This is the house that Donna built

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Donna reads - September 2015

Donna reads – September 2015

I’ve been part of a local poetry group for about ten years! My involvement started out when the MSA Poets Potpourri Society invited me to be a guest reader at one of their poetry nights. I think it was in 2005. After a few years of attending off-and-on, I became a paid member. In 2010 I started our website. Then a few years ago I became one of the directors.

Last year we changed our name to Fraser Valley Poets Society. We also published a book of writings by our society’s founder on the occasion of her 90th birthday (titled Encouragement).

Donna Bishop started our club way back in 1981, after she got a standing ovation for reading one of her poems at a poetry reading in a neighboring town. She realized what a powerful force for good sharing poetry could be and wanted others to experience it too.

Donna’s book is a collection of poems and essays not only by Donna. There’s also an anthology section of poems by our members and a section of tributes.

We had our first poetry reading of this fall season on Monday—an open mic. Guess who was there—Donna herself, now almost 91 and still sharp as a tack! Of course she read for us.

Our president happened to read my tribute poem to her, and later in the week, the sweet lady phoned and asked if I would read it at her memorial service. Of course I said yes, but told her we sure hope that would not be for a long time yet!

It’s the poem I’m going to share with you today:

THIS IS THE HOUSE THAT DONNA BUILT
(with apologies to Mother Goose)

These are Valley poets of Potpourri
who read in the house that Donna built.

These are the words of the English tongue
and other languages living among
the Valley poets of Potpourri
who read in the house that Donna built.

These are the poems, some short, some long
crafted in words of the English tongue
and other languages living among
the Valley poets of Potpourri
who read in the house that Donna built.

These are the books of original verse
with shiny covers, thoughts diverse
crafted in words of the English tongue
and other languages living among
the Valley poets of Potpourri
who read in the house that Donna built.

And here is healing for low esteem
where everyone listens and knows your name
buys your books of original verse
with their shiny covers, thoughts diverse
and listens to poems, some short, some long
crafted in words of the English tongue
and the other languages living among
the Valley poets of Potpourri
who read in the house that Donna built.

Thank you Donna!
© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Read some of Donna’s poems HERE.
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Poetry Friday LogoThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Michelle at her always-something-interesting-happening blog Today’s Little Ditty.

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.

Freelance Writer’s Almanac – March 2014

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Freelance Writer's Almanac icon - violetnesdoly.com

Today is the first day of March. The word “March comes form the Roman ‘Martius.’ According to this site, it was originally the first month of the year (Roman calendar) named after Mars the god of war.

The flower of the month of March is the Daffodil or Jonquil.

Daffodil

Daffodil – the flower of March

March’s stone is Aquamarine  / Bloodstone (modern) and Jasper / Bloodstone  (traditional) – meaning: COURAGE.

Aquamarine

Aquamarine – modern birthstone for March

Bloodstone - birthstone for March

Bloodstone – modern & traditional birthstone for March

Jasper - birthstone for March

Jasper – traditional birthstone for March

Here’s a rhyme for March’s Bloodstone:

Who in this world of ours their eyes
In March first open shall be wise;
In days of peril firm and brave,
And wear a Bloodstone to their grave.
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Some  sayings associated with March’s weather:

“When March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb.”

“As it rains in March so it rains in June.”

“March winds and April showers
Bring forth May flower.”

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  • March 1-16 – Dogsled race, the  Iditarod.
  • New moon

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  • Alexander Graham Bell was born on this day in 1847 in Edinburgh Scotland. He went on to invent the telephone (The Christian Almanac [T.C.A.] p. 141).

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  • On this day in 1953 Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (creator of the Iron Curtain) died at the age of 73 years.  (TCA p. 145. )
Michelangelo - self-portrait

Michelangelo – self-portrait

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  • Silly putty was invented on this day in 1950 (TCA p. 147).

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  • World Day of prayer (always first Friday)

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  • On this day in 1859 Kenneth Grahame, creator of The Wind in the Willows was born in Edinburgh Scotland. Parts of the book were written as letters to his young son (TCA p. 151).

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  • Daylight Savings Time begins
  • First Sunday in LentLITURGY

    1966 Ford Mustant

    1966 Ford Mustang (photo from Wikipedia)

  • The Mustang is 50! The Ford Motor Co. produced the first Ford Mustang on this day in 1964. It became an instant classic (TCA p. 153).

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  • Salvation Army Day

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  • Organize your home office day

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  • James Taylor (singer) was born on this day in 1948.

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  • Earmuffs, patented as “Champion Ear Protector” by Greenwood, were introduced on this day in 1877.

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Hamentaschen & Purim rattle

Hamentaschen & Purim rattle

  • Today is the Jewish holiday of Purim
  • Second Sunday in Lent – LITURGY
  • Full Moon

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  • Kate Greenaway, English artist and book illustrator was born on this day in 1846 in London. Her illustrated books like Mother Goose created a revolution in book illustration (TCA P. 169).

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  • David Livingstone – physician and explorer was born on this day in 1813.

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  • World Storytelling Day– On World Storytelling Day, as many people as possible tell and listen to stories in as many languages and at as many places as possible, during the same day and night.
  • Brian Mulroney, former Canadian Prime Minister  turns 75 today (born in 1939).

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  • Feast of the Annunciation – LITURGY

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  • Robert Frost was born on this day in 1874. (He’d be 140 today.)
Robert Frost

Robert Frost

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  • Coca Cola was introduced on this day in 1886

Vincent Van Gogh - self-portrait30

  • The painter Vincent Van Gogh was born on this day in 1853.
  • It is also the birthday of Canadian singer Celine Dion (1968).
  • Fourth Sunday in Lent – LITURGY
  • New Moon

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  • The English poet John Donne  died on this day in 1631 at the age of 59.

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Lots of other days celebrated in March found at Brownielocks
http://www.brownielocks.com/march.html

Messy – Poetry Friday

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Shelf of poetry books

“… untidy on the shelf”

Messy

Poetry is messy
all these snippets of poems
lying around
all these lines that keep asking
to be changed or moved
into another poem altogether
how do I keep track?

And look at these books
—mere brochures
with spines too skinny for titles
slight, yet too weighty
for the garbage
lovely to hold
but untidy on the shelf

and as impossible to catalogue
—with their love, humor peace,
protest, outrage and grace—
as the motley bunch of us
at our last reading.

© 2013 by Violet Nesdoly

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At the beginning of the year, do you find yourself with the urge to organize—even your poetry? And how impossible is that!

poetry+friday+button+-+fulll

Welcome to Poetry Friday, the impossible-to-catalogue weekly collection of poetry and poetry-related blog posts for readers of all ages!

Please click on the button below to add your Poetry Friday  link to the inlinkz widget.

Of course comments are welcome too. Please use them to tell us more about your post 🙂 THANK YOU!



When song reverberates past the notes

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Steve Bell Trio

On Saturday night I experienced a rare confluence of two loves—music and poetry.

It was my sister-in-law who alerted us to the fact that Steve Bell was in town. So we bought tickets and caught him in Surrey at only the second stop on his Keening for the Dawn (new Christmas album) tour.

Steve, if you don’t know him, is a Canadian troubadour. A Winnipeg-based musician, he has been singing and recording his own folksy songs since before we had CDs (we were first introduced to him via the 1989 cassette release of Comfort My People). He has incredible control over his tenor voice which he flips as easily in and out of falsetto as he dances his fingers up and down the neck of his ever-present guitar.

Saturday night was a treat from the first minute he and the members of his touring trio Murray Pulver and Joey Landreth took to the stage. There were harmonies and harmonics, varied accompaniments (as hat-man Pulver kept slipping off one guitar and putting on another) and several seasons of jazzy improvisation. The stories Steve told were a treat as always. But the climax of the concert for me was the rendition of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

Steve BellSteve explained to us mostly non-Anglicans, how that song has seven stanzas, each one dealing with an aspect of Christ (called the Great O Antiphons—seven ancient, prophetic names for Christ). As he delved into the song in preparation for recording it, he knew he wanted to use the whole thing, but didn’t want to go on droning verse after verse. That’s when he discovered the O Antiphon sonnets of Malcolm Guite (rhymes with ‘quite’).

Guite, a British pastor, professor and poet gave him permission to use several. Steve read two of them to us before he began the song and then Guite (via a recorded track) declared to us in rich English-accented tones between sung verses, the mystery of Jesus as Root and Key.

Bell has tinkered with the original wording in some of the verses. Listen (and read lyrics) to “O Come O Come Immanuel”—song and poetry that may set off echoes all through the sound chambers of your spirit as it did mine:

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

(Here is just the mp3 file of “O Come O Come Emmanuel”)

Last night I poked around online to see if I could run this Malcolm Guite to ground. I found he has a generous web presence of his own and was delighted to read, on his blog, his side of the story of how he and Steve met, and what a thrill it was to collaborate with him.

Guite has his own release coming soon. Sounding the Seasons, a book of poems, is due out in December. Yay for Amazon. It will be for sale here and we don’t need to find a way to bring it across the sea!

Related: Keening for the Dawn - Steve Bell