Friday, October 31, 2014

Photojournalistic Piece on Halloween, The Poem, and The Poet . . .

Christal Cooper

Photojournalism Piece of Halloween, Poem, and Poet

                  Most people might envision Halloween meaning jack 0 lanterns (which were originally used to scare away evil spirits), dressing in costumes, and trick or treating.  The origin of Halloween is a Christian ritual (with possible pagan roots) in which countries from around the world celebrate Allhallowtide every October 31st  (Hallow’s Eve), November 1st (All Saints Day) and November 2nd (All Souls Day)   During these three days the saints and martyrs are remembered in All Saint’s Day; the faithful believers are remembered in All Soul’s Day; and the believers of the faith perform a ritual by using humor, sarcasm, mockery, and ridicule to confront and conquer death.

         Pope Gregory II made Allhallowtide an established holiday for Rome during his ten-year tenure as pope (from 731 – 741). 

         Louise the Pious made the Allhallowtide a required holiday to observe throughout his Frankish Empire in 1835.

         Anglican colonists in the southern part of the United States and Catholic colonists in Maryland celebrated Allhallowtide .  And the rest, as they all say, is history.

         Wikipedia defines photojournalism as a particular form of journalism that employs images in order to tell a news story.  In this photojournalistic piece we present the five poets' stories, their poems, their memories on Halloween and/or their biographies.  We also include numerous images that flesh out their poems and their stories.

Helene Cardona
Actor, Poet, Songwriter, and Screenwriter
World Traveler

Notes From Last Night

                                             to John, in memory of his father
One can distinguish Van Gogh from Chagall,
that state of in-betweenness
where even objects seem alive,
to do with light and looking pure.
Because of all this light, I'm partially blind.
It doesn't matter whose ghost you see
as long as you see one.
Two darknesses together across the shape
of face, warmth comes forward, cool retreats.
I just experience.
Talk about faith I don't believe,
experience is cellular.
In our normal state we're not able to perceive,
that's why I think the dead know.
I had never seen before the beauty
of it, everything has to do with light.
Every ghost proof of the afterlife,
any ghost.
From Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry, 2014
Copyright granted by Helene Cardona

My Mother Ceridwen

The light on the icon,
The way I see her in my dreams,
The core of her at the edge of darkness,
In a magic cauldron always full,
Never exhausted,
That brings her back to life,
Guarded by a golden serpent
Coiled in the shape of an egg,
The world snake marshalling
Inner reserves,
The seed of a new journey,
A glimpse of the mysterious and elusive,
A woman in a wreath made of morning glories,
This is how she lands on the page,
Slanted, looking out in space,
Integrated within me
Save the blue sky across her face.

From Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry, 2016)
Copyright granted by Helene Cardona


Wayne Lanter
Poet, Fiction Writer, Non Fiction Writer,
Professor of Creative Writing at Southwestern Illinois College
Freeburg, Illinois

October 31, Nearing Midnight

all hallow’s eve I wonder
what loose ghosts
might frequent me
my privy domain

may god forgive them
there are enough
I have loved and wronged
who have wronged and loved me
without serious consequences
the cemetery is only a block away

I was married once
on all saints day
divorced on the day of all souls
when the tormented are ushered into heaven
or so the story goes
this anniversary
that beginning of winter and chaos
of entering
with purgatory’s yellow lanterns
glowing like pumpkin eyes

the unrepentant
hover silence as bats
still on wing
ominous as owls in branches of stripped trees
or on stones waiting for names

a time of desire and fear
crawling from the body’s crypt
beneath the moon
a grinning jack-o—lantern
its candle nearly out

         Pages 300 – 301
         Copyright granted by Wayne Lanter
From Chance of a Ghost published by Helicon Nine Editions in 2005. (
Edited by Phil Miller and Gloria Vando.

Background of  “October 31, Nearing Midnight”
“I was in NYC for a reading honoring the late poet Philip Miller. The reading was October 28 at the Cornelia Street Cafe in the West Village.  The reading centered around poems by and about Miller who died in 2010 and among other works edited (with Gloria Vando) an anthology of contemporary poets entitled Chance of a Ghost in 2005 - Helicon Nine Editions. My poem "October 31, Nearing Midnight" appeared in that anthology.  

Sometime during 2004 Phil Miller contacted me and said he was editing an anthology of ghost poems. He asked me to send him one of my "ghost" poems. I told him I didn't have one, had never thought much about ghosts (maybe something about shades and shape-shifters but not about ghosts) and didn't know for sure what one might think of them. He said, "Well, write one anyway."

So I determined to think about Halloween and ghosts and how maybe I was already a ghost and didn't know it. After a few weeks "October 31, Nearing Midnight" wormed its way into my unconscious and I copied down the DNA of the worm and sent it to Phil. The idea of the poem (at least the coding I found in the worms DNA) is that we are always approaching some unknown fearful thing, that may or may not do us in, but will eventually turn us each to memory - though, not quite just yet.”


Christina Lovin
Professor of English and Theater at Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, Kentucky

To The Ghosts of Halloween

When Children could go out
alone, unafraid
of strangers, I remember a scarecrow
and my brother as a mountain
man in trap-door long johns
and a long red beard.

Once he was an African
bushman – all black face, wide smile
painted in white, long grasses
circling his waist.  A spear in hand,
he showed no shame
at the doors
of our black neighbors.

Later, he and his friend
would take two costumes – change
at the end of the block to return
like sleazy politicians
with different faces
at the houses with the best treats.

When my foot was bandaged from a surgery and sutures,
I was Red Riding Hood:  hooded
red winter coat, my pillowcase
heavy when I cam limping home,
red rubber boots full of blood.

I was a clown when I was ten-
red and white striped
Pajamas my mother had sewn
from heavy flannel I would
wear all that coming winter
when cold settled in my attic room.

And then the bride:  my vision
blurred by the veil of the bedroom
curtain’s lace hanging over my eyes,
obscuring where I would go
with my stumbling steps
in that costume I would one day wear,
then tear off like so many useless rags.

Pages 43 to 44
Copyright granted by Christina Lovin

Background of “Too The Ghosts of Halloween”
“This poem is pretty much a literal remembrance of several Halloweens when I was a child.  The costumes described  (and the actions of my brother and his friend) were as depicted here.  There is quite a bit of controversy today about white children (or adults) appropriating costumes that represent other cultures.  Although my brother’s costume was exceptionally politically incorrect, it was acceptable (and encouraged) to use other cultures for costume ideas (Native Americans, Asians, African Americans, Eskimos, Latinos, and so on).   What’s strange is that we lived at the edge of a racially mixed neighborhood and went to school with children of many colors. It’s appalling to look back on it now, but it was the 50s in America.   I remember well each costume, and was particularly fond of the clown pajamas on cold winter nights long after Halloween.”

Biography of Christina Lovin
         A native Mid-westerner, Christina Lovin was born in Galesburg, Illinois, but has lived and worked in states as varied as Indiana, Ohio, Main, and North Caroline.  She now makes her home in Central Kentucky, where she lives with three rescue dogs in a town reminiscent of Mayberry RFD.  After having several careers, including minister’s wife, retail shop owner, and VISTA volunteer, she received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree from New England College in 2004.   She began teaching college-level writing courses that fall, and is currently a full-time lecturer in the English & Theatre Department at Eastern Kentucky University.

         Lovin’s writing has appeared in over one hundred different literary journals and anthologies as well as five volumes of poetry (Echo, A Stirring in the Dark, Flesh, Little Fires, and What We Burned for Warmth).  She is the recipient of numerous poetry awards, writing residencies, fellowships, and grants, most notably the Al Smith Fellowship from Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Foundation for Women, and Elizabeth George Foundation Grant.  


Anne Tammel
Poet, Novelist, and Image Consultant
San Clemente, California

at night  

the yellow checker cab releases steam                               
into the windy autumn street. crisp leaves          
dance by like children in bright coats. they rush
like frightened apparitions up to porches. in sheets,             
the rain collides with windows, purple, cracked;                 
inside, the carved lit pumpkins fill the darkened
shadows. an odd must-like scent starts to cross the lonely
block. the last rush home on foot in twos and fours,

until a small back cat sits all alone. he watches—as if
jewels make up his tawny eyes. and once the

last of the old candles starts to flicker, we
shiver, watch the sky, feel the witch take flight.

on hallow’s eve
she’d been a sorceress, a healing witch
        gathering branches alone in the darkest woods.
fusing plants, she haunted like this
        leaving suburbia in shadowed clouds.
herbs, flowers, poultices filled her dark home,
        herbs steamed from small pots, bottles lined shelves.
odd tinctures healed strangers—even herself:
        black willow, arnica, cardamom, spice.

she ran toward the moon as they turned out their lights,
        sang with earth and its pattern, late in the night—
rhymed with moonlight, fire, sage, and mist,
        to bring gifts from the old, summon the wise.

and at dawn as they woke to yawn about dreams
she turned back to her spells, to the night—to new schemes.

Anne’s Halloween Memory:     
I remember reading Ruth Chew books ( —the ones about witches masquerading as people who lived among us in old towns.

And growing up in San Jose on a very old block called Miller Street, which by late October was awfully cold and dark and sometimes raining at night. My mother worked late, and we had to eat before we went trick-or-treating. So we always trick-or-treated late at night. And by the time we reached most of the old houses, we were the last of the shivering children to knock on the darkened doors. It was the old doors no one answered that we feared the most. These were the scariest of houses. These houses, we believed, were filled with witches. Their yards were filled with musty, slippery leaves that left a foul odor. And the trees were so large, the yards were filled with vast shadows.

And as we knocked on the door then waited and waited and held our breath, one of us would step on an old floorboard and it would creak. Or a branch would sway to create a new shadow. We would run down the old wooden steps in our ill-fitting shoes, sometimes losing the shoes and even our candy, but never stopping once to look back. And all year long, we waited and watched for and wondered about those witches…

Anne’s Biography:
         Anne Tammel is the author of the forthcoming book of poems, Endless: a Literate Passion (Aldrich Press, March 2015).

Tammel's poetry, fiction and articles have been published most recently in Poydras Review, Annapurna Magazine, Mediterranean Poetry, 3Elements Literary Review, Saint Julian Press, Miracle Literary Magazine, Edgar Allen Poet Literary Journal, and more. A news correspondent, professional speaker, and editor for literary journals, Tammel is also owner and founder of Poets and Dreamers (, the author's network featured in CBS Los Angeles. Tammel earned her MFA in creative writing at California State University, San Diego, and her BA in English literature / career writing at California State University, San Jose.


Pam Uschuk
Author, Artist, Poet
Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Fort Lewis College
Bayfield, Colorado


“Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.” ~
Albert Einstein

In the molding Halloween pumpkin,
the red candle frosts.  Cherry leaves
drop their spent envelopes through dawn
as the note from my student
howls thousands of miles through cybersphere.
Back home in our small mountain town blazed
autumn, riot police pepper –spray
the wide eyes of unarmed teens, Halloween
pranksters, who for years, sang midnight
and frost to alpine stars, a winter-flung
moon eating the length of their days.
At point blank range, riot police behind pexiglass shields
shoot bean bags at the heads of students, 
lacerating their mace-streaked cheeks.
What gradient lens will allow these students to see
the laws of our land as anything but blind?
On Wall Street the sit-in stretches its arms
into a third mouth, those protestors
unemployed curl in in sleeping bags
iced by early snow.  They show
no signs of giving up their demand
for an end to corporate greed, obscene
profits eaten by CEOs who turn up thermostats
in penthouses where they survey
kingdoms of lavish views.
What can I offer my students, except
poems lifting unsilenced
by bullets, blinding poison or fists.  Here,
fog blows above the swirl of the Tennessee River,
pocketing the homeless who curl
against concrete bridge struts
as if any lavish government construction
contract could save them.


Photo A
All Saint’s Day
Painting by Wassily Kandinsky
Style of painting is expressionalism
Genre of painting is allegorical
Technique of painting is oil
Material of painting is canvas
Location of painting is in the gallery Stadtische Lenbachhaus in  Munich, Germany
Date the painting was done in is 1911

Photo B
Painting of Pope Gregory III
Before 1923
Attributor unknown
Public Domain

Photo C
Louis the Pious
Contemporary description of Louis Pious as a soldier of Christ with a poem of Rabanus Maurus overlaid
Public Domain

Photo D
The High Point housing project was built to house workers and their families who came to West Seattle during World War II, when the area's shipyards and airplane factories provided many new jobs. The project's 1,300 apartments were ready beginning in April 1942. During the first year, kindergarten was held at the community hall and later a 12-room High Point School opened. This photo shows children at a party, probably being held in the community hall.
Photograph by Seattle Post Intelligencer Staff Photographer
Photograph taken in October of 1943

Photo 1
Helene Cardona
Attributed to Adrian Carr
Copyright granted by Helene Cardona

Photo 2
Helene Cardona and Mike
Copyright granted by Helene Cardona

Photo 3
Self-portrait 1880
Vincent Van Gogh’s Mirror – image self portrait with the bandaged ear
Oil on canvas.
In the collection of Sanlung Mr. and Mrs. Leigh B Block of Chicago, Illinois
Public Domain

Photo 4
Head of a skeleton with a burning cigarette
Oil on canvas painting by Vincent Van Gogh
January 1886-February 1886
Located at the Van Gogh Museum
Public Domain

Photo 5
Portrait of Marc Chagall on July 4, 1941
Attributed to Carl Van Vechten
Library of Congress
Public Domain

Photo 6
Stained glass windows inside the Mets Cathedral
By Marc Chagall
Photograph of  Chagall’s stained glass windows attributed to Christina Legacy

Photo 7
Jacket cover of Dreaming of My Animal Selves

Photo 8
Oil on canvas
Attributed to Christopher Williams
Located at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Swansea
Public Domain

Photo 9
Close up photograph of Blue Morning Glory
October 12, 2005
Attributed to PiccoloNameK
GNU Free Documentation License
CCASA3.0 Unported

Photo 10
Wayne Lanter in Paris, France
Copyright granted by Wayne Lanter

Photo 11
Saints Day at a cemetery in Sanok, Poland.   Friends and family members lay flowers and light candles to honor the memory of dead relatives
Attributed to Silar
Photograph taken on November 1, 2011
CCASA 3.0 Unported

Photo 12.
The Ladder of Divine Ascent is an important icon kept and exhibited at Saint Catherine’s Monastery, located at the base of Mount Sinai in Egypt.
The gold background was manufactured in the 12th Century after a manuscript written by the 6th Century monk John Climacus who based it on the biblical description of Jacob’s ladder.  It depicts the ascent to Heaven by monks, some of which fall and are dragged away by black demons.
Photograph taken on October 27, 2007
Photograph attributed to Florian Prischi
Public Domain

Photo 13
Graves lit by candles in Stockholm, Sweden, Skogskyrkogarden at All Saints Day
Photograph taken on November 6, 2010
Photograph attributed to Holger Motzkau

Photo 14
Lamp pumpkin jack o lantern
October 3, 2014
CCA4.0 International

Photo 15
Jacket cover of If the Sun Should Ask

Photo 16
Jacket cover of Chance of a Ghost An Anthology of Contemporary Ghost Poems

Photo 17
Phil Miller
April 2010
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 18
Gloria Vando
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright law

Photo 19a and 19b
Helicon Nine web logo

Photo 20
Phil Miller in October 2009.
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright law

Photo 21
Christina Lovin
Copyright granted by Christina Lovin

Photo 22
Scarecrows in a rice paddy field in Japan
Public Domain

Photo 23
Photograph of a Bushman Hunter
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 24
Little Red Riding Hood
Illustration from a 1927 story anthology
Attributed to Project Gutenberg
Public Domain

Photo 25
Taken from the facebook page of Christina Lovin

Photo 26
“Signing the register”
Painting by Edmund Leighton (1853-1922)
Public Domain

Photo 27
Filthy rags
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 28
Christina Lovin
Copyright granted by Christina Lovin

Photo 29 and 30
Jacket cover of Echo

Photo 31
Jacket cover of A Stirring In the Dark  

Photo 32
Jacket cover of Flesh

Photo 33
Jacket cover of Little Fires

Photo 34
Jacket cover of What We Burned For Warmth

Photo 35
Anne Tammel
Copyright granted by Anne Tammel

Photo 36
Anne Tammel
Copyright granted by Anne Tammel

Photo 37
Magic Circle
Oil on canvas
Painting by John Wiliam Waterhouse
Photograph of painting attributed to Tate Britain
Public Domain

Photo 38
Inside the Witch’s Kitchen
Public Domain

Photo 39
Witches Mill Museum in Castletown Postcard
Attributed to Gerald Gardner (1884-1964)
Public Domain

Photo 40
Vintage photograph of naked woman and skeleton
Public Domain

Photo 41
Ruth Chew
Public Domain

Photo 42
Ruth Chew webpage logo

Photo 43
The Door
Attributed to Mauricio Garcia Vega
CCASA 3.0 Unported License

Photo 44
Vintage drawing of the witch inside her house
Public Domain

Photo 45
Anne Tammel
Copyright granted by Anne Tammel

Photo 46
Pam Ushuck
Copyright granted by Pam Ushuck