Sunday day Rally Dispatch is a collection of news updates of interest to our poet-blogger community members. Your contributions from your area of the world, your activities, or your interests are welcome. Please forward them to Jamie Dedes of Musing by Moonlight at email@example.com. Contributions are subject to editorial discretion and space constraints. Feedback welcome.
ON THIS DAY IN 1994 the Brazilian poet, writer, and translator, Mario Quintana, died. He was born on July 30, 1906 and became known as the poet of simple things. His poems are profound and ironic and address serious themes including death. For some of his poems in translation, link HERE. and HERE.
If I were a priest, I would not preach about God or sins … I would cite the poets, pray their verses… the most beautiful ones … because poetry purifies the soul … and a beautiful poem – even those what are apart from God … a beautiful poem always takes us to Heaven!” Mario Quintana
JUNE 5, 2011
UNITED NATIONS PROGRAM FOR
WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
Report examines how investment in forests can boost employment, tackle climate change and reduce deforestation. Today, over 1.6 billion people are dependent on forests for their livelihoods. Rich in biodiversity, forests are also essential in supplying water to nearly half of the world's largest cities. Yet despite such vital services, the world is losing its forests at an alarming rate, with some 5.2 million hectares being cut down each year. MORE
IN HONOR OF THE DAY REENA (Butterflies of Time) wrote a poem, Earthsense, which was picked up for publication by Indian Ruminations:
Let Earth burn, explode, become past tense
tottering under the onslaught of violence
Let soulless bodies gently slide
into the cosmic chasm, deep and wide. MORE
JAMIE: You've quite a body of work completed. When did you start writing and why?
DONNA: Ah, such a long time ago! I’ve always loved words. That love began with reading to my grandmother, Minnie Worley, from her King James Bible at the age of 11 or 12. The lyrical quality of the King James text put a music in my words that has flavored every part of my writing career.
Our first child was born a year after we married and for the next several years I was immersed in child rearing and farming. I took some private art lessons and wrote a few things but they were little more than articles in my Church’s denominational publications. Most of my poetry was kept in journals and began as simple tributes to my children.
During the early years of marriage there was a lingering sense of emptiness that no amount of busy work could fill. I felt trapped and alone, not knowing that I was reeling under the ‘trapped housewife’ syndrome. Our minister at the time was a very wise intellectual whose interests went far beyond the parameters of a small-town church. He was widely read, especially in theology. When I asked to speak with him about my vague feelings of unease, he listened and then gave me a book titled, The Philosophy of Religion, by Elton Trueblood. “See what you think of this,” he said. If I questioned the suggestion of a book on theology as a help for depression I did not bring it up.
It took me six weeks to read that book with a set of collegiate dictionaries close at hand, but when I finished it, although I was still unsure of dialectical materialism, my horizons had expanded exponentially and I had gained a profoundly enlarged view of God and the world. This book was followed by many more as Doug opened his library to me.
There was a hunger deep inside to touch and be touched. Not physically, or so I thought, but intellectually. I hungered for someone who could interact at a level of thought beyond the mundane. Science Fiction in its infant stages was my escape literature and Asimov, Norton, Bradbury, Orwell, and others lined my bookshelves. But in the books on theology I found concepts that touched my spirit and reconnected it with the God I had found in Grandma’s Bible.
JAMIE: When was your first book published and how did that come about?
DONNA: I had written a poem, Minnie Remembers, and sent it to a friend who lived in Nashville (Tennessee, U.S.A.). He was Dean of the Divinity School at Vanderbilt, which was just down the street from the Upper Room and United Methodist Publishing complex. He suggested – as he had other poems – that I submit it to a new magazine, Alive Now! put out by The Upper Room. I received an acceptance from them by return mail and it was published in 1974
That poem, written with my Grandmother, Minnie, in mind, was to begin a whole career. An editor at Upper Room, Janice Grana, was compiling a book to be published in honor of the ‘Year of the Woman” in 1976. (Images: Women in Transition,) When it was released, copies were given to the staff. A film producer read it and asked permission to produce a documentary from it. That was filmed in ’77 and was awarded a Golden Eagle award from C.I.N.E. in 78.
At this point I was asked by Janice to write a book that would play on the popularity of Minnie. I put together a book of poetry and short prose. When published it sold out of the first printing of 8,000 copies, and Minnie Remembers became a standard in the field of geriatrics; printed in hundreds of periodicals both religious and secular and in a dozen or so books by such authors as Leo Bascalia and Bruce Larson.
I began receiving invitations to show the film and speak in my area and beyond.
JAMIE: What fires your poetic imagination most? Which poets most inspire you?
DONNA: I am inspired by life; my own and others. I believe a poet or artist takes in every facet of life and experience and keeps it in a kind of holding bin. (My farm raising shows up here!) When a line sparks a poet’s interest and a poem is born, the grist that has been held in heart and mind funnels down to the paper. Upon publication, the lower part of the hour glass expands to include the reader who reads it through his or her own life experiences and makes it his or her own.
The poets that inspired me were Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Frost, Calvin Smith – The Singer Trilogy - and some of the little known but loved ones who I found in Favorite Poems of the American People. Over the years I have been greatly influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. One of the most powerful allegorical images of the Creation is found in the first chapter of the Silmarillion by Tolkien. It is music to the mind.
JAMIE: You are married, raised eight children, and have grandchildren. Your interests and hobbies are diverse. How do you make time for writing? How do you organize yourself and still handle family responsibilities?
Oops, I’ve given the wrong information somewhere! I have raised four children and have six grandchildren and one great grandchild. It was Minnie who raised nine children and four of her grandchildren.
I cannot pretend to be organized. I am definitely not! My house is never spotless and my dishes are never quite done. When you look through my windows you see through a glass, darkly.
The only thing I can see looking back over my writing life is the absolute necessity to express myself. My autobiography, With Heart Divided, goes into darker reasons for my need to touch the world, but I’ve never been able to ‘not write’, or carve, or paint, or sing. Only once did I go through that desert called writer’s block.
At the age of 48 I made a devastating discovery about the childhood I did not remember. I was writing a short story, with myself as the principal character, for a class I was taking in creative writing. As my six-year-old-self walked up to the door of what should have been a familiar family home, she stepped into utter darkness. I could not describe the house; I could not tell you who lived there.
From that time on for seven years I did not sit at the typewriter except to answer business correspondence. The words simply stopped. During part of that period I went through counseling. But the need to create cannot be contained even within sorrow, and somehow I got into carving. I learned that whatever I could draw I could carve, and for the next few years I created carousel horses – from 2 ½ inches to 4’ and 5’. While I was knee-deep in sawdust, the words came back. Poetry about the carousel, some of which I’ve submitted here, came from my love of the wood and the lyrical lines that flowed from walnut, cherry, and poplar. Most of the dozen or so poems from that time were published in The Carousel News and Trader.
Eventually, I began writing more prose than poetry. A novel that had been simmering ever since I’d written a Christmas cantata twenty years before became Rachel’s Daughters and a fairy tale of 1,500 words evolved into a series of five sci fi and fantasy books, soon to be six, titled The Windfallow Chronicles.
During this time we lost our youngest child, Mac, to colon cancer. Age 35, he left a sweet wife and two small sons. The sorrow brought the poetry back and became a release valve for much of the sorrow.
JAMIE: You've been involved in our JP Poetry Community for a few months now. How's it going for you? What are the benefits to you?
I love the site! Even though I’m still not really familiar with how, when, and where to post! (As you can tell by my frequent letters!) I like the interaction between poets and have been inspired to write more. My weekly news columns give me the necessity for writing but JP has given me an impetus for doing so. And when I use material from those columns here, I find myself ‘sprucing them up’ a bit. I would like to find another site or two on which to publish, but I’m pretty busy right now just keeping up with JP.
I am selfishly using JP to promote my just published book, Splinters of Light.
JAMIE: This is off subject, but I think our readers will be interested in what you have to say: Congratulations on your recent wedding anniversary. How long have you been married and what is your secret for marital stability and success?
DONNA: I honestly cannot tell you why our marriage survived so long (55 years and counting), except we were married in the time when you were expected to marry for life and escape was not an option. I tell people I was raised by St. Bobbie (Mother) and married to St. John (hubby) and that ain’t easy!
But John has been the stable element in our marriage. Disabled by transversemyelitis at the age of 38, he stayed in the farming until 1996 when he turned it over to Mac and retired on disability. He has become one of the best-loved and respected men in the community. We call him Hizzoner because he is the township trustee and the undeclared mayor of our little tavern, Carbondale. You can see how hard it would be to live with perfection!
We had our rough times and some very hard financial times, but those things either make you stronger or make you give up. We didn’t give up. If I could say one thing to young people who are just beginning their life journeys it would be this: When rough times come and you think it would be so much easier to give up, find someone new, or walk away from it, I can say from experience that life after trouble is better. The sorrow may linger, the effects may still be seen, but you will be a wiser and more compassionate person for staying the course. And love does get better with age! Lovers become friends and that is almost better than the honeymoon!
Links to site not already embeded in this piece:
Thank you, Donna, for sharing so much and in such an authentic way. Blessings…
JAMIE: How long have you been involved with Jingle Poetry (JP) and what advantages does your involvement provide?
LEO: Being involved with JP has given my writing a boost for sure. Potluck entries when read gives exposure to lot of poetry, formaic or otherwise. And only when I read more do I feel inspired to write more.
JAMIE What are your responsibilities with JP?
LEO: My responsibility in JP is to do blog reviews and provide suggestions I feel can help the blogger improve. I alternate each week with SiS or, if he's not there, back-to-back as well.
JAMIE: What advice do you have for those new to the community?
LEO: JP is a community that unites poets, especially with Potluck on Monday. Use it to read more poetry. Reading more will help to get better at writing too. Most of all, enjoy what you do.
Thank, Leo, for your time here and for all the fine work you do for us. Blog on …
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
INDIAN RUMINATIONS, A Journal of Indian English Writers, is accepting submission for consideration. Theirs is an online journal. Information on policies and procedures for submission is HERE.
The editors say: “We are all instinctively bilingual, many of us writing in our own language and in English. We cannot write like the English. We should not. We cannot write only as Indians. We have grown to look at the large world as part of us. Our method of expression therefore has to be a dialect which will some day prove to be as distinctive and colourful as the Irish or the American. Time alone will justify it…” -Raja Rao
Thanks to Reena for the alert on World Environment Day and the introduction to Indian Ruminations.
PROMPT SITE ANNOUNCEMENT
POETS CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS
June 3, Cheryl Joi, Journey Through a Writer's Life
June 18, A Poem A Day at Adkwriter15…
June 22, Bing, Pink Lady
June 21st, Nanka
June 23rd, The Lonely Recluse
June 26, Wordwand wordwand
June 27 , Lu Ann
JP is on Face book. Link to us HERE.
Link to Jingle Poetry on Twitter HERE.
PLEASE JOIN IN
JINGLE POETRY POTLUCK, WEEK 38
STARTS TONIGHT AT 8 P.M. CENTRAL
EVERYONE IS INVITED…
INLINKZ WILL STAY OPEN FOR 72 HOURS.