"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 April, 2016

Daily Prompt <3 Kindness, Peace, and Blessings

Happy Last Day of National Poetry Month 2016! Although, of course, I think every month is Poetry Month, and every day is Poetry Day 🙂

The prompts will continue 🙂 But since I started with one of my top three favorite poems (Power by Adrienne Rich), I have to close out this month long celebration with the other two poems that fill out my top What-Poems-Would-You-Take-To-A-Deserted-Island three. 


Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.


And….what may be my favorite (if I have to pick) poem ❤ 

A Blessing

James Wright, 19271980

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

Make art about kindness, blessings, peace. 


Gratitude to Emily Ramser and Laura Dowswell at Change Seven

Thrilled and humbled to be a Recommended Read at Change Seven Magazine, celebrating National Poetry Month! Honored to be in such amazing company! 

7 Reads We Recommend: National Poetry Month by Emily Ramser and Laurel Dowswell


Daily Prompt <3 Williams and Walls

Happy National Poetry Month! The first collected works I ever owned, my mama gave it to me for my twelfth birthday, was William Carlos Williams. The spare and earthshaking power of a single image–in his hand, it was miraculous. 

Between Walls


the back wings
of the


hospital where


will grow lie


in which shine
the broken


pieces of a green


Make art about walls. 

broken green bottle

Friday Call for Submissions Love! The Collapsar



a daily online literary and culture magazine, seeks original essays, fiction, poetry, interviews, creative criticism, and reviews. Past contributors include Amber Sparks, Cari Luna, Jill Talbot, Kathleen Rooney, Tobias Carroll, Elisa Gabbert, and Wendy C. Ortiz.

Their Guidelines

“What we want to read is work grounded in a very real sense of its own world, work that bristles with richness, deeply imagined and cunningly portrayed–whatever that might look like. We’re interested in high culture, low culture, and low-high culture, whatever that means. A generosity of spirit is what we want to present.

The best way to get an idea for what we publish is, of course, to read the magazine. We’ve published new writing by Amber Sparks, Elisa Gabbert, Wendy C. Ortiz, Michael J. Seidlinger, Robert Kloss, Kathleen Rooney, Cari Luna, Juliet Escoria, Tobias Carroll, Leesa Cross-Smith, Gabriel Blackwell, Jill Talbot, and a host of others since our inception in 2013. We’re thrilled to consider yours.

Head on over to our handy submissions manager, Submittable, where you can find genre-specific guidelines and send us things.”

Read it here: www.thecollapsar.com.

Daily Prompt <3 A Child's Wisdom

Happy National Poetry Month! One of my favorite poets, and one of my favorite truths 🙂 “A child’s wisdom is wisdom still.”~Jewish proverb

As Children Know


Elm branches radiate green heat,
blackbirds stiffly strut across fields.
Beneath bedroom wood floor, I feel earth—
bread in an oven that slowly swells,
simmering my Navajo blanket thread-crust
as white-feathered and corn-tasseled
Corn Dancers rise in a line, follow my calf,
vanish in a rumple and surface at my knee-cliff,
chanting. Wearing shagged buffalo headgear,
Buffalo Dancer chases Deer Woman across
Sleeping Leg mountain. Branches of wild rose
trees rattle seeds. Deer Woman fades into hills
of beige background. Red Bird
of my heart thrashes wildly after her.
What a stupid man I have been!
How good to let imagination go,
step over worrisome events,
                               those hacked logs
                               tumbled about
                               in the driveway.
Let decisions go!
                               Let them blow
                               like school children’s papers
                               against the fence,
                               rattling in the afternoon wind.
This Red Bird
of my heart thrashes within the tidy appearance
I offer the world,
topples what I erect, snares what I set free,
dashes what I’ve put together,
indulges in things left unfinished,
and my world is left, as children know,
                               left as toys after dark in the sandbox.


Make art about what children know.

chhild wisdom 

Daily Prompt <3 The Elders


Happy National Poetry Month!

Another of the poets who made me want to be a poet, one of the voices of my childhood. This poem still takes me to my Appalachian grandparents’ table.

The Bean Eaters

Gwendolyn Brooks

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood, 
Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.

And remembering . . .
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that
          is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths,
          tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.


Make art about the old ones.


Old Couple by John Biggers


Daily Prompt <3 Finding That Way Out


Happy National Poetry Month!

I love this poem, its fierceness, its choice.

A Message from the Wanderer
by William Stafford

Today outside your prison I stand
and rattle my walking stick: Prisoners, listen;
you have relatives outside. And there are
thousands of ways to escape.

Years ago I bent my skill to keep my
cell locked, had chains smuggled to me in pies,
and shouted my plans to jailers;
but always new plans occured to me,
or the new heavy locks bent hinges off,
or some stupid jailer would forget
and leave the keys.

Inside, I dreamed of constellations—
those feeding creatures outlined by stars,
their skeletons a darkness between jewels,
heroes that exist only where they are not.

Thus freedom always came nibbling my thought,
just as—often, in light, on the open hills—
you can pass an antelope and not know
and look back, and then—even before you see—
there is something wrong about the grass.
And then you see.

That’s the way everything in the world is waiting.

Now—these few more words, and then I’m
gone: Tell everyone just to remember
their names, and remind others, later, when we 
find each other. Tell the little ones
to cry and then go to sleep, curled up
where they can. And if any of us get lost,
if any of us cannot come all the way—
remember: there will come a time when
all we have said and all we have hoped
will be all right.

There will be that form in the grass.

Make art about escape, the “thousands of ways to escape.”


Daily Prompt <3 Walking and Uncle Walt



Happy National Poetry Month! No way the month can pass without Walt Whitman ❤ I still have the copy of Leaves of Grass my mama gave me when I was ten.

As I Walk These Broad Majestic Days
Walt Whitman

As I walk these broad majestic days of peace,
(For the war, the struggle of blood finish’d, wherein, O terrific Ideal,
Against vast odds erewhile having gloriously won,
Now thou stridest on, yet perhaps in time toward denser wars,
Perhaps to engage in time in still more dreadful contests, dangers,
Longer campaigns and crises, labors beyond all others,)
Around me I hear that eclat of the world, politics, produce,
The announcements of recognized things, science,
The approved growth of cities and the spread of inventions.

I see the ships, (they will last a few years,)
The vast factories with their foremen and workmen,
And hear the indorsement of all, and do not object to it.

But I too announce solid things,
Science, ships, politics, cities, factories, are not nothing,
Like a grand procession to music of distant bugles pouring,
triumphantly moving, and grander heaving in sight,
They stand for realities—all is as it should be.

Then my realities;
What else is so real as mine?
Libertad and the divine average, freedom to every slave on the face of the earth,
The rapt promises and luminé of seers, the spiritual world, these centuries-lasting songs,
And our visions, the visions of poets, the most solid announcements of any.

Make art about walking.


Monday Must Read! Remica Bingham-Risher: What We Ask of Flesh

Remica-Bingham-FInalRemica L. Bingham-Risher earned an MFA from Bennington College, is a Cave Canem fellow and a member of the Affrilachian Poets. Her first book, Conversion (Lotus Press, 2006), won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award and was published by Lotus Press. Her second book, What We Ask of Flesh, was published by Etruscan Press in February 2013. She is the Director of Writing and Faculty Development at Old Dominion University and resides in Norfolk, VA with her husband and children. She is currently finalizing a book of interviews entitled Blood on the Page—African-American Poets from the Black Arts Movement to the Neo-Urban Modernist Movement: Interviews, Essays and Poems.

For more information on her work and upcoming events, please visit: www.remicalbingham.com.

Buy Remica’s beautiful books!


Reviews and Praise for What We ask of Flesh

“She sees with a brave eye and hears the music of all our languages, validating each. Her story is the human story; her sharing it an act of great generosity.”  – Lucille Clifton

Remica L. Bingham addresses a woman’s sense of body graced with spirituality in its most powerful or most vulnerable moments in the collection…From the opening poem drawn, from the distant past, to the final three elegiac poems, which beautifully anchor the book to the present, Bingham pursues the female body in all its fierce beauty…with eloquence and urgency in a bitter sweet salute to those women who have paved the way for us all.  – Colleen J. McElroy

What We Ask of Flesh, like the flesh itself, is full of honey and fire. It’s impossible not to feel called by these poems, summoned by their rich sound and vatic voice. Remica Bingham-Risher reckons with the big stuff: the complexities of womanhood, the problem of suffering, family, and childhood’s darker aspects. Every poem is uttered with fervor and a timeless sense of gravity and rapture. – Amy Gerstler





Read More From Remica Online






Happy Reading!




Daily Prompt :-) Making and the Maker

Happy National Poetry Month! 

Spent this weekend making things with my hands, gifts for some of the children I’m blessed to have in my life 🙂 I often tell my writing students, “Remember: you are now the maker. You have the magic of the maker.” Thinking on this a lot this weekend, on how the mystery of art emerges from our hands.

Making a Poem
by Paul B. Newman

You make a poem like a man
taking the measure of a sheet of copper;
first you cut it in the round
clipping the disc of dull soft metal,
then you take a hammer and pound
over all its surface on the small
iron hoof of the anvil,
forming a deepness within the curve
light within light reflecting
cool as the ripples in a well,
forming it on the resistance of the anvil
until it is so with texture, and with
usefulness a form and with delight a unity.

Make art about being a maker, about the act of making.

Hammering steel

Blacksmith hammering red hot steel on a wooden surface that is catching on fire. Focus is on the hammer and glove.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: