Sunday Morning Muse with 28 Poems and an Herb Garden

I had a bad week at work, or I should say a difficult week, since, truthfully, nothing bad actually happened. It just felt bad. Like I was driving a clunker, almost out of gas, miles from an off-ramp, behind an 18 wheeler going about 40 on a 55 mph highway. And more than just slowing me down, with me watching the little red gas pump light up on the dash, I couldn’t see what was up ahead.

I have, however, kept my commitment to write a poem a day all of April, and now I have 28 sonnets sitting on 28 pages, pretty as you please, waiting for the revisions to begin. Writing is the joy, the reward. Of course there were some very disappointing rejections to swallow, and, I’m afraid, more of those to come soon. I’m usually pretty tolerant of rejections, but I have to admit that when slight faith didn’t make the long list for the Suk prize, it stung. It’s been out for almost a year now, and it feels like its run is over without really getting out of the starting gate. Lord, I’m full of corny metaphors today.

It’s a cool sunny April day on the peninsula and my cats love me. I’m signing off now, to go outside to plant a container garden on the front porch.

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Sunday Morning Muse with a Subliminal Message

There is a new review up at The Poetry Cafe!

Sublime Subliminal by Rena Priest was a finalist for the Floating Bridge Poetry Chapbook Contest. Her book interested me because of her wondrous ability to play with senses. Smell a small taste of her sounds below:

The drunken monkey of truth
says, “It’s too late for you
to never tell me you love me.”
But I’ve already tasted in your kiss,
the pixels of lightning
you keep in your lips.


Read the review here:

Buy this chapbook from Floating Bridge Press! 

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Sunday Morning Muse, with a Poem from “slight faith”

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Sunday Morning Muse is Poetry Month with a Vegan Twist

I took this week off from work and have spent most of it writing poems, writing poetry reviews, setting up a new website for publishing poetry chapbook reviews, submitting poems, writing poems. Sort of a trial run for retirement. I can’t wait to have more time to write, more control over my schedule, more reading, writing, reviewing poetry.

For the something-ith year (10th I think) I am writing a poem-a-day for April. After a couple of poems, I realized that I am writing a sonnet cycle. I am excited about this!

I’m also doing a 30 day Vegan challenge this month, and having the time at home has resulted in spending a lot of time in the kitchen, my second favorite thing to do.

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Sunday Morning Muse with a Full Plate of Delicious Poetry

Last year in June, Molly Spencer, who is (among other amazing things) a poetry editor for The Rumpus asked me if I would write a review of Julie Wade’s Same Sexy Marriage. I thought, “why me?” at the time, having no purchase whatsoever in the book review world. But then the experience was transformative, for which I am immensely grateful. I have written (and published!) a review of a book of poetry every month since the first one. Although, I guess I should also count the practice runs: the reviews I’ve posted on Amazon and Goodreads, and here on my blog. I guess I was preparing for “the second career.”

I keep telling people (read, telling myself) that I am going to retire next January. One way to move gracefully into retirement, particularly from a long career in a job that I have always had a love/hate relationship with, is to already have moved on into the next phase.

Some of the next phase is already in motion. Writing poems has been part of my life for many years. I’ve edited and published and promoted lesbian/bi/trans poetry as a joint venture with Mary Meriam at Headmistress Press since 2013. I will be so happy to have more time for both of these projects.

And yet, it seems that I want to go overboard. So, the new project that I am adding to the plate is thepoetrycafe.online . . . a meeting place where poetry chapbooks are reviewed. The site is set up; it has an email address; the first chapbook review of Each Wild Thing’s Consent, by Lauren Davis has been published; I have a pile of chapbooks that were the inspiration for this project sitting on my desk, like cats asking for a treat; and I’ve already received a couple of chapbooks in the mail!

I still intend to keep up this blog and read others’ poetry blogs; being part of a poetry-blogging community been a life raft for me over the past year . . . although my attention might drift from time to time.

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Moving in!

The Poetry Cafe

I have already gotten a terrific response to The Poetry Cafe Project. It seems there are a lot of chapbooks looking for a sweet home review!

If you missed my review of Lauren Davis’ chapbook, “Each Wild Thing’s Consent,” I strongly recommend that you read it RIGHT NOW! 

Ok, now that you’re back, I want to open up the cafe to chapbooks!

I don’t promise to review your chapbook, but I promise to read it. I will list every chapbook I receive. Please mail chapbooks to me at:

The Poetry Cafe
60 Shipview Ln
Sequim, WA

If you prefer to inquire first, email me at: risa@thepoetrycafe.online

I will also be looking for reviewers soon. If you have an idea for a chapbook review, please email me for instructions at risa@thepoetrycafe.online.

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Sunday Morning Musings AND a New Website (Exciting!)

I’ve created a new website which I will be launching soon! Announcing (ta da!)

The Poetry Cafe” . . . a meeting place where poetry chapbooks are reviewed. It’s currently under construction at: https://thepoetrycafe.online

My intention is to write and publish reviews of poetry chapbooks. So,

  1. If you have a chapbook you’d like for me to review, please mail it to me at:

Risa Denenberg
60 Shipview Ln
Sequim, WA 98382

and

2) I’d love to publish contributor reviews! If you’d like to write a poetry chapbook review, you will find instructions on how to submit once the site goes live.

. . . and as for musings, I uncovered this list of things I jotted down somewhere that I thought I wanted to write about. It’s an interesting list, showing a certain frame of mind I may have been in at the time:

  • suicide notes, particularly Jumpers
  • earthquakes specifically “the big one”
  • Cosmology: constellations, seyfirt galaxies, singularities,  gravitational waves
  • Dementia, aphasia, amnesia, failures of memory
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Sunday Morning Muse, Minus an Hour

I struggle this morning. Whether to read poems, or write them.
I’ve lost an hour. Where did it go?
I hate subordinate clauses that are followed by non sequiturs.
I hear slips all the time—like tinnitus, like a mosquito’s whine, like a seagull’s cry.

I read poems I could never write. I read them aloud.
They make me cry. Because what is wise is always also sad.
Wisdom has failed me again, hiding behind its clever sister.
I overhear cunning all the time, like a gunshot, like an IED, like a cop car’s siren.

Such a queue of things to do. It takes an hour just to read it.
I’ve lost that hour, so what to do?
If I were to write without censoring, would it be wisdom, or cunning?
I’ve words floating in my mind all day, like crickets, like hummingbirds, like bees.

If it is better to write something than nothing, would I dare write truth?
This is not a non sequitur. I’m quite serious. I need to know.
This morning I’ve lost an hour. It happens all the time.
Like an accidental nap, like a stomach ache, like a funhouse mirror.



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Not-about-me poem, on the occasion of my 69th Birthday.

Dear S.

Thanks for your email.

As to your concern for my well-being, I’ve nothing to complain about. My eyesight is wretched, but nothing’s worth seeing. The doctor has me drinking (water) and dropping (liquid tears). Ha-ha! At least I still have a sense of humor.

I don’t think I’ll make the trip back East this year. What with the walker and all, I fear I’d take a fall and break my hip, and you know, that would be the end.

Last summer, I tried to withdraw from Prozac, a foolish gesture. I do have those thoughts from time to time. I won’t pretend I don’t find most people endlessly shallow. Is that a felony? I’ve not replaced Jezzy, who died in my arms, a needle in her paw, without elegy. I don’t mind being alone. I prefer my own company.

Still, after all my ambition, I’ll never own a home or publish my novel. Remember in high school, how I’d run wild, chasing girls, climbing trees to query clouds, that sort of thing. Once in Miami, on a dare, I jogged around a city block wearing nothing but Nikes. I may have fallen hard for someone back then, but what do you know in your twenties? Still, I didn’t expect life to fall so short or to be so unlucky in love.

My days are delayed orgasms that will never climax..

I don’t plan rash action. There will be dinner, if I wash dishes and peel potatoes. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I probably won’t write again. Bills pile up, they won’t let me drive now, and I’m busy giving things away.

All best, R.

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Sunday Morning Missing Musing

I have missed blogging for a few weeks. I have been tossing spheres in the air, sandwhiching commitments between committments strewn with distractions. But I am happy to say that I am overwhelmed with all things poetry. My review of Lynn Melnick’s “Landscape with Sex and Violence” is up at The Rumpus. I have an essay onboard for the series Writing About the Living at the Town Crier, curated by Lauren Davis; a blurb to write; seven books that I’ve agreed to review over the next few months; and preparation for attending AWP for Headmistress Press, which is suddently right around the corner. I am tossing submissions and devouring rejections. I have a manuscript floating belly up in the roiling sea of poetry.

On the home front, the Olympic peninsula did entertain a magnificent snow show over the past couple of weeks, which was more than a distraction, and my heat and my washing machine are on the blink, piles of laundry are everywhere and I finally got some wood for the wood stove. I’ve scheduled a mammogram. I have announced a retirement date, which is now less than a year away. When I retire, I want to become a poet.

Thanks to Petrichor for publishing “Bee Season”,  which sums up a lot for me at this moment in my living. 

Bee Season

          I dream of bees when I drip honey
          onto challah and apple slices. Season of harvest
          moon, new school year. Time of reckoning:
          Has enough grain has been stored for winter?

          Later is a moment poised like a diver
          over a pitch-black abyss. I wonder how we bear
          all this repetition. A perennial forecast of repeats:
          jack–o-lanterns, latkes, dyed eggs, mammograms.

          I bake honey cake for Rosh Hashanah.
          When darkness saturates winter I think about suicide.
          I always do, and I know that I always do, and so I know
          it will slowly ebb and I will outwit it. Again.

          I fast on Yom Kippur, but forget to pray.
          Drunk, I confess sins I did not commit.
          I place a stethoscope on every heart,
          grant clemency to every penitent.

          I will retire in seedtime. At Pesach.
          Will I be like one of those men who retire
          and find themselves at a loss for meaning?
          Who fail quickly, die shortly?

          I’m searching for the layer of sticky sweetness
          that is so hard to find. Not this honeycomb
          ensconced in a wrecking ball, these seismic shifts,
          this loss of habitat. The disappearance of bees.

http://petrichormag.com/9-risa-denenberg/

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