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Posts Tagged ‘poetic book tours’

My guest today is Diamante Lavendar, who is celebrating the release of her newest poetry collection, Finding Hope in the Darkness of Grief. I’ve asked Diamante to share a poem from the collection and its inspiration, and I’m hoping you all find it as moving as I did. Please give her a warm welcome!

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You Shone Like The Sun On Autumn Leaves

You shone like the sun on autumn leaves,
Their remaining life brief before they fell from the trees.
The sun’s light was strong, the warmth intense,
Just as your heart:  loving, immense.
But the leaves shriveled up and neared their end,
Just as you when you left, my child, my friend.
Your meaning lives on in every new day;
I begged God for time to extend your stay.
It’s a hard lesson to learn that you have no control
Over life, over love, over a darling child’s soul;
All we can do is sift through the hours
And beg for provision, mercy and power
To experience life’s sentence of lessons and fate
Before we, too, find ourselves in heaven’s estate.
Love us and guide us from your ethereal view,
Until one day we are reunited with you.

I wrote this for my daughters who passed away.  One only after ten hours’ time and the other after nearly nineteen years.  Both heartbreaking.  Devastating.  But I know that they are still alive and well beyond heaven’s veil.  They visit me and make themselves known not only to help me write so that I can help others but also to let me know they’re okay so that my heart doesn’t break beyond repair.  They gift me with a sense of purpose and meaning, with the understanding that heaven is real, it’s not just a wish or a fantasy.  Because of them I know that this life is a learning ground that leads to bigger and better things.  And I am exceedingly grateful for that knowledge and to be able to pass it along to others who are embattled and mourning.  We all need to know why we’re here and what our actions will lead to in the future.  And we all need to be comforted and to know that beauty is looming on the horizon no matter how much pain we’ve encountered on planet earth!

Thank you, Diamante, for sharing your poem and story with me and my readers. I hope that it helps others find comfort and healing.

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About Finding Hope in the Darkness of Grief

Finding Hope in the Darkness of Grief is a winner of a Pinnacle Achievement Award for Spirituality.  It is also the recipient of a Silver Medal from Mom’s Choice Awards!

This earthly plane offers much for us to learn: happiness, wisdom, loss, heartbreak, and enlightenment. It is a Pandora’s box of emotions, situations, opportunities, and failures, all wrapped into a package we call life. Nobody is immune, but everyone has the opportunity to grow tall or wither like a flower in harsh light. It’s completely up to us how we choose to respond.

Finding Hope in the Darkness of Grief is a gleaning of insights from artist Diamante Lavender. For her, life has been a long, difficult road, but it has taught many poignant lessons. Her poetry collection is an exploration of the human soul, a traversing of situations that life throws at us. Diamante has always been intrigued by the ability to overcome and move on to bigger and better things.

She writes to encourage hope and possibility in those who read her stories. If she can help others heal, as she has, then Diamante’s work as an author and artist will have been well spent. She believes that everyone should try to leave a positive mark on the world, to make it a better place for all. Writing is the way that she is attempting to leave her mark–one story at a time.

Find the book on Goodreads and Amazon

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I’m pleased to welcome Nancy Richardson, author of the poetry collection An Everyday Thing, to Diary of an Eccentric today to share a poem from the book and the inspiration behind it. Please give her a warm welcome!

Notes on a Poem

     by Nancy Richardson

 An Everyday Thing

 notes of the students’ lawyers, Kent State Trial

 

one round was fired on the hill.

what did they say?

you can see smoke in the pictures.

good hair, the jury likes him.

find the impeaching part.

cause she’s so pretty

watch out for hearsay and conclusions.

did you see anyone carry any bodies?

he put the blame on me for his fuck-up.

you have any phenobarbital?

he gave the order to kneel and take aim.

if he hadn’t heard the order to fire.

he’s getting scattered, tell him to sit down.

can you help me cash my paycheck?

one person in troop G emptied their whole clip.

he’s been ineffective lately.

the net gain is clearly worth the cost.

he had his hand on his holster.

Bill was not dead there.

I yawn to mask my true sentiments.

when you play in the mud you get dirty.

say thanks to Charlie.

isn’t death an everyday thing for everyone?

he said if they rush us shoot them.

how come you’re saving all the notes?

This poem is a found poem constructed from the real notes of the students’ lawyers in the Kent State civil trial of 1975. I moved to Kent in the summer of 1970, three months after 13 students had been shot by the National Guard. Four students died and one was paralyzed. Others had significant wounds.  The campus was swarming with undercover agents from various organizations and a large number of student resistors. Students and several organizations that promoted justice began the process of sorting through the various theories of what had occurred in order to bring the shooters to justice. This turned out to be an arduous and unsuccessful process in Ohio, where support for the Vietnam War was strong and suspicion of student activists was high.  The students lost the civil trial of 1975 and later received a pittance of a settlement from the State of Ohio.

My sister, Galen Lewis, was the chief researcher and paralegal for the trial.  She and her partner, Joseph Lewis, Jr., who had been shot at Kent State, moved from Ohio to Oregon in 1975. Both became active in social justice causes.  Galen became ill and died in 1990.  Although many of the documents from the Kent State shooting were given to Yale University, these notes remained in her possession and she gave them to me.

In sorting through them, I began to realize that the notes told a story and that the story would make a poem.  I struggled a bit to select the important notes and to arrange them in an order which would require the reader to develop a sense of the background theme of the trial without having that theme explained in the poem. The notes would also provide a sense of how the lawyers felt about themselves and the defendants in the charged atmosphere of the trial.  The question “isn’t death an everyday thing for everyone?” is a striking statement, both philosophical and surprising.  I assume that this was a statement characterizing the strategy of the defendants lawyers in minimizing what had occurred and in characterizing the shootings as accidental. This poem was the beginning of a series my poems on the Kent State shootings and illustrates how little progress we have made over 48 years in coming to terms with our propensity for guns and violence.

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About An Everyday Thing

Richardson’s poems concern coming of age in the rust-belt of Ohio during a period of decay of the physical and political structures that made the region once solid and predictable. Her poems chart the shifting of the foundations upon which a life is built and the unpredictability of events that have profound personal and political consequences, including the shootings at Kent State University.

Buy here

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About the Poet

Nancy Richardson

Nancy Richardson’s poems have appeared in journals anthologies. She has written two chapbooks. The first, Unwelcomed Guest (2013) by Main Street Rag Publishing Company and the second, the Fire’s Edge (2017) by Finishing Line Press concerned her formative youth in the rust-belt of Ohio and the dislocation, including the Kent State shootings that affected her young adulthood. In An Everyday Thing, she has included those poems and extended the narrative to memories of persons and events and the make a life.

She has spent a good deal of her professional life working in government and education at the local, state, and federal levels and as a policy liaison in the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Education and for the Governor of Massachusetts. She received an MFA in Writing from Vermont College in 2005 and has served on the Board of the Frost Place in Franconia, NH. Visit her website.

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Thank you, Nancy, for being my guest today, and congratulations on the release of An Everyday Thing!

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I’m delighted to welcome Jeannine Hall Gailey, author of PR for Poets, to Diary of an Eccentric today. I asked her to share a story about how she was forced out of her comfort zone in promoting one of her own books, and I think you’ll enjoy it. Please give her a warm welcome!

I was thinking of how to approach this blog post that I was asked to write, talking about a time I was out of my comfort zone promoting one of my own poetry books. It’s funny because when my first book came out, nearly everything was out of my comfort zone. Now that I’ve published my fifth book of poetry, and am promoting this current book of non-fiction, PR for Poets, I feel comfortable saying yes to things that feel authentic and saying no to things that don’t. My health has taken a bit of a hit in the years between my first book and my fifth – diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, among other things – so I try to be more careful what I say yes to, and make sure opportunities are going to be worth the effort.

But I was thinking about saying yes and no to things back for my first book. One of the funnier events when I was young and unsure and had written a visibly feminist book, Becoming the Villainess – all about comic book superheroines and villainesses, fairy tales, and more controversial (for the time) themes like sex abuse and empowerment. I was invited to read, in Seattle, at a gathering of cowboy poets. I didn’t know anyone there, and every person in the audience was male, all of them were over forty, and a great number of them were wearing cowboy hats. So I got up there and read my poems about superheroes and dragons and just kind of read in a daze and when it was over, I finally looked up at the audience. I ended up selling a ton of books and these men just shook my hand and were very enthusiastic about liking my work. No one made a rude comment. I don’t know what I was so afraid of. It was a moment that made me realize that we don’t ever really know who is going to respond to our work, it’s just our job to create and present it in the best way possible.

Since then I’ve had lots of opportunities to get outside of my comfort zone – I’ve read poetry for my local NPR station, I’ve discussed poetry with my city’s mayor (when I was applying to be Redmond’s second Poet Laureate), I’ve sold poetry at comic book conventions (great audiences and even greater costumes), and travelled to bookstores, bars, and college auditoriums all over the U.S. I have found that the most rewarding experiences for me involved not just selling a book, but making a long-term connections with people. I would say that it’s not about forcing yourself to do things you hate, but occasionally saying yes to opportunities that don’t seem immediately familiar to you. It may not be reading to a room full of cowboys,  but I hope you take a chance soon on a rewarding (if scary) opportunity.

Thank you, Jeannine, for sharing your story. I think the message of just going out there and trying your best is something we can all learn from.

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About PR for Poets

PR for Poets provides the information you need in order to get your book into the right hands and into the worlds of social media and old media, librarians and booksellers, and readers. PR for Poets will empower you to do what you can to connect your poetry book with its audience!

Buy PR for Poets on Amazon

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About the Author

Jeannine Hall Gailey

Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She is the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter and, Field Guide to the End of the World, the winner of the Moon City Press Book Award and the SFPA’s Elgin Award. She also wrote a non-fiction book called PR for Poets to help poets trying to promote their books. Her poems have been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac and on Verse Daily; two were included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She was awarded a 2007 and 2011 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for Poetry and a 2007 Washington State Artist Trust GAP grant. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, and Prairie Schooner.

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Today I’m pleased to welcome Valerie Fox to Diary of an Eccentric for the blog tour for her chapbook, Insomniatic. Since it is National Poetry Month, I thought it would be great for Valerie to share a poem from the collection and what inspired it. Please give her a warm welcome!

My Daughter Listening to Christian Tetzlaff

My daughter fell asleep listening
to Christian Tetzlaff.
All 9-year-olds should experience such luxury.

I was disappointed that my daughter
mostly slumbered through
his Selections from Signs, Games

and Messages by György Kurtág, miniatures
that encompass a “unique world
of naked nerves,” multiple voices, tingly details.

Too tired I guess.
She was mildly attracted to the spaghetti strap
girl in front of her

seated in the balcony-right front row,
her lengthy hair and upper body
leaning into air

toward the emotive virtuoso, like she was his
Juliet and his hands were
signaling capitulation.

Jolted awake, finally, by the crowd’s cheers
my daughter faintly registered
Tetzlaff’s smiling encores–

his Paganini
his Bach.

About “My Daughter Listening to Christian Tetzlaff” (and Process)

Insomniatic contains poems that are dream-like or surreal, and also many that contain references to kinds of dreams and ways of being awake (or not). As I was combining poems for this chapbook, I wanted to include a wide variety of styles, but with this semi-thematic thread (of dreams and insomnia). The inspiration specifically for “My Daughter Listening to Christian Tetzlaff” was a real experience, not a surreal reverie or based on my own sleeping (or wakefulness). Rather, it is based mostly on observation of a specific scene.

I think of my poems almost entirely as fictional, made-up. But “My Daughter” is more overtly personal or even autobiographical. It also concerns works of art, in this case Tetzlaff’s extraordinary performances. We were watching him from the balcony, which suggested the scene from Romeo and Juliet. Much of what I write contains reactions to works of art. This habit reflects what I like to do and think about, and how art becomes a lens through which I view and try to understand the world.

Poems are like children. At least that’s what you hear poets say. I think comparing writings to children is natural when we are talking about that feeling or act of creation, or of surprise and discovery that comes about in that process, or even that desire to not give up on a writing (as hopefully we will not give up on any child).  So it felt nice to write something that actually included my daughter, and that she might in the future read and think of in a positive way—even a sentimental way. I wouldn’t mind that.

Thank you, Valerie, for sharing the poem and your inspiration with me and my readers. It sounds like a fascinating collection!

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About Insomniatic

Insomniatic is the newest poetry chapbook from Valerie Fox, author of The Roschach Factory and The Glass Book. These poems haunt and question, dream and wander, asking the reader to question what is a dream state and what does it mean to be awake.

“Insomniatic” (poems) asks the question: Who are we when we dream?

Buy Insomniatic on Amazon

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About the Poet

Valerie Fox

Valerie Fox’s books of poetry include The Rorschach Factory (2006, Straw Gate Books) and The Glass Book (2010, Texture Press). She co-wrote Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets with Lynn Levin. Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon (2011, Texture Press) is a collaborative book with Arlene Ang. “Scarecrow Lists of Failures and Grocery Items” (a collaboration with Ang) may be found here, at Thrush.

Her work has appeared in many journals, including Thrush, Painted Bride Quarterly, Hanging Loose, Apiary, West Branch, Sentence, and Qarrtsiluni. Originally from central Pennsylvania, she has traveled and lived throughout the world, and has taught writing and literature at numerous universities including Sophia University (in Tokyo) and currently at Drexel University (in Philadelphia).

For more about Valerie and her work, click here. To read more of her poems, click here.

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Source: Review copy from author

Kin Types is the newest poetry collection by Luanne Castle in which she recreates the stories of her ancestors. (Read the collection’s opening poem, “Advice from My Forebears” and the inspiration for it here.) She draws you in right away with lines similar to what many of us have heard from our elders, like “Quit scowling or your face will freeze that way” (“Advice from My Forebears,” page 2). I soon found myself immersed in the poems about Dutch immigrants who made their way to Michigan and forged a life, often difficult, judging from many of the poems, but hopeful as well in that these lines are written by their descendant.

From a mother who rushes into a house fire (“An Account of a Poor Oil Stove Bought off Dutch Pete”) to the fast-forwarding and rewinding that recounts the ups and downs of a marriage (“And So It Goes”), from the tale of a family who loses everything (“The Weight of Smoke”) to the names and connections that are uncovered when digging into a family’s history (“Genealogy”), Kin Types is about raising and confronting the ghosts of the past, making sense of the lives that came before us, and honoring the struggles and the sheer grit and determination that keeps the family tree growing over the generations.

Castle’s poems are narrative in style and haunting in that they portray some of the darkest moments in a family’s history, but they give us a glimpse of happiness and hope as well. The quote that opens the collection says it perfectly:

“We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.”

-Liam Callanan

It is easy to see how different today is from the era of the woman portrayed in these poems, but Castle does a brilliant job enabling readers to put ourselves in their shoes, at least for a handful of lines. It is virtually impossible to read Kin Types and not imagine the stories of your ancestors, especially those who you’ve heard about but who lived too long ago for you to have met. This collection is powerful in that, just as in the closing poem, “When Your Grandfather Shows You Photographs of His Mother,” it makes you consider how these long-dead people are reflected in who you are today. Kin Types is the best poetry collection I’ve read in a while, and one I won’t soon forget.

For more about Kin Types and to follow the blog tour, click on the button below:

Disclosure: I received Kin Types from the author for review.

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It’s my pleasure today to introduce Sue Hallgarth, author of Death Comes: A Willa Cather and Edith Lewis Mystery. Sue is here to kindly answer the question I had for her about the series: What inspired you to create a mystery series around real people, and are there any challenges that accompany that process? Please give her a warm welcome!

Confession: Thirty-five years ago I was a college professor in need of publications and I had no real topic. My doctoral dissertation had been on a minor Victorian novelist, Robert Smith Surtees, whose delightful foxhunting novels produced a prototype for the character Charles Dickens later developed as Pickwick. Not the best subject for more than one academic publication.

I was also a feminist interested in literary history. I began comparing first-hand accounts with fictional representations of women’s experience on the American frontier. That led me directly to Willa Cather, whose early novels focused on her pioneer experience growing up on the frontier around Red Cloud and Lincoln, Nebraska. Cather’s novels spoke the truth of first-hand accounts. They were also beautifully crafted and featured fascinating characters, including Alexandra Bergson in O! Pioneers, Ántonia Shimerda in My Ántonia, and Thea Kronborg in Song of the Lark. But after reading Cather’s fiction, the scholarly articles on her work, and biographies about her life, I noticed something was missing: the Willa Cather I knew.

Homophobia among Cather scholars and biographers had twisted accounts of her life, and they either omitted or misrepresented her nearly forty-year partnership with Edith Lewis, a fellow Nebraskan and professional writer. That and the fact that scholars had no easy access to Cather’s letters—until 2013 her will forbade their publication—led scholars to begin reading Cather’s characters as though they were Willa Cather. So with that mistake, Jim Burden in My Ántonia and the Professor in The Professor’s House simply became Cather herself, as though she had not created her characters but simply recorded details of her own life through them. That misguided practice led to bad literary scholarship and inaccurate biographies.

Unfortunately, Cather’s forbidding publication of her letters had actually encouraged the scholars’ distortions. But she was not the only cause. Her letters that were available could only be read (and not quoted) in research archives. Several letters were actually housed on microfilm in Red Cloud, but when I read them, I found only one letter from Cather to Edith Lewis and lines in that letter had been mysteriously rendered indecipherable. Scholars also regularly dismissed Lewis as Cather’s secretary or “companion” and refused to see her as the editor and advertising professional she actually was. The only evidence of their relationship available was Edith Lewis’ memoir, Willa Cather Living, and scholars regarded that book as less reliable than another memoir by Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, a journalist and former friend whom Cather had not seen in years.

So here was my mystery: who was the real Willa Cather? What was her relationship with Edith Lewis? And how should we understand her fiction? I began to find the answers by doing research and crafting papers on Cather’s novels to present at professional meetings. But once I was convinced of her actual relationship with Lewis, I realized I needed to do a biography of Cather. Once I read everything Cather wrote, including her letters located in archives across the United States, I found she was exactly the person I “knew” back in 1983. By 1987 Sharon O’Brien officially “revealed” that Cather was a lesbian, but for O’Brien and other biographers, Lewis was still Cather’s secretary or “companion.” Cather, one biographer claimed in the same year, was “too dedicated to her art” to have time for any of “that.” And O’Brien was convinced that Cather had internalized homophobia and therefore must have become depressed and reclusive. In other words, still not the Cather I “knew.”

Academic journals and even feminist scholars had continued to shun my articles because I questioned (indeed challenged) O’Brien’s analysis. In a sense, their rejections led me to write my first piece of fiction, a mystery about Cather and Lewis on Grand Manan titled On the Rocks. So, I would write fiction based on fact. My choice of characters was a given, but why a mystery and not simply historical fiction? I needed a “hook.” For me the question was how to interest readers, all readers, in what I had to say about Willa Cather. And it happened that the moment I made the decision to try a mystery, I was standing front of the real Cather/Lewis Cottage at Whale Cove Cottages on the island of Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada. It occurred to me that someone might easily fall off a nearby two-hundred foot cliff into the Bay of Fundy. In my mind’s eye, I saw a body plunge over the edge and plummet to the rocks below. That image determined that Cather and Lewis would become my fictional sleuths.

When I finished the first Cather mystery, I found I had much more to say. I had introduced Edith Lewis to Cather’s readers in On the Rocks. Death Comes takes place in 1926 at the Mabel Dodge Luhan compound in Taos, New Mexico, which was always filled with artists, writers, and other creative people, I have begun a process of setting Cather and Lewis “in context.” Cather was never the lone genius she was often depicted to be, never so “dedicated to her art” she had no interest in anything or anyone else. In fact, she was so interested in people and the world about her, she found herself without time to do her art. As a result Lewis began to stand guard, to protect Cather so that she would not lose herself in others but could concentrate on her writing. Taos became the setting for the second in the Cather/Lewis series, but they travelled often and to many places. The opportunities for creating more context and therefore more mysteries are almost endless.

Writing about different locations and characters based on real people do present challenges that accompany the process of writing a mystery series about real places and real people. Cather and Lewis are only two of the characters I base on real people. For On the Rocks I did research on thirty or so of all the women who summered in two colonies on Grand Manan, and for Death Comes, I had my choice among the many artists and writers who lived around Taos or visited Mabel Dodge Luhan.

So the first problem I had to solve for both mysteries was how many characters and locations to include. Too many would prove confusing, so the fact is I had to cut more than create and to sharpen details so readers could keep track of who was who and when and where. I was also working with actual people, places, and events, not simply plucking people out of the air, so I had to be sure my details were accurate and my fiction seamlessly fused with fact. If only, I would sometimes think, if only I could just make the whole thing up. But I did exactly what Willa Cather did in so many stories, including Death Comes for the Archbishop and Shadows on the Rock—read everything she could about specific people, places, and events and transform them into her fictional world. Fiction, yes, but fiction based on fact.

Wow, thanks for sharing, Sue! I know very little about Willa Cather, but how your series came to be is a fascinating story. Congrats on your latest book!

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About Death Comes

Following On the Rocks, Sue Hallgarth’s first Willa Cather and Edith Lewis mystery, Death Comes gives us another glimpse into the life and work of the Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Willa Cather and her talented life partner. The year is 1926. Willa and Edith return to Mabel Dodge Luhan’s pink adobe in Taos, New Mexico. Willa is writing Death Comes for the Archbishop. Edith is sketching Taos pueblo and hoping for a visit to the nearby D.H. Lawrence ranch. The previous summer they had stumbled on a woman’s body. Now the headless bodies of two women add to the mystery. Sue Hallgarth presents an intimate portrait of Cather, Lewis, the spectacular New Mexico landscape, and the famous artists and writers Mabel Dodge Luhan gathered in Taos.

Check out Death Comes on Goodreads | Amazon

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About the Author

Sue Hallgarth

Sue Hallgarth is former English professor. She has written scholarly articles on Willa Cather and Edith Lewis, and this is her second book of fiction featuring the two of them. Her first book in the series On The Rocks, set in 1929 on the island of Grand Manan in New Brunswick, Canada. She lives in Corrales, New Mexico.

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Giveaway

Courtesy of the publicist, I have one print copy of Death Comes to offer my readers. This giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. I’d love to hear what intrigues you most about this book/series. This giveaway will close on Sunday, November 5, 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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Luanne Castle is my guest today to celebrate the release of her latest poetry collection, Kin Types. She’s here to share a poem from the book and its inspiration. Please give her a warm welcome!

Advice from My Forebears

Always use hot pack canning for your green beans
and test your seals at the end.

Don’t grab a burning oil stove without considering
the consequences.

Don’t get in debt. If you don’t got it, don’t get it.

Make up your mind what church you’ll attend
and go there as often as you can stand.

Be Dutch or you ain’t much.

Get the log out of your own eye so you can get
the speck out of the other’s eye.

We can’t talk about it, but here’s your great-grandma’s
Eastern Star ring so you will have a signal.

Never pick a fight but if someone hits you,
hit them back.

Always plant marigolds in your vegetable garden
and keep a compost pile out beyond the shed.

If they come to your door, feed them. Then send
them on their way.

Just let be.

Be careful with a needle; that’s how your Grandpa
got blinded, coming around his ma’s knee.

Sit on my finger, nobody ever fell off.

Watch your step on deck so you don’t fall off the boat
and get skewered by the anchor like your Uncle Lucas.

Don’t quit writing like I did. Make me a promise.

Quit scowling or your face will freeze that way.

If you see somebody’s thumb stuck in the dyke,
don’t pull it out.

“Advice from My Forebears” was first published in the museum of Americana (Fall 2015) and then in Kin Types.

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The origins of my desire to recreate family stories lies with my grandfather—and with his storytelling and advice. He was the one who told me how his Uncle Lucas was killed by falling on an anchor as a young man in Goes, Netherlands. Also, he described running into his mother’s sewing needle and being taken to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for treatments in 1910. That’s how I learned that danger lurked even in the household.

When I began this poem, I had my grandfather in mind, but I was also thinking of a list a newfound relative gave me. I had met him through my family history blog, The Family Kalamazoo. His mother was Grandpa’s mother’s first cousin. He had compiled the list of advice his mother had given him in the 1930s. The list sounded familiar to me as it contained the phrasing and sentiments I learned from Grandpa. This one, for example: “If they come to your door, feed them. Then send / them on their way.”

The poem became a list much like the list given to me, but with advice passed on over several generations, as well as advice added on with new events. Grandpa was no doubt warned about his uncle’s death by his own parents and grandparents, as his uncle had died fourteen years before he was born, but his own accident with the sewing needle was a newer addition to the family lore. In the most recent event, my grandmother who had wanted to be a writer made me promise not to give up writing.

Family history is a compilation of layered stories, added to by each generation. Much is lost as well, but by repeating what is worth passing on we learn by hearing both the inspirational and the cautionary tales.

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About Kin Types

Kin Types is based largely upon genealogy and a fascination with what comes to all of us from the past. A mix of poetry in the traditional sense and highly poetic prose pieces, the collection takes the reader on a journey into the lives of women and somewhat into the lives of men who must carry on alone once the women are gone. The journey of this collection is not a ramble into the past, but a slingshot into the here and now by way of these portrait tales.

Check out Kin Types on Goodreads | Amazon

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About the Author

Luanne Castle

Winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, Doll God, Luanne Castle‘s first collection of poetry, was published by Aldrich Press. Luanne’s poetry and prose have appeared in Grist, Copper Nickel, River Teeth, Glass Poetry Press, Barnstorm Journal, Six Hens, Lunch Ticket, The Review Review, and many other journals. Published by Finishing Line Press, Kin Types was a semi-finalist in the Concrete Wolf chapbook contest.

Luanne has been a Fellow at the Center for Ideas and Society at the University of California, Riverside. She studied English and creative writing at the University of California, Riverside (Ph.D.); Western Michigan University (MFA); and the Stanford University writing certificate program. Her scholarly work has been published in academic journals, and she contributed to Twice-Told Children’s Tales: The Influence of Childhood Reading on Writers for Adults, edited by Betty Greenway. For fifteen years, she taught college English. She divides her time between California and Arizona, where she shares land with a herd of javelina. Visit her website.

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