Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: poetry

What Makes Us So Alike Is What Makes Us Human . . .


I’m a writer—blogger, novelist, short story scrivener, non-fiction essayist, poet; and it’s that last one that can cause so many avid readers to cringe.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

Yet, due to the recommendation of my Best Friend, I’ve watched a video that does much more than show that “ordinary” folk can totally deal with poetry:

A film-maker set out to make a regional documentary and produced a Work of Art…

“Everyday” people in the U.S. state of Alabama willingly recited some of Walt Whitman‘s poetry…

Classic poetry became vernacular…

The simple became spiritual…

Some uncomplicated folk reached into the core of my heart…

And, it definitely made me cry…

You can read about the film-maker, Jennifer Crandall, and her project in The New Yorker; or, visit the project’s WebSite; but, I want to give you the engaging words of my Best Friend, author Jane Watson (interviewed here in November 2011 and December 2012)

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“I have watched this short documentary at least twelve times, in fact I can’t stop watching it – every time I sit down to write I feel I must return to it. When I finally work out why it has affected me so much… I will probably write my own piece of prose to myself…

“I did not read Whitman much at University but I read some of his verse. I’m glad I did not read him when I was eighteen because now I can read him perhaps with more understanding.  I confess when I was young I had a prejudice about some parts of  Leaves of Grass.  As I watched this video poem of Verse 43, I lost this prejudice.  I loved the documentary, the words of the poem, the musicality of the verse, and the people who spoke it. By the end I had come to the conclusion that the Alabama voice is the most lyrical, poetic, and soul affecting I had ever heard.

“When everyday folks speak they make music.

“Interestingly enough the first reader in the video, Billy Wayne, told the documentary maker that he did not agree with some of Whitman’s words. So she asked him: then why did you read it? And he had a simple answer: because you asked me to.

“You might wonder why anyone would want to listen to people reading an unfamiliar poem, some of which they do not agree with, but Billy Wayne, I think, nails it. A poem is a gift… and the reading of its words is a gift to the listener. When Billy Wayne transforms from a shy elderly guy from the backwoods of Alabama, a prisoner of his failing health (he has to use oxygen and a motorised scooter sits out the front in the long grass near the rotting disused sofa), to a brave man seated straight before the camera reading words so carefully, something shifted for me so profoundly it has stayed with me since… I was connected to him and his fragile mortal tragedy in the most intimate way.

“Whitman says in the beginning of Leaves of Grass:

‘…For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you…’

“As we see the close up of Billy Wayne’s face, naked in all its courage, we see his inner essence and realise that the body matters so little. The beauty of the Alabama landscape captured by the wonderful camera work takes us out of this world and it seems that the film-maker is saying: ‘look, look beyond this …’ … just as Whitman was.

“I think Whitman would have really loved this documentary. It personifies his words:

‘…Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left),
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the  dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self…’

“We do listen to many sides in this documentary. We see the accusation in Anthony’s eyes as he tightens the nuts on his car tire and says: ‘…I know everyone of you, I know the sea of torment, doubt, despair, and unbelief…’

“We see the open, vulnerable face of young Diana, who, although exhausted from the heat and from cleaning the motel room of the documentary makers, reads her piece of verse until she faints…

“I am not going to apologise for going so overboard in my enthusiasm of this video. It has a quality that moves me deeply, which I will only do a disservice to, if I try to explain it too much.. so go watch it.”

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Author Interview ~ Pietri0x


There are over 70 author interviews on this blog…

However, today’s post will be the 12th in the series of Wattpad Author Interviews.

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PietriOx is her profile name and her family is from Naro, Sicily.

She’s married to a Brit and knows some Polish.

Still, she writes poems in English that have power and lyricism

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So, I’ll start by asking you about your profile name on Wattpad…

Poetry

Click to read “Outpost”

 If I should mention my online name—PietriOx– the name Pietri is Sicilian and the ox is for the life in Sicily—the carts and heavy ox that carry saints and substance…

What began your love of ”word art”?

It’s the wheat fields fault! They added such an artistic dimension to my life at a very young age, also a second home at a very impressionable age. I spent loads of time in those fields, creating a work space of words and paint before I ever held the thoughts of becoming a writer/poet. An artist, I was born, taking art lessons at a toddlers age and everything else grew from that.

When did you seriously begin the literary process?

Ten years ago I wrote a children’s book and the support given ignited my mind into other genres.

How did you become a poet?

 Five years ago, give or take a little, I had a ”jolt”, a life jolt and that fueled the ”need” to write, like exercise, trying my best to convey the images before me.

Have you written any short stories?

Yes, several; and, one is being edited for the public, as I write the answers to this interview…

I understand you’re a canvas artist as well?

Yes , that is my first love.

I have shown my art in several galleries stretching from the North to the South.

Abstract is my vision; and, devotion to portraits and nature.

Has anyone influenced you in poetry or writing?

Poetry

Click to read “Flow”

 Yes, the great Pablo Neruda; and, several unknown poets who should be known!

How often do you write?

I write daily for several hours…

It’s like physical exercise—I “have ” to do it!

Who’s been your best supporter?

My guy—I drive him mad over which words make sense or which pigments to use in a finishing paint stroke!

I have learnt that in any art form there truly is no perfection…

It is in the ”eye” of the beholder and that goes for ”word art” as well!

How about other supporters?

 Yes, in Wattpad—jeshi99 and stripey are my two top supporters—no matter what I write, they read it!

Several other brilliant writers on the forum, who I do not compare too—they are great writers and their support in me has been the hand of dedication—I will never forget them…

And, finally, can you name one person you can credit your writing to?

Yes, but I will keep that private…

But, I will mention my father who has shown me undying support my entire life—even from a heavenly place—he guides me and teaches me patience.

I want to thank you, so much, for taking the time to share your artistic self with my readers :-)

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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13 to 19-Year-Olds Writing #Poetry !


Teen Poetry MOOC

Teen Poetry MOOC

Normally, I do a re-blog on Thursdays…

However, since yesterday I published a post about Emily Dickinson and also received an email from the International Writing Program at The University of Iowa about a free course in poetry writing, I must jump in and spread the word :-)

If you’re 13-19 years old… Well, I should let the IWP tell their own story:

#Flashwrite Teen Poetry MOOC

March 30-May 3, 2016: The IWP will offer its first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) designed exclusively for teenage students. Writers age 13-19 are invited to write new poems and to share and discuss their work with fellow writers around the world. No writing experience is necessary: this MOOC will welcome new writers and challenge experienced poets. This MOOC will be taught here on NovoEd, a website for creative collaborative learning. Registration is free!

And, there’s this:

Early College Credit Opportunity

Students who complete this #Flashwrite MOOC may continue on to take an optional #Flashwrite Workshop for University of Iowa undergraduate credit.

May 16-June 13, 2016: Students who complete the #Flashwrite MOOC may enroll in an optional University of Iowa #Flashwrite Teen Poetry Workshop for one university credit. Each online workshop will be taught by a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop with a substantial teaching and publication record and will be limited to 15 students. Enrollment requirements: completion of the #Flashwrite Teen Poetry MOOC and payment of a $398 USD tuition fee.

For more info, Go Here


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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Read An E-Book Week Starts Today !


Yes, I’m still “officially” on sabbatical from this blog as I work on my next book… Notes from An Alien

But, I got a notification from Smashwords that today is the beginning of their Read An E-Book Week.

It’s a great time to load-up your e-reader with some free e-books!

I’ve yet to publish with Smashwords but my next book will be featured there, as well as fresh editions of two of my other books.

However, you can still get three of my books for free, right here on this blog.

Notes from An Alien

Is Your Soul In Here?

And, Strange Fantasies—but, this one is still in separate posts (unless you want to spend $.99 at Amazon :-)

Oh, the image for this post is a word cloud of Notes from An Alien—95 words that show up at least three times in the book—(the bigger the word the more times it was used)

O.K., back to working on my next book………

Something for Your Heart To Think About . . .


My Best Friend often surprises me—in the most delightful ways… 

Tree

Image courtesy of David Vives Coll ~ http://www.sxc.hu/profile/davidvives

She’s an author and immensely empathetic

There are things I do that affect her far beyond what I suspect

Today she sent me a Gift that I must share with you—whether you’re a Reader, Writer, Publisher, or some other amazing kind of person :-)

Before I pass on the Gift (which is the video below), let me introduce Coleman Barks, lauded interpreter of the poet Rumi, “considered by many to be the Shakespeare of the ancient Islamic world”.

And, here is the poem, read by Coleman in the video, that my Best Friend sent me

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How does a part of the world leave the world?
How can wetness leave water?

Don’t try to put out a fire
by throwing on more fire!
Don’t wash a wound with blood!

No matter how fast you run,
your shadow more than keeps up.
Sometimes, it’s in front!

Only full, overhead sun
diminishes your shadow.

But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.

I can explain this, but it would break
the glass cover on your heart,
and there’s no fixing that.

You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.

When from that tree, feathers and wings sprout
on you, be quieter than a dove.
Don’t open your mouth for even a coo.

When a frog slips into the water, the snake
cannot get it. Then the frog climbs back out
and croaks, and the snake moves toward him again.

Even if the frog learned to hiss, still the snake
would hear through the hiss the information
he needed, the frog voice underneath.

But if the frog could be completely silent,
then the snake would go back to sleeping,
and the frog could reach the barley.

The soul lives there in the silent breath.

And that grain of barley is such that,
when you put it in the ground,
it grows.

Are these enough words,
or shall I squeeze more juice from this?
Who am I, my friend?


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