Spread the Word: Poetry is Alive

Don’t believe me? Then obviously you haven’t been to Poetry is Alive. Join in. We’re trying to pay homage to art that has stirred the thoughts and emotions of mankind for centuries, and build a community while we do it.

 

Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition

Hello all!

Miss the fun this weekend at the UICA? Have no fear. Here’s a few pictures and a video here to get you all caught up…

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National poet and competition judge Linda Nemec Foster.

National poet and competition judge Linda Nemec Foster.

There was even live music afterward.

There was even live music afterward.

But I will say this: it was a real pleasure. I look forward to more readings in the future!

Poetry Readings, Interviews, and an Award to Boot!

If only one got a nice, comfy couch every time they had to read poetry...

If only one got a nice, comfy couch every time they had to read poetry…

Time to mark some calendars.

I spoke last week about a rather serious life update, and a huge professional milestone for me. Now I’m prepared to attach some numbers to the featureless and let you all in a little deeper into the fold of the Dyer-Ives award.

The Dyer-Ives Foundation was begun 50 years ago, an organization dedicated to building grassroots and neighborhood functions in the community. For the past 46 years, they have also run the Kent County Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition–an event divided into three different categories, for the young, the undergraduate and the young at heart.

My poem, Grand River, won first place in the adult side of the competition, and as a result I will be giving a public reading of it, alongside fellow poets, at the Grand Rapids Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (UICA) on JUNE 7, 2014, from 1 – 2:30 p.m. Dearest readers, are any of you from Michigan? If so, you’re more than welcome to attend–the event is free of charge and everyone is invited!

Additionally, my work is going to be published in a chapbook. Print copies of the chapbook will be made available at the reading (and attendees can get us to sign shiny copies there as well), but they’ll also be made available online in late May, if you feel like waiting.

This is the point where I say: but wait, there’s more!

This little poet is also going to be on the radio. If you can stand my voice for even more time, there’s going to be an interview with me on 88.1 WYCE at an undisclosed future date–once I’ve made those necessary arrangements, I promise you’ll all be the first to know.

What all this boils down to is that the month to come is going to be quite a ride; I’m excited, I’m nervous, but most of all I’m looking forward to what all of this means. For me, this is my first (true) step into the professional side of the poetic sphere. Published author was already under my belt, but now I can add published poet to the plaque alongside it–and that’s enough to swell this creative heart of mine with bliss.

Never forget where we came from, and the dream of what once was.

There are friends I could (and shall) thank for all this–friends that helped me come to this. My family has never ceased in its support. What’s more, I can extend personal gratitude to what once was One Stop Poetry, and the dream it had embodied; I learned a lot there, and I’d like to think it helped me hone my trade. Of course, one also has to extend a hand to Michigan itself–my beautiful, if troubled state, which has always been a source of inspiration.

But don’t think that any of the rest of you have been forgotten. If blogging weren’t worthwhile, if I didn’t enjoy sharing with you all, and hearing from you, and doing these silly things I do–I wouldn’t do them. You have all helped me grow, and I hope you shall continue to do so in the future.

Onward!

Live, Love – A Letter

In the words of sillier people than I: “Not my usual, but nice.”

I’ve been writing a lot, lately – and while that may be nothing extraordinary in and of itself, the nature of that writing has been beyond its usual course. For those waiting on the third (and final) book in my fantasy series, The Haunted Shadows, this will undoubtedly come as something of an annoyance (sorry, friends!), but sometimes the mind wanders, and something of the unexpected demands to be let out.

So what IS this? A letter. To friends. To family. To people I’ve never met. A letter to the world, as it were, for any that would listen. Spread it around if you like the message contained within – and don’t be afraid to hit that little like button therein. A transcription follows below that would prefer the read…

“If I have never told you these things when you looked me in the eye, know that it is not because I have not loved you. Whether I have met you or know you or ever for a fleeting instant passed you on the street, for all that I put forth to the world, I have loved you. There is no shame in saying it. There should be no fear. Life is too brief a thing upon this earth to be dragged down by the bitterness of blindness. I should know; I have admittedly at times been its greatest connoisseur.

But it is from experience that I tell you: sweet star child, do not let age descend upon you. It is a foolish path. There is much in this world that will grey you if you let it, leeching all of its lessons from the marrow of your bones. You have the power to resist. Too many say we are marching toward death; what they fail to realize is all too often we are marching away from life. Death is inevitable. Do not fear it. Life is, in every moment, a chance to smile, to positively impact another life, to together laugh in the face of the Devil and love, love, love with the light of the sun.

Keep that light, child. Let it flush beneath your skin, let it swell the tenor of your voice, and let it be a beacon for you even in darkest night, that you might always remember: you and you alone are your own true north. You know what needs to be done; the world is just the trail on which you wander to achieve it. What made possible the fires of this universe so also made you, and if they created starlight and planets and life as rich and vibrant as our own, think what just a fraction of their heat could achieve.

I am not blind. I could never tell you your journeys won’t hurt. Life is painful. It will break you, it will tear you open and beat you down. Do you remember the first time you fell? The first time you skinned your knee? Childhood made everything more acute; the tears, they fell like rain. You walked away with a scar, but the pain, for all that you dreaded it, faded with time. Everything heals. There will always be scars to remind us, but people will come to you and take your hand and offer to patch you up again with the fervor of their love and their devotion; never shut them out. You may wish to hide. You may wish to tough it out. But people are the salve as often as they are the poison; never let the one blind you to the other. Your flame will burn brighter with their fuel.

Oh, child, if only you could know what it is you are. Zeus, they said, had his thunderbolts, and Poseidon had his waves. Stories. We are the gods of this world, and I tell it true, when you were born there were waves that would drown us all in the moments of your tears, and the crackle of summer’s storms in every quiver and quake of your laughter.

You are a gift of creation. You are creation and destruction, and the marvelous structure of the universe: we may be motes, but we are motes of the infinite, and no one should ever make you feel small.

Hate will ever be in your sight; the road will grow muddy. If ever you doubt, just look to the sky and the myriad other stars still twinkling in that long night, and remember what it is to love. That the first people to ever hold you are in that sky, still watching, and waiting, and growing with the journey of the one they made. That friends, lovers, enemies, all revolve across the same sky, following their trails to the lightening of all others—wobbling, stumbling, falling the same as you.

Never forget them. Not once. For your heart will not. Your first love will be there beside you to your dying day. Your feet will still remember the contours of their first dance. These things do not die. For this form of living, and love, is unconditional—we are what we are, and may you never be ashamed of it.

Laugh. Love. Cry. Hate. Fall. Rise. Run. Learn.

Smile. All of existence is in your sight.”

A Poetic Introduction

It’s not every day one gets to lend a friend a helping hand. Much less, to help them evoke their creative side. In this case, my role was relatively minor (I was the camera man, the getaway driver, the…er, now we’re getting off topic), but it still allowed a friend to get their words out there in the form for which they were designed.

So without further adieu, I’d like to introduce you to one of the best Spoken Word poets I’ve had the pleasure of hearing (and a damn fine poet in general), in her video debut, Ms. Kilashandra:

Do take care. The lady loves to write, but she absolutely detests cameras, even if the camera loves her. (I may have been called the devil several times in shooting this.)