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Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Here's a poem from my new, soon-to-be-out book, "Women, Poems By Heart".


A murmur in my ear,/a dream in mid-night,/a shove from behind,/decision to take a path,/or not,/perseverance,/as life's storms/bend me to nearly breaking.../strength found time and again,/though I believe all is lost.../ Each time my mind/is battered with 'no',/they surround me,/saying/how fine/I can ever be.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Excerpts

I am looking forward with great pleasure to having one of my books serialized in a local publication. Here is an excerpt from one not being serialized, Adisa's Basket. It is 1700 Nigeria. Adisa and one of her sisters have escaped from a band of slavers. After being rescued from the dense jungle by a man and his son from a neighboring village, Adisa and her sister Afia go back to their own village, now deserted and in ruins.

"Memories, My family's hut lay hunched over, like an old man who had stumbled, fallen to his knees. Inside, I knelt, closed my eyes against the tears. Sounds of Mother's humming, father's snoring, Adanna's laughter, all washed over me. They were there, around me, and Grandmother...poking my arm, teasing her Spider...laughing. Curious monkeys clutching thick-leafed tree limbs watched wide-eyed, quiet, waiting, as though we might tell them a story...  How did this happen?

"The Basket, ...buried beneath dirt, dead leaves, Afia found pieces of Father's basket, trampled, brutally torn by slavers who did not care about stories and designs of my people; whose hands could never feel the songs humming in the weave; whose numb hearts knew nothing about love...  Leaves and dirt fell away. It could be mended. Grandmother had taught me how, I had taught Afia."

Adisa's Basket.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Me and My Books

So, here I am again. The rest of the world, it seems, is tangled up in the far-reaching hysteria of the Super Bowl, and I am here with my children's books, marveling at the beauty of the written word. I have just read again the preface to Patricia MacLachlan's "Journey". It is poetic. I believe that all intriguing literature has imbedded within it the essence of poetry. Some may believe that it is not necessary to know poetry to write good literature. I know in my soul you cannot have one without the other. Good literature is the kind you can see, and feel, and smell, and experience without leaving your chair. Poetry. It is what you keep in your heart and carry with you in your pocket, grasping it so no one can steal it from you. Poetry. It is what stays with you forever, new and fresh each time you read the words...the words you search for on your bookshelf and say, Ah, there it is.

MacLachlan writes: "Mama named me Journey. Journey, as if somehow she wished her restlessness on me. But it was Mama who would be gone the year that I was eleven - before spring crashed onto our hillside with explosions of mountain laurel, before summer came with the soft slap of the screen door, breathless nights, and mildew on the books. I should have known, but I didn't. My older sister Cat knew. Grandma knew, but Grandma kept it to herself. Grandfather knew and said so."

Be a poet.