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This month, I had the great fortune of attending the book launch for Linda Trott Dickman’s new poetry book, ROAD TRIP.

Written while she and her husband, David (also a poet), took a cross country trip, the book explores the “joy in traveling the roads and singing their song.”

I personally connected with many of the poems as I love the feeling of freedom during a road trip, the rhythm of the road itself, the sense of covering long distances.

I’ve enjoyed Linda’s work on the printed page as well as at poetry readings.  Her knowledge of poetry (she’s a retired librarian) is certainly impressive with diverse poetic influences, such as Lee Bennet Hopkins, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Gelett Burgess, Malcolm Guite, Joyce Sidman, Jack Prelutsky, Jane Yolen, Mark Irwin, and Dr. Seuss.

Linda’s poems are also written as poetic devotions: “From the very first poem I wrote, I had a prayer.  I wanted every first to be for the Lord.  My first published poem, Unretouched, was published in The Salt and the Light (a Christian literary journal).”

So, what’s next in print?  Here’s what she tells me:

“I’m excited, that one of my poems will be included in a new children’s anthology.  The poem was a dream come true from my longtime poetry hero, Lee Bennet Hopkins, who passed away this past August. I read him in the 70’s in college, I met him in the 80’s and we became friends on Facebook in the last couple of years.  I was courageous enough to ask him how one gets published in one of his anthologies and after he read a sample of my work, he invited me to write a very specific poem for a goldfish.  It will be published in one of his last anthologies from Eerdmans Press (a Christian press). So, my first published effort for children will be for a Christian Press!

I will love sharing this poem with children, as well as the other poems in the book. I am in amazing company.   During my many years as a children’s librarian, I taught poetry to children and they were among my best teachers!”

I’m thankful (as are many others) that she loves sharing her poetry too.  Below is an excerpt from ROAD TRIP:

Remedio

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, For Camilla

Soft upon mountains

Gentle on arid land

Seeking healing elements

Woven basket in hand

 

Mindful of creation

Pruning carefully

Gathering but what is needed

Leaving some for the bees

 

Boiling, blending, steeping

Wax and herb and lard

Combined in a concoction

For those whose work is hard

 

Cota, torito, and garra

escoba de víbora gleaned

blended for aching bodies

bathed in boiled water for tea

 

hands lovingly choose them

planning for years to come

Honoring creation

Honoring God’s green thumb

– by Linda Trott  Dickman

ROAD TRIP  from Local Gems Press is available now on Amazon.

 

 

Written with a little poetic inspiration from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s, The Splendour Falls on Castle Walls:

Listen or Download

Moon rich sky, I feel each
phase of time go by
long and high, I hear them echo by

Richer than the bluest blue
of velvet skies
I hear them echo by, echo by

Echoing dying, dying, forever dying

Echoes part in two from
heart to heart, two heartbeats
lost in time, echo by

Echoing dying, dying, forever dying

Taken by the hand with
no reply she sees
all her hopes and dreams
echo by

Echoing dying, dying, forever dying
forever and ever and ever…

(c) Mary C.M. Phillips
Produced by Mark Phillips

Inspired by Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Princess
Mary C.M. Phillips: vocals, keys
Mark Phillips: guitars, drums, bass, vocals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light:

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind

For those that here we see no more;

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,

And ancient forms of party strife;

Ring in the nobler modes of life,

With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,

The faithless coldness of the times;

Ring out, ringlet my mournful rhymes

But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;

Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be.

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year, full of inspiration, love, good books, and poetry, Mary

With all the tension in today’s world, a little poetry and humor is a welcome remedy.

This past Thursday, poets gathered at the Onyx Theatre in Oakdale, New York for an uplifting evening of poetry and the launch of Rhyme and PUNishment (yes, you read that right), an anthology of comedic verse in which one of my poems appears.

Below are some photos from the event.

Remember…

when the tough realities of the world are heavy,

humor can take away some of that weight.

Wishing you happiness — and lightness — for the holidays, Mary

 

 

 

 

 

LISTEN (for free) here

Download here

This past Saturday poets gathered at The Walt Whitman Birthplace in Huntington, New York for fellowship, poetry readings, and most importantly…Bards Annual 2019 book launch.

The spirit of Whitman was alive and well as poets shared pieces of their heart and soul through the “glory of expression.”

With much gratitude, one of my poems is included in this wonderful new anthology.

 

Re-examine all that you have been told…dismiss that which insults your soul. – Walt Whitman

 

 

Dusted off my KORG synth, recited a new poem, and pressed RECORD.

Feel free to listen.  It’s free…like all good things.

#SpokenWord #Poetry.

LISTEN HERE (FREE)   –    or Download HERE

 

While on vacation in England last month, we spent some time in Oxford.

The main attraction (for me) was Bodleian Libraries’ current exhibit:  Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth.

It’s a breathtaking exhibit where Tolkien enthusiasts can view the first manuscript of The Hobbit, hand-drawn maps of Mordor, letters of correspondence from C.S. Lewis, family photos, favorite pipes, and the rocking chair in which he sat when the sentence, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit,” suddenly came into his mind.

The exhibit will be coming to New York in January (see the link on the blogroll to the right)!  I plan to go again.

After we left the exhibit — and strolled around a bit — we ended up at The Eagle and Child.  This is the small pub that J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams (and friends) would regularly meet over a pint (or two) to discuss poetry, politics and ideas for their stories.  

I sat at the bar with my husband and son, drinking a pint (of Coca-Cola), overwhelmed with the fact that I was sitting in the very place where these great literary minds created The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the world of Narnia.

Here is where the The Lord of the Rings was read aloud by Tolkien himself.  C.S. Lewis, a positive force in his life, had encouraged him to finish the tale.  Although Tolkien believed Williams was not enthused with his work during their meetings, five years later, Williams asked to borrow the manuscript.  He read it in its entirety and conveyed to Tolkien that he experienced a sense of freedom — and a connection with freedom — while he read it.  He may have been slow with his support, but…better late than never.

I’m now reading The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter, which casts light on the lives of these three writers and the dynamics of their personalities.

Writing is a solitary practice, but with support and encouragement from friends, great art is realized.  Great literature also has a ripple effect in that it inspires others to see the world differently.

The practice of writing is a solitary one.

Often that practice can make one feel distant, which I suppose makes sense.  Stories of imaginary lands, essays about childhood memories, and faces that only you can see in your head are yours…and yours alone.

That’s why it’s so important to share your work.

The gap – that distant feeling – will shrink once you’ve actually communicated those memories (or stories)  to a reader. Waiting until your work is perfect, in my opinion, is not a good plan. Not a good plan at all.

Because…it will delay joy.

My story, Imperfect Steps, is included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Yes!

Stepping outside of our comfort zones, “submitting” to life,  and saying “yes” to new challenges is the message of the book which is available now where books are sold.

May we all step outside of our comfort zones, try something new, tell our stories, care less about what others think and feel that sense of newness and joy that comes with saying yes to new adventures.

LUNCH

Saying “yes” with fellow CSS contributors in NYC

The Chicken Soup for the Soul series continues to encourage millions of readers and also supports important  anti-bullying programs, animal care and rescue, and various charities, all of which empower others that are in need.

You must be the judge of your own happiness. – Jane Austen

I need to remind myself of this fact every so often.

When I experience the pleasure of simply staying home, by myself, I find that I am my best creative self.

I’m not surprised, however, when I’m crafting a poem, journaling, or reading, to hear the world whisper into my solitude saying, “Come outside and play with others.”  And I must admit there are a couple of options today:  the Mets game or meeting a friend for a hike.  But the simple pleasure of sitting in my little yard just journaling (and listening) are more appealing.

I know what makes me happy. blog happiness

Knowing what makes you happy is key in finding a sense of peace and moving forward.

To sit under a cloudless sky, happily in solitude, interrupted only by the occasional Blue Jay or Cardinal may seem boring to most, but it allows my mind to creatively wander.  I can actually hear myself think — and the voice I hear sounds calm and wise and happy or better yet…content.

We all deal with that constant nag of being productive, but it is sometimes just that…a nag.  The nag’s voice is not so sweet, and frankly, it’s annoying. So, I’m ignoring him today.

Hope you all find some creative solitude this week…

let your mind wander…

and find your happiness.