You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.

Galatea Resurrects #12 is out. The new issue contains book reviews of a number of poetry books–old and new. Included is my review of Jayne Pupek‘s Forms of Intercession, her first book of poems (Mayapple Press, Bay City, MI, 2008).


Jayne Pupek, who has been published in the Dead Mule, blogs at Notes On (the Writing) Life. Read Jayne’s chapbook, Local Girls, published in the Dead Mule.


Jesus was truly free. His freedom was rooted in his spiritual awareness that he was the Beloved Child of God. He knew in the depth of his being that he belonged to God before he was born, that he was sent into the world to proclaim God’s love, and that he would return to God after his mission was fulfilled. This knowledge gave him the freedom to speak and act without having to please the world and the power to respond to people’s pains with the healing love of God.

That’s why the Gospels say: “Everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all” (Luke 6:19).

Emphasis mine


Now isn’t that the kind of power that we get from a relationship with Jesus?  from indentification with His death, burial, and resurrection?  Why then do we ask all those other questions that divide us, rather than make us one?  When will we learn, we are free and have always been free?  When will we live that we are free?

First, I’ll be reading Saturday at 2 pm at Edward McKay Bookstore in Winston-Salem.

I’d like to have great turnout both for them and for me. If you live in or near Winston-Salem, NC, please consider dropping in to Edward McKay Bookstore between 2 and 3 pm on Saturday.

I’ll be reading from and selling and signing copies of Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009).



Second, as Poetry Editor of the Dead Mule, I’ll be interviewed next Tuesday, May 26 by Nic Sebastain on Very Like a Whale.

Nic has put together an interesting series of interviews.

Coming up next (once a week on Tuesdays):


Poetry Hickory, thanks to Scott Owens, is planning a great lineup of poets at its monthly readings at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse on the second Tuesday of every month at 6:30 pm.

The next Poetry Hickory is Tuesday, June 9, Al Maginnes, of Raleigh, author of six collections of poetry, most recently a chapbook, Dry Glass Blues (Pudding House Publications, 2007) and Ghost Alphabet which won the 2007 White Pine Poetry Prize and will be available in October of 2008. Katherine Soniat, prize-winning author of five collections of poems, including “The Swing Girl,” forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press.

Tuesday, July 14, Margaret Boothe Baddour, of Goldsboro, author of “Scheherazade” and “Easy Magic.” Jessie Carty, of Charlotte, author of “At the A & P Meridiem,” editor of “Shape of a Box,” and publisher at Folded Word Press.

Tuesday, August 11, Sara Claytor, author of ” Howling on Red Dirt Roads” and “Reviving the Damsel Fish.” Ann Campanella, author of “What Flies Away” and “Young & Ripe.”

Tuesday, September 8, Pat Riviere-Seel, author of “No Turning Back Now” and “The Serial Killer’s Daughter” and Molly Rice of Hickory

Tuesday, October 13, Debra Kaufman, author of “Moon Mirror Whiskey Wind,” and Helen Losse, Poetry Editor of “Dead Mule” and author of “Better with Friends”

Tuesday, November 10, Alex Grant, author of “The Circus Poems,” “The White Book,” and “Chains & Mirrors” …



And now, thanks to Rebekah Cowell, fiction editor at the Mule, I just had a poem, “Nothing But Memories,” accepted for the issue of Distillery, a print magazine published monthly by Carrboro Free Press, that will come out tomorrow.

Our philosophy of life is not something we create all by ourselves out of nothing. Our ways of thinking, even our attitudes toward ourselves, are more and more determined from the outside. Even our love tends to fit ready-made forms. We consciously or unconsciously tailor our notions of love according to patterns we are exposed to day after day….

Love [Merton begins to examine one of these patterns] is regarded as a deal. The deal presupposes that we all have needs which have to be fulfilled by means of exchange. In order to make a deal you have to appear in the market with a worthwhile product, or if the product is worthless, you can get by if you dress it up in a good-looking package. We unconsciously think of ourselves as objects for sale on the market. We want to be wanted. We want to attract customers. We want to look like the kind of product that makes money. …In doing this we come to consider ourselves and others not as persons but as products, as “goods,” or in other words, as packages. We appraise one another commercially. We size each other up and make deals with a view to our own profit. We do not give ourselves in love, we make a deal that will enhance our own product, and therefore no deal is final. Our eye is already on the next deal, and this next deal need not necessarily be with the same customer. Life is more interesting when you make a lot of deals with a lot of new customers.

The trouble with this commercialized idea of love is that it diverts your attention more and more from the essentials to the accessories of love. You are no longer able to really love the other person, for you become obsessed with the effectiveness of your own package, your own product, your own market value.

Thomas Merton. “Love and Need: Is Love a Package or a Message?” in Love and Living. Naomi Burton Stone & Patrick Hart, editors (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jonvanovich, 1985): 29,30-31.

emphasis mine.  Sad, but often true.

Hope and faith will both come to an end when we die. But love will remain. Love is eternal. Love comes from God and returns to God. When we die, we will lose everything that life gave us except love. The love with which we lived our lives is the life of God within us. It is the divine, indestructible core of our being. This love not only will remain but will also bear fruit from generation to generation.

When we approach our deaths let us say to those we leave behind, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. The love of God that dwells in my heart will come to you and offer you consolation and comfort.”

emphasis mine

How do we make our deaths gifts for others? Very often people’s lives are destroyed, harmed, or permanently wounded by the deaths of their relatives or friends. We have to do whatever we can to avoid this. When we are near death what we say to those who are close to us, whether in spoken or in written words, is very important. When we express gratitude to them, ask forgiveness for our shortcomings and offer forgiveness for theirs, and express our sincere desire that they continue their lives without remorse but remembering the graces of our lives, then our deaths can become true gifts.

I will be reading from and, hopefully, selling and signing copies of Better With Friends on Saturday,  May 23, 2009, 2:00 pm at Edward McKay, Winston-Salem.

Better With Friends

We often wonder how death will occur for us. Through illness, accident, war, or a natural disaster? Will our deaths happen suddenly or gradually? There are no answers for these questions, so we really should not spend time worrying about them. We don’t know how our lives will end, and this is a blessed ignorance! But there is an important question that we should consider: When our time to die comes, will we die in such a way that those we leave behind are not devastated by grief or left with feelings of shame or guilt?

How we leave others depends largely on how we prepare ourselves for death. When we can die with grateful hearts, grateful to God and our families and friends, our deaths can become sources of life for others.

Emphasis mine

May 2009
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