Monday, December 3, 2012

Crowd the Book

My friend and fellow poet Christopher Luna has launched a new business.
Crowd the Book is a new way to help independent authors and the small
presses that publish them thrive in an otherwise tough economy. Every
month, you’ll get a new novel, short story collection or poetry
collection and a backstage pass to the author’s life and writing
process for less than the cost of the same book at a bookstore. It’s a
great way to get access to new and great indie authors and support the
small presses that publish them. Find out more at
and support their new Kickstarter Campaign at

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Abruptness of Change

On this last day of September, I stop to feel grateful for all the gorgeous sunshine, for the good health enjoyed by family, for the beautiful art being created every day on Whidbey Island and, of course, for poems.  And yet

another thought:  how our lives can change in the briefest of instants.  Driving the back road toward the off-leash dog park at Bayview -- we see a woman sprawled at the side of the road, not really enough shoulder to sit on safely -- a huge Golden Retriever in her arms.  Her sobs rend the air as two cars ahead swerve left to go around her.  I pull over and go to her.  The injured dog is too much for her to lift and my husband assists, moving into the back seat with the dog, Micah, in his lap.  She will follow us to the vet clinic in Freeland.

Between wrenching sobs, we piece the story together.  She was weeding her garden when Micah suddenly bolted toward the road.  She ran after, calling him back, and heard the loud slam of impact.

What kind of person rams a car into a dog and drives off?  Someone famous (Einstein?  Gandhi?) wrote that the quality of human society can be assessed by how it treats animals ... not an exact quote, but that's the general idea.  The polar bears are dying because of our greed for fossil fuels, honeybees are in trouble, and vivisection still goes on.  We have a lot of work to do on our society's quality ...

Dr. Parent comes out with a stethoscope and listens for Micah's heartbeat, only to stand back shaking his head.  We feel like failures, arriving too late to the scene of doom.  Micah's human says, I could see the light leaving his eyes ...

This may turn into a poem some day, but on this day, and for many days after, the thought of Micah brings only tears and a heavy heart.  For those of you who know the pain of losing your companion dog, I recommend Robert Frost's poem "Canis Major."

May we all do better in our positions of stewardship of the Earth and all its animals.

Monday, September 3, 2012

One of the most pleasant consequences of creating "Surrounded" has been opportunities to get to know some of the poets.  Through phone calls, emails and cards, I have been able to learn more about the book's contributors.  Several of the poets have offered creative marketing and promotion ideas; thanks!  And now from Vincent Tomeo, an oft-published New York poet, comes this review:

Critique of Surrounded:  Living With Islands

By Vincent J. Tomeo

Each poem tells an intriguing story that is left open for a sequel to another story, to another poem, concerning an unanswered conflict, searching for an answer.  You won’t be disappointed.  Living With Islands is a fine read.

I could explicate several poems to prove a point, but I choose to have the reader go on a vicarious trip somewhere between his/her heart and mind.  It will truly be an exploration of exotic places, real and in a fantasy.

I suggest the reader go island hopping in a world Surrounded: Living With Islands.  You will be surprised who you will meet and what you will encounter.

Thanks, Vincent.

If you are a fan of poetry, let a poet know s/he is appreciated.  Give a poetry book as a wedding or graduation gift.  Attend a reading at your favorite bookstore.  Write a poem for your mom or dad's birthday -- I did this for both my parents and they were thrilled (or else they both deserve Oscar nominations!).  Help to infuse the world with the energy good poems provide -- the results may amaze you.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

New Book Review !!

Review of Surrounded:  Living With Islands

By Prof. Russ Stratton, Founding Editor, Plainsongs

The first edition of Surrounded: Living with Islands, a poetry anthology edited by Sheryl Clough (Write Wing Publishing, 2012), featured this epigraph by Sappho: “If you are squeamish, / do not prod the beach rubble. In this little collection, the prodding is done lightly and in three parts, “Ebb,” “Slack,” and “Flow.”

Ms. Clough, herself a talented poet, tells us in her general introduction that islands do not always become Edens for those who choose them, yet I find most of the work quietly and carefully celebrates the experience as neither Heaven nor Hell.  One, “Turtle Island” (William Carpenter), works as a creation myth while another, the prize-winning “Making Islands” (Henry Hughes), explores our life cycle via some interesting erotic imagery, finally welcoming death.  Among the other poets, islands from Hawai’i to Ireland offer inspiration or in some cases desperation.

As one might expect, keen observation, particularly of nature, seems as vital to these poems as the characters who populate them.  Clough’s poets always make us see rather than telling us what to see, or as the great Japanese dramatist, Chikamatsu Monzaemon wrote, “It is essential that one not say of a thing that ‘it is sad,’ but that it be sad of itself.”

It’s an original concept, this little magazine, well-crafted and occasionally self-conscious in a “literary” fashion, but it holds together exactly as Ms. Clough promises, each poem anchored to the book “in which readers may float, motor, flounder or swim from one exotic shoreline to the next.”

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Surrounded Goes BICOASTAL

"Surrounded:  Living With Islands" is now available in two independent bookshops.  On the West Coast, find the book at ANCHOR BOOKS AND COFFEE, Clinton, Whidbey Island, Washington.  And on the East Coast, thanks to contributing poet Kateri Kosek, the book is now available at MAINE COAST BOOK SHOP, Damariscotta, Maine.  Both stores have excellent websites; just google your way on over.

READING:  Saturday, September 22, 2012, 3 to 4 PM, Oak Harbor Library, Oak Harbor, Washington.  We will read poems from Surrounded, followed by book signing.  I'd love to see you there.

PUBLICITY:  Please consider spreading the word by writing a review on Amazon.  Also, on June 28 I was interviewed by Betty Freeman of the Whidbey Examiner about the book and about Write Wing Publishing.  I'll post a link when the article is published.  Thanks, everybody!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

After months of receiving and reading poems, formatting, layout, proofreading and proofing again, the book is finished.  "Surrounded:  Living With Islands" collects the works of twenty-four poets from all over the country.  Whatever your views about living on an island, you may find them changed or altered after reading these lyrical/frightening/challenging/mysterious poems. The book's cover (photo above) was designed by one of the contributing poets, Constance Mears. There are two ways to obtain your very own copy of this lovely book:

1)  Pre-order a copy directly through me at  I expect to have physical copies ready to mail out by June 6.  $12 plus $2.00 shipping; tax included.  OR

2)  Order online through CreateSpace; the book is available now.  Here is the link:

In about 5-7 days, copies will also be available on Amazon.  Please be aware, though, that Write Wing receives a much smaller royalty from Amazon than from CreateSpace.  Have compassion for the small publisher!

This summer will bring a book launch party and/or library reading on Whidbey Island; stay tuned for details; and as always, thank you for being readers!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Write Wing Publishing Announces Poetry Prize

Happy National Poetry Month!  Here's to all the new poems being written, all the old poems being read and treasured, and all the uncreated poems still to come.  It is especially joyful for me to announce the winner of:


The prize goes to Henry Hughes of Falls City, Oregon for his stunning poem "Making Islands."  Henry has been awarded $50.00, and his poem will appear in the forthcoming anthology "Surrounded:  Living With Islands."

The anthology is currently in the layout/format process, and should be available very soon.  Thanks again to all poets who submitted; those selected for publication will receive a contributor's copy of the book.

Special thanks go to Constance Mears for her beautiful work on cover design.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Readers are the Reward

ScatchetPoet wins a prize!  My nonfiction essay "Shaped By Cedar" was recently awarded second prize in the competition from Jane's Stories Press Foundation.  Watch for their new anthology, "Bridges and Borders," in which the essay will be published.  Many thanks to JSPF.

More rewarding than winning prizes, however, is knowing that my writing will be available in published form for readers all over the world.  Writing can be such an isolated activity; staring at that electronic page/monitor/taskmaster, some days it is hard to envision that real human beings will be reading the words.

Speaking of readers:  Write Wing's new poetry anthology "Surrounded:  Living With Islands" should be ready to read by late April or early May.  All submitting poets have now received responses to their poems, and decisions are well underway as to format, layout, cover design, etc.  Watch for a gorgeous book to be released!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Surrounded" STATUS

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the poets who sent in their daring, beautiful, provocative, bizarre and/or experimental poems for inclusion in the anthology "Surrounded:  Living With Islands."  Final decisions are being made this month, and some poets have already been notified.  If you have not yet heard from me, please hang in there; the goal is to have all selections made and notifications completed no later than March 25.

A WORD ABOUT BIOS:  if you sent an author bio that exceeds 50 words -- and you know who you are -- you will be asked to revise it to fit within the 50-word limit.

I am humbled by the excellence of the poetry received.  Write Wing's book will be worth waiting for!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

REMINDER:  February 10 Submission Deadline

A big THANK YOU to all the poets who have sent their heartfelt, glorious poems in for the new book "Surrounded."  I am overwhelmed and so gratified to see all this lively, musical, gorgeous poetry alive and well, arriving from all parts of the country.

The book promises to be excellent, based on the quality of poems being received.  If you have entertained even a tiny thought of submitting, now is the time ... the submission period will close February 10, 2012.  I will read your poems with the respect they deserve.

SEE blogpost December 15 for submission guidelines.  Questions?  Email me: <>

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Poem in Every Moment?

My friend the poet and artist Chris Luna sometimes reminds me that a poem can be about anything.  As I was gazing out the window yesterday and thinking about that, the resident quail tribe strolled into the flower bed next to the driveway and began foraging.  I'm fascinated by the way they travel everywhere together; no quail goes solo.  "Quail in the Garden" sprang into my head as a poem title, but of course I did not write a poem at that moment and soon became sidetracked.  Several hours later, I stood outside on the deck watching the moonrise.  A couple more days until it's full, I thought, admiring the way the moon appeared framed inside the tangled branches of a huge ancient maple.  "Moon in the Maple" could be a poem, I thought.  (That one is not written yet, either.)  A third thought, late in evening, was of my dad who died last Valentine's Day, and will not be watching quail or moonrise, at least not in the form I'm seeing them now.  And that led to an overwhelming mix of grief and gratitude, which could be the basis for a poem!  I'm thankful for those quail, for that luminous moon, for my friendship with Chris and all the other poets, writers and artists who give their gifts so we all may better appreciate the vast beauty around us.  Don't let your poems pass you by.

Here's to a new year filled with beauty, appreciation, and the creation of art for us all.