Heart, Soul, and Rough Edges — A Gypsy Journey of Words and Wonder

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Congratulations to Edward Harsen

When we decided to hold a contest about your favorite poet, poem, and the reasons you chose what you did, we knew we’d get some interesting responses. What an amazing breadth of ideas, selection of poetry, and challenge!

We found your poets, and your poems, then reviewed the comments several times. Lewis Carroll to Sylvia Plath. Ogden Nash to Czeslaw Milosz. Ted Koosier’s stark sketch to Shakespeare’s sonnets. Keats to Seamus Heaney. Don Blanding inspired one responder to write her own poem, she was so moved by his “Vagabond’s House”.* Not to mention our own favorites scattered through the stack.

After much discussion, Edward Harsen’s choice and explanation of the “pig poem” by Douglas “Woody” Woodson climbed to the top. Here’s the poem and what Edward said:

Fourteener 279
(Please help me get this pig, dear Lord, into my truck)

Please help me get this pig, dear Lord, into my truck.
Like Jesus, he senses the coming end; unlike Him,
The pig’s exhausted us both with flailing. My hands bleed
From the scrap-wood ramp and sides of the truck bed.
The rope leash burns my flesh. My plan, God, was food
For family and fold, the head and feet for the poor. But Satan,
It seems, is breathing hot stink at me. The pig braces,
Digs four hooves in, and stares. I’d gotten him half way up,
Tied him, then put my shoulder to him. He kicked my tooth
Loose, Lord. My eyes watered. Blasphemy had its way
With me. Now, covered with muck, almost broken, I pray:
Help those who suffer most first. I’ll wait, catch my breath.
Then, please forgive me, and grant one small miracle
Father: Get this pig in my truck to take to slaughter.

Douglas ‘Woody’ Woodsum

– Why?
This is such a meaningful prayer, such an aspiration. There is humor and desperation in the sense, there is a compelling voice, the necessary economy and brilliant execution. This poem clearly needs to be said, the speaker needs to be heard. Nothing is missing from the recitation, and the music is beautiful. The familiarity of the matter and the clarity of the form make this poem ring like a single bell. I would want everything I write to be this sufficient.

We asked Edward for a bit about himself, and were equally delighted with what he said and how he said it:
First, thank you, and the Muselings, for the honor of being named the winner of this contest – what a great treat to receive on my birthday!

I have been writing poetry and prose since school, and worked as associate editor for Street Press and Magazine during the late ’70s and early ’80s. I have published poems in Long Island Press, Wood Coin, Shrub Oak and Street Press, and most recently in  Two chapbooks of my poems have also been published: RENT, 1977; Surf Club, 1982.  After marrying my wife Jeanine and while raising John and Sebastian, our sons, writing took a back seat to most of everything else life provided. It has been only in the last five or so years that I have been writing poetry again, sending poems to publishers, polishing a manuscript.

My wife Jeanine is a singer and songwriter, a marvelous talent and inspiration to me. Music is central to the way I hear language, and her ability to compose and arrange is both mystifying and beautiful to me.  She also writes in rhyme, which produces a lyric quality that is different to my poems.  Ours is a magical partnership.

In my professional life, I work in Facilities and Property Management.  Since 2001, I have been researching business relationship methods, supply chain management and commercial competitiveness. I have written white papers and employee training programs for the territories I manage.  I find that a well-written email can be a piece of persuasive exposition, or a format for precision delivery of technical or difficult information.  Grammar, sentence structure, timing, format, and sense of audience: the pegboard-hung tools of the creative and technical writer.  

I am pleased that the older poems are immature and playful; pleased, too, that these recent poems are more clear and easier to say.  Encouraged by Apollo’s Lyre and other magazines, I have put together a manuscript of sixty-some-odd pieces called, “Three Sisters,” and will be shopping that around this year.

Best wishes to you for the new year.

Edward Harsen

Thank you, Edward, and the rest of you hearty souls who shared your thoughts and favorites with us. We greatly appreciate your participation, and hop you found it a fun process, too.

* We loved Eileen Peterson’s poem, “Dream House,” and will share that with you in a couple of weeks, as we talk more about “inspiration” — until then, keep writing and reading, and happy new year to all.

Lifelines and Apollo's Lyre nominated for P&E Awards

(Updated with corrected links)

Critters /  hosts the annual Preditors & Editors™ Readers’ Poll which honors print & electronic publications published during 2011. (Click here for the official rules.)


Lifelines, our Poetic Muselings anthology, is nominated in several categories. Also, Apollo’s Lyre is nominated in three categories, including Best Poetry ezine — as editor of the poetry column, I’m especially excited. Links and details are below.

To vote in this poll, you must fill in your name and email and the scrambled letters in a “captcha” box — this way they can decide that a real person is voting. You will receive an email with a confirming link to follow, which validates your vote.

Nominees are listed alphabetically in each category, so you can find your favorites that way. We would appreciate your support and your vote for us in the following categories:

Anthology — (Lifelines)

Book cover, Lifelines, Lin Neiswender

Poets, Poetic Muselings

Poetry ezine — Apollo’s Lyre

There are many other categories being honored. Please check them out including:

Other Apollo’s Lyre nominations are Fiction ezine and ezine editor Jim Harrington,

ThePoetic Muselings grew out of the Muse Online Writers Conference, which is nominated under best writers workshops. Learn more about this outstanding conference by following the link with the poll:

And we have publishers to vote for, too. InkSpotter, our publisher, is on the list, as is MuseItUp, connected to the Muse Conference:

We thank you for your consideration of us on this poll, and would be happy to hear your comments.

Coming on Friday — the long-awaited results of our contest. Very difficult challenge, but we are ready to post it. Again, our deepest thanks to all of out participants.

A New Way of Looking: Ekphrasis

I learned a new word  recently, courtesy of a friend and Wiki:

Ekphrasis or ecphrasis is the graphic, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art. In ancient times it referred to a description of any thing, person, or experience. The word comes from the Greek ek and phrasis, ‘out’ and ‘speak’ respectively, verb ekphrazein, to proclaim or call an inanimate object by name.

Nowadays it might be a snapshot of a scene, a work of art, or any creation that puts you in the head of the participants or an object and tell’s you what is actually happening within it.

So I thought, why not pick one of my collages as a prompt and write about it?

The one I chose is called “La Fleur” and here it is:

La Fleur

©2008 Lin Neiswender

Here is my poem about the collage:

The Photograph

Rose Pink my Papa calls me, his little blossom
I smile inside but not for the photograph
The buttons on my shoes are too tight and pinch my toes

My little dogs are lucky, they can run free with bare paws
On the fresh green grass, and rush into the house
When they are tired, heads out the window
Listening to the bird sing

But even they are dressed too fine for comfort
Tight bows of Mama’s fine silk ribbon tied
Around their necks, choking them as does
My lace collar choke me

Still a little girl’s first love
Is her Papa, and so I endure
The scratching of the lace,
The tightness of the shoes

All so Papa can take his photograph
Of his La Fleur Rose

©2012 Lin Neiswender


Enhanced by Zemanta

Post Navigation