Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Interview with Karen Paul Holmes

This is an interview with poet and member of  NCWN-West, Karen Paul Holmes. It was published online last year.




KAREN PAUL HOLMES INTERVIEW
WITH GLENDA COUNCIL BEALL
May 14, 2018

GCB: Your new book is No Such Thing as Distance, published by Terrapin Books. Did you have a particular audience in mind with this collection?
KPH: First of all, thanks so much for this interview, Glenda.
My goal is to create poems that touch people in some way—through an aha-moment, a connection to the subject or image, a shared laugh, etc.  By people, I mean anyone, not a specific audience. When I chose poems for this manuscript, I did have themes in mind but hoped the book would appeal to a variety of readers. The interwoven themes are family (especially Macedonian cultural traditions), music, nature, grief, and healing. I included a few traditional recipes at the back of the book, because cooking together is one ways my family connects, and, of course, that’s pretty much universal. 

GCB: I like getting to know your parents in the poems in your latest book. I had the pleasure of meeting your mother when she came to my studio, when my dog stole her lunch. She was a good sport. She must have loved your father intensely to leave Australia to marry him and live in the United States.  In the poem, “Matilda Waltzing,” we sense she harbored homesickness, as any of us would likely feel. Did she tell you she was homesick and that she missed her family in Australia?
KPH: It’s funny you brought up your dog stealing her lunch, because my dog stole her Angelo’s Coney Island hot dog once! That was my dad’s restaurant in Flint, Michigan, and the recipe for the secret sauce is in the book. Anyway, I don’t ever remember my mother using the word “homesick,” but she always talked longingly about Australia, and she really hated Michigan winters. After she moved to Florida, she felt more at home in the tropical climate, but I think she remained nostalgic about the home and family she left Down Under—she only returned twice to visit. My siblings and I used to time how long it would take her to tell a stranger that she was from Australia – usually under five minutes. To be fair, though, she still had some of her accent, and people would often ask where she was from. But when she answered, she made it seem like she was just visiting the US temporarily, which says a lot about her strong roots.

GCB: “Macedonian Bean Soup” surprised me. It hails back to your marriage, your ex-husband, and your father. Food brings forth stronger memories than almost anything, and I enjoyed the image of your husband and your father cooking the soup. Have you made this soup?
KPH: Yes, I found my ex’s handwritten notes and made the soup for the first time last year. The poem says “Perhaps one day, I’ll make it myself,” and so I thought, “What’s stopping me?” It was yummy and just like my dad would make. I’m kind of sorry some of the poems mention my ex, but certain events or themes always seem to slip into our writing, don’t they? So I just have to accept that. The 31-year marriage was a huge part of my life, after all, and affects how I am today.

GCB: You make poems from the most mundane sometimes. We see how observant you are of nature and the world around you. Tell me about your writing process for “Ant Fest.”
KPH: My process is almost always the same. Something gets into my head—usually a line or a title—and sometimes that something turns into a whole poem that might meander into an entirely different something, like how killing the ants turns into releasing frustrations for all sorts of past events. I think in this case, the ants’ drunkenness seemed funny and interesting to me, hence the first two lines, “Drunk on liquid bait, they stumble/ across the white bathroom tile.” If I remember correctly, those lines started out as the poem’s opening and remained through all my revisions, though often I move things around when editing.

GCB: “Confessions of an Ugly Nightgown” is one of my favorite poems. This is a persona poem. How did this idea come to you? Did your mother talk about her life growing up in Australia?

KPH: That’s quite an old poem, perhaps the first one I wrote about my mother. The title came to me first, so then I had to try telling the story through the nightgown’s viewpoint, and it seemed to work. Yes, my mom talked about Australia all the time, and she had lots of old family photos. Aussie relatives had come to visit over the years, so I heard their stories too. My mother really didn’t keep many things from her past, but the nightgown was always just sort of there in a box, and then somehow I ended up with it. As I grew into young adulthood, I started appreciating the loyalty and bravery it took for my mother to sail across the world to marry someone she couldn’t have known all that well. I felt compelled to write about that, and the nightgown’s journey seemed like one way to do it.

GCB: I have always been drawn to looking into lit windows of houses as I pass by, where strangers live and families gather. Your poem, “Road Stories,” grabbed me, and I will read this one often. What prompted this poem?
KPH: I started keeping a list of road names that were funny or intriguing. I often wonder about how a road got its name, but like you, I also wonder about people inside, especially when it’s dark and the lights are on. So, I don’t know how, but the poem started emerging and then traveling to different places (which seemed appropriate for a “road” poem), ending up with Dorothy in Kansas!

GCB: Although it is unusual for a poet to submit the same manuscript more than once to the same publisher, you sent this one to Terrapin Books a second time after it was first rejected a year or so before. Why did you think it would be accepted the second time around?
KPH: Well, I had no idea about my chances of acceptance the second time, but because the editor had given me constructive feedback on the first submission, I thought she cared enough about my work to take a second look. So I emailed her, saying I’d made revisions based on her input (mostly about the order of poems) and asking whether she’d like to see it again. And she said yes! The moral of the story is: Pay attention when editors (of journals or books) take the time to give you feedback on a submission or otherwise give you encouragement, and don’t be afraid to resubmit.

GCB: You have been quite successful publishing your poetry in journals and reviews. Your first poetry book was well received. What advice can you give to poets who want to see their books published by a reputable press? Is there a special tip you can offer a poet to make their work acceptable?
KPH: I did what my mentor, the poet Nancy Simpson, suggested: Get your poems published in journals first. Usually, that means a lot of work perfecting your poems, hopefully by attending workshops or critique groups, and then submitting to lots of journals. My acceptance rate ranges from 6%-13%, so that means I submitted many poems over several years to get into the publications I’ve been in so far. Duotrope, the submission tracker I use and recommend, says my ratio is “higher than the average for members who have submitted to the same places.” For the last two years, I made it a point to only submit to journals who take less than 5% of the poems they receive. While my ratio went down, my credentials went up because I got into some top journals.
You have to get used to rejection. My friend, the poet Maren Mitchell, helped me to see it as almost a game. When she gets rejected, she says, “Yippee! Time to do more submissions!”
In the submission guidelines for chapbooks or full-length manuscripts, publishers will usually require that a certain number of the poems have previously appeared in reputable publications.
GCB: You attended the AWP Conference in Tampa, Florida. Please tell us about that experience. What were the highlights of the conference for you?
KPH: AWP is huge—10,000 writers—so it’s better if you go with someone, which I did. I loved hearing David Kirby, Mark Doyy, Natalie Shapero, and others read their poems, and I met poets and editors that I had only known online. I was honored that the editor of Lascaux Review, Stephen Parrish who lives in Germany, came to my book signing and bought a book. I will say, though, that I prefer to attend workshops led by an accomplished poet where you revise and edit your work for a week or so. I loved the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, San Miquel (Mexico) Poetry Workshop, and the Sarah Lawrence Summer Seminar, and highly recommend them for improving your work and making connections with other writers. 
GCB: You teach writing and host writing events. Why do you think poets should take classes and participate in literary events?
KPH: Writing can be a lonely pursuit. Classes and critique groups are invaluable for improving your work and getting inspired to create more. By attending readings, you learn other writers’ work (and hearing it is very special), and you support writers who are as passionate about the craft as you are. Networking events are good for your poetry “career” and for making friends who share a common interest. I love my poet friends. I am a better person and poet because of my connections with other poets. My critique group and the North Carolina Writers’ Network have been an invaluable support system. Here’s an article I wrote about starting and running a critique group. https://trishhopkinson.com/2018/04/29/6-workshop-critique-tips-guest-blog-post-by-karen-paul-holmes/
GCB: Thank you, Karen, for answering these questions.


About the interviewer: Glenda Council Beall is a poet, blogger, memoirist and writing teacher. She’s the author of a poetry book, Now Might as Well be Then (Finishing Line Press, 2009) and a family history, Profiles and Pedigrees, Thomas Charles Council and His Descendants (Genealogy Publishing Co. 1998). Her poems, essays, and short stories have appeared in Reunions Magazine, Main Street Rag, Appalachian Heritage, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Your Daily Poem, Wild Goose Poetry Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology: North Carolina, and many other places. Her poems have won awards in the James Still Poetry Contest and the Clay County NC Poetry Contest. Beall is the Program Coordinator for the western region of the North Carolina Writers’ Network and has taught memoir at John C. Campbell Folk School, Tri-County Community College, and Writers Circle around the Table.  http://www.glendacouncilbeall.com/

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, diode, Poet Lore, and other journals and anthologies. Holmes hosts The Side Door Poets in Atlanta and Writers’ Night Out in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She’s a freelance business writer and teaches creative writing workshops. http://KarenPaulHolmes.com



Monday, January 21, 2019

Glenda Barrett's poem, "I'd like to write about lovely things," has been accepted for publication in Front Porch Review in April 2019

Glenda Barrett's poem, "I'd like to write about lovely things," has been accepted for publication in the Front Porch Review, an online literary magazine. Her poem will be in the magazine's April 2019 publication.


Glenda Barrett, a native of Hiawassee, Georgia, is a poet, writer, and visual artist. Her work has been widely published since 1997 and has appeared in: Woman's World, Farm & Ranch Living, Country Woman, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Journal of Kentucky Living, Nantahala Review, Rural Heritage, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Kaleidoscope Magazine and many more. 


Barrett is the author of two poetry books, When the Sap Rises,  published by Finishing Line Press, in 2008 and The Beauty of Silence, published by Aldrich Press, in 2017. Both books are available on Amazon.com. Glenda's artwork is online at Fine Art America.

 

Barrett worked many years in various healthcare system jobs and retired due to a form of Muscular Dystrophy. She is very grateful to be able to devote her time to the two things she loved as a child, painting and writing. She has two grown children and two grandchildren, and lives with her husband of forty-two years in the North Georgia mountains.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Carroll S.Taylor's poem "In Memoriam" awarded Second Place in the Mnemosyne Award for the 2018 Georgia Poetry Society's fall contest.

Carroll S. Taylor has been awarded Second Place for her poem, "In Memoriam," in the Mnemosyne Award contest for the 2018 Georgia Poetry Society's fall contest. The poem will be published in the 2019 edition of The Reach of Song. 

Carol Crawford judged this award category. Her comments are as follows: 

"In Memoriam" comes at the reader with vivid visual imagery. It reads like an artist's black and white photograph, with sharply drawn contrasts. The word pictures of death and mourning are dramatic. The stark warning of the dead bird bringss to mind violence humans commit against each other and serves as its own warning and cautionary tale.


https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-PGzGYrS4ojo/W6p7mlwtc8I/AAAAAAAACxY/WF55rdLwv7IFnKWLu6ZxTR8xVFgwKZtmgCLcBGAs/s1600/Carroll%2BTaylor.jpgCarroll S. Taylor grew up on a dirt road in rural West Central Georgia. A graduate of Tift College (Mercer University) with a BA in French, she holds graduate degrees in French and English as well as an EdS in Educational Leadership. She was an educator for forty-three years. As a secondary teacher, she taught French, English, Journalism, Creative Writing, and ESL. She advised students in the creation and publication of school newspapers and yearbooks. After her retirement, she moved on to her second career as a part-time instructor at Columbus State University, teaching freshman composition. 


She is the author of two young adult novels, Chinaberry Summer and Chinaberry Summer: On theOther Side. She is currently writing the third novel in the series, Chinaberry Summer: Down by the Water. Her books emphasize generational storytelling and respect for the valuable role of reptiles and amphibians in our ecosystem. One of the personal highlights of publishing her novels was her book reading held in the childhood home of Carson McCullers.

Carroll is a member of North Carolina Writers’ Network, North Carolina Writers’ Network-West, and the Georgia Poetry Society.
 She and her husband retired to Hiawassee, Georgia, where they share a home with their two cats. She loves studying nature, especially snakes. She enjoys writing in all forms, including poetry and novels. Readers may find her journal blog at chinaberrysummer.com and follow her at: https://www.facebook.com/ChinaberrySummer/.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Rosemary Royston in Split Rock Review

We are happy to congratulate Rosemary Royston for her poem and her contributor's remarks in Split Rock Review. Click on the link below to read the poem and Rosemary's remarks about the poem.

https://www.splitrockreview.org/news/?offset=1543331064950

Rosemary is our new NCWN-West treasurer. She lives in Blairsville, GA.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Maren Mitchell is the new Georgia representative for NCWN-West


NCWN-West is delighted to announce that Maren O. Mitchell, who lives in Young Harris, Georgia is our new representative for NCWN-West in the north Georgia region. Rosemary Royston, who served as representative and as program coordinator in the past resigned to become treasurer. She is taking the place of the late Newt Smith, our treasurer since 2009.


Maren Mitchell is a well-published poet who is now holding a poetry group that meets monthly at the library in Young Harris. I have heard much praise from those attending. Maren is giving extra time to assist poets with publishing tips.  As many as twelve or thirteen people are joining this group each month. Contact the library for date and time of meetings. 

You can find Mitchell's professional profile at:
https://netwestmembers.blogspot.com/2015/05/maren-o-mitchell.html

You can contact Mitchell at: marenomitchell@gmail.com

Monday, December 3, 2018

Poet Maren O. Mitchell's poems appearing in The Lake, online poetry journal, and The Macguffin Literary Magazine



Maren O. Mitchell’s poem, “O without a kickstand, Q” appears in The Macguffin, Volume 35.1, and her poem, “Falling Toward Winter” appears in The Lake, December issue, online UK journal.


Maren O. Mitchell, poet and author of Beat Chronic Pain, An Insider's Guide:



 


Mitchell’s poems appear in POEM, The Comstock Review, Slant, A Journal of Poetry, The Pedestal Magazine, Tar River Poetry, Poetry East, Hotel Amerika, Chiron Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Appalachian Heritage, The South Carolina Review, Southern Humanities Review, The Lake (UK), Skive (AU), The Classical Outlook, Town Creek Poetry, The Journal of Kentucky Studies, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Appalachian Journal, The Arts Journal and Red Clay Reader #4.
Her work is included in The Crafty Poet II: a Portable Workshop; The World Is Charged: Poetic Engagements with Gerard Manley Hopkins; The Southern Poetry Anthologies, V & VII; Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems; Sunrise from Blue Thunder; Nurturing Paws; and Echoes across the Blue Ridge
 
Two poems, “X Is a Kiss on Paper” and “T, Totally Balanced,” have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes by contributing editors of Pushcart. In 2012 she received 1st Place Award for Excellence in Poetry from the Georgia Poetry Society. Her nonfiction book, Beat Chronic Pain, An Insider’s Guide, (Line of Sight Press, 2012) www.lineofsightpress.com is on Amazon. Interconnecting with writers throughout mountain towns in northern Georgia, she participates in monthly critique groups and public reading venues.