Monday, July 2, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
My poetry will not baffle you with phrasing that scholars award for academic genius and that can only be understood by those who wrote it. My poetry is for the everyday reader. In fact, it is even for those who don’t like to read poetry at all. Because it is real, stark and simple.
The poems in Fabric are no different. They explore specific moments in different people’s lives that are significant to whom they have become, the choices they’ve made. It’s about how they perceive the world around them, and how each and every one of their thoughts and actions contributes to the fabric of society. Perhaps you will even learn something new about yourself.
So, even if you do not usually read poetry, I urge you to give this one a go. Not because I want sales (though, they are fun!), but because I want more people to understand that not all poetry is scary and complex. Not all poetry is going to take you back to high school English, and not all poetry is going make you feel “stupid”.
You can still say to people that you don’t read poetry … I really don’t mind. Because if you read Fabric, you’re not reading poetry, you’re reading about people. And that’s what reading is about, yes? Living the lives of others?
She is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and co-hosts the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek Isle of Ithaca, with Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest.
For more information about Jessica Bell, please visit:
Monday, May 23, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
A couple months ago, my sister's brother-in-law contacted me about a book his colleague wrote titled The Sneaky Red Sock.
Ali Murdoch is the creative mind behind this eclectic collection of poems. Murdoch's sense of humor permeates everything he pens, including his Amazon Author Central author blurb:
Ali Murdoch is an entrepreneur turned author, who had to rely on the business route when his sporting career was cut tragically short by a lack of any real talent. The father of three very troublesome children he lives on Long Island, New York and does his best to keep control by threatening to recite poems at night unless they go to bed. It even works some of the time!
What I loved about this book:
Murdoch's clever prose reminds me of Shel Silverstein's work. Like Silverstein, Murdoch crafts poems with a wonderful melodic quality and canny humor.
Every poem illustrates the sharp, witty way Murdoch perceives the world around him. This book is full of smart plays on words and observant imagery that brought a smile to my face again and again.
The comic drawings by illustrator Simon Goodway were brilliant and heightened the humor of each piece.
The website Murdoch created to promote his book is wonderful! Check it out here --> www.sneakyredsock.com
Here's an example I loved from the book:
by Ali Murdoch, The Sneaky Red Sock, page 24
I was given a quiz, which I think I've solved
To explain the difference between Committed and Involved.
I was eating my breakfast, when the analogy fitted,
The hen was involved, but the Pig was committed.
This book is self-published -- which I think is fantastic!! However, a publisher may have cautioned against a couple things, such as:
The Sneaky Red Sock looks like its target audience is children. The cover art is bright and cartoon-ish, something I would expect to see shelved in the children's book section. And, the back cover blurb begins with, Welcome to a world where booby traps are successfully sprung, ghosts frighten teddy bears, and sneaky red socks turn everything in your washer a nice salmon color. -- All this suggests to me that it is appropriate for children.
And in fact, many of the poems are. But many aren't. In the back blurb's second paragraph, Murdoch says, Misbehaving children and even grandparents' rowdy parties are all dissected with a moral scalpel... -- I think a traditional publisher would have taken greater care to market this book to one intended audience.
Also, a publisher would have used a professional editor who would have found and fixed the mechanical issues throughout the book, starting perhaps with the punctuation typo on the back cover: This eclectic mix of poems, cartoons and ditties brings you face to face with the US Army's most secretive of weapons, "the Bunny Blaster" and their all new "Think Tank".
Above all else, though, Murdoch's wonderful sense of humor captures your attention and keeps you turning the pages to see what ingenious and entertaining observations of life's absurdities he tackles next. The Sneaky Red Sock truly has something for every member of the family to enjoy, though adults should pick out those their younger children will most appreciate.
Please Tweet and FaceBook! Thanks!!
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Today, our prompt word begins with 'J'. Based on the poem below, can you guess what emotion/etc. I've depicted? Looking forward to your guesses in the comments! Here goes:
Any idea what emotion inspired this poem? (Hint: I wrote this a couple years ago prompted by the same word, and it appears in this poem :D)
BTW, this is a Petrarchan, or Italian Sonnet. A Petrarchan Sonnet
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I'm into Day #7 of the 15 For 15 contest at Writing.com. Halfway there! Each day, out of the 50 entries the contest judge chooses her five favorites as that day's "winners." Top pick gets 1004 points, second gets 1003, and so on. A scoreboard is updated every day. If you miss two entries in a row, you're dropped from the competition. At the end of the 15 days, the writer with the most accumulated points "wins." (Prizes of the sites virtual tokens are awarded the first, second and third place winners.) Of course, it's not about the points. If you stretch your writing muscles, rising to the challenge every day and producing creative, inspired entries, you WIN.
That said, I won yesterday, earning 1004 points. My entry follows, but first here's what I wrote for the current photo which will be judged today:
|When I first saw it, I groaned. I suck at fantasy writing.|
I went the metaphor route, instead.
|And here is yesterday's prompt. The squirrel in this photo is actually a Malabar Giant Sqirrel. Lives in India. Go figure! My entry is below.|
Friday, October 22, 2010
In Sylvia Plath's poetry, as well as her fiction, suicide is a recurring theme. And each mention of suicide makes her work all the more haunting for readers today, forty-seven years after she took her own life. One such poem is "Daddy."
I first discovered "Daddy" a couple years ago when I was researching allegory in poetry. I was hypnotized by Sylvia's words, by the tone of the piece and the way it affected my emotions. Then, I found the video on YouTube of Sylvia herself reading the poem. It became an instant favorite of mine.
I'm going to share that video here, and just below it are the words to "Daddy." You can scroll and follow along -- I think that makes the experience that much better. I hope you enjoy it.
by Sylvia Plath
You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.
Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time--
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal
And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend
Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.
It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene
An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.
The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.
I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You--
Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.
You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who
Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.
But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look
And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root,
The voices just can't worm through.
If I've killed one man, I've killed two--
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.
There's a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.
~12 October 1962~
Thursday, April 15, 2010
A Sister Lost
Ages ago we shared our lives, but now.....
Sadness tortures my soul when I think of you
Immersed in glamorous audacity, skin and ego
Stroked by countless people, but none who really love you. I see you
Trample down fields of flowers in reckless pursuit of nothing that matters
Eager to finger that golden horizon.
Reaching, insatiable, for the jewel-encrusted platter
Laden with unrestricted choices, you are
Oblivious to the pewter chalice you've knocked to the floor
Spilling my love, unnoticed, under the
Table of your life.
By Nicole Ducleroir 10/2008
A Sister Found
Aging accusations became brittle with time
Siphoning the last of my stubborn resolve
Into the abysmal void where what matters not is
Time is touted as the healer of all pain, but
Everyone knows it takes more.
Reaching out from your fractured world, shaking the family tree, you
Forced me forward, frightened, until the gap between us snapped shut and
Order returned to the universe in my heart.
Unwritten chapters await our pen; across the first pristine page I write:
Never, ever again will I accept a day of my life
Devoid of your precious light.
By Nicole Ducleroir 12/2009
Author's Note: Due to width limitations of blogger post columns, some of the longer lines of these acrostics fell to the next line. Arg.
Artwork by Linda Wilder @artistwilder.deviantart.com
Thursday, March 4, 2010
The kids really wanted a kitten, in fact, Sidney had launched a full-blown campaign to persuade her father that our family was sadly incomplete without a pet. When Christian brought Mr. Odie home the children were enthusiastic (even Sidney, who declared this "was not what she meant by a pet"), especially since Mr. Odie was a Betta Fish. Up until then, we'd only welcomed standard Tetras and Mollies into our tank. They were fun to have around for the week or so they managed to stay alive. Betta fish are apparently much heartier creatures. In addition, Mr. Odie has real personality. He comes right to the glass when you peer into his tank. And they say a Betta Fish is as playful as a dolphin. If you drop a ping pong ball onto the surface of the water, a Betta Fish will push it around the tank with his nose. Although, if Mr. Odie can perform this trick, he's keeping it a secret from us.
In honor of Mr. Odies's annivarsary, I'd like to share a poem I wrote last year prior to his arrival.
You see, the fish tank occupies what I consider valuable real estate in the kitchen. It's located on a stretch of wall between the end of the countertop and the table -- a space where I have always envisioned a bulky, rustic sideboard-like piece of furniture where I could store table linens and the overflow of dinner ware. There was almost a year between the passing of the last fish and Mr. Odie's arrival. During that time, the fish tank was empty. I wanted it dismantled and moved to the garage, but Christian liked the look of an aquarium and enjoyed the percolating sound of water through the filter. So it stayed. Empty.
I'd planned on framing the following poem and hanging it above the vacant tank, as a passive-aggressive jab at my husband's stubbornness. Before I got the chance, he brought the Betta home. Mr. Odie, this one's for you!
By Nicole Ducleroir
Giggling water gurgles
from a guppy's ghost town tank
It sits fishless in my kitchen;
Stubborn husband I have to thank.
He'd see the stretch of wall undressed
should the vacant tank disappear;
That the spot would sport a buffet
is ignored by his id austere.
The battle of mismatched iron wills
rages on the silent front line.
I'll bide my time, but once I find
that perfect piece....
The space is MINE.