Posts Tagged ‘poetry websites’

Confessions aren’t necessarily good for the soul…and probably not for the blog.

April 15, 2012

Watercolor, janekohut-bartels, 2007, "Garden Shed"

Garden Shed”, watercolor, janekohut-bartels, 2007

I’m not good with titles, so I don’t know why I titled this post in such a way, but it probably fits.

Since the beginning of the year, I have had some challenges.  I badly sprained my right ankle, thought it was broken, probably less pain if it had been, but I’ve only been mobile for about a month.  That’s a long time hobbling around.  Then about three weeks ago, the bad karma continued, picked right up, and I got vertigo.  For those who haven’t experienced this lovely ailment, it’s like being drunk or stoned and having nothing ‘pleasant’  about it.  You stumble around, hitting walls and feeling very old. You grab for fences, furniture, etc. to steady yourself, and you get strange looks from neighbors.  They think you are drunk in public.  You are not.  Your head is spinning and there is no balance to find. The doctor in the ER put me on Valium, and it just makes me groggy and sleep the day away.  This is no life, especially in the spring.

It is spring, a beautiful, tender season with the push to plant, to cultivate, to be outside.  The pollen has been horrendous, but the trees are well budded out now. The grass is growing, and I was able to put in (on my knees, crawling around in the mud) 15 tomato plants.  Pretty poor for a gardener, but I did put in a few Cinderalla pumpkins, and some buttercrunch lettuce that needs to be eaten. 

I put in a new rose garden…only 9 plants, but these should be spectactular.  At least the photos from David Austin Roses looked so.  For some reason, some worm has already attacked the greenery and I’m just looking for the right thing to attack it.  I use natural products, so pesticides are out, besides the cats sit under the roses and nap.

I’ve decided I need a break from poetry websites.  They are generally wonderful, but they also are a responsibility. I just don’t have the energy right now to participate.  I know the friends I have made there will understand.

 I am settling down with a few books I have had for years, yet never read.  One is  “Eighteenth Century English Literature” (1969) a college textbook, and a thick one.  A long and informative introduction and some of my very favorite writers:  Fielding, Swift, Richardson, Anne Finch, the (ultimately) very mad William Collins, Boswell, who, in my estimation, is better to read than Johnson.  But they are all in there, and so many more. I have avoided most of them….like Pope, Locke, Gibbon (though I have his 4 volume of “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire…also have never read it).

And because I am SICK of my cooking, I am reading “French Cuisine For All” by Louisette Bertholle.  She was a collaborator with Julia Childs on a number of books, and the recipes look good and tasty. Not exactly ‘modern-health-wise’, with butter and some other fats, but more interesting than my vegan fare that is just about tasteless. Of course, there are vegans who are marvelous cooks, but I have yet to meet one.  And I have met my share of vegan fakers.  They wear the badge of veganism but eat hamburgers behind scenes.  I tried it for a couple of months, and it did change my cooking habits, but my husband,…my poor, suffering, tolerant husband….needed something better. So did the dogs who are ‘pre-wash’ in our house.

In an important way, this frees me up to post poems and ‘flashers’ (200 word stories) that I would not be able to post on poetry websites.  Sex is sometimes frowned upon, or perhaps it depends on the reader, but sex and sexual activity is very much part of life as my husband keeps telling me. LOL!  So, I will, and I will also post things that I have in my files that I haven’t been able to place.

See you on the other side.

Lady Nyo

Spring Orgy


The roses are having an orgy.

They haven’t the decency to wait for the dark,

But ply their lust in the soft, morning light.


Randy Graham Thomas is leering.

Madame Carriere is blushing.

Her pink silk-petal gown flutters

As she twists coyly to avoid his embrace.


By 10am the sun warms their scents and foreplay is over.

The wind at 11am entwines the two.

Pistils and stamens are seriously ‘at it’

Brushing languorously over parts

And hour ago were covered discreetly.

At high noon in the heat of the day

Pollen is floating all over the air

And even the wide-eyed cats

Sitting under tender foliage are blushing.


The garden gnome is licking his lips

While a concrete hand creeps to his crotch.


This fall there will be rose-hips aplenty.

Red nipples packed with tiny seeds,

Evidence of a spring-time lust.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010, 2012

Stolen poetry…..

February 8, 2012

Sunset in a Violent Sky, copyrighted, 2007, janekohut-bartels, watercolor...this painting was copied by a person and enlarged without permission to hang on their

Recently, I received news  a poem of mine had been ‘stolen’.  Actually, a poet on an unknown poetry website had taken my poem, changed the title and a few lines in two stanzas, and published my poem on this website under her name.  What was especially galling was she  is no poet, and her revisions were horrible, awkward…an attempt to make something ‘more’  erotic by  adding cheap and tawdry phrases.   Confronted, she said that ‘she was inspired’ by other poet’s work.  The webmistress contacted me and asked if this was my poem.  I was surprised, because I didn’t know without the proper title how one would go about tracking the original poet.  Apparently, she had her suspicions, and googled the first couple of lines and my name and website came up.  She was deleted from this  unknown website.

I was dismayed.  Poetry generally comes from some of the deepest places in our beings: it’s an outward form of some very personal experience, or something like that.  This poem was written in 2008, at a difficult time in my life.  I was going through some physical and emotional changes and a year later, it received an award, (up until now, the only one….) as “Poem of the Year” on a particular website.  I had left that website, but was grateful for the award.

This ‘news’ about the plagiarized poetry came at a point when I was reading a chapter about creativity.  In Fox’s “Original Blessing”, this third path, Via Creativa, speaks of the hard labor necessary to produce artistic works, regardless of the medium.  It is not an activity of ‘letting it all hang out’ as we have been told by certain cultural ‘standards’ but one of a deep discipline.  To attempt to bypass this hard labor is not only stupid,  but robs the person of a deep meditation with oneself and a growth from this activity.  It is also hard to trust those images that come to us at the beginning of our creativity.  We are very judgmental towards our attitudes of our own self-expression.  We have to develop an attitude of trust, a trust that out of our silence, our waiting, our openness, our emptiness… these images can come.  I do know after 30 years of painting, each blank canvas, each clean piece of watercolor paper sends me into anxiety.  I don’t ‘trust’  I can again, produce something coming from the relay from the brain, through the eyes to the hand.  I forget I have 30 years of technique behind my painting, and feel like I have nothing to build upon for the next piece of work.  But I do, I just don’t trust myself.  It takes my ‘letting go’ of  judgmental attitudes  towards myself, towards my expectations, and settling down into the work and trusting  ‘something’ will come of it.  But it still is always a struggle to trust myself to be able to do something in this creative vein.

One of the problems for most creative people is to pick the image that sings loudest to us.  Perhaps because we fail to choose the strongest image, we give up creating anything.  The (dead) Zen artist Kenji Miyazawa said this about that:

“You experience something deeply. Later, you picture it in your own mind; you idealize it; you cooly and sharply analyze it; you throw all your passion and power into it. Then you fuse all these things together into one.  If you do this without self-consciousness, the depth and the power of creation will be much greater.”

In music, I have come across this ‘without self-consciousness’ terms as ‘getting out of the way’.

Somewhere Meister Eckhart talked about the ‘bridle of love’ that we need to steer our passions.  Not to control or abuse them, but to make them work for us.  This is discipline, done respectfully towards ourselves, for our developing and revealing creativity.  We suffer enough abuse, by ourselves and society, so adopting an environment of hard work, of sweat, of exhaustion, of joy and of discipline will only push our creativity further along.  This poor poet who didn’t trust herself enough to settle, look deeply within and create, is more to be pitied than  scorned, but perhaps put in stocks???  She stole other poet’s poetry because she did not love or honor herself.  Hopefully she will learn to love herself enough to become truly creative. Hopefully, she will not rob herself of this wonderful process.

The small poem below was inspired by these words of Daichi-zenji (1290-1366) “and bring back a pitcher containing the moon’.  Just those words set my brain on fire.  There is nothing wrong with ‘being inspired’ by the work and words of another poet: just be sure that inspiration is true to your own vision and abilities and you are not putting your chop on the work of another.

Lady Nyo


Pitcher of Moon

I dip into the pond

And gather a pitcher of moon.

Above, it glimmers

Smiles at my efforts,

This late- winter moon.

It is just a bowl of cool water

I am holding

But the magic of the cosmos settles

In this plain clay vessel.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2012

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