A Poem by Justine Johnston Hemmestad

Books
by Justine Johnston Hemmestad
Sharp, blackened words in their quest to survive,
Breath clinging to spoken revelation;
A strained life fallen, opened to revive –
A called move in divine inspiration –
Providing an opened door to new quest,
Paths leading to worlds not yet discovered,
Jewels hidden in a single treasure chest,
A vessel for words divinely ciphered –
Secret pages creased and yellowed by time.
Books with timeless writing, weathered but strong,
From sought years lived, richly scented as thyme,
For in these worn years gracious notes belong.
In the pages of books, antiqued and old,
Come years of life, ageless richness untold
photo 2012About the poet:  Justine Johnston Hemmestad is currently enrolled in the BLS program at The University of Iowa, where she has taken several Iowa Writers’ Workshop courses, including poetry and novel writing; and she has been writing for over 20 years. Her poems have been published for Dead Silence, a compilation of entries into the 2010 Y-City Writers Conference Contest; Poetica Victorian Magazine (2012); and The Classical Poets Society (2012); and she has also written history lists for historylists.org as well as has written several unpublished historical novels. She lives in Iowa with her husband of 23 years and their seven children, though two have recently grown to begin their own lives and pursuits.
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Media Release of Life Work by Charlottte Mandel

Life Work by Charlotte Mandel

 

ABOUT THE POET

Charlotte Mandel is winner of the 2012 New Jersey Poets Prize awarded by Journal of New Jersey Poets. She has published seven previous books of poetry, the most recent ROCK VEIN SKY from Midmarch Arts Press. Other titles include two poem- novellas of feminist biblical re-vision-The Life of Mary, with foreword by Sandra M. Gilbert, and The Marriages of Jacob. Other awards include two fellowships in poetry from New Jersey State Council on the Arts; Woman of Achievement Award (Arts) from NJ Business and Professional Women; The Writer’s Voice, NYC; residencies at Yaddo, including a Geraldine R. Dodge fellowship; Millay Colony; Viginia Center for the Creative Arts; Montalvo Arts Center. Her verse play “The Gardener’s Wife” appears in the print and online journal Verse Wisconsin. She founded and coordinated the Eileen W. Barnes Award for older women poets and edited the anthology, Saturday’s Women. As an independent scholar, she has published a series of articles on the role of cinema in the life and work of poet H.D. She recently retired from teaching poetry writing at Barnard College Center for Research on Women.

http://www.davidrobertbooks.com/mandel.html

 

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

INTERVIEWS*EXTRACTS*IMAGES*REVIEW COPIES are available

please contact

David Robert Books

P.O. Box 541106

Cincinnati, OH 45254-1106

USA

Phone: (513) 474-3761

Fax: (815) 301-8946

connect@wordtechcommunications.com

ISBN 978-1625490308

$18.00 pb 98 pages

 

Sample poem

 

Life Work

 

Interior: painting by Edouard Vuillard

i

Muted, she disappears into background,

her dress a match in color and silence

to the wallpaper. Public words earn pained

downturns of parental mouths. Her defense

rests on camouflage, inner ear listening

for a train approaching town, slackening

speed, its unmistakeable warning whistle

by which she calculates, keeping track

counting numbers of engines crossing east

or west, tapping a foot to syncopate

her college beat-set out for either coast-

jack-out-of-box, life hers to orchestrate.

Red duffle packed, she’ll mount the wheels alone.

No sense waiting for some prince to telephone.

ii

No prince, he calls from his college pay phone

at Sunday low rate. It isn’t that they’ve

class news or gossip: subtleties of tone

report sweet, sour, ironic, fun. They crave

the heat of touch, use syllables to span

cold air. The wire opens trails where feelings flow

like steam from summer meadow after rain.

Contralto/tenor banter-quid-pro-quo

pattern for the future-pre-marriage play

disputing favorites-Jean Gabin

for her, Hedy for him. A chance to say

anything, nothing eases fear of joining.

Another’s frown or smile cannot distract

the sensory self day-dreaming love acts.

iii

The sensory self day-dreaming love acts

with movie stars or neighbors will not break

promises of licensed social contract.

Unwritten rules work like fences. To slake

thirsts, close the bedroom door while children sleep.

Marriage their roof-tree, no leaks in rafters.

He drives to work, gives up smoking; she keeps

the kids clean, vaccinated. A letter

invites him to a Far East war. He tosses

it out. And a second. A third cries: “Greetings!”

Lottery lands him in the live oak mosses

of Virginia, practice swamp. Defeating

an enemy can’t relax today’s wars.

Jet smoke arrows the blue, asking: What for?

iv

Jet smoke arrows the blue sky, twin for-

mation, dissipates over barbed wire:

Truce. Home safe, they buy a house, G.I. mort-

gage. Though marriage rafters splinter, desire

re-glues. “Hey,” they joke, “we’re made of velcro-”

chest to chest, constructed to stick, pull, stick.

But the world spirals around-vertigo

has her holding on to doorways, afflicted

with agoraphobia as though a sea

has washed up the street, as though she must swim

to grocery, post office, library.

The word “love” dissolves to its antonym.

Meanwhile the children of a sudden grow

into strangely familiar people they know.

v

These strangely familiar people know

how to sweep back salt waters that linger

like a self-made lake of tears. Punctilio

filial pitch? No, their agile fingers

work the keyboards, ideas are summoned.

Marriage of Mom&Dad ends rivalry-

their talents linked towards a goal in common-

audit a sixtieth anniversary.

Earth rotates and the married numbers stun:

three hundred sixty five times sixty

equals twenty-one thousand nine hundred;

add fifteen leap years to the mix.

A banquet celebrates the count of days.

“He looks at you with love,” the waiter says.

vi

“He looks at you with love,” the waiter says.

Is that his line to couples as he pours

champagne to honor years slept in one bed?

What does his practiced eye perceive in demure

shared glances across a table of friends?

What’s love? How may needy ardor marry

friendship? Their day-by-day achieves a blend

on low speed, converting tears and “sorry”

to dialogue of shrugs. Anger outgrows

its role as flint to erotic spark. Tonight,

on the verge of drift into undertow

of solitary dream, hands re- unite-

his gold ring’s been lost, and hers is worn thin-

still-pulse beats echo wedding violins.

vii

The pillow transmits pulse beats-violin

vibrating pizzicato inside ear drums.

Unbutton pajamas- warm bony skin

to kiss. Limbs fall into sideward columns

of peace. Mind transposes the day’s collage

into slides of honeymoon black and white

snapshots. Shuffle through glossy images

fading to sepia, history of bright

camera ready smiles. . .barefoot on a rough

makeshift pier at the lake’s edge, classic pose

swan dive, slim in profile . . . in air. . . he coughs,

waking her, not himself. Rustle of bedclothes,

slow turnings. Breath has a feathery sound,

muted, disappearing into background.

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Media Release of Six Different Windows by Paul Hetherington

Six Different Windows by Paul Hetherington

ABOUT THE POET
Paul Hetherington is the author of seven full-length collections of poetry as well as a verse novel, Blood and Old Belief, and two poetry chapbooks. He has won a variety of awards for his poetry, in 2002 he was the recipient of a Chief Minister’s ACT Creative Arts Fellowship, and last year was awarded a place on the 2012 Australian Poetry Tour of Ireland. Paul is currently Associate Professor of Writing at the University of Canberra, chair of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs and chair of the ACT Cultural Council. More recently he was one of the founding editors of the online journal Axon: Creative Explorations. Former publisher at the National Library of Australia, he edited the final three volumes of the library’s four-volume edition of the diaries of the artist
Donald Friend (Volume 4 was shortlisted for the Manning Clark House 2006 National Cultural Awards) and was founding editor of the library’s quarterly humanities and literary journal Voices.
Paul Hetherington’s seventh collection of poetry chronicles life in all its beauty, strangeness and familiarity. Ranging across art and poetry, the past and the present, homelands and far-off lands, Six Different Windows meditates on childhood, riffs on mythology, and draws on the everyday. Grouped into six sections, the poems begin in childhood, then move onto the effects of art, history, travel and mythology, before returning home as if from a long journey. This exquisitely poised and richly engaging collection further cements Hetherington’s national and international reputation. ‘Everything in Six Different Windows, Paul Hetherington’s gorgeous new collection, is immaculately constructed, each line, each poem, and the book as a whole coming perfectly together toward their ends…
we find an Australia rendered by experience and exposure worthy of excavation, of an attention that gives rise to an elegant, sure-footed, homegrown art.’ — Katharine Coles, Utah State Poet Laureate 2006–12 UWA Publishing’s poetry list continues to advance the cause of keeping important Australian voices in print, alongside new work from contemporary poets, such as Paul Hetherington.

UWA Publishing
35 Stirling Highway, Crawley
Western Australia 6009
http://www.uwap.uwa.edu.au
MEDIA ENQUIRIES
INTERVIEWS * EXTRACTS * IMAGES * REVIEW COPIES are available
please contact KIRI FALLS of UWA Publishing
tel: 08 6488 6806 or 0428 136 847
kiri.falls@uwa.edu.au
ISBN 9781742585086
$24.99 pb 112 pages

Sample poem
‘Six Different Windows’
Being stretched across landscapes
you find sensations are yet to arrive
from earlier destinations—
the slant of sun through six different windows,
views of nine Baroque cathedrals,
a street vendor shouting out—
but that was in a different country.
Losing those important connections
that clung to inflections and gestures,
you barely lay your feet on soil
while reading guidebooks, handling pottery
and beginning to understand you’ve never lived
as expansively as you believed.
You push open a shutter to reveal
the Sierra Nevada, imagine
Roman legions assembling in the valley
two millennia ago, bringing to Elibyrge
their efficient language and civilisation,
knowing it as alien territory,
speaking words like ‘ultimatum’
to the shifting, incorrigible air.

UWA Publishing

35 Stirling Highway, Crawley
Western Australia 6009
http://www.uwap.uwa.edu.au
MEDIA ENQUIRIES
INTERVIEWS * EXTRACTS * IMAGES * REVIEW COPIES are available
please contact KIRI FALLS of UWA Publishing
tel: 08 6488 6806 or 0428 136 847
kiri.falls@uwa.edu.au

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Media Release of Even in the Dark by Rose Lucas

Media Release of Even in the Dark by Rose Lucas

ABOUT THE POET
Rose Lucas is a Melbourne poet, writer and academic and currently teaches poetry and editing at Victoria University, Melbourne. She is the co-author of Bridgings: Readings in Australian Women’s Poetry (Oxford University Press, 1996).
Lucas previously taught in the English department at Monash University for twenty years, and is widely published in the scholarly areas of women’s poetry, feminism, psychoanalysis and literary theory, and cinema studies. She is also currently Chair of the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards. Her poems have appeared in Heat, Meanjin, Hecate, Best Australian Poems 2007 and 2009, and she was shortlisted for the ABR Poetry Prize in 2009. Even in the Dark is her first collection of poetry.
Media Release
July 2013
Even in the Dark
by Rose Lucas
In this, her first poetry collection, Rose Lucas distills years of writing into an impressive debut.
Even in the Dark contains delicate poems of the lives of women and the exquisite beauty contained in the act of observation.
Evoking luminescent images, Lucas explores nature and beauty, love and travel, in poems set at home and further afield.
The entire lifespan is present here: in vitro to last hours; bodies that develop and then age, captured in whisps of lovely images that can contain danger and risk.
‘These poems are eloquent, graceful and meticulously candid. Their subjects are often local — but Rose Lucas’s major concern is the universal, how life’s balance sheet of wins and losses plays out over changes in time and place. Her control of line patterns, the vigour and clarity of her perceptions, her poise and light-footed music pervade the book in moving ways. There is a questing, vulnerable sensuousness here, yet the overall spirit of her poetry is reverence and joy.’ — Judith Beveridge
UWA Publishing’s poetry list continues to advance the cause of keeping important Australian voices in print as well as new work from contemporary poets, such as Rose Lucas.
UWA Publishing
35 Stirling Highway, Crawley
Western Australia 6009
http://www.uwap.uwa.edu.au
MEDIA ENQUIRIES
INTERVIEWS * EXTRACTS * IMAGES * REVIEW COPIES are available
please contact KIRI FALLS of UWA Publishing
tel: 08 6488 6806 or 0428 136 847
kiri.falls@uwa.edu.au
ISBN 9781742585321 $24.99 pb 128 pages

Sample poem
‘Even in the Dark’
the leaves are still
falling – it’s a steady smattering now –
dark on dark they
drop through moony shadows
and into crisp, earth-smelling banks:
[meanwhile, we sleep,
turning like planets in the strangeness of
deep dreaming] –
still, the leaves carpet field, roads
and the quiet floor of the woods;
they fill the lengthening night,
whispering of things fallen
and falling, of what sighs
and subsides, of what bides its time,
breathing slow into the long cold of winter,
all in calm readiness for the onset
of small things –
say, a chink of pale light,
the shift and slip of change.
35 Stirling Highway, Crawley
Western Australia 6009
http://www.uwap.uwa.edu.au
MEDIA ENQUIRIES
INTERVIEWS * EXTRACTS * IMAGES * REVIEW COPIES are available
please contact KIRI FALLS of UWA Publishing
tel: 08 6488 6806 or 0428 136 847
kiri.falls@uwa.edu.au

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WRINKLED REGRETS (poem on aging) by Al Beck

I stroke my cheek
as into a mirror I gaze
while muttering: “Whose reflection’s
replaced my physique these days?”

Wrinkles have replaced
early years of unblemished
soft and smooth life-highways –
now transformed into this
worn gravel road texture.

Well, it could be worse:
with Time’s symbolic rebellion
of torn, burnt or even pierced
and exotic tattooed skin.
Cursed scars!

OK, so maybe I’ve become a prude.
If you think I’ve been crude
instead of shrewd, just don’t intrude.
‘Cause I’m almost done.

My epidermis’s crumpled surface
now wears an extensive
elderly medal-of-dishonor.

This historic corrugation shield
is lamentation’s battlefield.

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“A Confession of Failure”-Philip A. Ellis

Whenever I am asked to write about the state of Australian poetry, I have to admit that I cannot. For one thing, there is not one Australian poetry. There are many poetries, not all of them published or of publishable quality. And there are more people writing it, than there are reading it, or writing about it.

Take that first point: there is not one poetry. No matter how I start to define poetry, I will inevitably exclude some, if not many, poets. I don’t just mean the divisions between rhyming verse and free verse. Nor do I mean the divisions between academic and performance poetries. If I define poetry as the rhythmic evocation of beauty, I have not defined what I mean by beauty; and I have left the matter of rhythm unexpressed, since not all poems are rhythmic in the same or similar ways.

This is because poetry, as a practice, is so vast that any statement about it must throw up large numbers of exceptions. If poetry defined as images, then what of the post-image poem? If poetry is defined as the lyric, what of the other genres? The narrative poem, for example, or the didactic poem, devalued yet still valid. What of satire?

This is the problem with definitions of poetry, and, especially, definitions of what makes the best poetry. We tend to define by taking one aspect of its range, and excluding others. In this way, Poe stated that the long poem did not exist, even if only because it lacked an essential unity of effect in the reader. But what of those longer poems? What if, in eschewing unity of effect they did so because such a unity was not desired?

By Poe’s dictum, Christopher Brennan’s Poems would fail, as it relies on the successive changes of imagery, mood and emotion to create its final effect. But it works, as a poem. It has a final effect, a cumulative one, and this is a result of the variety of poetries within it.

So, then, it is almost impossible to define poetry. It is also almost impossible to define Australian poetry, as it is to define Australianness. Normally we attempt to do so by exclusion; the ease of the term ‘unaustralian’ is witness to this. So, as a poem is not this or that, so to are Australians not that or this. And in doing so we neglect to say what poetry is.

Likewise, if we attempt to define what poetry, and what Australian poetry is, by what it contains, we usually leave unspoken the assumption that, lacking these qualities, it is not poetry, or not Australian poetry. It gets to the point that, if we say Lawson and Patterson are the quintessential Australian poets, we place aside others. We have no room for Brennan, who rarely wrote about Australia explicitly in his verse. We set aside Arthur H. Adams: he rhymed, yes, but he also wrote about his New Zealand. And what of the other expatriate poets, not only those from Australia, but those in Australia? And those in languages other than English?

All of this is not new. It is familiar territory. But it also applies to other nations, nationalities, and cultures. It applies to all of us, since we are more than one type of poet. I am not just an Australian lyric poet, that is, I am more, and the same could be said of all of us.

As a result, what are your thoughts on this matter?

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Al Beck’s views on ‘The Culture of Creative Thinking’

The obstacles confronting an intellectual-yet-innovative individual

are traditionally focused on evaluation solely of the student’s

left brain development.

Imagination’s power is essential to any young person’s future

success.  Reaching into one’s dreams is only rewarding when both

interdisciplinary and innovative activities are constantly encouraged.

The delusion of merely good grades for a post-graduation filled with

life’s great opportunities is an academic bias. It’s learning misread.

 

Preconception is a dangerous mind-bomb which eventually knocks out

the creative tools necessary for a reach into the crystal ball.

Circumstance challenges much more than the ability to dredge up

tons of information.  When a brain is hard-wired to myopia’s format,

there is no opportunity for invention.

 

Our economy’s traditional leaders will laugh while reading this and

tell you I’m quite crazy. If your aspirations are sufficiently free of

hazardous lock-down, you’ll know who our society’s crazys really are.

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