Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

The third Sunday this April is Easter Sunday so the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Third Sunday Write” (see March 17, et al.) had to be scheduled a week early this time.  And while the warm-up exercises could be a bit prosey — a list of things known and that one might like to know, answers to the question “What feeds you?” (which could be poetic), and a descriptive rendering of a favorite place, the final event took on a more poetic flavor.  Poems from three poetry books were read with instructions to note down lines or phrases that seemed to particularly stand out; then write your work incorporating some of these phrases.  Mine, a poem called “Magma,” discussed energy in its various forms, potential, kinetic, but also mental — in imagination — and will it matter?  The ending, another “borrowed” line:  “The gods are never caught.”

Not much will come of this one for me, probably, in terms of work that could lead to a story, but it was fun.  And the end, fun too, was to comment not so much on others’ readings of what they composed, but to also pick out lines and phrases that stood out — an exercise in imagination but also an appreciation of things that can spark it.

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A funny thing happened at yesterday’s “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic,” co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and local tavern Bear’s Place (cf. March 3, et al.).  We ran out of time.  We had two featured readers, both of whom we’ve met before, Shayne Laughter with a story, “The Long Game,” from a collection in progress of tales about the Greek fertility goddess/Mistress of Hades Persephone plus an earlier story, “Her First Poem,” followed by PDVNCH with a dramatic poem in ten scenes, concerning a woman who rebels against being her true self, opting instead for the images society thrusts on her.  But afterwards, when it was open mike time, with a film showing scheduled after our readings at 5 p.m. sharp, and with seven walk-ons signed up, it was doubtful everyone could be fit in.  Result:  MC Joan Hawkins and I drank the Kool-Ade, as the saying goes, opting to postpone our presentations until May, with (result number two) the reduced list of five ending the program right on time.

And so the the second Bloomington Writers Guild “Spoken Word Series at Bears” occurred last night on its new first Wednesday schedule at local (located, in fact, on Third Street) tavern Bear’s Place.  The featured readings started with parts of a 1968 Chicago-set novel in progress by local author and WFHB radio star Mike Glab; followed by a radio theater dramatization of part of a Robert Heinlein novel, THE SAIL BEYOND SUNSET, by also WFHB community radio host Richard Fish; and Indiana poet Steve Henn (most recent collection:  INDIANA NOBLE SAD MAN OF THE YEAR from Wolfson Press) with a group of personal poems including his 2018 RATTLE Poetry Prize finalist entry “Soccer Dad”; interspersed with poetry-with-music sets by SHAKESPEARE’S MONKEY, who we’ve met before (see September 1 2018, March 10 2017, et al.).  For the “Open Mic” part, I led off a series of five readers noting first that last month’s “Casket Girls” (cf. March 6) was just one of about a dozen flash stories concerning these New Orleanian vampires, so why not continue with their adventures for at least the rest of the year, then segueing into this month’s story, “A St. Valentine’s Day Tale,” about a fatal practical joke played by one of les filles on a loving, but sometimes abusive husband.

A rather dim “starring” actually since I was not one of the featured readers at the Bloomington Writers Guild’s March “Last Sunday Poetry Reading and Open Mic” (cf. February 24, et al.) at the Monroe County Convention Center.  Of those that were, leading off was Alex Chambers who read five poems from his upcoming collection BINDINGS, to be released this summer by by Pickpocket Books, followed by LuAnne Holladay with “a number of pretty short poems” on such subjects as memories, dreams, birds, and prayer.  Then after the break I was second of just three readers this time with a pair of love poems to honor a coming spring (almost here by the end of last week, but shattered by a rainy, cold Saturday with a dusting of snow by Sunday morning; a sunnier but still cold Sunday afternoon), “Love Consummated” and, with a touch of the Frankenstein in it, “Can Monsters Not Love?”

Second Thursdays now traded for First Wednesdays and housed in its new Bears Place location (see March 3, February 22), the “Writers Guild Spoken Word Series” featured an (almost) all-poetry program, plus music by North Carolina singer Calib Lail.  The main speakers were Charles Culp with a modified improv poetry program (audience members suggest broad subject areas, he finds an already written poem appropriate to it), Writers guild founding member and past chair Patsy Rahn with poems mostly from her just published THE GRAINY WET SOUL, and Paul Smedberg with often wryly humorous poems from his EVENT HORIZON collection and elsewhere.  This was followed by five open mike readers, the first two also with poetry, with me fourth with my New Orleans urban legend-based flash story “Casket Girls” — with a nod to Mardi Gras the day before — of the coming of vampires to the New World (cf. May 2, April 3 2018; March 6 2016; April 28 2015, et al.).

Another voice from the past received (cf. December 11 2017) with today’s email:  It’s been a long time coming, but issue 27 of BÊTE NOIRE is finally coming together. Attached is your poem as it will appear in our magazine.  If you could, please take a moment to look it over and let me know if everything looks okay.  Publication originally had been planned for October 2018 but, as we know well in the writing biz, delays sometimes do happen.

Looking back to the guidelines,  BÊTE NOIRE specializes in fiction and poems that are well written, character driven and have a dark bent to them.  We are open to most genres as long as they have a dark side.  This includes horror, dark sci-fi, dark fantasy, crime, mystery or dark humor.  For myself I think of “Even Odds” as falling into the “dark humor” category there, but it’s also a bit on the nihilistic side (being  as it’s about the end of the world and such) which might suggest a gloomy tinge too.

But to the point, corrections (just a small one and that in my biographical note) went back this afternoon, with more to be here as it becomes revealed.

February’s Bloomington Writers Guild “Last Sunday Poetry Reading and Open Mic” (cf. January 27, et al.), co-sponsored by the Monroe County Convention Center, saw a rather small turnout this time, perhaps in part due to a rare sunny, bright day, even if windy and still chilly.  The announced readers were Writers Guild newcomer Joe Betz with five poems from a working manuscript plus one just drafted, followed by Tony Brewer, past Guild chairman and “old hand,” with a selection of poems and an explanation of the title of his upcoming book HOMUNCULUS.  After the break I was second among four open mike readers with “The White Worm: On the Death of Virginia Poe, by Consumption,” the second of my two poems from the ONCE UPON A MIDNIGHT (Unnameable Press, 1995) Edgar Allan Poe based anthology, as a follow up to “The Resurrection Man” from last month.

Then another short note, the “other” Kickstarter we’ve been following for Gehenna and Hinnom Books (see February 16, 1) will be ending this Saturday, March 2.  Those interested in helping a good cause — as well, perhaps, in some tasty rewards — are invited to press here.

The Goth cat Triana, herself a lover of seafood, was given the choice of a short poem of mine to share for the occasion.  Her selection, as it happens, might be dedicated especially to southern hemisphere readers who, in places like Australia where 100 degree plus temperatures appear to be common for this February, might plan to spend Valentine’s Day at the beach.

.

WET WORK

mermaid vampiress
scarlet billows greet her kiss
a sea of love

 

“Wet Work” was originally published in the Fall 2017 STAR*LINE.

And now how about a bit of print?  Let us look back to September 5 last year, announcing the sale of a poem, “Escalations,” to ILLUMEN MAGAZINE.  This one was advertised to come out in their Winter issue and . . . here it is, arriving in yesterday evening’s mail!  The poem itself is near the front, on page 15, bracketed by poems by Frank Coffman and Bruce Boston, and tells the tale of what transpired after the historic meeting of Bambi and Godzilla (as captured on film by Marv Newland, for which one may press here), setting off a train of events with worldwide implications concerning the sport of basketball.

How so, you ask?  Well, it’s all in ILLUMEN, published by Alban Lake, which a spot check tells me isn’t up on Amazon yet, but which also can be bought by pressing here.

Though dated Wednesday February 6, today, writer/blogger Carl Alves’s interview of me, “10 Questions With James Dorr” (see February 1), actually went live Tuesday evening on THIS IS CARL’S BRAIN (a.k.a. CARLALVES.COM), shortly followed by a link via Facebook on DIGITAL FICTION PUBLISHING LEAGUE.  What questions, one asks?  Well, ones concerning such matters as differences in writing poetry vs. writing prose, overall themes, the desire to write horror, and which is best:  short stories, novelettes, or novels?  Also, in lieu of my normal mug shot are portraits of Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan Poe.

And why those, you ask? — for answers press here.




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