Posts Tagged ‘Poetry Workshop’

O Absalom!

June 18, 2009

This poem comes from my first book: “A Seasoning of Lust”

I am going to be offline for a few, just for some vacation of the spirit. And to get some new poems worked out. And to read some books  a friend has recommended.  See you later.

Lady Nyo


O Absalom,
ensnared by your long hair in the
boughs of  an oak,
pierced through the heart three times
yet your nature was born only to please.


pulled into your mysteries
panting now, yours answer to my heart.
Abandoned by love, given over to lust
charged with stolen rapture
dizzy as a dervish,
one hand upward to Heaven
one hand spilling to Earth
skirts stiffened with sins hard as stone
corrupted over a life time and now-
flayed on an unending mandela.

Mystery of Life, unstoppable desire.
O beautiful Absalom, we float upon a divine river
entangled in the reeds of human desire.

This is our nature, this our calling while
flesh answers to flesh.
What quarter be given when the heart is
overwhelmed by passions excess?

Lie still,

let the waters cleanse our loins
the mud of the banks soothe our wounds,
let our blood mingle with the floating grasses,
our hearts sink beneath the surface.
Let the rivers of Babylon
Carry us away.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2009

A Poem from Susan Clarke

June 18, 2009

Susan wrote an introduction to this poem, but I would rather post it after people read and comment.  A bit of a mystery perhaps as to the origin.

Lady Nyo.

A Randomness of Strangers

A randomness of strangers
Collective noun
For connections made through electronic portals.
Intimate anonymity
promising distraction
or shared secrets
behind a cloak of backlit glass and plastic.

Hasty liaisons made
with men who’ve randomly
selected my profile
attracted to feathered nakedness
or open expressions of lust.

Random intimacy
With people
I wouldn’t meet in other contexts
People I’d ignore
Outsiders in the realm
Of my daily existence.

But I admit their probing questions
their intrusions into my private world
And reply with candor
That is normally reserved
For confidantes.

Perhaps a random stranger
Can offer a random observation
or hold up a mirror
to expose some hidden part of me
through wisdom
born of complete ignorance
of who I am
or have been.

The anonymity of random strangers
can be comforting
within the confines
of the family home
where those who
know me most intimately
shield me from

Susan Clarke

Copyrighted, 2009

Another Poem from Nick…..

June 17, 2009


how many days must pass
this hell-bound train
the whizz and flash of ethereal lights
like that thing
that once passed for a heart
the fugitive glances
at all that is other
adrift in a sludge of mind
in a test pattern world
how many days must pass

Nick Nicholson

Copyrighted, 2009

Nick!  You know I’m not the best of critters, but I make a fly over.  I look first how this moves me….and it does.

I think the openness of the structure and ending grabs me first.  That rhythm is there, important, and it’s not just a ‘ramble’.  It’s got this forward propulsion and that makes ‘good’ with the ‘hell-bound’ train imagery.

Plus, you throw in this ‘ethereal lights’ which is the opposite of ‘hell bound train’ to me, and in a sense develops a picture…

I stumbled on “at all that is other desired”   Perhaps drop the ‘other’ but then again, I can see something of the point of ‘other’.  Just a suggestion.  Or drop the desired….something here makes me stumble in the reading…in the mouth.

“adrift in the sludge of mind in a test pattern world” is some strong imagery…good there..this chaotic..or perhaps entrenched mundane? sadness? hopelessness?

Love the ending:  “How many days must pass until”.

That is a brilliant ending.

Nuff said.  Nick, this poem has got to be one of my favorites, and there is much more ‘in it’ than I have grasped, and I am not doing it justice….but it does haunt, and I am sure it will haunt others.

Reminds me of some beat poetry….are you reading Butkowski again??? LOL!  Not a bad influence at all.


Please, others here…and out there….make your own crits.  That is  the purpose of the …ahem….Poetry Workshop theme.

And about that….everyone here is honestly open to crits, rewrite and the slaughter of the lambs….no…not  that the last happens, but we open ourselves for what we know is good, and perhaps bitter medicine right now, but crits lay bare the essentials in a poem, and build improvement….and strengthen the poem and the poet.

In my opinion, those that write and don’t WANT crits…(and there are actually people that express just that…) aren’t serious poets. They want praise, uncritical praise, and they then wonder why people shy away from their poetry.  It’s a form of infantilism or something like that, not to be open to crits to IMPROVE the work.

I have come across a few poets who ‘bare the soul’ ….but act like their poetry is perfect the first off the mark.  None of us, I believe, get it right the first couple of times.  It’s all ego if we think we do….and then IF we don’t get the readers??

We have only ourselves to blame.  There are no short cuts to being a serious poet.  It’s rewrite, rewrite, rewrite….and being open to other eyes.

Lady Nyo

Busy Workshop! and a Poem from Nick Nicholson…

June 15, 2009

Nick sent me four, and I want to put them all up,  but I want each of them to receive a good reading.  They are rich poems, and like many things, we can gobble them up and lose ourselves in the richness.

So, I will parse them out…one by one, and make them last all week. I will also post some of my own, later,  and others…(hint, hint) but I want to take this a little slower.

My profound thanks to all who are sending in their poems, to the readers,  and also to Dr. Singh in particular who gives us newer poets such great guidance in this heady issue of poetry.

Lady Nyo


I want to shiver on the edge of your mouth
gasp at the sight of your breast
swim in the wet sugar of your flesh
drown like a fool in your whispered words
crucify myself on the cross of your body

these are the things I want to say
but I don’t

Nick Nicholson

Copyrighted, 2009

How to proceed on Poetry Criticism.

June 14, 2009

I am struggling with the form of how to address the comments and the crits that are coming in right now on the different poems.  At times I will post the comments on the blog face and also in the comments section.  This will be a random decision on my part because I am trying to see how this works best.

Everyone who has been invited to post on the Poetry Workshop theme agrees that poetry criticism is necessary, and also a learned ability. None of us (except probably Dr. Singh) have the answers, but we are all united in the belief that “writing means rewriting” and that poetry criticism is a tool to improve and ‘grow’ our work.  And in part ‘growing’ our work means clarifying and developing our poems as a means of communication.

Those of us here have different approaches to our poetry.  This is right and good.  Most of us here are writing Lyric Poetry, and this is a very developed and common form used in Western poetry.  We want to develop and explore the best means for doing so and creating better connection through our poems.

All that is to say that we know poetry should be introspective, contemplative and hard work.  It isn’t  just tossing off conversations with ourselves, but serious attempts to make our words resonate in the thoughts, experiences and hearts of others.

We are united in discerning those things that will improve our chosen form of communication, be it lyric poetry or other forms like tanka, choka, cinquain, or any other form.

Right now I have received (and have myself) a lot of poetry to post.  I want everyone who has contributed to receive a fair amount of attention, and therefore, I will parse out the submissions so there isn’t so many at one time. That way perhaps those reading can think deeply about the offerings, and we can give them the attention they deserve.

I encourage everyone posting to take at least one poem of another and attempt a crit.  Again, we learn together, and it IS possible to learn how to do this.  Any suggestions or ideas, no matter how cracked, are appreciated and of course are welcomed  by me.

Thanks, everyone, for a great first week and all the enthusiasm for the fine poetry submitted.

Lady Nyo

The Poetry Workshop, As Nick Nicholson calls it…

June 12, 2009

has taken off this week.  It was just a small thing amongst fellow poets, but it has been embraced by these poets-friends, and I have some excellent submissions to post, with more promised.

This blog started almost exactly a year ago as  a writer’s blog open to other writers, and it seems that sometimes, some weeks, months, it  diverged from that set task.  All in all, that is fine, there were matters that glimmered and caught our  attention, but now we are back to the basics: writing and right now…poetry.  In particular, the dissection of pieces of poetry and poetry crits.  Actually, Nick has been the one to lead this, and I thank my dear friend for his wonderful efforts.  Nick and I came  out of ERWA (Erotica Readers and Writers Association), basically joining the same time, and we cut our teeth on what we saw and attempted there.  Our guide in the poetry section of ERWA was Gary Russell and he was a good mentor in those things of poetry he introduced.

This week has been a good start, and the stats show that there are over 220 people today reading the blog…and in particular the poetry offerings.  That says many people interested in poetry and of course, we are delighted.

Further, Katie Troutman wrote  last night and said she was delighted in the crits she received and is presently rewriting her poems and making them stronger.  That was  the purpose of this ‘workshop’ and if it does this, then we are succeeding in our efforts.

I’m going to have to slow down a bit right now, because of two situations.  One, we are doing a house remodel, and The Husband needs me to hold up the other end of the 2×4’s, the ladders, hold the end of the chalk line, but there is a constant clean up of debris, dust and plaster.  We bought Festool equipment (fine German technology in carpentry tools) last Xmas, and the best part of it is the vacuum. It gets a workout as we remove walls in place since the 1880’s.  Have you any idea what is behind those walls?  Besides no insulation, there are SPIDERS who look like they could eat eyeballs in a gulp.  There are MORE SPIDERS , and Camel Crickets that jump yards and scare the hell out of you.  My son keeps the Festool suckup away from the spiders and captures them on a broom or in a glass and deposits them in the front garden, but I would  rather suck them up.  I have been bitten and it’s not nice.

Also, I have started another collection of poetry, this time titled “White Cranes of Heaven”, and this  will replace the “Seasoning of Lust, Vol. II”  planned for this fall.   This is a shift for me because there will be very little erotica in this collection, and my friends are chortling at my ‘target marketting” of the first book “Lust”.  A nun, a female rabbi, and 4 90 year old  plus family members and friends of the family are NOT a good market for that first book.  LOL!  I knew that, I tell my friends, but I did hope  a couple were ‘liberal’ enough to embrace this venture.  I was wrong and I seem to be the scarlet woman in my family.  The rabbi still talks to me, but the nun?  She acts very nervous.

So I will parse out the poetry and make it last and hope others chime in with ‘poetry criticism’.  We are not experts here, except for Dr. Singh, but he’s awaiting the Monsoons in Mumbai, and it’s damn hot there he tells me.  It’s damn hot here, too…and the spiders aren’t helping a bit.

Mary sends in a tanka and Susan Clarke from Australia sends in a poem.  I’ll  post them  and perhaps after the weekend, there will be others to jump in the crit circle.

Lady Nyo

Tanka from Mary:

Today is summer

The heat has made roses wilt

Like a sad lover

Crying crystal tears that flow

Can not the tears offer life?

Poem from Susan Clarke:


She observes the weeds
multiplying with obscene haste
across every garden bed.
Clandestine seedings
cause multitudes of offspring
to work their way into the light,
mocking her impotence to act.

She observes the weeds,
bees pollinating flowers
that will become cobbler’s pegs or farmer’s friends
depending on your preference.
Her head hurts
as she sees the futility of any effort
to combat their relentless progress
through what should be a garden,
an asset to her home,
a pride and joy.

But she can only see weeds,
a testament to the state of her mind
overgrown with unresolved pain,
longing for a life free of torment.

Her home is untidy,
dirty floors,
old worn furniture.
Anti house-proud
the dust bunnies multiply
in the corners
waiting to be gathered up
by a broom
in a healthy sweep of awareness.

She observes the kitchen
the indifference of family members
brazenly displayed in congealed fat
around the stainless steel sink
red wine and milk stains
stickiness and clumps of crumbs on bench tops.

She observes the open griller gaping
to reveal a crusty cheese coating,
the trash bin lid
covered in grease from food scraps
carelessly scraped in.
bread tags, rubber bands, milk bottle tops and grime
on every surface.
The recycling box is overflowing
the fridge covered in spill stains gone mouldy
the fruit bowl overflowing
with decayed passionfruit, old apples
and mandarins that looked nice
three weeks ago.

She observes her weariness
and remembers observing the same scene
a month ago
and how it mirrored the state of her mind.

Then, as now
she got to work and cleaned up the grime
making the surfaces clean and dry
feeling brief relief and pride
from action taken
ephemeral resolution and peace
a clean tidy house
and a clean tidy mind.

But the weeds remain.

A crit/comment from Katie Troutman:

This poem is wonderful. The imagery is fragrant, sharp, colorful, immediate, and the words slice as cleanly as the images into our psyche. I like the weeds lurking in the background, still looming on the horizon at the end. The image of relentless weeds is a wonderful metaphor for LIFE. Plain, regular, everyday life. No matter how much we do-and we must do it-the everyday things like washing dishes and pulling weeds are always with us. Life is  process. Weeds remind us of that.
Loved it.

I agree, Katie, I was struck by the pathos and intensity of Susan’s poem….the everyday issues are the basis but I know more about Susan through this poem.  She reveals a lot about herself that connects with others, us, other readers.  I think it’s a good example of lyric poetry…not just a statement of ‘herself’ but the communication that most of us strive to do THROUGH our poetry-  make those connections with humanity.  Not just statements of our lives.

Susan communicates through her poetry in interesting terms.

She cares about this important issue of resonance.

Lady Nyo.

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