And the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom. Anais Nin

Wednesday

Holiday Greetings and Second Chances

I hope you will take a few minutes in this rush of holiday preparations to reflect on the past year. What were the highs and lows? Who did you want to talk with, but couldn't find the time? What did you want to do for yourself, but never got around to it? What did you accomplish and how did it feel?

I don't subscribe to the notion of New Year's Resolutions. I guess that's because I've set up so many over the years and felt the disappointment of not following through. Somehow, this seems like an excellent way of feeling bad about myself. Now, I just don't do it!

Instead, I think about the prior year and the the actions I took and didn't take - and imagine how I could have done it differently. This is my launching point for the New Year -- and it is the best holiday gift I can give myself - that second chance, not wrapped up in guilt or failure, instead, wrapped up in "doing things differently".

Wishing you the joys of second chances. toni

Tuesday

Please Join Me December 4th

Join me in celebrating First Friday in Vancouver with a reading from VoiceCatcher's fourth edition. Come and hear a magnificent line-up of this year's authors reading selections of their work.

Readers will include:

Nancy Flynn
Constance Hall (Penname: M)
Christi Krug
Carolyn Martin
Darlene Pagán
Toni Partington

Location: Angst Gallery
1015 Main Street, Vancouver, WA 98660
Telephone: 360.253.1742
Date: December 4, 2009
Time: 7:00 pm

This reading is being held in conjunction with The Women's Empowerment Coalition of Washington State University Vancouver’s Silent Auction. Proceeds both from the auction and a portion of the VoiceCatcher book sales at the event will benefit the Vancouver YWCA – a primary source for services to women

Wednesday

My Favorite Chef Makes The News

Haven't heard of Brittany Baldwin, yet? Now's your chance to read a profile in the article 40 chefs under 40. Brittany's Portland Home Chef is number 3!

Brittany makes food that tastes great, is healthy, and follows her belief that utilizing the local food source is an affordable and sustainable option to mass produced foods. What the article doesn't say is that Brittany's poetry is as tasty as her recipes. The best moments occur when tasting a perfectly crafted meal and listening to Brittany read her poems for dessert.

Her book of poems, Broken Knuckles Against Knives Cutting The Food To Feed Me Through This (2005) is a rich collection that takes the reader into the kitchen, garden and heart of the writer. It may be time for Brittany to consider a second printing or to offer us a new collection.

Like her poems, Brittany doesn't do anything halfway. Portland Home Chef can provide you with a relationship to the chef, her recipes, and her garden. Brittany wants to know what you like, what your kids will eat, what your schedule demands and how you imagine dinners that magically appear each evening. This allows her to craft a menu customized to your lifestyle. She lovingly prepares the meals in your kitchen and stores them in the fridge or freezer with written instructions for heating and serving.

It sounds simple because Brittany does what's needed to keep it simple for you. Imagine, you don't have to order take out, decide where to dine out, or slog through cupboards to assemble a meal. And, these aren't bland, microwave dinners. They are healthy magnificent meals that can't be mass produced. How do I know? Last year I gave my daughter the gift of Portland Home Chef meals for her birthday week. The result, rave reviews!

Enjoy....

http://www.mnn.com/food/cooking-recipes/stories/40-chefs-under-40

Brittany Baldwin
Portland Home Chef
503-228-0937
portlandhomechef.com

Wednesday

VoiceCatcher 4, Women's Writing, Is Here!

VoiceCatcher 4
Available Now!

Mark your calendars and come prepared to be thoroughly entertained.

Wednesday, November 11, 7:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Lloyd Center


As part of the Poetry and Prose for the People reading series.
Hosted by Sage Cohen and Tomas Mattox

1317 Lloyd Center // Gift section
Portland, OR 97232
503-249-0800

VoiceCatcher exists because a collective of women -- editors, authors, artists, poets and teachers -- who love to read and write wanted to collect the voices of local women and offer them to the community.

Featuring new and emerging writers of diverse perspectives, voices, ages, orientation and experience, VoiceCatcher offers a panoramic view of literary life in Portland through the poetry and prose of more than 40 local women writers.

Join us in celebrating the publication of VoiceCatcher's fourth edition and hear a magnificent line-up of this year's authors reading selections of their work at two events this month!

Featured readers:
· Favor Ellis
· Naomi Fast
· Heidi Schulman Greenwald
· Constance Hall (pen name: M)
· Christi Krug
· Toni Partington
· Wendy Willis

Tuesday

DON'T MISS THIS

Friends:

Neeli Cherkovski will be reading at Cover to Cover Books and giving a talk on Charles Bukowski the following day.

WHEN AND WHERE -
7:00pm Thursday, October 29, 2009
Cover to Cover Books
1817 Main Street, Vancouver
McLoughlin Blvd. & Main Street

The following afternoon, Friday, October 30, at 2:00pm, he will deliver a free talk (donations welcome) entitled: "BUKOWSKI, THE BEATS, AND OTHER REBELLIONS.”

Neeli Cherkovski is a longtime contributor to the West Coast literary scene. Emerging from the LA underground of the Sixties, Cherkovski, is an applauded poet, critic and literary biographer. He has written ten books of poetry, including the award winning Leaning Against Time, Elegy for Bob Kaufman and Animal; he is
also the author of two acclaimed biographies, Bukowski: A Life and Ferlinghetti: A Biography; his book, Whitman’s Wild Children (a collection of critical memoirs), has become an underground classic.

In the late 1960s Cherkovski co-edited the poetry anthology Laugh Literary and Man the Humping Guns with Charles Bukowski. Since 1975, Neeli has lived and worked in San Francisco. For ten years he was writer-in-residence at New College of California, where he taught literature and philosophy.

Neeli will read from Whitman’s Wild Children and his memoir in progress. He will also have two works available for sale: From the Canyon Outward ($12.95) and a limited edition, lettered A to Z, with tipped-in original acrylic drawing, ($35.00, not available from publisher).

Monday

Here's What's Going On

NEWS FLASH:

VoiceCatcher4 is out - just released and about to be distributed to local bookstores in the greater Portland/Vancouver area. This book is packed with exceptional writing (short prose and poetry) that will grab your attention. For several writers, this is their first publication and they deserve notice. I'm proud to be affiliated with the Editorial Collective and this year's book.

Four of my poems can be found online at www.outwardlink.net - a new literary site for poetry and creative writing.

I'm just about to run a second printing of my chapbook - Jesus Is A Gas, available for $5.

Saturday

A Few More Postcard Poems - 2009

Sent To Farmington, NH
Reunion – 6

my longest, shortest job
100 p-nut butter sandwiches
bleached hands
red, swollen
give two weeks notice the first day
by then, all I
want to know of work
stings my pride


Sent To Bronx, NY
Reunion – 7

vacation sex
hotel sex
life without a care
welcomes tired bones
battered spirit
a salve so well earned
we’d book a room
for the memory


Sent To Sante Fe, NM
Reunion – 8

this place, so changed
left home before I
grew permanent teeth
sought freedom and
a new climate

today, I return
unencumbered
quotes from my uncensored
life will appear on
the billboard
across the street
from the Dairy Queen


Sent To Anchorage, AK
Reunion – 9

pathetic poets
a west coast tour
on the cheap
imagine DNA on
every surface
hope meditation
garlic fries and Ganesha
can stave off bed bugs
claim they won’t stay here again
when they’re famous


Sent To Pablo, MT
Reunion – 11

never knew the
true meaning of BEAR
big, burly men who
like other men
outdoors
more like Paul Bunyan
than Robin Hood
not the image of Disney
barely tolerated
nonsensical judgments
don’t hold up when
a few of God’s creatures
are still hunted
for sport


Sent To Barneveld, WI - inspired by returning home

wine tasting
break dancing
a summer party
on a cool
september eve
three old friends
and a nine year old
laugh at the dog
until bedtime


Sent To Concord, NH inspired by memories of San Francisco then and now

most things
then and now
disappoint me
never as I remember
or imagine
but you
forty years later
still make the
blood rush
to my head


Sent To Chicago, IL inspired by the importance of friends and the final decisions some people make

one year of tragedy
frays the fibers that
surround my heart
I seek a respite
from turmoil
why do some give up
jump from bridges
without screaming
I’m certain they lack
one strong friend
to hold their ankles

Thursday

The Day Didn't End Well

On Tuesday of this week, Gordon Patterson was struck and killed by a hit and run driver while riding his bike home from work along St. Johns Road in Vancouver, WA.

Hit and Run

4 pm
September 15, 2009
St. Johns Road
Gordon Patterson
Age 50


should not happen
one too many stricken
in hapless ways
by thundering herds
underneath hooves of
inflated rubber
two tons or more
steel and glass
crush their smaller cousins
accidental swerve
clipped by a side mirror
maimed, flattened
killed
in a narrow lane
off the sidewalk
in a neighborhood
like ours
like yours

plant a ghost bike
on the spot
wear a helmet
say “be careful”
to loved ones
ride the risk

this is a bike town
that lacks respect for
two-wheeled friends
reflected by high beams
in moonlight

it wasn’t Gordon’s time
not on a Tuesday afternoon
neither late summer nor early fall
just a beautiful afternoon
when an 18 year old driver
lifted him to the sky
phantom wings carried him home
up the hill
a final time

Monday

MORE AUGUST POSTCARD POETRY

Sent To Washington, DC

the sign said Islands
couldn’t believe my luck
the back seat roomy
lunch in a bag
no suitcases
on our way to islands

I oozed patience
finally asked
when, how many
Dad said, islands, what?
saw the sign, laughed
those islands divide
the road, honey

today I watch for signs
use extra care
in getting my hopes up

----------------------------------
Sent To Edmonds, WA

ON CRAIGSLIST

one Scottish
another Finnish
the 3rd, a Dakotan
all want a room
they’re single
on their way here
want to rent, sight unseen
you won’t be sorry, they promise
will send photos if we want
all the same story
all the same scam
I say, “who are these people?”
my boyfriend says, “who cares, get the photos!”

------------------------------------------------
Sent To Lawrenceville, IL

On The Down Slope

Fortune Cookie: You are going to have a very comfortable retirement.

yeah, who says?

will I have to eat cat food
live with my kids
get false teeth and give up steak
will I need to be escorted
to the market
the hairdresser
wheeled in to see the doc
will I be asked to the senior dance
by a man who wears suspenders to keep his pants up
will people talk about me like I’m not in the room
ask me to turn down the volume on the TV
will I be obsessed with senior discounts
practical shoes and non-slip rugs

these questions fill my head
the style guru forgot to tell my body
that 50 is the new 40

this is my cartoon for the next stage in life
the angst of aging
this is the sour breath of these words
spoken out loud

------------------------------------------------------
Sent To Chestnut Hill, MA

Willful

cut stems
dew on wrists
bare light on
crisp morning mist
forget the refrain
and all you’ve
left undone

------------------------------------------------------
Sent To Birmingham, AL

along the block wall
behind the bird bath
the black cat taunts
the little French dog
with tail swishes

his failed attempts
make muddy paws
and give meaning
to the phrase
Daytime Drama

--------------------------------------------------
Sent To Bloomington, IN

you are not forgotten
there is a mark –
a black streak
on the wall
behind the dresser
shaped like lightening
where your boot heel
hit the wall

happened long before
you fell ill
and mama’s prayers
were finally answered

----------------------------------------------------
Sent To Hollywood, FL

-- Ask Mama --
Let’s dance until our feet die
sing when Ethel belts a tune
drink cosmopolitans and
leave our makeup on all night
tomorrow we’ll believe
there’s plenty of time
for “normal”
let others worry tonight
pretending takes a toll and
nobody gets younger.

-----------------------------------------------------
Sent To East Stroudsburg, PA

we don’t prepare
can’t bring ourselves
to admit the inevitable
dreams and wishes are
paper coupons
not redeemable on this
there’s no formula
we cope
tell stories
sleep
the worst is telling the children
forever the one who invaded
their island of innocence

POSTCARD POEMS - YES, I DID IT !

POSTCARD POETRY 2009
I did it - after two years of excuses - I made the commitment to write a poem a day in the month of August - a poem just postcard size, and sent to others who've made the same commitment. It's a challenge, the instructions say to write an original poem, write it on the postcard and mail it to the next person on my list. It forces me to stop editing, stop fussing and get it done! I've yet to receive any - but have great expectations that there will be one in today's mail.

Here are the first few I wrote and their destinations:


sent to Walkerton, IN and based on the postcard picture

posts of sunflowers
command notice
angle hours and minutes
for commuters
at Akard Street Station

northwest of Dallas
tall stalks lean
into sprinklers
neglect time in favor
of afternoon naps


sent to East Providence, RI and based on the postcard picture

~ the path ~

there is order in imperfection
cracked rocks aligned by hand
wood mossed by time
and persistent drizzle

moments before
I wept at the opportunity
to do nothing but breathe


sent to Hoboken, NJ and based on the postcard picture

tomorrow
August arrives
her room is ready
shriveled petunias
dried raspberries
brown thatch
and me, mercury 105°

the local news suggests we
fry eggs on asphalt
instead, I imagine
Yuki Zuri in January
and more ice
in my glass


sent to Vancouver, WA and based on the poem on the front of postcard

waiting

behind the shed
night’s crescent cousin deems
her waning fire a
sign
an invitation to inflate points

gray triangle becomes
ginger circle
alters the margins of the sliver
to mingle day and night


sent to Far Rockaway, NY

clay pots gasp
their contents already dead
wait til grief sinks in

feel a drop carried by wind
from a sprinkler, out of reach
longs for the inevitable crack
of winter

Wednesday

Another Issue of the Poetry Zine

Don't miss the latest issue of Writing The Life Poetic Zine edited and published by Sage Cohen. I am especially drawn to this issue for its reminder to take time. Sage's words about slowing down and relaxing, enjoying, and creating truly hit home. Sure, we all are busy - one way or another - and time for doing less slips from our grasp. For me, both June and July roared by - and now, nearly August and hotter than hell and wondering, how will I ever catch up. Reflecting on Sage's advice I believe we can get more done when properly rested and refreshed.

Check it out - www.writingthelifepoetic.com

Tuesday

People On The Street

Now that the weather has warmed - - and I drive around town - - I can't miss the sometimes blank and often pleading stares of our brothers and sisters standing on the the small concrete ridges that separate lanes of traffic. Most hold signs - - broke, hungry, can you help, god loves you....I'm not your standard believer, and most times I think god has little to do with the needs of folks on the street.

Still, I can't help but remember back to the Reagan era when thousands were released from hospitals with plastic bags that read, Patient's Belongings in big blue letters.

I've included the following poem for Arvy - who lived the good social work and helped others all she could during their darkest days.
----------------------------------------------
when we cease to care
by toni


there are whispers
underneath clanging
screams
when the lights go off and come on again

misery incubates
like rabies in
a different mammal each spring

it started in the 60’s
mental wards closed
by 2007
three hundred thousand poor souls
warehoused in US Prisons
no treatment and no hope

discarded souls
left behind
with hollow eyes
and thick tongues
filled up with starch
wait like prey for the vultures

they exist in the dullness
a grey zone
numb
oblivious to
day or time

they are shapes
in a Thorazine haze
mornings fueled by nightmares
nights by fear

alone
among thousands
some profound
profane
left in purgatory

what happened to the
Calypso music and
overripe fruit
of their youth

gone
left behind like the last day
of vacation
quick and unremembered

When I woke...

This morning I'm thinking abut John Trudell -- perhaps because I'm thinking about the events in life that motivate poets. Some are harsh, brutal - some are striking, touching - the challenge for a poet is to capture these moments with words. Make them into something and if inspired, share them with others.

A Reason for Corn
By Toni


John Trudell is following the lines
as a mandate for his life
since the day of the fire

before following the lines
there was Vietnam and Alcatraz
Wounded Knee and the BIA

he warned us on the day he burned the US flag
in 12 hours
smoke and flames
claimed all he loved in this world

for now, his love’s are embedded in the land
he knows that five bodies
in boxes
below dirt
will surely grow corn

so, John Trudell will follow the lines
as any poet must
until the day the land swallows him whole
and corn grows in lines
where he once stood

John Trudell is a poet and activist.His outspoken ways and probing questions have made him a major element in the American Indian Movement. He lost his wife and children in a suspicious house fire. He may not see himself as a hero – because frequently, a hero moves through the world with the best intentions, this alone is heroic.

Thursday

What's The Reason?

I'm not a believer in the age old refrain, "everything happens for a reason" - in fact, I lean in the opposite direction. Sure, there are many things that happen randomly, many beyond our control. Wisdom is the ingredient that helps us understand the difference.

By examining various aspects and events in life we can begin to see patterns in thought and behavior. We can see how we respond to certain things in the same way, or have reactions and make choices we told ourselves we wouldn't repeat. Sometimes we are able to predict what will happen because the behaviors and emotions are so familiar. We might even say, if I do this, that will happen -- so, what can we do about it?

Maybe the answer is simple: responsibility and the courage to admit one's mistakes. The first step is to think about our part in things - what did we do or not do? How did we contribute to the outcome? Did we exhibit behaviors that led to the very place we are in right now? How is this scenario like something in the past? What could we have done differently?

The essence is in taking responsibility for our part rather than the blame we load on others. This takes courage and maturity. It's worth it!

For A Friend Who Is Gone

It is never easy to lose a friend. For me, there was beauty in being at his side and seeing peace return to his face. I am grateful.

By October
By tone

for chuck

Opening day
you don’t watch a game
instead, blue eyes stare
listen to I love you and goodbye
by Sunday, breath labors
you ride the slow slip
into unconsciousness

you’d say, I’m in a slump this season
on lime green sheets
soft flannel
in a favorite T-shirt
reads, “Baseball is Life, the rest is just details”
ironic
no homeruns
no bases loaded
you’re still running
caught between second and third
here and there

soon enough
reluctance will melt
you’ll take the tag

you wanted to slide home
after a smack of the bat
pitch right in your wheelhouse
run the diamond
waving
extend your body
and slide
no pinch runner for you
this inning yours
earned
fans cheer
take your time
no clock rules this game

closing in
I rewrite the slogan
“Life is Baseball”
it’s all you need to know
the record books
paint stories with endings
photos grace the walls beside your bed
Lou Gehrig and Satchel Page
prized pencil sketch of Zeke Bonura, a
student’s gift in ‘95


once you said, I don’t collect baseball cards
after buying the one of
Ferris Fain
American League’s 1951 Batting Champ
first baseman challenged
carnival fighters before
the majors
a little like you
before college smoothed the rough edges

April now
spring training over
time for dogs and beer
sun on skin
daily stats and
flippin’ off the umps

you’d say
everything about it is good,
except artificial turf
you’d say
ballparks are the real cathedrals

there won’t be a next season
so the guys, John
Lou and Mark and all
staunch fans of other teams
Cubs, Yanks, even Dodgers
steadfast and in unison
will secretly cheer your Halos

you’ll count the W’s and L’s
from a place inside the park
eyes glued to the field for the full nine
hoping to witness
one more dog pile on the mound
you always said
Ferris would’ve beat their asses
given the chance

make a wish, love
for hummingbirds in pairs
for a series title
forget about
rain delays
the DL
splintered bats

take the 7th inning stretch
others will keep your seat warm
by October
you will ride
on the shoulders
of Angels

Monday

RADIO POETRY

Tonight, Monday April 20th, KBOO FM will celebrate the poetry of VoiceCatcher3 on Talking Earth with host Barbara LaMorticalla. I will be an in-studio reader - so if you are inclined to be up, give a listen to the voices of Portland area women writers.

The details are below.

Monday, April 20th
10 - 11 p.m. PST
90.7 FM
or on the web at www.kboo.fm (streaming audio)

Q&A with Author Sage Cohen

Q&A with Sage Cohen
Author of Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry, a new book from Writer’s Digest Books


How does poetry make the world a better place to live?

I think poetry fills the gap left by the so-called objective truth that dominates our media, science and legislation. Many of us want to comprehend and communicate the complexity of human experience on a deeper, more soulful level. Poetry gives us a shared language that is more subtle, more human, and—at its best—more universally “true” than we are capable of achieving with just the facts.

How has integrating the reading and writing of poetry into your life impacted you?

I will risk sounding melodramatic in saying that poetry saved my life. I stumbled into a writing practice at an extremely vulnerable time in my early teenage years. Poetry gave me then, as it does today, a way of giving voice to feelings and ideas that felt too risky and complicated to speak out loud. There was a kind of alchemy in writing through such vulnerabilities...by welcoming them in language, I was able to transform the energies of fear, pain and loneliness into a kind of friendly camaraderie with myself. In a way, I wrote myself into a trust that I belonged in this world.

Do people need an advanced degree in creative writing in order to write poetry?

Absolutely not! Sure, poetry has its place in the classroom; but no one needs an advanced degree in creative writing to reap its rewards. What most people need is simply a proper initiation. I wrote Writing the Life Poetic to offer such an initiation. My goal was that everyone who reads it come away with a sense of how to tune into the world around them through a poetic lens. Once this way of perceiving is awakened, anything is possible!

Why did you write Writing the Life Poetic?

While working with writers for the past fifteen years, I have observed that even the most creative people fear that they don’t have what it takes to write and read poetry. I wrote Writing the Life Poetic to put poetry back into the hands of the people––not because they are aspiring to become the poet laureate of the United States––but because poetry is one of the great pleasures in life.”

Who is Writing the Life Poetic written for?

Practicing poets, aspiring poets, and teachers of writing in a variety of settings can use Writing the Life Poetic to write, read, and enjoy poems; it works equally well as a self-study companion or as a classroom guide. Both practical and inspirational, it will leave readers with a greater appreciation for the poetry they read and a greater sense of possibility for the poetry they write.

What sets Writing the Life Poetic apart from other poetry how-to books?

The craft of poetry has been well documented in a variety of books that offer a valuable service to serious writers striving to become competent poets. Now it’s time for a poetry book that does more than lecture from the front of the classroom. Writing the Life Poetic was written to be a contagiously fun adventure in writing. Through an entertaining mix of insights, exercises, expert guidance and encouragement, I hope to get readers excited about the possibilities of poetry––and engaged in a creative practice. Leonard Cohen says: “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” My goal is that Writing the Life Poetic be the flame fueling the life well lived.

Is it true that your book and your baby were conceived and birthed at the same time? What did you learn from this process?

Yes, I often refer to my son Theo and Writing the Life Poetic as my multi-media twins! I found out I was pregnant with Theo about two months into the writing of the book and I was making final edits to the book in layout two weeks after he was born. It was fascinating to have two of the most potent creative processes I’ve ever experienced happening in tandem. What I learned is a great respect for the birthing journey; it is one that has completely rewritten me along the way.

I am writing a monthly column this year for The Writer Mama zine titled “The Articulate Conception” which chronicles my journey of becoming an author and a mom. Through the course of ten essays, I am exploring this double-whammy birth trajectory--from the twinkle in my eye to the bags under my eyes. The first column is available here: http://thewritermama.wordpress.com/2009/01/20/the-articulate-conception-planting-seeds/.

What makes a poem a poem?

This is one of my favorite questions! I’ve answered it in my book, but it’s a question that I’m answering anew every day. And that’s what I love about poetry. It’s a realm where invention is not limited entirely by definition; there is room enough for the endless possibilities of the human. Every time we try to draw a line around what a poem is, something spills over into the next frame, shifting the point of view and demanding new names: olive, token, flax, daffodil. A poem is all of these, or none of them, depending on the quality of light and how the blade in the next room stirs the night.

What do you think people’s greatest misperceptions are about poetry?

I think the three greatest stereotypes about the writing of poetry are:
1. That one has to be a starving artist or deeply miserable to write great poetry.
2. That reading and writing poetry are available only to an elite inner circle that shares secret, insider knowledge about the making of poems.
3. That poetry does not fund prosperity.

I hope very much that Writing the Life Poetic helps offer alternatives to some of these attitudes and perceptions.

Let's conclude with one of your poems. Would that be OK?

Of course! Happy to!

Leaving Buckhorn Springs
By Sage Cohen

The farmland was an orchestra,
its ochres holding a baritone below
the soft bells of farmhouses,
altos of shadowed hills,
violins grieving the late
afternoon light. When I saw
the horses, glazed over with rain,
the battered old motorcycle parked
beside them, I pulled my car over
and silenced it on the gravel.
The rain and I were diamonds
displacing appetite with mystery.
As the horses turned toward me,
the centuries poured through
their powerful necks and my body
was the drum receiving the pulse
of history. The skin between me
and the world became the rhythm
of the rain keeping time with the sky
and into the music walked
the smallest of the horses. We stood
for many measures considering
each other, his eyes the quarter notes
of my heart’s staccato. This symphony
of privacy and silence: this wildness
that the fence between us could not divide.

About Sage Cohen
Sage Cohen is the author of Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry (Writers Digest Books, 2009) and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World. An award-winning poet, she writes four monthly columns about the craft and business of writing and serves as Poetry Editor for VoiceCatcher 4. Sage co-curates a monthly reading series at Barnes & Noble and teaches the online class Poetry for the People. To learn more, visit http://www.writingthelifepoetic.com. Drop by and join in the conversation about living and writing a poetic life at www.writingthelifepoetic.typepad.com!

Tuesday

Irradiated Retirment

On Saturday I attended a retirement party -- not your usual end-of-a-long-career celebration - but a retirement party for the Irradiated Poets. For those who don't know, this group held poetry gatherings out at the old Trojan Nuclear plant before that relic was sent into retirement via demolition. With Trojan as the focal point, and with poetry as a way to unite, the group created an unusual form of its own energy.

The "retirement" party was a way to connect with folks, say, "what's up for you these days" and talk about old times. What I didn't see was any retirement going on. The group took a bit to warm up - after all, this wasn't a meeting at Trojan, but at a local pub -- and after a short while of socializing and eating, poets began to read their stuff. We took turns reading old and new poems, laughing, giving raucous rounds of applause and genuinely celebrating some sort of retirement.

For me, the best part was in the recognition that most poets never retire from poetry. Somehow, the words, the lines and the opportunity to bring them alive by reading aloud removes any thoughts of retirement. Bravo for groups like the Irradiated Poets who bring folks together for the sake of poetry. Cheers for group leaders who know when it's time to end an era, and thank god for poets who keep writing long after everyone else retires!

Monday

Is It Time For A Change?

Several people have asked recently how a Life and Career Coach can assist their writing and art projects. I've been having individual conversations and decided to post the key points for all who are interested.

My coaching relationships are personal and specific. I work from a 'strength' based approach - in other words, where would you like to be in your life, right now - and what resources (internal, external) do you already have and which do you need? We look at the practical while recognizing the emotions attached.

I believe in integration of work, daily life, relationships, etc. I think we slip into compartments to ease the demands of our busy lives. Yet, some of these compartments feel restrictive and unsatisfying. Most clients seek relief from chaos. I think the practice of integration can get them there.

It starts with an honest evaluation of your lifestyle. What is working for you? What is burdensome? What are you willing to change - what is fixed in stone? Start there, at least you will determine what's driving the chaos and what's creating peace.

To continue the conversation contact me at tpartington@earthlink.net

Sunday

Thanks All

Thanks to everyone who came out on that rainy Monday - February 23rd for the Three Friends reading. For those who couldn't make it, or if you were there and want to hear it again, the LINK is listed in the left column under LOOK, LISTEN, READ.

A big thanks to Melissa and Luke of Show and Tell Gallery for hosting us. My friends for the evening (and beyond) - Eileen Elliott and Constance Hall brought great poetry and art and presented with grace and talent.

February has been a busy month with several readings including the one for VoiceCatcher in Vancouver, WA. Don't miss the submission window for VoiceCather 4. You have until March 31st to submit poems, fiction, creative nonfiction and more. Check out the website for details www.voicecatcher.org.

Monday

YOU ARE INVITED TO AN EVENING OF POETRY AND ART

Three Friends Coffee House
201 SE 12th Avenue (at Ash)
Portland, OR
Date: February 23rd, 2009 - Monday
Time: 7 PM
Cost: FREE

On Monday, February 23rd I will read poetry from my series, For The Love Of Agnes, and some new poems at Three Friends Coffee House in Portland. That night will be a 3-friends adventure -- I will be joined by two remarkable women, Eileen Elliott (poet and visual artist) and Constance Hall (writer and editor).

Eileen will display glass and fiber art pieces and read poems written or inspired by these specific pieces. Constance will read poetry from her book about the Italian immigrant experience. We will conclude with a poem for three voices that will be performed for the first time.

I hope you will be able to join us at 7pm. Three Friends Coffee House is an intimate setting that is well suited for poets and artists - and they have great coffee, tea and sweet treats.

Melissa Sillitoe is our Host/Producer
You can see all of the great things she is doing on her website.
Show and Tell Gallery: "Art. Caffeine. Collaboration. Good times."
www.showandtellgallery.org

See you soon!

Friday

As life unfolds....

....one can never be ready for those events that knock you to your knees. I've learned that this past month. After so many years as a practitioner, I really thought I knew what it was like to face the kind of sadness that is so unbearable. I felt that my empathy for others, understanding of emotional processes, and realistic view of life was enough. Now, I'm humbled by the suffering of another - and for me, the one who can tackle most anything, I'm humbled at what I can't do to make it all better.

The lesson for me is another reminder of why I've titled this blog, Life In The Moment. It is all we have. All we can claim and grab onto. This moment, this day, these people that are dear to us. I won't squander it - not for another minute.

Matinee

in the dark theater of strangers
silence prevails

only coughing survives
and the hush is deafening

unexpected, my mouth
tastes the salt of tears