New Poetry Series!

After a week’s delay due to illness, I am excited to announce that I have started a new poetry series available exclusively on  Channillo is a literary series subscription web site.

My new series is titled The Colour of Her Mind.  It is a series of blackout poems created from The Color of Her Panties by Piers Anthony.  The Color of Her Panties is a Xanth series novel I re-read last summer.  I loved the Xanth series as an adolescent.  As an adult, I dislike the books.  Yes, there are still the many puns that won me over in younger years; however, there is also the misogyny.

After last summer’s re-read, I pondered what to do with my collection of Xanth (and Incarnations of Immortality series) novels.  Sell them?  Donate them to the local literacy second-hand book store?  Then came the idea for blackout poems, a creative response to the dilemma.

The first poem “Mermen” is up and ready for reading, with two other poems slated for release this week.  I intend to release a few blackout poems each week for six months.

Channillo charges $2.59 per month to view one series.  As the author, I will see a significant portion of that money once I reach the $50 minimum threshold.

Please purchase a subscription and support my work!

Supporting a Writer is Lunch Money

I forgot to include this little incident in my post about the Cascadia Poetry Festival, so I decided to give it its own blog post.  Sunday morning, I had gone to the Small Press Fair with the intent to buy books.  I stopped by a table of books by Festival presenters, as I wanted to buy Christine Lowther‘s book Half-Blood Poems.  I had been by this table a couple times at that point and still wasn’t sure who was accepting money for the books.

Christine Lowther happened to be standing nearby.  I greeted her and mentioned my dilemma in purchasing her book.  She thought the woman at the attached table (who was the publisher of the Festival’s anthology) was handling the Festival presenters’ book purchases.  However, Ms. Lowther told me I could just buy the book from her.

As I did so, she made the comment that now she had money for lunch.

This.  This is what you are supporting, dear readers, when you buy from authors and artists (directly or from small middlepeople, such as small presses).  You are buying them lunch.  Or you are paying their cab fare.  Or you are helping them pay rent. When you buy an author’s book or another artist’s artwork, you are supporting the various necessities and small luxuries that keep the artist alive, well, and creating.

Cascadia Poetry Festival

As mentioned in my previous post, this past weekend, I attended the third Cascadia Poetry Festival, which was held in Nanaimo.  This festival focuses on poetry and poets from the Cascadia bio-region.

From the program:  “The concept of bioregionalism is still woefully misunderstood.  Bioregionalism is a reexamination of our own selves and the places in which we live in purely ecological terms, and is an effort to harmonize human activities with the natural systems that sustain life.”

This festival featured Living Room readings (“free and open democratic reading[s] where people read their own work and listen to others in a circle format” — also from the program), panel discussions, workshops (out of my price range, sadly), poetry readings galore, and later night gatherings at a local bar.  Due to family obligations and the fact that everything was happening this weekend, including the monthly local homelearners’ group meet-up and Free Comic Book Day (the first one in which I’ve taken part) on Saturday, I didn’t partake of everything the festival had to offer.

I went to the Living Room readings on Friday and Saturday, and read two poems each time.  I received a number of positive responses to the poems I read.  (Yay, praise!)

I attended the evening poetry readings.  I was privileged to listen to many poets, including Renée Sarojini Saklikar, Christine Lowther, Amber Dawn,Garry Gottfriedson, Susan Musgrave, Rita Wong, and Sam Hamill.  Robert Bringhurst, whom I heard at the closing reading, has a deep, distinctive voice.  I remember thinking he’d make a good movie trailer announcer.

I watched the Saturday screening of the documentary The Line Has Shattered, which is about the 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference.  I found it interesting but not as emotionally-gripping as a lot of the documentaries I’ve watched in the past year and a bit.

I attended two panel discussions on Sunday.  They were titled:  Rewilding Poetry (Eco-Poetry in Cascadia) and On the Margins.  The first panel featured poets Rita Wong, Christine Leclerc, Sharon Thesen, and Stephen Collis.  The second panel featured poets Nadine Maestas, Renée Sarojini Saklikar, and Susan Musgrave.  They each presented a short speech/poetry about the topic; then it was opened up to the floor for questions or comments.  I would like to say I took tons of notes at these panels; however, while I recorded a couple quotes, I mostly sat listening and thinking.

Also on Sunday, I purchased three books of poetry:  Where the Words End and My Body Begins by Amber Dawn (which I read all in one go in the bath Sunday night), Let’s Give War a Chance by Faiza Sultan (she read the title poem at one of the Living Rooms; it was and is powerful), and Half-Blood Poems:  Inspired by the Stories of J.K. Rowling by Christine Lowther (Harry Potter-inspired poems?  Yes, please!).

I made connections and heard many poets I may not otherwise have heard.  By the end of the festival, my head felt jam-packed with poetry and bursting with too many ideas.

NaPoWriMo #30

Today is the last day of NaPoWriMo and the last day to enter my Big Poetry Giveaway.  Here is my final poem, using today’s prompt from the NaPoWriMo site, for NaPoWriMo 2015:

Fairy Tale

With love and laughter and expected tears
her childhood passed
a pleasant dream slowly fading away
until one day:
You are a woman now
it is time to find your way

remembering her mother’s words,
she went to the wisewoman who,
with the slimy remains of a slimy tea,
told her where to go
fear clung to her like a second skin
she knew she had to shed

time to go
she packed a basket
with berries and bread and wine,
all the things she’d need

she whispered through the meadow, wildflowers
dotting colour like an arrow on her path
the sunlight glinting through the sparse, outlying trees
betrayed what was to come

catching her breath      shivering despite
the red cloak weighted on her shoulders,
she took a step
into the dark woods   down.

© 2015 by Robin A. Sams

NaPoWriMo #29

Only one more day of NaPoWriMo?  Is it true?  It’s true.

I was going to follow today’s prompt and write a poem in the form of a review.  Then I saw a particular tweet regarding Toya Graham, the Baltimore mother who hit her son and removed him from the riot.  This poem isn’t about her and isn’t a commentary on her parenting.  It’s about a particular tweet, a particular attitude, a particular opinion.

Facing the Rod

“any parent who spares the rod
hates their children,”
he tweeted.
Nope.  And nope.

I hate my daughter
because I won’t unleash violence
on her young body
on her mind still growing,
the world slowly unfolding in her brain?

I should teach her pain,
break her trust of me
whose job is to protect as best I can,
break the bond we forged in perfect love
at the breast,
fill her with humiliated hatred
for the hands that once cradled her
to sleep in the night?

The world will teach her
soon enough
to cry   to sob until she feels her body will break
to rip oppression with her rage
to shout helplessly
at unhearing ears
to hurt in a thousand ways
before nightfall.

That is not my job.
My job is to teach her
how to survive it

and thrive.

© 2015 by Robin A. Sams