Jul 082012
 



Once we cross over to Pennsylvania
The land returns to my father;
Hills blasted apart then coated with
Soft green allegheny down.
Shadow makers crawling across
The blue sky in pipe drawn
Huffs. Thin bridges dangle
Semi trailers above a river trace.
A now-you-see-now-you-don’t
Hex flashes a mysterious smile
From the red barn passing.
Pheasant mutters wilkommen under her breath.

Then good pine friends like all of us
(Older than we ever expected and barer)
Lean against each other as
They pass a day again
Inside this great, dark forest
Beside the interstate.

– from the road

May 082012
 

Today I’d like to share with you a poem I did not write.

It’s a translation of a love sonnet, number 33, by Pablo Neruda. This is sonnet my friend Lisa read for Colin and I at our wedding, 8 years ago today. A couple months after we married, we flew off on our adventure together to London.

This October, Colin and I will have been together 10 years. I can’t remember even who I was 10 years ago… or how I had the insight to slow down long enough to get a really good look at this kind, wonderful man. I am so grateful for the period of sweetness and abundance he has ushered into my life.

Happy Anniversary, Colin…

Love, we’re going home now,
Where the vines clamber over the trellis:
Even before you, the summer will arrive,
On its honeysuckle feet, in your bedroom.

Our nomadic kisses wandered over all the world:
Armenia, dollop of disinterred honey:
Ceylon, green dove: and the YangTse with its old
Old patience, dividing the day from the night.

And now, dearest, we return, across the crackling sea
Like two blind birds to their wall,
To their nest in a distant spring:

Because love cannot always fly without resting,
Our lives return to the wall, to the rocks of the sea:
Our kisses head back home where they belong.

– by Pablo Neruda, translated by Stephen Tapscott,

from “Cien sonetos de amor

E Howard C Phillips Montmarte

Apr 302012
 

This week I am the Guest Poet on the beautiful poetry site: Bentlily. Please do go over and have a look.

But, before you do, I’d like to tell you a quick story about how Vancouver poet and entrepreneur Samantha Reynolds found out about me and Demand Poetry.

I received an email from her about a month or so ago. In the e-mail she said: 

Dear Elizabeth… The indomitable Dyana Valentine suggested I connect with you (she called you her favourite poet).”

Have you ever met someone who is totally and completely brave? Who says  “YES” to things on impulse and lands dead-on right?

That’s who Dyana Valentine is. 

She was the FIRST stranger to buy a Demand Poem from me via my website and Paypal. She didn’t know me. And certainly didn’t have a certificate of guarantee that the poem she would receive from me would satisfy her soul.

But Dyana didn’t hestitate. She invested in me. She laughed with me, and egged me on. She said “Let’s go girl!!” and she must have enjoyed the result, as she has told others about me.

I admit, I have always been a little bit cynical about the concept of “Life Coaching.” But I am not at all cynical about mentors, leaders, and people who inspire us to move forward. These women and men succeed because they are not adverse to risk. They are brave.  They move their minds, bodies and spirits apace.

Investing time and money with a mover pays back, and forward.

So, this is just my way of saying thanks to Dyana Valentine, for her YES, which is a muse of bright impulse and leadership.

And to Tara Gentile too, whose conversation with Dyana connected us in the first place. Thanks for her mindful and fearless dive into the creative world.

Life moves with them.

Apr 092012
 


Two men say: I love you
With turkey. They do it at
At least twice a year,
Once at my husband’s
Table, with me at the store
Choosing all the groceries, the
Parsnips off season,
The magical ginger root
To dress an everyday carrot. Pushing
The cart through the refrigerated aisles
I catch myself cruising a thought:
Someday wouldn’t it be nice to
Make my mom’s mom’s mother’s
Dressing recipe — which has more
Sausage less bread than Henry’s — but then I
Don’t, I wouldn’t because
This daylong ritual of trussing and
Chopping and ram jetting
And then, just so, while whisking,
Timing out the sides, is
Colin’s way of telling
His Dad: I watch. I learn.
I notice. I love.

Apr 052012
 


Before JD left, last time, to go back
To Kansas City, he and Colin
Agreed that moving the laundry
From the basement to its new
(Though not finished) room
On the 2nd floor, was the most
Important last and final chore
To complete before the
Two men who love me most
My dear friend and my husband
Parted ways for another
Four months. I hear the rocket engine
Squeal now of the washer drum spinning–
Hard at work
Reminding me a good deal of
The world’s sweetness is
Positively mundane.

Oct 172011
 

I’ve been doing a far bit of writing and contributing at Writing Our Way Home, a writing community created by Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita. This is a wonderful place  for poets, novelists, and any budding writer to find prompts, friendship, and support. I love it.

In the last few months I’ve had some featured blog posts, including:

Hiding in Plain Sight

We Want to Be Heard

Ask Questions, Talking More

Storm

A Bullet Point List of Things I am Pretty Sure I am Passionate About

Compassion Kitty, Who Are You?

Today I Said I Love You

Sharing Good News: Drinks, Jokes, Love

I am grateful to Fiona and Kaspa for this generous community where I can share and contribute.

Jul 192011
 

Demand Poetry on Instagram via Dyana Valentine
I met an amazing women via Tara Gentile (natch) … Dyana Valentine. She popped up in a circle on Google+ last week and I followed her over to her video blog, a post called “You Will Survive.”

We are all nothing short of normal and boring, it is true– however, that flip side of that veritable life coin is that we are each, also, nothing short of a miracle. Our lives and and our talents, such as they are.

I love that I keep stumbling over such wonderful people like Dyana and Tara out here in the universe. Because over and over again I keep getting this belief affirmed.

Over there in the photo you can read the Demand Poem that Dyana ordered from me. Tomorrow she and I are going to chat about my process of writing it via Skype.

Meanwhile, you really should get to know Dyana, early morning wake-up call and all!

Here’s what she had to say in that first video post that grabbed me, which is way more worthy than anything I have to blather on about around here.

Peace out.

Mar 142011
 

A February Goal, Met

But I’ve never considered myself a web designer. I’m not, right?

So when I started thinking about “building” my home page, I got really nervous.

What the hell do I know??

As part of my ongoing affair with the illustrious creative action guru, Tara Gentile, back in December, I set a goal of having my own website up and running by February.

I have owned the domain elizabethhoward.net for literally years, but have done nothing with it, other than to build my blog “Letters from a Small State (previously “Letters from London, and Elsewhere”) on the subdomain: http://blog.elizabethhoward.net. It’s a good blog and it’s changed a good bit over time with new themes, occasional videos, and many design updates.

So I guess I am not a newbie… but.

The Work of Intentional Unintention

So in January, I started emailing designers to ask them for estimates on the cost of building my website… I mean, I don’t think of myself as a designer and what the hell do I know about CSS and such?

In the meanwhile, I took some advice from Tara and chose a theme in WordPress (my current web editor) that was highly customizable and seemed easy to work with. (Thanks, Sayontan Sinta for Suffusion!)

Designers gave me estimates and I couldn’t get myself to commit to the cash… more procrastination!

Meanwhile, I filled my procrastination time with what appeared to be unintentional futzing… playing with my domain, adding widgets, using the beloved Picasa to create a header, writing an “About Page” and even adding a “Buy Now” Paypal button so friends and strangers can own their own Demand Poetry and decorate their life with more beautiful writing.

The result of my goal setting and my “unintentional futzing” was a completed website! One day, in February, I realized that despite my very busy schedule — and my attempts to stop myself with procrastination, fears, the certainty that I CAN’T DO IT — I had put together a home website.

Whoa. I mean, literally one day I was sitting at my computer looking at the site and I thought “Dude, look what I just did.” It was like waking up from a dream. Only when I look back I see the action is the real life, and the noisy voices trying to distract me are more like the dream.

Results

I haven’t fully moved in yet. I’ll continue to use Tara, Problogger, and other website greats to build on.

I want to add a FAQ, beef up my Demand Poetry page, and add an online portfolio, along with a photo gallery. So for now, this is more like a quirky crash pad with IKEA furniture than my dream cottage on the hill. But it is home.

I haven’t ruled out hiring a designer to reorganize and repaint the entire spread, but I am thrilled that I, seemingly magically, completed a job I thought I couldn’t do!