Friday, January 30, 2009

Writing about Pottery

Add this to the great and growing collection of random things I found on the web while supposedly doing something else: students at Exeter Academy being challenged to write vivid, descriptive poetry about pottery. It makes me want to go do that, too.

Learning to Write: From Ceramics to Poetry

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Call for Garden Poems

They say that you always give other people the advice that you need to hear. In the spirit of that, I am posting this press release (which I found on Poetic Asides) that calls for poems about gardening. I plan on submitting something later this week, and I hope you will, too, if you are so inclined. It could help with the cabin fever.

Open Call for Submissions

Horticulture, the oldest and most respected magazine for avid gardeners in North America, is pleased to announce the addition of poetry to its editorial features. Cave Canem fellow (and fellow gardener) Michelle Courtney Berry's "What I Learned in the Garden" has been chosen as the debut poem, to appear in the April 2009 issue and online at

"For over 100 years, Horticulture has been dedicated to celebrating the passion of avid, influential gardeners, and there is an even longer history of poetry inspired by flowers and gardens -- from William Blake to Louise Gl├╝ck, and so many great poets between them," explained publisher and editorial director, Guy LeCharles Gonzalez. "Adding garden verse to our editorial mix is simply another way to celebrate and encourage a real passion for gardening."

Horticulture is accepting submissions on a rolling basis, and is seeking poetry about, related to, or in honor of gardeners and gardening: traditional forms and free verse, the meditative lyric and the "light" or comic poem, the work of the famous and the work of the unknown. Our one limitation is length; we are unable to publish very long poems, and our limit is 42 lines.

Submissions should be sent as an email attachment (.DOC or .RTF only) per the guidelines posted at
For more information on Horticulture, visit

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What a Morning!

Yesterday was a day of wonderful celebration. I've not engaged much in national politics until now, yet I couldn't help but be inspired by the hope that Barack Obama represents for our country.

The reading of inauguration poems last night in Northampton was an event full of community spirit and powerful words. Wanting to participate, I was going to read a poem that I'd written and didn't much care for, but luckily I was rescued by my father, Walter Schiff, a conscientious objector to the Vietnam war, who sent me a wonderful, heartfelt email. I arranged the words into lines, but the words are all his.

The Flag
Before I left for work today
I put out our flag.
I can't remember the last time
I felt proud about doing that.
Most years I have been sad
because it was a reminder of the ideals
which seemed to be ignored.
After hanging the flag out, I looked up
as I walked back to the garage.
There right overhead was the big dipper
which was the "drinking gourd"
for slaves headed north.
What a morning!

Indeed. And here is the text of Elizabeth Alexander's poem, "Praise Song for the Day."