"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty

Archive for October, 2015

Sometimes the Prompt Reaches Out and…Touches You ;-) When You Least Expect It

Daily Prompt 

“The dead have stories to tell the living. about relinquishing control, about the sweet sweet letting go….”–from a poem I just drafted. 🙂

Make art about the thinning of the veil, communing with the dead.

Thinning Veil-300

How Poetry and Peter Makuck Saved My Life

When I was fourteen, my mama drove us in her old battered Pontiac station wagon the dozen miles from where we lived out in the trailer park into town to East Carolina’s campus on a crisp fall Tuesday night. We parked behind the student union, and Mama looked over to where I sat with a sheaf of wrinkled paper clenched in my hands, poems, typewritten on my daddy’s manual typewriter, my teenage angst and effort click-clacking late into the night, transcribed from the bits and pieces in my journals, or scratched on to napkins, or whatever paper I had stuffed in the pockets of my Levis that day.

I was a difficult child, and an even more difficult teenager, mouthy and hungry for things I had no clue about or could even name, obstinate and wild, and angry and defiant, and too easily bored, a particular trait that more often than not led me into self-destructive, even dangerous attempts to a keep myself entertained, and to do something–anything–with the wild demanding thirst–for something–anything–that boiled up and through me all the time.

The only times I felt still, or filled, or not terrified I was gonna miss something, was in the woods, or when I was writing.

Mama got that. So she took me to campus so I could go to a gathering called the Poetry Forum, an open to the public workshop hosted and facilitated for years by the tender, funny, wise, and wise-cracking poet Peter Makuck. I stared down at the papers in my hands, words blurring, and then Mama patted my hand–Mama was a patter of the highest order!–and said, “I’ll be right here.”

So I got out and climbed the steps behind the student union, and walked into my very first workshop. Peter welcomed me like any of the “grown-ups” and 🙂 the readers gathered round that table handed me my fourteen-year-old behind on a platter with the specificity and directness and detail of the critiques they made of my poems that night. I was stunned. But no way was I gonna let them see me cry 🙂 So when the meeting broke up, I said, “Thank y’all,” and headed down the hall, out to where Mama sat in the car (now for two hours), reading one of the thousands of books she read by the weak yellow overhead light in the car. I sniffled back tears, nearing the door, when I heard a voice behind me. “Wait!”

I turned to see Peter trotting down the hall toward me, smiling gently, as he asked, “You okay?”

I nodded. He reached out and patted my arm, saying. “Well, I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re very brave, to come in here so young. And I wanted to say, Don’t quit writing. Never quit writing. You have talent. So yeah, just that. Don’t quit.”

I couldn’t say anything, too afraid I’d cry, so I just nodded. He headed back down the hall, and I walked out into the dark toward my waiting patient Mama.

Seventeen years later, after a decade of believing the story the world told me–that I needed a “real” job, that writing was a childish dream I needed to give up–I was terrified, but still filled with that hunger for things I couldn’t name–desperately so–I pulled up the website for the English Department at ECU, just beginning to harbor hopes of going back to school. What was I thinking? I had three kids, poverty-level income, two failed marriages rife with alcoholism and now single-parenthood defining my twenties. Maybe the naysayers were right; maybe I needed to just grow up.

But then, on the faculty page, I saw Peter’s face. “Don’t quit. Never quit.”

And I saw my mama’s face in that car that night, waiting patiently in that watery parking lot light, while her troubled teenage daughter chased after poetry in the long uncertain dark.

Gratitude. Even after a life now for more than twenty years where words are my work, they fail me here. Can’t even begin to articulate the gratitude.

Never ever ever underestimate the power your kindness can have in a person’s life, nor how far-reaching and long-lasting that kindness can be ❤


Peter’s website: http://www.makuck.com/site/

Peter Makuck

Peter Makuck



















Friday Call for Submissions Love! New Journal: Mockingheart Review


MockingHeart Review

Deadline: December 1, 2015

Call for Inaugural Issue: Submissions for the inaugural issue of MockingHeart Review open November 1, 2015 and close December 1, 2015. We favor poems that express the complexities of the human heart in clear, precise, and lyrical language. Poems should call out to us, not let us sleep or turn away. Bring us poems that gleam and palpitate with intimacy. We seek visionary works that are visceral and that will leave us emotionally undone. We encourage poems that speak to the personal and political inasmuch as the political relates to the person/a. We accept poetry only. Prose poems are welcome.


We accept poetry only. Prose poems are welcome.
Works that require extensive special formatting are discouraged.  Our apologies in advance.

Here is a .pdf of Frequently Asked Questions for submitting poetry that generally apply:  How to Submit Poetry

We seek works of the highest literary quality. We expect your best work in its final form.

We favor poems that express the complexities of the human heart in clear, precise, and lyrical language. We want poems that call out to us, that won’t let us sleep or turn away. Bring us poems that gleam and palpitate with intimacy. We hope for visionary works that are visceral and that will leave us emotionally undone. We encourage poems that speak to the personal and political inasmuch as the political relates to the person/a.

We believe metaphors. Entrance us with imagery that transforms. We are especially intrigued by imaginative language which melds the real to the surreal, and are pleased when this is done well through artful craft. We question reality. So should your poems.

We do not like poems that utilize clichés or are not finely wrought. We shy away from experimental verse, unless it appeals to our aesthetic and succeeds in moving us. We want works that convey meaning and possess emotional impact, or convince us there is no meaning to be understood.

We favor poems of shorter length, generally of a line length of 30. There is room for flexibility regarding this.

If you are unsure if your work falls within these guidelines, send it to us anyway. We will respond during the selection process and may be able to help to further clarify through conversation.

Your publishing history does not matter, but the quality of the work does.

Our issues will showcase only the best selected works. We will publish issues (3) three times a year.

Unpublished poems only. Simultaneous submissions okay, if the Editor is notified immediately of publication elsewhere. Expect to hear from us in less than (4) four weeks’ time.

Submissions outside of reading periods, unless solicited, will be ignored. If your work has been accepted for an issue, please wait six months before submitting again, within an open submission period. Also, please wait to hear from us regarding a submission before sending more work.

MockingHeart Review cannot pay our contributors at this time.  Rights revert to author upon publication, although MockingHeart Review reserves the right to anthologize, in printed or electronic format, material originally published here. If work that has appeared in this journal subsequently appears elsewhere, the editor requests MockingHeart Review be acknowledged as the place of first publication.

Submissions for the Inaugural Issue will open November 1, 2015 and close at midnight December 1, 2015.

Website: mockingheartreview.com.

Email: mockingheartreview@gmail.com

Sometimes the Prompt is Haunting

Daily Prompt
“I have gone out, a possessed witch, haunting the black air, braver at night”~Anne Sexton
Make art about witches
#writingprompt #art #poetry #fiction #nonfiction #icastaspellonyoubaby

Anne Sexton

Sometimes the Prompt Seems So Far Away

Daily Prompt
“Time is the longest distance between two places.”~Tennessee Williams
Make art about distance, about distance covered.

Sometimes the Prompt Can’t Be Seen

Thanks and Love to my lil brother Scott Sumner for inspiring today’s

Daily Prompt ❤

“Every day we bear up under

the liminal weight of air,

a million pounds and more,

in tiny increments

because we’ve grown used to it…”~Dan Gerber


Make art about the weight of invisible things.

invisible hands
PS: Scott’s an amazing musician! Check him out and buy his EP at

Daily Prompt: Trauma & Becoming

Daily Prompt
I am not who I was 5 years ago.
Make art about the Becoming after trauma.trauma
#writingprompt #art #poetry #fiction #nonfiction #wordsmatter #trauma #ptsd

Daily Prompt Catch-Up! Fingerpaint and Sons and Resistance :-)

Daily Prompt Catch-Up 🙂 My sons were home!


Teaching a workshop on Creative Meditation Techniques today, which will include painting with our fingers! 🙂 Make art about fingerpaint–or–go on–you know you wanta!–break out the paints yourself and get a lil fingerpainting on!


Both my sons home today. They make me laugh like no one else. Make art about sons.


You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think.”~Laura Oliver Make art about resistance.

Monday Must Read! Alexis Fancher: How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and Other Heart Stab Poems


Monday Must Read! 

Photo Credit: BAZ HERE

Photo Credit: BAZ HERE

This week meet Alexis Rhone Fancher, author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and Other Heart Stab Poems, from Sybaritic Press, 2014. Find her work in Rattle, The MacGuffin, Slipstream, The Chiron Review, and elsewhere. Her poems have been published in over twenty American and international anthologies. Her photos have been published worldwide. Since 2013 Alexis has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and a Best of The Net award. She is photography editor of Fine Linen, and poetry editor of Cultural Weekly, where she also publishes The Poet’s Eye, a monthly photo essay about her ongoing love affair with Los Angeles.

Alexis’ website: www.alexisrhonefancher.com

Buy Alexis’ fabulous book!


Read more from Alexis online:


“over it”

Cultural Weekly

“Black & White Noir”


“On The Street”

“L.A.’s Long Legged Lovelies”

Subterranean Lovesick Clues”

Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera”

“L.A.’s Long Legged Lovelies”

“Black and White Noir”


Daddy’s Friend Stan


This Is Not A Poem

Walk All Over You

White Flag

Reviews of Alexis’ book:


Review of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and Other Heart Stab Poems

Black and White Gets Read

Review of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and Other Heart Stab Poems


Alexis Rhone Fancher: Poetic Rhythms: LA poet / photographer Alexis Rhone Fancher talks about the progressive line between music and poetry



Radio Interview on Inquiry: WICN’s Mark Lynch interviews Alexis.


Interview with Anna Grace: “Alexis Next Door”


Author Interview

Find more of Alexisa online here: http://alexisrhonefancher.com/links.html


Happy Reading!




Got Book? Let’s Make It Even Better!

I do lots of my group workshops, BUT

I also offer

One-on-One Manuscript Consultation and Editing in Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction

Let’s get together and let me provide you with a weekend consult at the beautiful Porches Writers Retreat in scenic Norwood, Virginia, giving your manuscript three days of undivided attention!

porches light

Got book? Let’s your beautiful work even better!

Check out the page for details! 


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