Friday, May 30, 2014

Inspired by Elizabeth George

Yesterday (29 May 2014) my husband and I attended a seminar at Camp Casey here on beautiful Whidbey Island.  It was called "Leave a Legacy for What You Love," and featured talks by various residents and financial experts regarding how to best give gifts for furthering the work of one's chosen nonprofits.  The seminar was a joint venture of Whidbey Camano Land Trust, Good Cheer Food Bank, and the Whidbey Institute (once called "Chinook," for you old-timers).

The highlight of the day for me was the concluding talk by Whidbey author Elizabeth George -- probably because I discovered that her leading interests/motivators were so similar to my own. George listed her criteria for giving in this order:  (1) the creative process; (2) love of animals; and (3) preservation of land.  She supports the creative process through gifts from her Elizabeth George Foundation, with funds going to support writers.

The most interesting part of the talk, for me, was learning that George was inspired by the English author Beatrix Potter, who lived much of her life in England's Lakes District.  When Potter began to achieve writing success through her Peter Rabbit stories, she used her money to purchase farmlands around her.  She arranged for her estate to donate these lands to the National Trust, to be forever preserved and not developed.

George had lived in Orange County, California in the 1970s and had experienced the drastic landscape changes through over-development there.  She vowed she would not let that happen to Whidbey Island and, indeed, has been a staunch supporter of the Whidbey Camano Land Trust ( for a long time.

I came away from the conference with a renewed sense of purpose and place.  A key point made by the presenters is that one need not be a millionaire to be a philanthropist.  Small gifts count! Volunteerism counts!  Although we already donate to several nonprofits on the Island, I feel we could do more, and this morning I am checking out volunteer opportunities.

Love where you live -- get involved.  By loving the land and the animals who live there, we also honor our fellow human residents.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's Not Too Late ...

to celebrate April, National Poetry Month.  One anthology you'll want to check out is Ghost Town Poetry, Vol. 2, published by Chris Luna and Toni Partington of Printed Matter Vancouver.  This lively collection celebrates ten years of open mic readings (2004-2014) at Cover to Cover Books in Vancouver, Washington.  The book is available at and features vibrant collage-style cover art.

To further feed your poetry appetite, take a look at Write Wing Publishing's second anthology, edited by Sheryl Clough and titled Through A Distant Lens:  Travel Poems.  The book features 45 poets from all over the U.S., and one from Australia.  Here is the link:

Take a walk, shoot a photo, sing a song, write a poem, attend a reading; whatever you choose to do, make National Poetry Month your own and ENJOY!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

THROUGH A DISTANT LENS: TRAVEL POEMS finished & available now

The beautiful new anthology Through A Distant Lens: Travel Poems from Write Wing Publishing is finished, and is receiving rave reviews from early recipients.  Representing the work of 45 poets from all over the U.S.A., plus one from Australia, this collection celebrates the joys, pitfalls, and surprises that come along with traveling.  The four thematic sections are illustrated with black-and-white photos from diverse locales including Bhutan, Costa Rica and London.

Plans are afoot for a book launch party and reading to be held on Whidbey Island.  In the meantime, the book can be ordered at

OR, order directly from the publisher:  Write Wing Publishing, 3795 Hubble Court, Clinton, WA  98236.  $15.00 per copy includes the mailing cost, and the editor will sign your book upon request.  Gift wrap is also available at no extra cost.

I'm in the process of mailing contributor copies to all the poets and photographers -- this process should be complete by March 10, 2014, so if you haven't received yours yet, please be patient. Thanks to all those who contributed to this project, whether by writing, photographing, encouraging, or suggesting.  You know who you are ...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Write Wing Publishing Announces 2014 Poetry Prize Winner

Write Wing Publishing takes great pleasure in announcing CAROL ALEXANDER of New York, NY as the winner of the 2014 Poetry Prize for her poem Piazza San Marco, 1980.  Carol has been awarded $50.00, and her poem is published in the brand-new anthology Through A Distant Lens:  Travel Poems.

Here is the photograph used for the anthology cover art:

This is from a mural on the wall at Small Town Coffee in Kapa'a, Kauai -- if you get the chance, stop in and try their fantastic breakfast bagels.

What a difficult task:  to choose one winner from among dozens of graceful, eloquent, inspiring, funny, evocative, etc. etc. poems -- the experience caused me to re-think the morality of giving a cash prize at all.  So many of the poems published in this book are deserving of notice and reward.  However, when I called Carol on the phone to give her the good news, she quickly vanquished my inner arguments against prize-giving.  She said something along the lines of, here I sit, writing all these poems, and wondering am I just talking to myself here?  I know on the occasions when I have been paid for my writing, it is sweet vindication for all those hours of brainstorming, drafting, revising, proofreading -- well, you all know the drill.

Congratulations, Carol -- and congratulations to all 46 of the poets who are published in this exciting new volume, now available from CreateSpace at:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Anthology Behind Schedule!

Dear Contributors and Potential Readers of "Through A Distant Lens:  Travel Poems":

my original plan was to have the new book ready for holiday gifting.  A few days after releasing the call for submissions, I received a phone call out of the blue asking me to teach a creative writing course at Skagit Valley College (two hours+ round trip drive from home).  The instructor originally scheduled to teach this had bagged out on short notice -- of course I said yes, and then scrambled hard to put together text and syllabus.

Shortly after that, I was asked to take part in poetry judging for a local competition, so of course I said yes, and guess what?  This year saw a record-high number of submissions.  That is good news for the local writing community.

Long story short:  I am not at the point I hoped to be with the new book project, for which I have also received more submissions than anticipated.  The overall quality is high, the poems are delightful, and I do not want to rush this compilation in order to meet my earlier, arbitrary timeline.  January completion is looking much more realistic, and keep in mind that a poetry collection will be a delightful Valentines Day surprise for a loved one.

The cover photo has been (tentatively) selected.  Many poets have already been notified, but if you have not yet heard about your submission, hang in there.  Heartfelt thanks to all who sent poems.  This will be a gorgeous collection.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

*** New Anthology Takes Beautiful Shape ***

Poems have been arriving from all over the place, including Australia, for Write Wing Publishing's new anthology "Through A Distant Lens:  Travel Poems."  These poems are amazing, set in Machu Picchu, Long Island Sound, Venice, Croatia, Burgundy, Wisconsin, and Buenos Aires, to name just a few, and also some destinations of the imagination.  This collection will have more pages than "Surrounded:  Living With Islands," thanks to all the wonderful submissions.  The deadline is October 18, so if you have been thinking about it, stop thinking and get writing/revising/polishing.

In other news, I had a fabulous reading with my friend and fellow poet Linda Beeman on September 25 at Anchor Books & Coffee in Clinton.  We had a wonderful turnout, seeing many well-known faces and encountering some new ones.  The audience was attentive and all were good listeners.  Linda read from her chapbook "Wallace, Idaho" and I read from "Ring of Fire, Sea of Stone."  Whoever claims that poetry is dead in America is just plain wrong.

What a wonderful buzz of energy to have a roomful of people devoted to listening to poetry, reading poetry, writing poetry, even buying poetry books (what a concept!).  The evening was pure delight from start to finish.  Many thanks to Bruce and Trish Didier and to Debbie at the Clinton Library for co-hosting this event.

Stay tuned for news of the status of "Through A Distant Lens," and keep those poems coming!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Multiple Readings in September!

Musing on the death of the wonderful Seamus Heaney, taken away from us too soon:  I recently was feeling a bit frantic at the thought of giving three readings in September, but since Seamus died, it seems appropriate to be out there putting poetry forth into the world.  Here's what I'm doing:

1)  12:30 workshop and reading with members of JANE'S STORIES PRESS FOUNDATION at In Other Words bookshop in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, September 7, 2013.  There will be readings from JSPF's new anthology, "Bridges and Borders."

2)  11 AM to 12:30 PM on Saturday, September 14:  reading at the new festival in beautiful Coupeville, on Whidbey Island, Washington, "The Art of the Boat."  My poems will be about, what else, kayaks.  This festival will hopefully turn into a yearly event celebrating boats, art and writing about boats, and the people who sail around in them.

3)  6 PM on Wednesday, September 25 at Anchor Books & Coffee in Clinton.  I'll be reading from my recently-published chapbook, "Ring of Fire, Sea of Stone."  Also reading from her chapbook "Wallace, Idaho" will be local poet Linda Beeman.  Co-sponsored by Sno-Isle Regional Library and the Clinton Library.

Meanwhile, poems from all over the country, and from Australia too, are arriving for the new anthology "Through a Distant Lens:  Travel Poems."  Keep 'em coming!  The quality of poems so far is high.  This new project should result in a fatter (more pages) anthology than last year's "Surrounded:  Living With Islands."  Postmark deadline for submitting your poems:  October 18.