Heroic Crown of Sonnets

 

Christ Carrying the Cross

It started as a prayer, “wrote itself” during April, 2018, and by the end of the month–tragically–dedication presented itself.

It feels like a devotional to me. It has helped me, and I hope it will help others as well.

Never despair. Never give up your faith. Never let your soul slumber.

Alleluia, heroic crown of sonnets, for Alfie Evans

 

Image: Unidentified artist. Christ Carrying the Cross, c. 1460. Tempera and oil (?) with gold and silver leaf on panel, Overall: 29 3/8 x 51 1/2 in. (74.6 x 130.8 cm). BF396. Public Domain.

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Michael Ondaatje Wins The Golden Booker, Congratulations!

margaretcook_leavesofgrass15

  • Michael Ondaatje’s bestselling novel The English Patient has been named the best winner of the Booker prize of the last 50 years.

The Golden Booker was held this year to mark a half-century of the prize. A panel of judges read all 52 former winners of the award, with each assigned a decade from the Booker’s history. … The English Patient was novelist Kamila Shamsie’s selection from the 1990s … The five books were then put to a public vote.”

“Not for a second do I believe this is the best book on the list …I suspect and know more than anyone that perhaps The English Patient is still cloudy, with errors in pacing,” said Michael Ondaatje.

  • I saw the movie first, and loved it. Then read the book, and loved it. To me it’s one of the rare cases when you can love both: the book and its screen adaptation.

Four years ago I wrote this wordle inspired by The English Patient:

Cave of Swimmers

What did she care about transgression–
Silhouetted against the orange desert sun–
When I threw myself upon her altar?

What was the demimonde of others
When my entire grand universe
Pulsated at the base of her throat?

When the ancient rites blew away maps
When the fiery Africa became a gray area
What did we care about death?

For each time a candle is lit
In the asylum of the cave
The swimmers are reborn.

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

P.S. Though the poem obviously has nothing to do with the current events, the word “cave” is synonymous with Thailand right now. God bless the rescuers. Praying for the complete healing of everyone involved, and for the soul of the diver who gave up his life saving others.

Image credit: Illustrations for a Rare 1913 Edition of Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ by English Artist Margaret C. Cook, via brainpickings.

Never Forget

Russians_bury_their_fallen._Kollaanjoki_15.-16.7._1944._Kollaanjoki_15_to_16.7._1944.

Great Patriotic War: June 22, 1941 — May 9, 1945.

26.6 million lives lost.*

Fallen

Lay them down in the fields of sweet barley and rye,
Let them pause just a bit till they’re ready to fly,

Do not bend over them, do not morn, do not weep,
Don’t disturb their short rest, let them sleep, let them sleep.

They will gather their strength, and together they’ll rise,
All like one they’ll take flight to the still paradise,

Where the children await, where the wives of their own
They’ll embrace at the gate, where the fields lie unmown.

 

© 2012 Sasha A. Palmer

*Some Russian politicians and journalists put the total number of losses in the war, both civilian and military, at over 40 million.

Image credit: Soviet soldiers burying their fallen. Public domain.

 

Poetry Business: Free Poetic Challenges & the Hidden Value of Comments

Autumn Landscape (Paysage d'automne)

In the Mind’s Eye

Sometimes we see
Things that will be —
A memory
Of tomorrow

Sometimes we find
It warm and kind
Sometimes our mind
Fills with sorrow

So some sweet day
In June or May
Bathed in sunrays
We remember

How you and I
Share burnt good-byes
Beneath the skies
Of November

Sasha A. Palmer

  • The above poem’s written in response to WD rhupunt challenge. There’s still time to enter: Deadline 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on February 28, 2018. WD Poetic Form challenges are free, and the winning poems (sometimes including a runner-up or two) are featured in Writer’s Digest magazine as part of the Poetic Asides column.

It often pays off to read comments to posts. Thinking of submitting your poetry to journals? Not crazy about submission fees? Check out this list of “younger, hungrier” journals provided by Joe Cottonwood in a comment thread on The Passive Voice site:

  • “Allegro, Ink Sweat & Tears, Literary Nest, MOON magazine, Nature Writing, Peacock Journal, Plum Tree Tavern, Poetry Breakfast, Rat’s A** Review, Red Eft Review, Roanoke Review, Snapdragon, Third Wednesday, Verse Virtual, San Pedro River Review, Pure Slush, Freshwater, Stoneboat, Muddy River Poetry Review, Red River Review, Gyroscope, Uppagus, Halfway Down the Stairs, Forage, Potomac Review, Slipstream, Picaroon… All these journals require no submission fee; all have some excellent undiscovered poets (and a few clunkers, but then so does the New Yorker).”

Got a name or two to add to this list? Share in the comments.

Happy writing, submitting, and getting published.

If you enjoyed this post, do press “like” and “share” buttons — thank you.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Autumn Landscape (Paysage d’automne), c. 1884. Oil on canvas (later mounted to fiberboard), Painting: 25 9/16 x 21 1/4 in. (65 x 54 cm) Overall (with secondary support): 26 1/4 x 22 3/8 in. (66.7 x 56.8 cm). BF933. Public Domain.

On Marketing, Short Fiction Awards, & Roundelay

Jane Friedman on marketing for authors, “You’ll be stronger if you have a multi-faceted approach.” Find out what she means.

University of Iowa Press is giving two awards for first collections of short fiction. No entry fee. Deadline: September 30. Check the guidelines, and submit.

A new poetic form challenge from Writer’s Digest. Join the roundelay fun.

Here’s my contribution:

“A Simple Song”

The shore is kind, horizon — wide
A tender breeze so gently blows
Come, take your vessel for a ride
Those swift white caps are not your foes
Our happiness — an ocean tide
That comes and goes, that comes and goes…

Come, take your vessel for a ride
Those swift white caps are not your foes
You would not hold time if you tried
Gold specks of sand between your toes
Our happiness — an ocean tide
That comes and goes, that comes and goes…

You would not hold time if you tried
Gold specks of sand between your toes
Come, sail while dazzling seas abide
The day, the hour — nobody knows
Our happiness — an ocean tide
That comes and goes, that comes and goes…

Come, sail while dazzling seas abide
The day, the hour — nobody knows
Fragile sandcastles builds a child
The setting sun so softly glows
Our happiness — an ocean tide
That comes and goes, that comes and goes…

© 2017 Sasha A. Palmer (aka Happy)

A Small Niche, Instapoetry, & Bragging Time

Did you know that some magazines focus on work created by disabled writers?

“These magazines accept fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, essays, novel and memoir excerpts, reviews, drama, and, in some cases, artwork.”

Try your hand at Instapoetry.

Create an Instapoem, and enter The Missouri Review’s Instagram Contest!

This clogyrnach/acrostic of mine made the Top 10 list on WD Poetic Asides:

Last night the western welkin shone
In bridal glory, moonlight donned
The pure white and red
As Mars Venus wed;
Night is dead —
You are gone.

 

Bragging Time: Compass Award 2016

My English translation of Bella Akhmadulina’s poem “To Boris Messerer” (1974) won third prize in the international translation contest Compass Award 2016:

To Boris Messerer

I later would recall: I was alive,
and it was winter, snowing, and my heart,
consumed with burning, ached, I was in love —
with whom? with what?
In Povarskaya street
(the name has changed) there was a house… The live-
long day, the whole night through I was in love —
with whom? with what?
The house in that old street,
the space that’s called a studio in which
an artist works.
Work lured the artist out
into the cold. Alone, I would await
his steps. Framed by the window, night drew on.
I later would recall: I looked upon
that waiting labor as my being’s aim,
but even then I could not help but pair
the urgency of tender hours that fleet —
with future woes… The house in that old street —
with the unheard-of day approaching fast,
when I’d recall that house, left in the past…