Friday, February 09, 2007

Valentine Coffeehouse

Last night Abigail Greene and I read poetry at the Valentine Coffeehouse at Cecil Community College. Unfortunately, Denis Garrison was not able to attend due to medical reasons. Our reading was jointly sponsored by the Veterans Memorial Library and Alpha Alpha Theta, the honor society.

Decorations and food were lovely. Beads and hearts and electric candles were used. Food was a chocolate fountain with fruit for dipping, along with vegetables, hummus, candy and cupcakes. Coffee was served. Bouquets of fresh roses decorated the buffet. It was quite lovely; they really made the poets feel valued.

Turnout was light. There was no reporter from the local paper, although I tried to get one. We did appear in the 'Accent' section of the paper on two days though. Although small, the audience was appreciative and intimate. None of the people there had previously been familiar with tanka but came because of my affiliation with the college. They enjoyed it, and some have become very interested.

I began by speaking a little bit about tanka and its history and form, then Abigail and I took turns reading poems from the book, both our own and other poets, some from each of the seasons. Occasionally we spoke a little about the poems. Upon reflection, we should have spoken more, which would have 'cleared the palate' so to speak between poems. Live and learn.

Afterwards audience members asked questions about tanka and particular poems. We enjoyed refreshments and had small group discussions. There was an openly gay man in the audience, so I pointed out some of the poems in the book that I thought would appeal to him.

One of the college organizers was very interested in my description of my forthcoming book, Heron Sea, Short Poems of the Chesapeake Bay. Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of the two year college, has selected environmentalism as the current study topic. They asked me if I would be willing to participate in some sort of 'green' event with the book. Of course I said yes.

Heron Sea has been taking a back seat to many other things, but I have now given myself a deadline of Earth Day to get it finished and in print. I have been working on it off and on, so it is moving forward, but I find it much harder to edit myself than others. When completed, it will be available along side 'Fire Pearls' at

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Fire Pearls Interview at

I was interviewed and Fire Pearls was featured in the newsletter. It was a good one. To read it, visit:


New Year's Day

I sent the following tanka as New Year greetings to various colleagues and email lists. Jane Reichhold asked to publish it as a sequence in Lynx, so of course I said yes.

New Year's Dawn

a fresh leaf
white in the winter
of a new year;
it seems a shame
to mar it with words

Donald Keene
shares my cup of tea
this new morning
we talk about the death
of tyrants and of poetry

raw and painful
this old blister;
if only our hurts
would change with
the calendar

this journal,
bound in black,
a suitable coffin
for all the words
I have written

cold it is,
and colder still,
this dawn in
a new year
in an old house

in a few hours
I must face the sun—
without the grace
of age or humor,
but only memory

do they wake
to new hope
or old despair,
so many poor people
in this spinning world?

on this new day,
the iron cricket
doesn’t sing


Personal Update

What a month! I broke my hand on January 10th, moved the following week, and have been through much frustration with work and landlord. I didn't get Internet service until the 2 of February. Now I am working hard to catch up, as well as finish the last bit of unpacking. I am also preparing to give a presentation for work tomorrow, and on Thursday, the reading for the Valentine's Day Coffeehouse at Cecil Community College. Denis Garrison and Abigail Greene will also be participating.

If you wish to attend, it will be:

Valentine's Coffeehouse
Technology Center
Cecil Community College
North East, MD

Feb 8, 4-6 pm

coffee and chocolate will be served

Copies of Fire Pearls will be available for sale and autographing. Alternatively, you can check it out of either the Veterans Memorial Library on campus, or the Cecil County Public Library.