Journey through Advent

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Image: Pixabay

Today I’m recommending my friend Laurel’s blog for your Advent reading.

When her two children with Autism Spectrum Disorder could no longer tolerate the upheaval of Christmas, she knew she would have to find a different way than with decorations, visiting, lavish gifts and meals to celebrate. She tells her story on this video.

This new reality turned her toward the quiet, 25-day-long celebration of Advent, which she chronicles each year on a blog. For the past few years she has asked fellow-travellers to join her. (I’m honored to be one of them this year).

You can follow our Advent journey on her blog Four Parts Hope. (This year we’re doing cinquain, tanka, haiku, psalms, found poems, and Laurel’s main writings will be haibun.)

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Bridget the wise one at wee words for wee ones.

Reading a poem

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Are you part of a local poetry group that meets for readings and open mics? I’ve been attending our local Fraser Valley Poets Society open mics and other functions for upwards of ten years now! It’s been a great place to share work, get practice in reading, even sell books.

For some of those years I’ve been the group’s webmaster. I still am. That means I try to put up a post on our site’s blog after each reading. This involves taking photos of our events and figuring out what to say about them.

Our most recent open mic was last Monday. I snapped away during the reading and came home with a camera full — images of our readers with a variety of facial expressions and in various poses. All those shots reminded me  of how doing a public reading involves so much more than just parroting the words on the page (or phone).

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Image courtesy Pixabay.com

Reading a poem

Reading a poem’s
more than reading just words
about showers or summer
or hockey or birds.

It’s grimaces, eye flicks
a grin or a frown.
It’s where you are looking
upward or down.

It’s words clearly spoken
precisely intoned
to embellish the writing
you’ve carefully honed.

It’s mystery rhythms
that beat soft to loud
you’re part of the story
enchanting the crowd.

It’s significant pause
of emotional choke,
the punchline delivery
of a well-told joke.

Then hand over the mic
to the next girl or guy
while audience claps,
sighs a satisfied sigh.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

To see the poem, above, together with some of our poets in action, check out the original post on our society blog HERE.

(By the way, if you slip on over, you won’t see me. I did read, but you’ll have to take my word for it as there are no pixels to prove it.)

PF-2This poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by the Haiku Stickies Queen herself, Diane Mayr at Random Noodling.

“Hush, now listen…”

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“Hush, now listen, that’s the sound…”

I love old Christmas songs. I love new ones too, especially ones that are written by poet / musicians like Carolyn Arends.

arends-500A year ago Arends brought out a new Christmas album, Christmas: The Story of Stories. I enjoyed it then and continue to give it lots of play time this year. On it Arends sings a few old songs, but the majority are tunes that she’s written—her own take on the Christmas characters and stories.

Her style is folk/roots. Her voice is clear and pure. Her arrangements include accompaniment by piano, guitar, fiddle, mandolin and bouzouki. But it’s the clever, thoughtful, fresh, lyrical revisiting of the Christmas story that ties up the package for me.

On Wednesday she posted one of the songs from it on YouTube.  “The Sound”  begins:

Now the angels’ song has trailed away
And only earthly sounds remain
Oh, a baahing sheep, a bleating goat
And a nervous shepherd clears his throat.
And a husband asks, “Are you alright?”
As a weary mother lullabyes
And through it all … a baby cries …
Hush now, listen, that’s the sound
Of the Kingdom coming …

Listen to it (complete with all the lyrics) below:

In the week between now and Christmas day, I wish all who read here many “hush” moments as you enjoy the beauty of the season and contemplate its meaning.

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Diane Mayr at Random Noodling.

Borrowed Gardens – new poetry anthology

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It’s here at last–the project that’s been in the works for over a year! And just in time for Christmas too.

Borrowed Gardens - poetry anthologyBorrowed Gardens

Authors: Bertoia, Jeannine; Fisher, Tracie; McNulty, Del; Nesdoly, Violet

Publisher: SparrowSong Press (printed by First Choice Books), December, 2014, Paperback, 128 pages

ISBN: 978-1-77084-501-5

About the Book (cover text)

“A collection of poems to touch hearts. They are personal—time and circumstance snapped through the lenses of four women. In their word photos memories abound, family is honoured, love is voiced. Together they speak to a mosaic of people and places, in lands far and near, to times lived and yet to live.”

About the Writers (cover text)

“The pieces represented in this collection are the work of four Vancouver Lower Mainland women. Jeannine Bertoia and Tracie Fisher met in the Fine Arts Department of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. They began to share their poetry in 2005. They were joined in 2006 by freelance writer and poet Del McNulty and finally by author and poet Violet Nesdoly in 2007. The group meets regularly to support and further each other’s creative endeavours.”

A personal note:

I’m so proud of this book—the joint effort of all four of us.

The cover is a painting by Jeannine: “Spring Garden.”

Del conceived the cover design with its stylish bookmark flaps.

The title is taken from one of Tracie’s poems and reflects the theme of gardens, plants, and flowers—one of the subjects that runs through the book. (Other topics that keep recurring are home, family, nature and travel.)

I did the layout and typeset the book’s contents.

Here to whet your appetite are some of my favourite lines from my fellow poets:

From Jeannine’s prose poem “Stories”

“…Huddled on a grey rock, a yellow towel on our laps we told each other stories, yours a stream of laughter, mine told over and over until we became the story. I felt the child under my skin and her face a reflection of my mother and daughter…”  – p. 35

From Del’s poem “The Going”

You will go
it will be so tomorrow
where harvest sun
flames the path no longer narrow
we will part then
as light simmers on leaf and limb…”

– p. 66 – this poem won the 2010 Surrey International Writers Conference Poetry Award.

And from Tracie’s title poem “Borrowed gardens”

I wander in borrowed gardens
on pollen-painted legs
trail my hands
through rivers of rosemary
rows of lavender
my fingers retain
lingering aromas…”

– p. 112.

Borrowed Gardens is available from the individual authors.

Price: $15 Cdn. + postage (I will post exact price to mail within Canada & to the U.S. shortly)

Order from me by email (Please put “Borrowed Gardens Order” in the subject line)

Payment by personal cheque or money order.