The AOAP featured the National Poetry Almanac a.k.a. National Poetry Map of America (poets.org/page.php/prmID/382). The map featured listings of poets, poetry journals, presses, organizations, conferences, bookstore events, and writing programs. The AOAP and APLP distributed free copies of Across State Lines: America's 50 States As Represented In Poetry.
The National Poetry Almanac a.k.a. National Poetry Map of America (poets.org/page.php/prmID/68) extended the celebration of poetry from April to year round. The almanac provides 365 days worth of poetry highlight, activities, and ideas, and history for individual exploration and classroom use.
The AOAP continued the 10th anniversary by launching a Poetry Read-a-Thon for students. Over 4000 classrooms registered and over 75,000 students logged, recited, and responded to poets for the project. The AOAP and the APLP published and distributed over 30,000 copies of the poetry anthology How To Eat A Poem. The AOAP also created their Life Lines Project by collecting the most memorable lines of American poetry form poets and poetry lovers. poets.org/page.php/prmID/339
The AOAP invited people to capture bits of verse on film. Hundreds of people participated. poets.org/page.php/prmID/541
The same thing as last year, except this time instead of on twitter, thirty poets were to post on tumblr. selected to 30 days, 30 poets on tumblr: poets.org/pag.php/prmID/615
To Nancy Duci Denofio, creativity comes in many forms. Writing, Performing, Painting, Creating in many genres, and stretching one idea into many forms. It all began with a dance she would tell you, followed by the music of poetry, acting, and creating a world of make believe. Her gift grew to reach an international audience, and it reached many levels and several different arenas. If you talk with Nancy she would tell you she loves words, an audience, and to make people happy. She believes she has many reasons to continue down the paths she has chosen, and loves her life and everything she does; far too much to list here. She enjoyed teaching the art of Voice for fifteen years - and was honored to be asked to be a regular as a young girl on the Patty Duke Show, but she had to say not to the agent. New doors opened: you can look for Nancy as Aunt Faden in the movie, Snow Moon, produced by Altman/Howarth. Many of her writings can be found on Angie's Diary on the web. Her ghostwriting keeps her busy along with conferences and her own manuscript - hoping one day to see her work come to life. Nancy writes like she performs, and paints like she sees - it all comes together in her mind.
Background of poem:
As a writer of many genres I tend to focus on my memory of the past and bring them into the present day; it doesn't matter if I am writing a novel, poetry, short story or even when I am ghost writing, I bring a great deal of "me" into the story. I believe writing has to be lived - you had to have a backyard with a cellar door to write about the moist grass around it and that market lot and drugstore in the distance, they were there. The mountains were in the background - and yes, those darling lovable parents of mind had rules where an angel would be exactly as I said, an angel, and I always wanted to fly. The description in the poetry is as it was - and my eagerness to fly, skip and run, was from the inside - it was there all the time. So my writing is from the inside and it comes out like a painting, which is another hobby I have - I could take most of my writing and paint a picture with the words. I guess you could say it could be the beginning of a script, too. I simply love words.
John Fox is a poet and certified poetry therapist. He is adjunct associate professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA. He teaches at John F Kennedy University in Berkeley, CA, Sofia University in Palo Alto, CA and Holy Names University in Oakland, CA. John is the author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-making (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0874778824/poeticmedicin-20/103-7103674-5605449?creative=327641&camp=14573&link_code=as1)
and is featured in the PBS documentary Healing Words: Poetry and Medicine. (http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Words-Medicine-Peter-Coyote/dp/B001CR49AM/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1399038238&sr=1-1&keywords=Healing+Words%3A++Poetry+and+medicine
He presents at medical schools and hospitals throughout the United States. He has presented in Ireland, England, Israel, Kuwait, and SOuth Korea. John served as President of The National Association for Poetry Therapy from 2003-2005. John is President of The Institute for Poetic Medicine.
Consider What Happens
Background of Poem:
I believe, or rather feel . . . that in writing poems . . . and in particular when poetry and poems are treated with a respect for their healing power, there is within us a subtle and profound place of perception. It is not always shared but it is more capable of being shared than the general culture will acknowledge.
The place of perception is a deep well of feeling. As much as the perceiver has a place to go down, submerge, and sink below the surface of things, feelings also have a place to up-well.
It often seems dark and wet, glimmering and intensely pointed, like starlight. Unknown and felt, seen and wondered about.
I don't know, really, if the name for this is soul - because it also feels so deeply joined with the body and the simple gestures of the body - a nod of recognition, a gathering inward to listen with the heart, tears springing forth.
Understand will also die.
*This poem is from the collection Sunny Wednesday. Copyright 2009 by
Noelle Kocot. Posted with permission of the author and Wave Books http://www.wavepoetry.com/products/sunny-wednesday
Background of poem:
You are with me when I am drumming
When I am crying at the moon
When I am singing mournful tunes
Howling like a lone forgotten wolf
Whose kin have fallen one by one to hunters
And she roves on spending only the energy she must
to make the kill
And if her prey outruns her
Sensible, she turns back for home after a mile
Instinct or luck or skill has favored her
The sole survivor left to return
Familiar territory claimed as home
I offer no explanation
as I climb the sacred hill
Shades of black against horizon
Chill is no match for spirit
Even though feeling comes back slower as the years erase
Fresh memory and will
The old wolf may hang her head
Evading foreign intruders
Shy and wild in an advancing scrimmage of settlers
but she knows the day, the time, the hour, the year
To raise her head and howel her feral prayer.
I wrote this poem because I was not happy with the way my new book Facing a Lonely West ended. The poem before this, which I liked and had worked hard to perfect, came across too much like "happily ever after," which is NOT the final impression I wished to leave.
I had written a book review of Strange Angels by William Pitt Root for Wild Goose Poetry Review, so Bill Pill is the poet mentioned in the early stanzas of the poem, the one with the pointing finger. He did not literally point finger at me, but he did challenge me as a writer. The questions were questions he posed to me. Several of the images in this poem came from poetic tidbits that I had removed from the other poems. yes, I keep the leftovers; I never know when one will be just what I need. And, after all, they are mine to use. The section of the poem about the girl and her Savior in the clouds is a paraphrase of an older poem, "Clouds," that I wrote and published in 1999.
Then comes a section about my family's property on Spring River in Oklahoma. The boat-trip to Grand Lake, where we drank Cokes, actually happened. The Cabin also burned, years ago no. But the decision to stop paying taxes, that my mother had done faithfully ever year until her death last March, was a recent one. The reasons for that decision go "deeper than memories," or so the poem says. The final line is not supposed to clear everything up and make everything right: life isn't like that. Life contains a bit of mystery, so a poem should also.
Facing A Lonely West, which contains this poem, will be released from Main Street Rag in early May. The book is now available for advanced sales. http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/prodcut/facing-a-lonely-west/
Background of poem:
This poem came about in three stages. The poems I like best (and like best to write) have three somewhat different points of entry, so to speak. In this case, I remember being in an airport terminal around ten years ago, shortly after the Iraqi-Afghan War began. Iw as between flights, so was just sitting watching people go by. What looked like a large "herd" of young men came by and my first thought was that they reminded me of cattle, going off to slaughter, oblivious to what lay ahead. I couldn't help but think of the more than 50,000 young men near my age who were killed in Viet nam.
I moved to Kentucky not long after that, but it wasn't until 2008, when I began making daily 20-mile tripes between the little town where I live and Eastern Kentucky University, where I teach. As I explored different ways ot make the trip (all of it on two-lane roads), I discovered more and more cow pastures. I've since learned that Kentucky produces the most cattle East of the Mississippi. It seemed there were more and more pastures full of cows and calves every week. I started paying attention to them, stopping beside the road sometimes. I was touched with how curious the calves were, how much they seemed like dogs or cats (or even human children). I remember looking over one day and thinking to myself: they don't know they are just meat. After a year or so of passing 12-15 pastures full of these gentle creatures twice a day, then finding the pastures empty when the cattle were sold for slaughter, I found I could no longer eat beef. The poem then began to form. Somewhere along the line, I was reminded of my experiences in the airport years before. So what started out to be a personal poem about not eating beef suddenly became more; it became a protest poem about the senselessness of war and the loss of thousand of young lives.
Drops of ink fall upon the page,
Remnants of tears that will go unseen as always,
She brushes them away, putting back the brave face,
Making the disappointment that seems to be,
The only thing she will ever know, it's how her life always goes.
Constellations marking the failures of her past,
Mapping the steps she's taken,
Each breath a little less than the ones before,
She falls broken upon a cold marble floor
Conversation, like forgotten cups of coffee,
Cold and empty, at least in part. Scars mark her hands,
Whispers of what once was her life,
The fight, just letting go from once strong soul
Ink following through the painful pages,
Never to be erased, always a part of what and who she is,
Never being able to get rid of the words that haunt her dreams,
That leave her wishing for a place to dream.
Heaven they say is over rated, lost among the ink-strewn stars,
Unfamiliar faces mark the blank space around.
Nothingness greets her, plain, unchanging the face she sees,
So much for ageless, there's nothing left for her there.
Background of Poem:
Constellations was written about a girl battling with depression and hardships. It came after being diagnosed with severe depression and trying do deal with that. I think it was a way of dealing with it and the way it's been document through my mind and through my emotions.
Background of poem:
The title of this poem was a headline I saw. My grandfather suffered from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. We didn't have the definitive diagnosis until the autopsy, but he got presumptively diagnosed relatively early and spent a long time living in his own home with help. Nobody wanted to "put him in a home." One of the final straws for my mother was when he started urinating int he wastebasket of his bedroom instead of in the toilet. She was afraid he would wander out onto the street and get hurt, even if he lived with her. She found him a small group home with five other Jewish Alzheimer's patients and a very caring staff near her house. the group home had staff around the clock to keep the patients company and keep them safe. My mother visited her father a few times a week even when he could no longer recognize her. No matter what time of day or night we dropped by (we never had to call first), we always found him in a safe situation with people who treated him well. It was still horrible.
Now I have other people in my life who are probably in the early stages of dementia. Like my grandfather, they are extremely intelligent and compensate well, so that strangers (and those friends who don't want to know) may not be able to tell. My own memory is lousy and my cognition slow because of the medications I take for chronic pain. I'm fascinated by what happens to really bright, creative people when they lose their memory but are still pretty smart. When they can't understand what's going on some of the time, they have to make sense of the world any way they can. Sometimes they do it by confabulating (what we fiction writers like to call "making shit up" and make a living doing.)
The Blue Funeral
To help us let go of our dead,