It was such a treat to read my Biddle The Bee story at The Painshill Honey Bee Festival at the weekend.Painshill Park is a beautiful, 18th century garden near Cobham, Surrey, UK. The landscape garden was originally created by the Honourable Charles Hamilton between 1738 and 1773. Over 80,000 visitors a year now visit Painshill Park with its iconic follies.
The Honey Bee Festival is hosted every year by members of The British Beekeepers Association. Sandra Rickwood and Marion Cooper of the Weybridge Branch of British beekeepers invited me to participate and read my story of Biddle The Bee. Marion Cooper helped with the final editing of the book, and I can honestly say that beekeepers are very particular that all the facts in a story should be absolutely correct! Biddle The Bee has their seal of approval! Phew!!
Biddle The Bee is one of a series of Pa Dug & Rosie books, all about how everything in the garden serves a purpose. In my attempt to bring poetry to science, I am thrilled to be involved in raising awareness of the wonderful bee who is under serious threat internationally from pesticides and loss of habitat. Bees are an incredible civilization unto themselves and many things upset their rhythm. As part of my research for this story, I visited an apiary. The fact that bees crawled all over me didn’t phase me a bit! I trusted them, and they were remarkably calm ~ even when being handled.
Painshill Park is such a beautiful place. Songs from the book were sung, and children wrestled with deliberate tongue-twisters such as: “But the bee buzzed by on busy business!” Well! if you were aged between 3 and 7, you’d have fun pronouncing this! And, of course, we danced the Waggle Jive!!! Children love the musicality and rhythm of the rhyme and hearing it read with me imitating all the different voices…doing the bee voice is fun; doing this at my age is even more fun! And, of course, the little ones LOVE the pictures ~ Originals courtesy of Marta Pelrine Bacon and coloured with added graphics by yours truly!
Find Biddle The Bee HERE in Kindle (GREAT FOR CLASSROOMS). HERE (where the print version is cheaper than Amazon!)
I am not governed by a foreign power; I am self-governed.
I am as free as I can be from the control of others.
I am influenced by love and beauty, kindness and compassion, yearning and striving.
I am self-reliant – an independent mind that cannot be reigned in, repressed or shape-shifted to please the status quo.
I do not depend on someone else to decide whether or not, I can express my voice in the world.
I am not determined by fashion – not the next J.K. Rowling – not trying to write the next Fifty One Shades Of Lighter Grey.
I am not determined by the outcome of statistics or the result of a study, or the promise of a guaranteed 5,000 advance sales.
I will not be watered down, nor have my chocolate sweetened.
I am cocoa, Marmite, chilli and garlic ~ an Independent Artist, Writer or Publisher who creates – simply because I can. I must. I will die if I don’t.
I am poor for my art but rich in my soul. I cannot DO anything other than express the inner urgings of my vision. I am driven, living in wait for that one person able to recognise that what I create has merit. I crave recognition that will, for a moment, exalt the beauty that’s in me. Then I shall no longer hide for fear of derision or being left exposed, naked and alone.
But if I never receive your acknowledgement, I will not falter. I will remain the bastard child and grow thin waiting for that which nourishes my soul – that golden patronage that stands against the sky and says, “I see you. I see what you are doing. You are the new adventure, the subversive, pure of voice untainted by the fickleness of the board (bored) room. You interfere with the syntax. You interrupt the narrative. You punctuate like a Jazz Drummer. You make me think, feel, wonder anew. You break the rules ~ because you can ~ because you must. It is your destiny. ”
I am an independent artist ~ harder on myself than others ever could be, working hard day and night sending my voice out into the wilderness.
When I was little, fairies lived at the bottom of my garden. I used to talk or sing to them quietly (as fairies don’t like shouting). And when dew covered the grass and made it glitter and sparkle, I knew the fairies were preparing for a shindig.
Everyone knows that when dew is on the grass, fairies have their choice of the most beautiful sparkles imaginable. Fairies might wear peony, iris, or rose sparkle. Boy fairies wear shamrock and breeches made of bark ~ be-dewed and made smooth and slithery ~ great for sliding down mole-hills!
Fairies love nothing more than dew! They drink it; it makes them giggle! They wear it; it makes them shimmer. Dew really is the diamond in the fairy-queen crown.
Apart from anything else, dew means the dawn of a new day, when fairies can flit and dart ~ flicker and start; hover and whiz ~ zip and fizz; float and flash ~ make-a-dash; tease and prance ~ skip and dance; hurry and scurry ~ all of a flurry; rush and rail ~ skim, speed and sail!
The best Leprechaun fiddlers play the most lively jigs! Elf harpists pluck at your heartstrings and weave magic in verse. Goblins are the best drummers, whilst meadow sprites have very high, reedy singing voices. Usually appearing on percussion are the cobbler gnomes ~ with a-clink and a-clank, whenever needed. All in all, fairy gatherings are a sight to see ~ for those able to see them.
I spent many an early morning dancing fine jigs to the tunes of the little people, singing long songs or reciting poems, all of which are of very great interest to fairies. They taught me some of their secrets about bees and butterflies, worms and magic bears who know such an awful lot about everything. They also taught me how to grow up into someone who is wise. I like to share some of those mysteries with boys and girls (and grown-ups who still have magic in them) who are inquisitive but can also keep a secret.
Recently, a friend of mine, Patricia Tilton, reviewed a lovely little book for children on her blog: My Paper House by Lois Peterson about a little girl who comes from Kibera in Nairobi.
Reading her review, memories of my first impressions of the frantic, noisy, city of Nairobi inspired me to write something for my Insights Corner. At the time, I was doing a consultancy for Oxfam. I rode in my air-conditioned Toyota Landcruiser (until it was stolen) through the then-failing traffic system with its drive-on-the-left, traffic lit, roundabouted road infrastructure ~ a testament to Pre-Uhuru British colonialism.
Heat bounced off the pot-holed, tarmacked roads, causing them to soften and shimmy.
I remember driving through the parts of town where the rich lived. Roads were lined with mansions and gated-compounds guarded by Askaris. Pepper trees and Bougainvillea grew everywhere. I knew I was in Africa because of the glaring, daring colours ~ flowers and vibrant Kangas worn by local women. Only they can wear such colour. Their blue-black skin makes that of a white person’s seem bleached, devoid of life.
The relentless sun forces everything to exude its fragrance. house nairobi
I drove to another part of town. Glinting corrugated tin roofs bounce the sun back into your eyes ~ mirroring something of the reality of contrasts in that part of the world. The Kibera slums occupy a space not quite as large as Central Park. Kibera is jammed full of ramshackle tin huts. Beneath those roofs, men, women and children live in unimaginable poverty. Urine and feces run in open ruts across the ground. There is nowhere to walk, no streets, street lights, or running water. The walking paths (if you can call them that) are filled with rubbish and human waste.
1,000,000 men, women and children live there. There are approximately 1300 people per toilet. If a toilet is occupied, a person squats over a plastic bag (which is a rare commodity) tries to tie it, then jettisons it into space (“flying toilet”).
Kibera is a breeding ground for Diptheria, Malaria and Typhus. Many children don’t live to see five years.
Kibera is an eye-sore, stinking, outrageous and offensive in every way imaginable.
Yet, I learned something from my visit (which does not make it right, justify its existence or create a holier-than-thou chance to evangelise in search of a raison d’etre.)
A child of about nine years old approached me. “Mama!” she said. “Give me that.” I looked at what she pointed to. I had a plastic container that I considered rubbish and would (being ecologically minded) recycle. “Give me that,” she said again in English.
I gave it her, and she smiled her thanks. She seemed delighted. I learned later that this little raggedy girl lived on rubbish. Every day of her life, she foraged in Nairobi rubbish dumps to find anything of value that she might then sell on for a few shillings. I had given her something that, for me, was worthless trash, but to her, meant she could eat Ugali that day.
Interestingly, my house-girl (I didn’t invent the terminology or the servant-driven economy) had a plastic container just like it on the window-sill of her hut (of which she was intensely proud). Once, it had been filled with succulent strawberries, now, it was Crosby’s bead box. And she thought it beautiful.
Insight? Apart from the outrage I felt/feel that this goes on in the world and we, collectively, do nothing about it, I looked into that little girl’s eyes. I saw a look of achievement, hope, pride. I did not see failure or despair. She had survived that day. She wanted to survive, thrive, live. Only 8% of girls in Kibera are educated. Just think what this child might achieve if she were given the chance!
Sometimes all we need is a chance. That little girl would grab the taken-for-granted thing and run with it ~ for years and years ~ propelled by its value.
April has been declared International poetry month and The Bardo Group* are celebrating with all things poetry. Plum Tree Books will participate in interNational Poetry Month by publishing a new anthology of poetry.
Because we love all things children and all things poetry, I would like to bring together two marvellous themes: International poetry month with the recent celebration of Mother’s Day. Our anthology will celebrate all things MOTHER! Would you like to write a poem for your mother? Are you a mother who would love to encapsulate the experience of mothering? Would you love to write a poem for your child that will live forever? Or maybe, you are a child who would love to send in a poem about your mother?
This anthology will celebrate the essence of mothering. Send in an image to accompany your work, if possible…(details below)
I am also calling on artists and illustrators who would like to participate by helping us to illustrate this anthology with original work. All copyright and acknowledgement will, of course, be accredited to all contributors. Submission automatically licences Plum Tree Books to publish your work for the sole purpose of this publication only, but you always own your copyright.
We will also promote you!
Please submit your contributions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This anthology will be published as an e-book first. Proceeds of sales will go towards seeing your work in print. This will make a wonderful coffee table gift, or to use for self-promotion.
Encourage your children to participate and send in their drawings too!I will also be looking for the perfect image for the book cover.
All submitted images should have full copyright permission and be in high resolution (At least 300 dpi’s). Images should be scanned.
Submissions by June 5th
Publication as e-book by July 5th
Help us make this a thing of beauty and a joy forever!
Best, Niamh Clune
* Editor’s Note: Link HERE for The Bardo Group mission statement. The Bardo Group – an informal noncommercial collective – and Niamh Clune/Plum Tree Books have a casual nonfinancial friendship based on a shared love of poetry and the humanities and a desire to encourage peace and understanding, individual creativity and appreciation for the arts.
You are the poem and the rhyme,
The reason for created time;
The song, the sung, the singer too;
The truth that is the deepest you.
So ask not why you paint the rose,
Or write of love’s heart-wrenching prose ~
And steal the light from Heaven’s hand,
To write a poem in the sand.
I want to reach across the sky
to mists beyond the blue
to where you are imagined still
and I remember you
Your face was soft, your lilting tongue
a brogue of Burren’s air,
a flute that danced upon the wind
from Erin’s County Clare.
You danced a Hornpipe, kicked your heels,
smiled with not a care ~
With rocking ankle, turn of calf,
And ribbons in your hair.
Wild and exiled, mother mine
you beat the flaggy ground
with rhythm of the rebel coast
battering the sound.
I do miss your bluest eyes
and long for when you were
an orchid in a field of tare ~
the girl from County Clare.
Copyright, poem, Niamh Clune 2013, All rights reserved
Editor’s Note: Yesterday, May 30, was Mothering Sunday in the UK and Niamh’s lovely poem is posted in honor of the day. Best wishes and gratitude to moms in the UK and everywhere from The Bardo Group and thanks to Niamh for sharing this lovely homage to her own mom with us in celebration of this special day.
Both Canada and the United States celebrate April as national poetry month. Since Bardo is an international effort, we will celebrate the month as an international event. Poetry is a shared heritage that knows no borders.
Among the blog posts we’ll publish during this month is a piece by Blaga Todorova (Between the Shadows and the Soul) on the Bulgarian poet and former Bulgarian Vice President, Blaga Dimitrova. Included in our line-up is a memorable poem by New York’s first lady, wife of Mayor Bill De Blasio, Chirlane McCray. There will be a piece on writing poetry by English poet, Myra Schneider (Myra Schneider’s Poetry Website), and an article on the Lebanese poet, Khalil Gibran. Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams) will start us off on April 1 with some ideas for celebrating with family and friends.
While we don’t plan to post poems and/or essays on poetry every day, we’ll do so quite a bit. Also, along with the Academy of American Poets, we’ll celebrate A Poem in Your Pocket on Thursday, April 24, when everyone is invited to share a poem and/or a piece about a favored poet no matter the poet’s time or place. Mister Linky will go up and you can link in your own work or share a URL to work you admire. Or, if you prefer, you can share a poem or comment on a poet in the comment section of that day’s post. Mister Linky will open at 12:01 a.m. on the 24th.
This evening we kick-off poetry month – a day-and-a-half early, yes! – with award-winning Canadian slam poet and writer, Shane Koyczan, who first came to the wider world’s attention with his poem We Ae More at the 2010 Olympics opening ceremony in Vancouver. This video begins with Death Be Not Proud by British poet John Donne (1572-1631) and moves into Shane’s performance of one of his early poems, Move Pen Move.
CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL POETRY MONTH WITH US
“Poets are the unacknowled legislators of the world.” Percy B. Shelley (1792-1822), English Romantic poet, In Defense of Poetry
Illustration ~ Fan with quatrain poem attributed to Emperor Gaozong of Song (1107-1187), the tenth Chinese emperor of the Song Dynasty, part of the John B. Elliott Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. The photograph is by Neutrality and generously released into the public domain.
You speak of death.
But when death finally reaches out his hand
to snatch your soul,
he will find a little bird
fluttering and singing in his palm.
Entranced, he will stroke your feathers
and set you soaring to the winds.
They shall not buffer you
but lift you higher than the moon
to that distant star, dreamed by you
many Spring moments ago,
when in your imagination,
you flew into Jupiterian blue.
As a tiny chirping, delightful sparrow,
you shall make your exit.
And death shall hear your last thought.
And it shall make him jealous
of how you lived.
– Niamh Clune
(c) 2014, poem, Niamh Clune, All rights reserve; illustration, Giovanni Da Udine (1487-1564), Italian painter, stuccoist and architect
In what is probably our most exciting news this month: TERRI STEWART (http://beguineagain.com)TESTIFIED BEFORE THE WASHINGTON STATE CONGRESS in February for HB 1651 – the YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES ACT. This act would make non-violent youth records confidential. It is very important for our youth to have as much opportunity as possible and with 1 in 3 African-American young and 1 in 4 Euro-American young men affected by incarceration, we are crippling our young men before they even get a chance in life, saddling them with records that deny them housing, education, and jobs. A resounding success: HB 1651 has passed the house unanimously (on Valentine’s Day!) and is traveling through the senate. For more of Terri’s work with incarcerated youth, see the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition http://youthchaplaincycoalition.wordpress.com/.
Additionally, send all your positive karma, prayers, and energy to Terri from February 27 – March 1 as she travels – once again – with the Board of Ordained Ministry as they continue to get to know her and her work. Let them see the gifts she brings!
AND LATE BREAKING NEWS: Tomorrow Terri is speaking before the Washington State Senate Subcommittee on Human Resources and Corrections.
On February 10 LILIANA NEGOI (http://summaryofmysoul.wordpress.com/ and http://curcubeeinalbsinegru.wordpress.com/) DECIDED TO CELEBRATE HER BIRTHDAY IN A MORE PARTICULAR MANNER, by releasing for free reading a novel that she finished writing last year. Solo Chess is the story of an online affair between Karina and Asheq, weaved from love and passion and obsessions, proving eventually that there can be a reality beyond reality and that our lives can always be the image of a Matryoshka doll. Solo Chess can be read HERE, or you can read and download it from Scribd HERE, and just in case anyone would like it in printed version, there is always the option of getting it from Lulu HERE, but there one has to pay for the printing and binding services provided by the publisher. These being said, Liliana would be glad to hear your opinions about the book. 🙂
Warmest wishes to Lily on her birthday and best wishes for literary success with her newest effort. Here is “Happy Birthday” in the various styles of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Dvorak, and Stravinsky offered in celebration.
Guest writer T.J. Therein (http://tjtherien.wordpress.com/) has also published his book, Liars, Hypocrites & the Development of Human Emotion, which is available through Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/397819.
DR. NIAMH CLUNE (Plum Tree Books) SPEAKS FOR BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL TO SURREY SCHOOL TEACHERS ON SCIENCE THROUGH LITERACY.
“These days, the aim of education is to speak across curricula, and this is something that fills me with passion. We all learn differently. And although I am not a scientist ~ rather an educational psychotherapist specialising in learning through the imagination, my knowing is science-filled, as in any serious research, Epistemology and Methodology (two glorious words) share the love.” MORE
Dr. Clune is CEO of Plum Tree Books, a partner of The Bardo Group.
LOOKING TOWARD SPRING ~ OUR MOST QUOTABLE QUOTE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT goes to contributing writer and artist, Paula Kutenbrouwer (Mindful Drawing):
“I see it like this: If you want to change the world, start with yourself and gradually this change enters the world, becomes more manifest, and spreads. It is the same thing with gardening. If you care about your environment, pesticide-free food or biodiversity, start gardening and create, small as it is, a new world for you, your birds, butterflies and bugs. Every act of kindness helps; every square meter of extra green helps.” Paula Kutenbrouwer
Visit Paula’s post on starting a small City Pot Garden (container garden) and view her lovely drawings and photographs link http://mindfuldrawing.com/2014/02/12/starting-small-city-pot-gardening/.
In line with Paula’s KIND IDEALS, we introduce a new blogger and a young friend of The Bardo Group, Jamaican (now living in Taiwan), Owen Alanzo Hogarth II (The Land of the Blubeeganhttp://blubeegan.com/). Owen posts essays and videos about living simply, crafting practical products in an EARTH GENTLE WAY and on kindly vegan-style consumption http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veganism. He also advocates for raw foods and eats a vegan diet that is 50% raw. In this way food quality is not compromised, allergens are bypassed, less particulate matter is spewed into the air, fewer fuels are used … and NO ANIMALS ARE HARMED. His ideals are real. His footprint is modest.
We also invite you to visit our Canadian friend ChrisBkm (Dancing on Bever Pondshttp://chrisbim.wordpress.com/). Chris shares EXQUISITE NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY, ART AND POETRY on his blog. He says, “I believe we are shaped by our environments, that life is fascinating and that spending time here is quite a gift.”
COME SPRING AND APRIL WE LOOK FORWARD TO POETRY MONTH, a national event in the U.S. and one that The Bardo Group will celebrate as an international event in line with its focus and philosophy.
This annual celebration of poetry was introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. In 1999 Canada joined in the celebration. U.S. President Bill Clinton called it, ” “a welcome opportunity to celebrate not only the unsurpassed body of literature produced by our poets in the past, but also the vitality and diversity of voices reflected in the works of today’s American poets. . . . Their creativity and wealth of language enrich our culture and inspire a new generation of Americans to learn the power of reading and writing at its best.”
Poets.org (the website of the American Academy of Poets) has its button up for you to share on your blogs should you care to do so. They quote this year from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.
“Missing me one place search another I stop somewhere waiting for you.”
You can request a free copy of the 2014 poster for your home or office HERE.
Victoria C. Slotto (Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) hosts WRITER’S FOURTH WEDNESDAY this Wednesday at 7 p.m. Mister Linky will be open for you to link in your poetry, fiction or non-fiction related to the prompt. It will stay open for thirty-seven hours. Victoria will visit you and comment.
Our apologies that not all the links in this report are embedded. WordPress seems to have a hitch in its get-along this evening and there were problems with embedding. One way or another though, the proper links are here for your convenience.
– The Bardo Group
photo credit ~ container garden via Wikipedia by Shakespeare under CC-BY-SA-3.0
would I were sure-footed,
not stumble, fall for you,
be exposed on craggy precipice,
tumble into blue.
would the wind might carry me,
to distant, silky shore
holding my heart tenderly
breaking it no more.
then would I dance lightly,
arabesque with perfect poise
never losing my sure-footing
never hear the rushing noise
of pulsing rivered life-blood
coursing through my veins
as fool, I step off madly
to break my heart again.
I am delighted to finally welcome John Anstie to the Wednesday corner. I have been wanting to post John’s fine piece for months now, but like many things we want to do in life, lists intervene. Anyhow, I know you will enjoy John. Not only os he a very fine poet, he is a fine writer of prose also. He is precise and studied and has produced and been involved in some very fine poetry anthologies. Great to have you here, John.
By John Anstie
When Niamh asked me who is my favourite poet or poem, I found this question impossible to answer. I can only nominate any that I have read, thus far; so the answer may change in time. William Shakespeare should be one, because of his huge influence on the English language and he championed one of my favoured forms of scansion, iambic pentameter; that he wrote…
Niamh Chinn Óir mounted her white stallion to ride the warm, west wind. Her golden hair, wild and free as horse’s mane danced in gay abandon. This journey, fit for none other than she of the faery folk had not been made for centuries. Leaving Tír na nÓg far behind, she crossed the perilous ocean.
What lover’s call had summoned her?
What sweet voice, carried on sea mist had entered her slumber? She would know his name.
Oisín, son of Fionn mac Cumhaill sat on a rock gazing over the crashing sea. The young warrior-bard paused from his labour, disturbed as he was by unquenched longing. His father, fierce and wise chieftain of the Fianna had conquered the Scottish giant Cú Chulainn. Oisin was tasked to write the victory for posterity making it known to all those who were destined to belong to the future.
A wind stirred his hair, just a whisper that carried sweet, unfathomable promise. He was lifted up into the air, dazzled by golden streams of sunlight. He looked upon the face of Niamh and knew the one for whom he had longed.
She carried him across the sea to Tír na nÓg, the land of Eternal Youth. The journey was the passing of a second. No mortal had ever crossed the perilous ocean to the edge of time, to the furthest, western-most reaches of the world where faery and mortal knew no distance or fear between them.
She was his arbour; him, the conqueror of all he surveyed ~ prince of timelessness.
But mortality is ruled by time. And soon the restless spirit summoned him to his father’s purpose. In his deepest heart he was of the blood-line race of Fianna and must return to Ireland to attend his kin.
Niamh warned him of succumbing to his mortal destiny. “If you set foot on Irish soil, it will be your end.” Echoes of her warning called after him on the high-pitched voice of the ill wind that carried him home.
Oisín was shocked at how his land and people had changed. He was a giant among men. Fields were cleared, forests cut down. Hunting had given way to farming. He sighted a group of workers as they struggled to lift a boulder and clear a new tillage. The boulder was of no consequence to Oisín. He leant from his horse to toss it aside. As he did so, his stirrup broke and he fell to the ground. Ageing in an instant, the three hundred years that had passed claimed him and returned him to the soil from whence he had come,
In Oisín’s passing, contact with faery was lost forever. Niamh came no more to the Emerald Isle. Although I hear it told that her name lives still in some of Erin’s daughters.
Martha pushed the wave of hair from her mouth. It curled defiantly, springing back to long-established disobedience. Persistent, she thought, me and my curls.
Grey now, her hair once tumbled in fiery splendour, was alive, misbehaved ~ a shimmering red-gold, tossed easily by whispers of season’s change. Though faded, red gold still flecked her grey.
She had always loved Autumn ~ even in Spring ~ loved passion’s ripening, bearing fruit, swelling, dying and finding peace in Earth’s dormancy.
Gazing from her bedroom window upon the now silent, winter-ravaged garden made barren by endings, she noticed the first thin, green shoot pushing its way through frozen earth in reach of sun. It broke that ground disallowing any weight that might prevent discovery of new life. It pierced the earth, pushed it aside and reached upwards with unashamed vigour.
Martha remembered many springs ~ the spring in her step, the song in her heart, the smell of freshly broken soil, the scent of blossom on the air, new love ~ the excitement of life begun when there were many springs to come.
The young shoot clamouring for sky stabbed her heart. That green shard ~ that razor sharp needle did not speak of hope or new beginnings ~ nor solace, expectancy, or the trumpeted arrival into a fresh season.
She would not see flowers sown by him; she would not smell soil fresh-turned by him. She would not gather herbs for an evening feast. Birds could not sing her wounded heart awake or delight with soaring melody. Her garden was empty and silent.
She moved across the room. At her dressing-table, she opened the drawer, and taking scissors between her slender fingers, she pulled the offending curl straight, and cut.
Round after round, tinged still with autumn fire, tumbled to the ground, where it lay still and final.
WE CLOSE THE YEAR WITH KUDOS ALL AROUND for prodigious bloggers of every ilk with their plans for 2014 and their successes in 2013. So many of our readers and writers rose to the WordPress challenge of a post a day. Others took on special challenges related to seasonal changes or holiday events or their own personal sense of adventure. To name just a few:
Instead of counting down on an Advent calendar, Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace) has been counting the free gifts we all get every day in a series of Advent essays that are beautifully written and both thoughtful and though provoking.
John Nooney (Johnbalaya), a faithful reader here, successfully incorporated his prodigious works from several blogs into one compact blog where he shares his many talents and interests including essays, poems, short stories, photography, and a love of music.
Beatrice Garrard (Adventures in Hats) started her first blog and will be joining us in 2014 as our college reporter with a monthly news post covering the arts and other topics of interest to us.
Liz Rice-Sosne a.k.a. Raven Spirit (Noh Where) a devoted friend to Bardo has joined us as a core team member and will take an active leadership role in our collective Voices for Peaceproject. This is no small gift to us since she is also now a volunteer teacher of English-as-a-Second language. We hope she’ll share her thoughts and experiences on that effort as well. We have officially partnered our Voices for Peace project with 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change.
There are many among us who don’t aspire to publication, but many do and they have successfully sold work to magazines and anthologies, won contests, and/or attracted publishers or chose to self-publish.
Not the least is Victoria C. Slotto whose first novel was published in 2012 by Lucky Bat Press. From that experience she moved on to publish Jacaranda Rain: Collected Poems, 2012,now in a newly-minted paperback edition, and Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. We took the time to read the latter this month and found it to be chockfull of commonsense suggestions that are easily incorporated into daily activities with which you can encourage your loved one. This work was inspired by Victoria’s care of her elderly mother and her experiences as a nurse.
The first section, Shoring Up Memory!, is alone worth the price of admission. She advises phone logs, maintaining a memory board and lists, and a commitment to maintaining a Day Timer and a journal. Other advice includes simplifying life: no over-booking, doing what can be done to minimize stress, and reworking the home so that it is as danger-free as possible. She provides information on getting legal advice, creating a team of helpers (our term, not hers), finding doctors and other health care providers. Victoria emphasizes the importance of physical and mental exercises, faith and prayer, and family support. Well done, Victoria. (Photo copyright, Victoria Slotto, All rights reserved.)
PLUM TREE BOOKS and THE BARDO GROUP have tied the knot and are collaborating to evolve our collective of artists and musicians, poets and writers, encouraging fellowship and appreciation. Plum Tree Books (PTB) CEO, Niamh Clune, writes about PTB’s latest effort: “This is the bones of the news… I have created, Plum Tree Books ~ INSIGHTS ~ A magazine about publishing, writing, children’s books, illustrating and poetry. I am receiving so many of your wonderful poems, and requests from people who would like to write for Plum Tree Books, that I thought this would be a great chance to expand our horizons and include more of your work as well as sharing insights into how we are growing, creating, and collaborating. This is all part of building the Plum Tree Books’ platform to give some of the wonderful talent expressed through FaceBook, blogs and The Bardo Group a broader exposure. Coming in January!”
A FINAL REMINDER ABOUT THE SECOND LIGHT NETWORK’S CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR THEIR 2014 ANTHOLOGY. The deadline is 15 January 2014.
Her Wings of Glass (the title a quotation from Sylvia Plath) is to be a 200 page anthology that will complement but not repeat Second Light’s previous anthology (with Arrowhead Books), Images of Women. The focus of this anthology is ‘big issues’, for example the future of the planet, good and evil aspects of our relationship with the natural world and with each other, different aspects of our imaginative understanding of ‘who we are’.
The invitation is for up to six poems per submission, not more than 200 lines in total, with three copies of each poem to Dilys Wood at 3, Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ, by January 15th 2014 together with the administrative fee of £5 (Second Light members) or £8 (non-members). Cheques payable to ‘Second Light’ or pay online at the poetry p f (online shop (filter to ‘Wings’). Non-UK submissions may be sent by e-mail as .doc or .pdf attachments, only to Second Light Administrator (poet Anne Stewart. ) Anne Stewart is a fabulous help with your technical questions. [Check out Anne’s poems HERE.]
Issue 11, November 2013 of ARTEMISpoetry is available now through Second Light Network and submissions are currently being accepted for the next issue. Details HERE.
BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE: This is a heads-up on our event in the planning for Valentine’s Day 2014. Details to be determined and announced. Look for more news about this collaborative effort addressing climate and environmental concerns and the meaning of nature in our lives.
WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY with Victoria C. Slotto will resume on 22 January 2014, running every month up-to-and-including 22 October 2014.
… and, as the saying goes “last but not least” … a WW I memorial project of John Anstie’s (My Poetry Library and 42) church group from Christ Church Stocksbridge featuring poet Ian McMillan …
Best wishes for the New Year from all of us to all of you. If you missed the deadline for this post, feel free to leave your announcement in the comments section. If you have something you’d like us to include in the next news post, leave a note here in the comment section as well or under any upcoming post and someone will get back to you. The next news post will go up on January 26, Sunday at 7 p.m. PST. The deadline for news submissions is Friday, January 24.