouthless scream,
the monastery of all pain.

Anchoring on all souls pain lives;
a life without form, gorging all our greenness.

Follow the silence into the base where pain breathes,
where it towers above strength,
where it breaks the backbone of love.

Only those shackled by it know where light ends;
only they know the weight of darkness.

 

 

About the Poet:  Samuel Oladele is a Nigerian studying Applied Chemistry at Usmanu Danfodiyo university, Sokoto. Whenever he’s not thinking of making TNT or thinking about some industrial production processes, he reads and writes prose and poetry.

Poetry Book Review – The Love Songs of Ephram Pratt by Jack e Lorts

Ephram Front-095 We’ve published a few of Jack e Lorts Ephram Pratt poems over the years.  Each one is unique and thought provoking.  They stir the mind and make readers turn their heads to look in a direction they’d probably not thought of looking before.

The Love Songs of Ephram Pratt is a fascinating collection with one unexpected poem after another.  As for the story of how Ephram came to be, we’ll let Jack explain that.

Book Description by Jack e Lorts:

The Love Songs of Ephram Pratt came about as a result of my meeting Ephram Pratt some ten years ago.

I first met Ephram in a poem in 2008; I didn’t know him previously & he is not related to a minor historical figure I’ve since encountered on the Internet. He is, in all likelihood, of the Tribe of Ephraim in the book of Numbers, and I also suppose he may be an alter-ego or doppelgänger of mine who talks and writes about things I may feel somewhat reluctant or uncomfortable in dealing with in my poems. Since meeting him, we have shared in writing some 800 of our “Songs of Ephram Pratt.” Although I have been writing seriously since the late 1950s, the past several years, Ephram seems have monopolized the bulk of my writing time.

Ephram and I deal with subjects about which neither of us knows much of anything, as well as subjects on which one or both of us know a lot. We love to play with words and at times we love big long words that we just love to loll around on our tongues. We love to read them aloud, although I do most of the reading and Ephram just listens.

There are often times we write poems we don’t know anything about, much less what they mean or understand them. Dali says, “The fact I myself do not understand what my paintings mean while I am painting them does not imply that they are meaningless.” Ephram and I strongly agree with Dali, that just because we do not understand what our poems mean, it doesn’t mean they are meaningless.

We believe in stream of consciousness, Kerouac’s spontaneous prose and the dream world of Andre Breton’s automatic writing.

Jack e Lorts – February 2019

Details:

Available through  Utter Chaos Press and Amazon
Paperback: 49 pages
Publisher: Uttered Chaos (March 9, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0999833456
ISBN-13: 978-0999833452

Sample Poems:

EPHRAM PRATT SPEAKS IN THE LANGUAGE OF SEALS
He lived near the sea
and his days were filled

conversing softly with
deceased mermaids,

but from them
he learned

the language of seals,
the grunts, the whistles,

the body language,
the subtle eye movements.

The cottage on the cape
was filled with ancestors,

peopled with tiny clones
of whoever lived there.

Only in the shadows
did he allow himself to speak

the language he knew so well,
he loved so insanely.

Why should he not speak
with seals?

The language known by poets
since time began.

 

EPHRAM PRATT REINCARNATES AS A SPIDER
There are times
when he works and plays

in the childhood
he has forgotten,

when the songs
he thinks he hears

are taken by
the scruff of his neck,

placed securely
in an antique box

and delivered piecemeal
to his imagination.

He may wonder
why the tapestry

he sees in the gallery
is seasoned with

a glowing tripod
of absolute nonsense,

but he sees
the luminous tapestry,

hears it, too,
and it makes him

want to lie down
in silence,

wondering if he will
reincarnate as an arachnid.

 

About the Poet:

Jack e Lorts, retired educator, lives in The Dalles, OR, via 20 years in Fossil, after stops in Kansas and California. He has published widely, if infrequently since the late 1950s, in such places as Arizona Quarterly, Kansas Quarterly, English Journal, more recently in High Desert Journal, Fault Lines, Phantom Drift, Windfall, and online such places as Haggard and Halloo, Elohi Gadugi, Locust, and Eunoia Review. Lorts is the author of three chapbooks, The Daughter Poems & Others and The Meeting-Place of Words (Pudding House 2008 & 2010) and Dear Gilbert Sorrentino & Other Poems (Finishing Line 2011). Active in Democratic and progressive politics, he has run for the Oregon House, served on the City Council and as Mayor of Fossil for many ensuing years.

He first published in the late 1950s alongside Ginsberg, Levertov, Padgett, Ted Berrigan, Russell Edson, Larry Eigner, and Cid Corman; he wonders what the hell happened in the ensuring years?

 

Reviews:

“In Jack Lorts’ latest collection, that poetic madcap and saboteur of the mundane, Ephram Pratt, truly hits his stride as our guide, a flaneur leading us to “brittle midnights” and right through “the invisible door to another childhood.” Pratt’s eccentric fascinations, which include circuses, unusual shoes, thunder-eggs, and a panoply of sirens, mean these love songs host rich strangenesses and ludic surprises. They mean readers may overhear crying trees and talking wood fawns, and may be spoken to alongside deceased mermaids. Writing in short lines like imaginative outbursts, Lorts delivers rare transformative rewards— “tiny chevrons of gold,” “a glowing coal burnt into soft molasses,“ and “a tiny box of hope placed on the cinders” that resists the flames. Readers, too, will bask in the wonders Lorts uncovers in these couplets, heat-driven by the engines of his gifts for phrasing, his surrealist leaps and juxtapositions, and his penchant for continuous poetic discovery.” ~Matt Schumacher, Editor, Phantom Drift and author of Spilling the Moon

“In these buoyant songs of delight and wonder, of mystery and exuberance that grow ever more laced with melancholy, the fictional Ephram Pratt—who once was a boy “with lanterns for eyes,” whose voice was “soft raisins in a box on the dresser,” a boy with hopes of exploring all the world can offer—sings his way through dream-like, surrealist, “minor miracles” that engage all our senses, and into the country of age and reflection, where songs become the memory of songs (though the urge to sing is never lost): a place where song, the “acorns of despair,” and silence intertwine and become one. It is a pleasure and an honor to recommend this luminous tapestry of poems by Jack Lorts, a book I hope to return to again and again.”  ~Ingrid Wendt, poet and Oregon Book Award recipient, author of Singing the Mozart Requiem and Evensong.

 

Sunflower Song – A Poem by Clayre Benzadón

Sunflower Song
by Clayre Benzadón

Bleeding heart, bloodroot.
The boneset of calla shuts

up the body of windflower
chimes, bluebells ringing

inside ghosted globe
thistles, darting

golden buttons. Yellow
archangels trumpet

the mouths of tulips
until they become a sun-

flower, summer
savory, heliotropism,

the way they face day-
light, a sweet asylum

in the symmetrical
stretch toward its golden
+++++++++angle.

 

 

About the Poet: Clayre Benzadón is currently a second-year MFA student at the University of Miami and Broadsided Press’s Instagram editor. 

She has been published by The Acentos Review, HerStory, Rat’s Ass Review, and other literary magazines / journals. Additionally she has had the opportunity of attending The Miami’s Writer’s Institute and The Ashbery Home School, a week-long poetry writing workshop/conference in Miami.

Twitter: @ClayreBenz
Instagram: clayrebenz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cbenzadon

The Stretch of Memory – A Poem by Ann E. Wallace

The Stretch of Memory
by Ann E. Wallace

I can measure out an imaginary yard of fabric pulling
the air, right hand 36 inches from left, the motion
imprinted from one summer job thirty years past, of
hoisting, unwinding, cutting lengths of 45- and 60-inch bolts.

Like walking in sand, some motions are not
forgotten, the sink of my heels down into the cool,
the pull of toes weighted with dampened grains
clumped to the point of heft with each step forward.

Or my left hand stretched across the belly of an infant,
holding diaper in place, the other hand ready
to seal one tab and then the other, fingers stretching
just a little wider each day, until no longer needed.

Never as wide as an ivory octave, mastered as early
as my fingers could span eight keys, made easier
over time with practice and growth, but small hands will
ever ply beyond comfort for the perfect well-known reach.

 

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.

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