July 2001Cafť Society's Poetry News Update
Do you have any poetry news or comments? Mail me on the email link at the bottom of this page. Competitions and calls for submissions can be announced here free.

An interview with   CARLA  DODD

Carla Dodd has been writing in some form or another most of her life, from slipping notes under the door to end arguments as a child to creative writing classes and 20 years as a journalist.

Carla lives in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, where she is a free-lance writer. She has a BS in Journalism and English from Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi. Carla has written sports, news, feature and business articles for local St. Louis weekly newspapers and does publicity for a variety of small business clients and not-for-profits. She also plans special events for charity.

Poetry made a return about five years ago as another creative outlet. Carla has been in local and online writing groups, winning a Valentine's Day contest on CompuServe and earning publication of "Sweat," a summer poem, to be published in a collection by the International Library of Poetry this summer. She continues to post poems on "The Writer's Shed" women's online poetry group on CompuServe.

Carla began posting erotic poetry to Érotique! A Magazine of Erotic Diversions at the beginning of 2001, and joined the staff as Poetry Editor this spring.

Poetry L & T:When did you first start writing poetry Carla, and why?

Carla: I actually started writing poetry in about the seventh grade. I had a Creative Writing class with an eccentric teacher who would give assignments like tell us how it feels to be a chair. Luckily, we could make up for not doing assignments by doing our own work for extra credit, so I wrote with a vengeance.

Poetry took a back seat to a lot of other things until about the past 5-6 years ago, where I rediscovered it through several writing groups (one local, two online.) Erotic themes came into play over the past 2-3 years.

WHY I write poetry is simply another form of self-expression, one that people identify with whether they embrace it at first or not. Iím a free-lance writer by trade, and I write because I love it. Poetry is one facet of that.

Poetry L & T:Who are your favourite classic and/or modern poets?

Carla: Robert Frost, Edgar Allen Poe, Lord Byron and Shakespeare have always been favorites. I like the playfulness of Carl Sandburg and of Shel Silverstein, and am just beginning to appreciate the work of Maya Angelou. Because of a hectic schedule, Iím still discovering modern poets and enjoy finding some of them on our site!

Poetry L & T:How did you first become involved with the Érotique ezine?

Carla:I wrote a poem for my husband for Valentine's Day (Valentine Wish) and upon looking at it, realized it didnít quite fit on poetry websites Id posted to before. I did a multi-engine search on erotic literature and another on erotic poetry, and after weeding out several hundred that were more pornographic than erotic, I found Érotique. My poems were met with enthusiasm and so was I. Iíve been here since.

Poetry L & T: What are your criteria for poetry good enough to be featured on your Featured Poets page?

Carla:Grammar and spelling are as important as cohesive thoughts and ideas. Good poetry and all good writing needs to flow from one word, one thought, and one idea to the next.. It needs to follow our writers guidelines. (I often suggest that a poet read the work aloud and find where lines break, how words sound and things flow.)

The theme must be EROTIC, not pornographic. If you can find it in a skin magazine, it doesnít belong. If it is ALL about the physical act, its not for us. If it involves children as central to sexual themes, if it involves rape, incest or non-consensual and violent sexual abuse, its not for us.

Poetry L & T: Some of the most unintentionally-funny bad poetry is often written on an erotic theme. What advice would you give to someone who has been told his or her work is 'over the top'?

Carla:First of all, poetry should be fun. Erotica, sex and laughter donít have to be mutually exclusive. Thatís what dirty limericks are for rhythmic, rhyming, and clever, sort of the poetic wink of an eye. Thatís what The Canterbury Tales were to the Middle Ages, bawdy and giving light and laughter to sex. Thereís poetry about life and love and sexual situations. We have one poem on Érotique, Eight Inches, that makes light of first impressions and first dates and size. I read the poem the day it was posted to a group of girlfriends over dinner and we all got a good giggle out of it. However, if something is bad which reads to me as not polished or not cohesive, thatís different. I would encourage anyone who is a writer to read their work to another writer, then one or more friends who would be honest with you. If laughter wasnít your goal, you arenít quite on the right track. Then ASK: what would make a poem on this theme arouse you, stir your senses, and paint a vivid, sensual picture? Go back armed with those ideas and experiment.

Poetry L & T:Does Érotique have any forthcoming contests and events you would like to tell our readers about?

Carla: We have a monthly poetry contest called the Secret Drawer Challenge. There is a secret drawer of erotic words and for each contest, 5-10 words are pulled from the drawer. Poets can write a poem of any length, but the work must be of an erotic nature, and must use all the words in the drawer. Our Sounds section also has an Erotic Sounds Contest that we encourage readers to participate in by naming their top 10 erotic songs/albums.

Poetry L & T:Who designed the cool magazine interface of the Érotique pages?

Carla: Most of the layout work is done by Don, Érotique's co-founder and publishing manager. The backend software for the site is Web-Crossing 4.0, the same software used by the big boys at the Atlantic Monthly, CNN and the New York Times, The goal for the interface was to give readers a chance to interact and contribute their thoughts and comments at every level of the magazine.

Poetry L & T:What kind of poetry or fiction would Mc, yourself and the other Érotique editors *absolutely not* consider for publication?

Carla: First of all, we have an unedited works section of the site where writers may post works that may or may not end up being featured works. The easiest way to describe what is OUT is to read our Submission Guidelines, and hereís an excerpt: Were an open site, with an area for contributors to present their unedited stories and poems. But in spite of the open nature of what we allow here, there are necessary limits to the freedom of expression we provide, some due to legal issues, others because of aesthetic considerations. So some of our rules are hard and fast, others tend to be subjective.

In terms or hard and fast, what we will absolutely not accept are any depictions or suggestions of sex with children, or any writings that can be interpreted as promoting such activities. This does not mean that there can be no children in a story, only that those children cannot participate in any way, shape or form in any erotic acts depicted within the story.

In a more subjective vein, any poem or story featuring depictions of abuse, cruelty, torture, rape or other objectionable acts that are deemed not consensual will be reviewed and accepted or rejected, especially for feature presentation, on a case-by-case basis. From time to time we encounter situations where such a depiction is necessary for furthering the plot, or is a key element in a story's evolution. For an example of what I mean, I would point you to THE HIT, a crime drama by Steven Saylor (writing as Aaron Travis), or Pat Califa's BELONGING. In both stories the melding of violence and sex are absolutely critical to moving the action of the plot forward. In fact, especially in the case of THE HIT, there would be no story at all without the sexual violence. Also, poems and stories that involve BDSM and Fetish sex often center on the fantasy of non- consensual interactions. Again, check out Pat Califa's BELONGING. There is simply no way to lay out a concrete set of guidelines for this - too many variables. Suffice to say that a key point for Érotique is the manner in which the story is told, and the care that goes into the crafting of its style and substance.

Poetry L & T:Here's a little conundrum for you, Carla: if a good friend of yours submitted some poetry for Érotique's Featured Poets section, but it was extremely poor work, would you:
a. Politely tell her so
b. Discreetly bounce her email back as 'undeliverable'
c. Get one of the other editors to tell her
d. Tell her later that your email program crashed ?

Carla: I think the answer is a.
Because poetry is so personal, I would first approach why the work does not fit. Though Iím poetry editor, Iím not the only voice here, so I may ask the other staff for input. As far as poor quality, some of that is subjective and some is not. I would immediately point out grammatical and spelling errors. I would suggest that the poet read their work aloud (the best single piece of writing advice Iíve ever been given) and find out where the words belong, where the lines should end, and where another word might be better.

I would also encourage the poet to work on the theme, possibly looking at the work of others and finding writing resources for inspiration. Every writer starts somewhere; quality develops with time, practice, skill and passion. If youíve written a poem, youíve got the last one automatically. Where Id approach an unsuccessful poet is encouraging them to develop the first three and keep submitting work.

We also accommodate and encourage new writers with a section of unedited submissions where anyone can post. Our featured section work is for showcasing those whose body of work has proven they deserve featuring.

Poetry L & T:What general advice would you give to a poet who was trying to improve their work enough to impress a paying publisher?

Carla:Surf the web, read, and ask other poets and writers about how they succeeded. Send for writers guidelines and read some of the publishers they want to approach. WRITE. If time is tight, Id keep some means of jotting down ideas so I could get to them later. ASK for feedback from editors, writers and publishers.

I would also remind ANY writer to develop a somewhat thick skin. No from a publisher means (1) no, it doesnít fit in the context of what were trying to do, or (2) no, it isnít something we need RIGHT NOW. Youíd be surprised how often the latter is the answer. Remind yourself it isnít personal, and figure out WHY your work doesnít belong. You will find out WHERE it belongs with time.

I had a humbling experience when I started free-lancing not quite three years ago. I was ready to post a message to an online writing forum about how I was crushed that Id written nine query letters (requesting paid publication) and gotten them all back with NO. I WAS going to post it, until I read advice from someone who said to write a query every day, and that she finally broke in after the first few HUNDRED rejections.

Poetry L & T:Why do you think that some of us seem to spend more time creating art and literature about sex than actually taking part - could it be that sometimes the fantasy is more appealing than reality?

Carla:I think that creating erotic art and literature about sensuality, sex and the five senses is sort of the key that unlocks the fantasy in us.

Its possible that the fantasy may be more appealing or more realistic in our lives. But more often, unlocking that fantasy allows us to touch part of us that weíve been programmed not to, that were afraid of, or allows us to indulge ourselves to practice with that fantasy before we play it out in reality.

Poetry L & T:Finally Carla, what do you and the other editors see Érotique ezine doing in the future?

Carla:I'd like to see Érotique become synonymous with information, chat, news, creative expression and open, honest discussion of sex, sexuality, and erotica. In addition to literature, photography and art, we have news, items on current events that have drawn in intelligent, thoughtful discussion and chat.

I'd like to see more poets and writers come to us as a classy, sensual, non-pornographic home for their work. Thereís a QUALITY we look for. Good erotica isnít a play-by-play clinical description or laundry list of sexual acts - it lures you in.

In good erotic fiction, sex is a component, a natural progression that happens because it belongs in the story. Song of the World Walker is a good example on our site. In poetry, essays and shorter works, that may also be true, but the storytelling is a seduction, luring the reader into the experience by touching on the senses to lead to their own personal experience of the words and ideas.

Poetry L & T:Thank you for the interview, Carla.

CLICK HERE to read poetry by
Carla Dodd


Dear Poets,

This issue features an interview with Carla Dodd, poet and Poetry Editor for the ezine Érotique! A Magazine of Erotic Diversions. Carla is also a freelance writer. She has some interesting comments and tips for poets who write on erotic themes.

Featured poets this month are Donna Swanson, Ward Kelley, Donna Bamford, Neil Ray and Jan Sand. Featured Poets is now split over two pages, there is a link for the second half under the first three poets.

Any comments on this issue or back issues can be emailed to me on the link at the bottom of the page. Please indicate whether you would like the comments to go into the Letters section. Announcements are always welcome, you can also promote poetry books here.

Poetry submissions should be in plain text in the body of an email, with a small jpeg author picture attached, also a bio, with the URLs of any ezines mentioned, so that they can be shown as links. This increases the chance of inclusion, especially for late submissions. Pictures are best at a maximum of 520 pixels across, otherwise they take ages to arrive by email, especially in bitmap or TIFF format. Further submission guidelines are available on request.

Best Regards,


Featured poets this month are Donna Swanson, Ward Kelley, Donna Bamford, Neil Ray and Jan Sand. Many thanks to all contributors.


Born in Willaimsport, IN. High School grad, some college, studied Koine Greek; teaches beginning Latin and Greek; Major influences besides the Bible were Trueblood, Theilike, Tolkein, Lewis and life.

Awarded Golden Eagle for screenwriting, MINNIE REMEMBERS. Published MIND SONG, 78; Minnie Remembers, 74; RACHEL'S DAUGHTERS, 2000. ANGEL WORLD TRILOGY IN 2001. SPLINTERS OF LIGHT, a collection of poetry, will be out later in 2001. She has carved numerous miniature carousel horses and three full-size carousel figures. Donna has six genius grandchildren and four pretty smart kids.

Of her writing she says:
"I was a writer until I was 48 or so, then the words went south and I became a woodcarver. Knee deep in wood chips, the words came back and I once again became a writer. Now, I've written a total of seven and published four. Another is due out sometime this summer. In my spare time I work at my daughter's Montessori Day School as a secretary, receptionist and teacher. I live with my husband of 45 years in a little house in the Indiana woods, feed birds and watch deer and wild turkey. I discovered I am dyslexic which makes typing difficult without the backspace key! Also ADD. Helps me keep up with a lot of projects simultaneously. Live in a little house in Indiana surrounded by woods and meadows with my husband, John. The seasons and wildlife are an ever present influence. During the summer of 2001 I will be publishing my fourth book, SPLINTERS OF LIGHT, poetry written over the last 40 years and writing a sequel to RACHEL'S DAUGHTERS. The fourth book of the ANGEL WORLD SERIES is almost finsihed as well... "

* See Donna's AuthorsDen website for further details on her books, also Donna's own website.

© Donna Swanson 1974, reprints by permission only

my hands are old.
I've never said that out loud before
but they are.
I was so proud of them once.
They were soft
like the velvet smoothness of a firm, ripe peach.
Now the softness is more like worn-out sheets
or withered leaves.
When did these slender, graceful hands
become gnarled, shrunken claws?
When, God?
They lie here in my lap,
naked reminders of this worn-out
body that has served me too well.

How long has it been since someone touched me?
Twenty years?
Twenty years I've been a widow.
Smiled at.
But never touched.
Never held so close that loneliness
was blotted out.
I remember how my mother used to hold me,
When I was hurt in spirit or flesh,
she would gather me close,
stroke my silky hair,
and caress my back with her warm hands.
O God, I'm so lonely!

I remember the first boy who ever kissed me.
We were both so new at that!
The taste of young lips and popcorn,
the feeling inside of mysteries to come.
I remember Hank and the babies.
How else can I remember them but together?
Out of the fumbling, awkward attempts of new lovers
came the babies.
And as they grew, so did our love.
And, God, Hank didn't seem to mind
if my body thickened and faded a little.
He still loved it
and touched it.
And we didn't mind if we were no longer beautiful.
And it felt so good.
And the children hugged me a lot.
O God, I'm lonely!

God, why didn't we raise the kids to be silly
and affectionate as well as
dignified and proper?
You see, they do their duty.
They drive up in their fine cars;
they come to my room to pay their respects.
They chatter brightly and reminisce.
But they don't touch me.
They call me "Mom" or "Mother"
or "Grandma".
Never Minnie.
My mother called me Minnie.
So did my friends.
Hank called me Minnie, too.
But they're gone.
And so is Minnie.
Only Grandma is here.
And God! She's lonely!

Award winning poem, first published in 1974. Won Golden Eagle for screenwriting in 1977.

© Donna Swanson 2001, reprints by permission only

The years have flown away, my love,
and suddenly we are not young.
Do you know, old man,
when the stairs grew long and high?
Do you know what happened to the spring in your step,
or the silky shine of my hair?

Can you tell me why
we didn't grow wise a little sooner?
Why we used so thoughtlessly
the treasures we were born with?
Our riches are almost gone.
They slipped away in golden sunsets
and meadows of buttercups.

Some, we spent wisely.
The tender moments of love;
the awesome hours of childbirth and parenthood.
And the laughter, old man, the laughter!
And the times when, caught up in labors of love,
we sought the night for rest
and ease from happy exhaustion.

Oh, yes, some we spent wisely.
I almost think the wisdom and the laughter
made up for some of the foolishness.
for the many times we did not love,
or those empty days when we allowed boredom
to capture our imagination
and hold our creativity in bondage.

Some would label many of our hours unproductive.
As we walked the fields or sat in silence
beside a singing stream.
But I rejoice in knowing we took the time
to lay up some treasures for today!

Ah, but they are done so soon, my love!
Like the tide rushing out to sea,
the past keeps flowing away.
And we are not the sea.
And we are not the shore.

No, my love, we are but grass;
alive in this form only for a season -
owing our existence to those who stood here yesterday,
paying that debt with seed for tomorrow.

But we stood tall, old man!
Though we are bent and lame just now,
we remember when our bodies were young and whole
and capable of expressing our love for life
and for one another!

Don't weep, old man.
Though we may be allowed a sigh or two.
But only one or two.
For we have each other and we are not alone.

When the day comes to part.
On that day when one of us spins away on the sea tide-
The one remaining will sway on the shoreline;
ragged and tattered in the sunshine,
but wise, old man!

Knowing full well our days are not ended.
Knowing you wait beyond seeing
but not beyond reaching.
waiting, old man, my love, for my own journey
on the sea.
And the incredible journeyings beyond.

But, just now, hold me close.
Enjoy these hours of quiet
when we can finally take the time
to know ourselves and each other.
When we can spend the last and most precious
of our golden moments wisely.
But with abandon and joy, old man!
With abandon and joy!

© Donna Swanson 2001, reprints by permission only

Wild chicory leans toward morning,
mirroring the heavens
as it sings a silent hymn to the sun.
The stately swaying of Queen Anne's lace
marks a quiet country road.
And we wake, you and I, knowing they are there
beyond the silent walls.

We wake and the day begins;
you to your tasks, I to mine -
apart, yet one, my love.
Your tractor rumbles in the distance
like some benevolent behemoth
as I gather clothes filled with warm sunshine
from the springing wires.

The sweet faces of the chicory blossoms
peek out at me like mischievous children
from their unauthorized hideaway in the berry vines,
Bidding me come look for treasure.
And I know, my love,
you too are surrounded by joy.
That the potpourri of summer fills your senses
with the intoxicating awareness of life.

The sun settles comfortably on the horizon,
touches our world with honey-colored splendor
and slips beneath the blanket of night.
The fringed faces of wild flowers
have closed gently with the fading day
and now fireflies gild the meadow with diamonds.

We sit at rest on the front porch.
We have no need to touch just now
for we are one in that deeper place
where our spirits dwell.
You sip your coffee and talk of everyday things.
I prop my bare feet on a chunk of wood
and listen to the rhythm of love
that runs like soft music through your words.

So much, my love,
we have been so richly blessed.
To know the quiet ease of heart,
this belonging of one to the other.
To know life's storms may sweep away
or even destroy so much that is without.
But also to know that what we hold within
the circle of our love is inviolate.
As willow-soft as the chicory plant,
as regal as the Queen's lace.
as enduring as the earth we love so much.
This is the love we share. This is the world we touch.

[email protected]


A Pushcart Prize nominee, Ward Kelley has seen more than 1000 of his poems appear in journals world wide since he began publishing in 1996. Kelley's publication credits include such journals as: ACM Another Chicago Magazine, Rattle, Ginger Hill, Sunstone, Spillway, Porcupine Literary Magazine, Pif, 2River View, Melic Review, Thunder Sandwich, The Animist, Poetry Life & Times, Offcourse, Potpourri and Skylark. He has been honored as featured poet for Seeker Magazine, Physik Garden, Poetry Life & Times, and Pyrowords. Recently he was the recipient of the Nassau Review Poetry Award for 2001.

Quote from Ward:
"As for me, I'm a 50 year old business executive with 3,600 people in the division reporting to me. I only mention this because in a sense the daimon that propels my occupation also propels my poetry. For instance, Gertrude Stein once said, "If Mr. Robert Frost is at all good as a poet, it is because he is a farmer -- really in his mind a farmer, I mean." So in my mind am I a businessman who writes poetry, or a very minor poet successful at business? Who knows? Yet I tread carefully with this balance for fear my daimon will leave me, or my greed will taunt me for decades.

Formerly I managed distribution centers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Arizona and Illinois. My wife and I now live outside of Indianapolis and are currently toiling with much determination on our second crop of children, having adopted four wonderful girls and fostered several others."

Of the 1008 published pieces, some have found their way into:


"comedy incarnate" on CD ROM
by Kedco Studios (Las Vegas, NV)

"histories of souls" an ebook & POD
by Word Wrangler Publishing, Inc. (Montana)

"comedy incarnate" on AUDIO CD
by Artvilla (Tennessee)

"the naming of parts" an ebbok
by Shyflower Press (Minnesota)

NEW: "Divine Murder" a novel, paperback
by Word Wrangler Publishing, Inc. (Montana)*
*Editor's Note: I have read "Divine Murder" and thoroughly recommend this compelling story concerning the divine, the diabolical and the struggles of two mortals to discover their momentous destiny.

Of the 1008 published pieces, some have found their way into:

ACM, Another Chicago Magazine
Ginger Hill
The GSU Review
The Listening Eye
The Lucid Stone
Mad Poets Review
Nassau Review
The Old Red Kimono
Porcupine Literary Magazine
River King
Sulphur River Review

Adirondack Review
The Animist
Big Bridge
Lynx: poetry from Bath
Melic Review
The Paumanok Review
Poetry Life & Times
Poetry Magazine.Com
The Rose & Thorn
San Francisco Salvo
Thunder Sandwich
2River View
Unlikely Stories

The Language of Time and Space
© Ward Kelley

There is a language of love that,
like science, is composed of time

and space. There are words for time
when nothing else matters, indicators

in every life where an entire existence
can hinge on one sole moment or a brief

series of touches. Then, in later time,
these touches lose their eternity

and are nothing more than mundane
words. This, then, is when space

takes on its importance, for if we
are no longer meant for ardent love,

then we must aspire to describe
the space we consume with these

bodies no longer aflame; such words
come much more slowly then words

of love, and, oddly, the more adept we
become at validating space, the more

we realize we are in fact describing
the end of our time and the beginning

of our next, time and space cavorting
as raucously as two consumed lovers.

The Trials of Empathy
© Ward Kelley

Our sorrows belong to us alone,
and where joy is the same for

many people, sorrow is unique
to each one of us entrapped in

the breathing, for no one can
truly know the extent of a pain

felt by any of us, no one can
really feel the depth of a sorrow

flailing beneath our ribs, the same
place reserved by the heart, and it

is here that the tendrils of the soul
are found wrapped around this

bestial organ whose lusts and
yearnings have no mutual words

with any other heart, even though
we sometimes share similar concepts,

such as love or desire, the refusal --
or worse, the acceptance -- of either

brings pains that cannot be described
succinctly to the ears of any other.

When the Tide Fails to Return
© Ward Kelley

At first we didn't realize it had failed,
for few of us monitored the precise

rhythm of this great watery beast who
beats a cadence on our lives as though

it were the pendulum who moves our
thoughts, as though we were in sync

with this planet, our souls made of mortal
fibers too fine to discern. But soon a shadow,

a discord, fell across us all, even though
most of us didn't suspect the tide would

not be back . . . even though everything
appeared to be in order, a gap now entered

our souls, and none of us could describe
the nature of our dissatisfaction. Where

is the finger who pulls the string to spin
this top properly? Even though the waves

still broke, they failed to advance, and where
all appeared to be normal, our bodies knew,

long before our minds, there was something severely
askew with the world in which we all breathed.

A Bestowal
© Ward Kelley

The manner of our death, the way we
are about to die, is given to each of us

at birth, not exactly a gift but a bestowal.
We carry it deep inside us, unknown to

all our cells but those very few who will
be called to execute the mishap. Our body

can make no sense of this donation so it
will ignore this until the very end; our soul,

though, knows there is a wisdom to the
final chore that we harbor deep within, for

the acceptance of the immaculate justice
of this thing who is most unjust to the body,

the acceptance of the very thing we would
first think to reject, is what can finally, finally,

long before the end of the body, be the source
of a contradictory contentment, perhaps even relief.

[email protected]

Neil D. Ray is a 46 year old poet/performer, living Fayetteville, North Carolina (USA). Affectionately known as, The NightWalker", Neil is considered to be one of exciting new voices in North Carolina Poetry. His love for the spoken word has garnished him with prominent positions in numerous literary and artistic organizations and events. He is a member of the Writers Ink Guild of Fayetteville, and the editor of the Guilds newsletter, The Ink Pad. Neil serves as Chairman of Membership Development for the North Carolina Poetry Society. [email protected] Neil is always seeking new events and new venues, to delight the artistic hearts of poetry. Neil enjoys the power of "open mikes". He is the host for two of the regions most successful "open mike" programs, "Java Jams" and "The Late Night Affair". His one and only purpose is to encourage and inspire "spirits" to rise.

Over the past six years, Neil has been published in variety of literary anthologies, magazines, and newsletters, along with local newspapers and community related publications. His work has appeared on several on-line poetry sites, and he has been featured in "Charlottes Web" and "Poetry Life and Times". He edited the Writers Ink Guilds latest anthology, Homecoming (Old Mountain Press), and is writing the introduction for the Coffee Scene Anthology, House Brew. Neil has even written articles for "Up and Coming", a regional arts and entertainment magazine, http://www.upandcomingmag.com, and was the 2000 Fayetteville "Slam Poetry" Champion.

"Neils poetry", as one poet remarked, " is delightfully precise".

Quote from Neil:
"I enjoy what I do, and I enjoy the way it effects others. Their inspiration and spirit help me to create, and the friendships developed through reading, writing, and participating in the various events, convince me more and more, that we all carry the "soul of the artist", within us. If no one else will listenthe page will. It is the most loyal friend you have.Ē

© Neil Ray, 2001

He could hear the pain in her voice,
and it left him wading in frustration.
His desire was to leave this place
and go to her.
He knew she would be standing
in the shadows of the sycamores
anticipating and waiting to breathe.
If only she would concede him the privilege of being
Did not she understand the connection of sun,
and moon, and earth.
How else could she explain this twisting necessity
and its vagrant reply.
He heard her voice infiltrate common distractions
and he felt awkward in helplessness.
He gave her words racing from a sensitive heart,
tingling with spices of hope.
He should have been there
listening to her pain against his chest.
Perhaps, beneath the weight of revelations;
they could discover themselves.
And "I Love You", would not seem tainted,
nor promises - stone.

They could breathe, again.
If she would only grant him the privilege of being

© Neil Ray, 2001

Strange, I should find the Goddess Diana, sitting at your feet.
Venus does well, to hide her envy.
Dare not I see the warrior in the woman?
Structured to maintain order,
yet inducing desire.
I remember you from previous adventures.
Eyes met, mouths speak,
admiring the way we stand.

Now, as then, I accede the authority in your essence.
Of which vision do I seek to respond?
I appreciate you raw and untamed;
stained with a predators instincts.
I savor you soft and sensuous,
an untouched child of indigenous passion.
I see the Goddess Diana, sitting at your feet.
And Venus does well, to hide her envy.

Saraís Eyes
© Neil Ray, 2001

I ponder sensations given by eyes that speak of emotions.
That satisfy inquiries, to clarify the sentiments we share.
I accept your words as ornate waves of essential motions.
Words beating like hearts make known the extent of care.

Words to engage us, of which we can not compare
With song, or dance, neither daily, or nightly devotions.
They comfort my soul and release me free of fare.
I ponder sensations given by eyes, that speak emotions.

You beautiful, from a distance, stilled in quiet reflections.
Your essence emanating it presence, is a brilliant flare.
Which illuminates thoughts and deeds to flatter affections
That satisfy inquiries, to clarify the sentiments we share.

You stand before me, a treasure precious and rare.
You release yourself, with generous conversations.
I listen with submissive ear, and a sanguine stare.
I accept your words as ornate waves of essential motions.

Your eyes present the honesty of your observations.
And I want to intone words that will hold you here.
Words that yield peace to our ambulant admiration.
Words beating like hearts make known the extent of care.

Perhaps, at anther time or place, we would be quick to dare
The courage in our truths and the depths of our temptations.
But, our moment is swift, and will only allow us to bare
A transient glance and a fleeting sigh to lay still our passions.

Given by eyes that speak of emotions.

[email protected]

Click here for July 2001 Featured Poets page 2 --> link for second half of featured poets....

ByLine Press announces publication of its 2001 Chapbook Competition Winner:

Ordinary Life

a chapbook of poems
by Barbara Crooker

"A story unfolds from within the poet-speaker's domestic life: the comforts of her rural home; the wonder of the surrounding natural world; the poignance of aging; and above all, the struggle to love, nurture and train her son and accept the sorrow of his autism."

"These poems glow with the transformative power of the extraordinary at the heart of life, the 'day of grace / in the dead of winter.' "

Carolyne Wright, poet & author
To order your copy of Ordinary Life send $8 (includes shipping) to

ByLine Press
PO Box 130596
Edmond, OK 73013-0001

For information on next year's ByLine Press chapbook event, see the ByLine website at http://www.bylinemag.com

The 14th St. Y of the Educational Alliance
The Center for Cultural and Performing Arts
Wendy Sabin-Lasker, Director WhY Women Poetry Series,
Veronica Golos, Artistic Coordinator for Literary Programs


From Fact to Fiction - Carol Dixon
All In One Poetry Workshop - Kate Light
Free the Artist Within - Jelayne Miles
Writing a Life: Discovery of Soul and Surface - Patricia Smith
News From Poems - Angelo Verga
(Classes start mid October.
For information please call 212-780-0800x255 and
leave your name and address {s l o w l y} for further information).

Some of the WhY Women Poetry Events in the Fall:
Oct. 4 - OPENING DOORS with DH Melhem, Rashida Isameli, Veronica Golos and music.
Nov. 8 - THE FEELING OF FLESH with Cortney Davis and Sondra Zeidenstein +music
Dec. 6 - CEREMONIES OF LIGHT with Enid Dam & TBA
Dec. 20 - SOMETHING UNDERSTOOD with Phillis Levin and others TBA, introducing her new anthology, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, with music by Sarafina Martino.

For more information about events in the fall, or to join the mailing list, write to:
Victoria Golos [email protected]

344 East 14th St.
New York, NY 10003, USA

212-780-0800 x255


The new poetry chapbook 'Filling the silence with a sigh'
by Deborah Swain is now available from Comrades Press

Full details at




Poetry submissions welcome in both English and French.


Dogwood Express book cover - link to info page
Little Red Hen Publishing announces


A chapbook of superb poetry from British Columbia and around the globe.

Click the book image for more information....

For Kedco Artist Profile Press

We pay in free copies of anthology + prizes for the best.
Short story trophies + solid silver medallions to be won!

Submissions of short stories and/or up to 10 poems wanted for new MILLENNIUM DAWN anthology, to be published both as a CD rom and a bound book.

Email submissions to Elaine Davis at [email protected] before September 2001.


Point of Life Publications announce submissions will close
on the 15th July 2001 for the new book Project Joy.

There is still time to send a story, essay, poem, fiction or any other writing that encompasses the true Spirit of Joy that is the essence of Humankind and all that exists.

This is the beginning of a series of books that will be a treasure to bestow on future generations.

We already have some of the best writer in the world today submitting their writing but the only criteria will be the true essence of Joy. Don't miss this opportunity for a chance to be part of Project Joy.

For complete submission guidelines, please write [email protected]

In Love & Joy,

Michael Levy.

THE PERILS OF NORRIS cartoon, #6 of new story.
The "Spot Reginald" contest will be back next month.

The Perils of Norris started in August 2000. To catch up on past episodes, click the links below and click your browser's Back button to return.

#1  #2  #3  #4  #5  #6  #7  #8  #9 #10 #11

Click here for BACK ISSUES page

Mail me on: [email protected] with any poems, letters or poetry news.
Please get Featured Poets submissions in as early as possible each month.

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