February 2017

Traveling Poet's​​ Online Magazine

$25 Via Paypal yearly 

Traveling Poet's​​ Online Magazine

[email protected]
Carthage TX 75633
Theresa Owens, Publisher

Tina Gibbs, Editor

~~ Welcome ~~

4 More Reasons Poetry Appreciation Can Save the Planet
By Joe Sottile 

1. If all leaders of the world were both politician and poet, there would be less wars and more harmony. The most stirring line President John F. Kennedy ever said was "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." That's a historic line of poetry. What about the end of the Gettysburg's Address: "... this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." That sounds like poetry to me.

Then there's the "Declaration of Independence": "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Politicians frequently stir us with their words because they know the power of words, and sometimes they capture our heartstrings with prose poetry.

Critically regarded Romantic poet, Percy Byshe Shelley, said that "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world." Does that sound like a quantum leap in reasoning? Consider what Emily Dickinson, Allen Ginsberg, and John F. Kennedy said about poetry.

Emily Dickinson: "When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.
Allen Greenberg: "Poetry comes nearer to the truth than history."
John F. Kennedy: "Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does."

What this planet needs are leaders that are both leader and poet. If we did, peace and good will might bloom throughout the land.

2. Many poets celebrate our planet by writing about the wonders of nature. William Wordsworth is a good example. Here's the first verse of "Daffodils":

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Other poets like Mary Oliver, Robert Haas, and Gary Synder frequently celebrate nature. Why? Hal Borland might have the answer: "You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet." John Muir wasn't suspicious of trees. He was perhaps the first tree-hugger. That's how much he loved trees. The following quote is almost a prose poem about the magic of trees:

"I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!"

3. Nonetheless, one doesn't have to be a tree-hugger or a poet to celebrate nature by designing homes and buildings that fit perfectly in its surroundings. Frank Lloyd Wright said, "I believe in God, only I spell it Nature." In the same manner, I believe in God, only I spell it p-o-e-t-r-y.
Poetry appreciation encourages us to live life more fully. Astrid Alauda, author and psychologist, says: "Happiness is sharing a bowl of cherries and a book of poetry with a shade tree. He doesn't eat much and doesn't read much, but listens well and is a most gracious host." And if that tree could talk it would echo the words of Carl Sandburg and say, "Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes."

If we love poetry, we carry in our heads favorite nursery rhymes, poems and lyrics that go wherever we go. When in traffic, instead of reaching for our cell phone (and breaking the law), we can recite or bellow out some of our favorite poems. Some poems even give us courage in dark moments. For this, I dial William Ernest Henley's: I-N-V-I-C-T-U-S, and I remind myself that "I am the master of my fate:/ I am the captain of my soul."

What sometimes takes a significant amount of courage is to squarely face our demons and confront them in writing. Once the demon is analyzed and written about it becomes less haunting and painful. It's like taking a computer virus and deleting it forever from your hard drive. Once again your heart and head can function more fluently-and you can live life more fully. And then you can work harder to save planet Earth.

4. But what exactly can non-famous people do to save the planet? Write odes to energy saving devices, and emulate the good people who buy electric cars; upgrade their water heaters; take short showers (or even better, bathe in a tub; use a programmable thermostat at home; drive their cars at reasonable speeds; carpool; ride their bike to work whenever possible; use front-load washing machines; put their refrigerators in a cool spot; create compost piles; recycle cans, bottles, and newspapers; plant trees on Earth Day, and hug trees in their spare time. These are the people who are truly active in Saving Planet Earth. We should follow in their green footsteps, and hold ourselves to a higher standard of living. Why? So that planet Earth can live on, and on.

J. Patrick Lewis said that "Poetry is the tunnel at the end of the light." Joe Sottile believes, if our lives were interfaced with poetry on a daily basis, we would live more rewarding lives. Joe is a poet and performer. Joe has written two poetry books for children: Picture Poetry on Parade!
http://booklocker.com/books/1552.html , and Waiting to See the Principal and Other Poems http://booklocker.com/books/3197.html

Don't Throw Away That Poem!: Tips For Successful Poem Scrapbooking
By Kristin Johnson 

"Roses are red
Violets are green
I'm really sorry I hit my brother
But he was being mean."

Kids not only say the darndest things, they write them, too.

Whether this poetry springs out of creative writing exercises in the schools, or in HEARTSONGS, HOPE THROUGH HEARTSONGS and JOURNEY THROUGH HEARTSONGS 13-year-old now-deceased-but-never-forgotten writer Mattie J.T. Stepanek's case, out of special circumstances, degenerative muscular dystrophy, that bring forth a remarkable gift, the rhymes can easily be lost through time, moving, throwing away of school papers, or just simply forgotten.

While our children's poetry may not become best-selling books and CDs (Stepanek teamed up with young country star Billy Gilman to produce a CD), those sweet or questioning verses of childhood and angry, angsty teenage songs bring pleasure, joy and comfort. They are as much a part of history as official family records. How many of us wish we had saved our poems form clutter, neglect, forgetfulness, or the (we hope) well-intentioned suggestions of parents that "You just aren't a poet"---or even a parent throwing away our written longings? You can bet Mattie Stepanek's mom would never throw away his first poems!

Whether we have the gift to become a poet or not, whether or not our children are Emily Dickinsons, those scribblings and typings are part of our life, our thoughts, our feelings. They are gifts in themselves, and loving children everywhere have the creativity to give them as presents. Mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, are moved beyond words when they receive a card on construction paper, or even computer-created by a junior Bill Gates or Charles Schulz. That card may contain a poem about "The Greatest Dad in the World." Do you want to throw it away and keep all the store-bought greetings you take for granted? It may even move your spouse to wrestle with love poems, and you want to save those too.

The answer is scrapbooking. Poetry on paper is perfect for preserving in the pages of scrapbooks. You may want to create a scrapbook for family poems and created cards, or several scrapbooks if you have more than one poet in the family. You can organize the family scrapbooks by writer, poem subject (Dad, mom, the family dog or cat) or by occasions: birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, graduations, new homes, weddings, births, and so forth. Or you can include poems in scrapbooks you've created to record these occasions, scrapbooks that contain decorations, invitations, announcements, pressed flowers, and so forth.
Some tips for successful poem preserving:

* While it's tempting to include the yellowing paper your son wrote his first poem on, consider recopying it on pretty paper and include it. You can include the original paper if you wish, but do so beside the typed or handwritten version.
Do the same if a poem has smudges or spills.
* If you haven't dated a poem by your child, look at the writing and compare it to different ages. Always list your child's age.
* Always date family poems, either on paper or by making a note on a printed label or in handwriting.
* If you can't guess when a family poem was written, look at the occasion. If it was your 50th birthday or a particular wedding anniversary, you know the date (unless your memory is like a man's!)
* When you've started scrapbooking family poems, always choose heavy paper for future poems, or paper that holds up well.
* If the poem goes with a photo, include the original even if the image of the photo is on the paper the poem is printed on. Or include a photo from the event or a photo of the family member the poem is about for an illustrated poem!
* Consider typing up a page that includes sample quotes from family poems, a kind of "Best Of the Jones Family" list.
* Finally, if anyone in your family doesn't mind hearing their recorded voice, record a CD or cassette of the poems and include it with the scrapbook.

You may never get your poems read nationwide, but you and your family will treasure the memories they bring. So start writing, and happy scrapbooking!

Kristin Johnson composes personalized poems, speeches, toasts, vows, and family memories. Visit [http://www.poemsforyou.com] to order your personalize memories. She is also co-author of the Midwest Book Review "enthusiastically recommended" pick Christmas Cookies Are For Giving: Stories, Recipes and Tips for Making Heartwarming Gifts (ISBN: 0-9723473-9-9). A downloadablemedia kit is available at our Web site, [http://www.christmascookiesareforgiving.com], or e-mail the publisher ([email protected]) to receive a printed media kit and sample copy of the book. More articles available at [http://www.bakingchristmascookies.com]

Why Write Poetry 1?
By James Sale

There are two plus one primary reasons to write poetry, which is not to say three; all numbers may or may not be equal, but reasons certainly are not. There are good reasons, and less good ones for all sorts of things. I am excited myself by good reasons to write poetry, and groan when I encounter the wrong reason.

To deal with the negative first: the bad reason for writing poetry, which is really a reason to not write it, is the ego. Poetry written from and by the ego, pure and simple. This is bad because the ego cannot write poetry, and when it does it subverts it, and puts in place an ersatz product which deceives, much like a medicine or a food which actually in the long term poisons.

The ego wants to write because it perceives that poetry is status-laden and a way to the prizes that it seeks; one crucial prize being immortality - the idea that life is short but art is long, and so there is some perpetuation of its own existence through the glory of words. Quite apart from that, the immediate credibility that being a poet bestows on anyone so recognised is well worth the ego's investment of time and trouble - and self-deception. Poets are creators, makers, prophets, visionaries, men and women ahead of their time; those with a deep insight into the nature of reality, philosophers, and those who are wise and emotionally perceptive. And so we could go on - and even in the West, this still holds true.

Poetry from the ego can be difficult to spot because of its variety, but there are three major classifications. First, there is pure doggere
l: rhymed couplets of a banal variety written by someone who has never read more than six poems yet thinks they can write poetry because 'poetry rhymes'. The ego is demonstrated in the first place in their thinking they can write at all without any knowledge or study of any kind. Their work never improves - Mcgonagall -like they continue to pour out volumes of the stuff on any occasion.

The second type does study and know poetry but is limited to versification; this can be highly skilled, very entertaining and enjoyable in itself. But it is not actually pure poetry because of its source: the ego. The ego likes constructing clever words, just as one might like doing a crossword puzzle. Occasionally, this can astonish, but it is not poetry because it does not come from poetry's source - the Muse, the inner psyche, where order is not ordered because a deeper order is at play. And we realise it is not true poetry because we do not 'feel' it - it cannot stab itself into our being and become part of who we are; for the Muse arrests the reader as well as the poet.

Third, and arguably most dangerous of all, is the type of poetry that really does get mistaken for real poetry. It's faddish - it latches on to movements and cultural groundswells - and so always appear relevant and of the moment and contemporary. Currently, it's 'post-modern', post-feminist, post-name-your-ism. Often its populated by professors of literature and academics who specialise in jargon and self-reflexivity; and merely writing unstructured, self-reflexive, sardonic, obscurely allusive doodlings is enough to show one is a poet. But all these creations are non-creations, which nobody much reads now, and will not read fifty or a hundred years hence. But the delusion is strong, and so are the cultural imperatives that feed it - behind such ugly poetry (lines, actually) is a negative and cynical philosophy of life, for the ego likes nothing better than to be superior.

But to turn from this, what are the two positive reasons for writing poetry? My next article will examine the power of poetry to heal.

If you would like to find out more about what motivates you, go to:


James Sale is Europe's premier expert on motivation. If you would like to book him as a speaker, contact:

- James Sale: +44 (0) 1202 513043
- Visit James on LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/jamesmotivationsale
- Or email me - [email protected]

How Poetry Matters
By Tex Norman 

To understand how and why poetry matters so much consider this poem by William Stafford:

Traveling through the Dark
By William Stafford

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.
By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car 5
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.
My fingers touching her side brought me the reason-
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting, 10
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.
The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red; 15
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.
I thought hard for us all-my only swerving-,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.
In poetry the subtle meaning of words matter.

Consider the title of this poem Traveling through the Dark. Notice in the poem that what the speaker of the poem is doing is driving. The word Traveling and Driving may have similar meanings, but their differences in meaning are more glaring than similar. Driving is just moving in a car. Traveling implies a journey. Life is not a drive, life is a journey. By using the word Traveling instead of the word Driving the poet has hinted to us that this poem is about more than just something that happened on the way home.

Now look at lines 1 and 2. The poet ends line 1 with the word deer and begins line 2 with the word dead. But that is not the natural way to say it. Normally what we would say is dead deer not deer dead. By putting the words on different lines you get a petite surprise. Your eye sees the word deer, and then the eyes have to move to the beginning of line 2 where we are slightly surprised by the word dead. This is just like it is with such situations. You are driving on a dark road and you are just a little bit shocked by the sight of a large animal dead in the road. The placement of the words, and the reversals of normal word order has communicated a little surprise.

Look at line 6 where the speaker tells us that he gets out of the car and stands by: heap, a doe, a recent killing. By putting commas between the words it forces the eye and the mind to slow down. This guy sees the situation in stages. First all he sees is a heap. Then he notices it is a female deer. Finally he sees that this doe has only recently been killed. Usually, when we encounter death we do so in stages. The gruesome details take place in stages.

Now notice line 11. The speaker of the poem knows that the doe is pregnant, and inside its body the fawn continues to live. The speaker says that this fawn is: alive, still, never to be born. He doesn't say simply that the fawn is still alive. He takes that word still and isolates it between commas, and by doing so, he sends us three messages:

The fawn is still because it is not moving.
The fawn is still-alive.
The fawn is still-born.

In line 13 the speaker says that the car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights. The word aimed is often associated with a weapon. In this case the car is a weapon. It was a car that killed the doe.
In line 17 the speaker says I thought hard for us all-my only swerving. The word swerve was used earlier in the poem (line 4) to swerve might make more dead. At the beginning of the poem not swerving caused the death of the deer, but it also saved the driver from perhaps going over the edge into an icy river in an attempt to avoid hitting the deer. Now at the end of the poem, swerving causes yet one more death, the death of the fawn. We are left contemplating the issues of life and death. We consider the fact that for life to continue it very often depends on death of something else. It may not be pleasant to cause the death of another living thing, but at times the lives saved are worth the death of something else. Everyone may not agree. The matter is debatable. The poem brings significance and context to that debate.

Interpreting a Poem
By Catherina Dunphy 

Poetry can be daunting. So many times you can be sitting there with a poem in front of you that you've read 20 times, and yet somehow it still doesn't make any sense. The frustration and then distress of this situation is about a thousand times worse if you happen to be sitting in an exam room at the time. And the exam is focussed around that dodgy piece of poetry in front of you!

Some poems are notoriously difficult to interpret. Others however, can reveal their true meaning relatively easily, if you know where to look. Sometimes the fear and panic of interpreting a poem correctly can lead to instant blindness to the true poem meaning. This is commonly known as Poetry Anxiety!

Poetry Anxiety has been described as being, 'caused by the bad teaching of poetry in the formative years, and common misunderstandings about what poetry is, and its function in our lives.' The rationale for this term is that we are culturally conditioned to be suspicious of things that have multiple layers of meaning and ambivalent interpretations. This by default leads to anxiety that is provoked through being confronted with a work of art or piece of writing that does not have a clear meaning or what we cannot simply be 'right' or 'wrong' about.

Poetry Anxiety can be cured or at least reduced however!! Below are a few hints and tips on how to find a stress-free way to enjoying and interpreting poetry.

1. Remember that practice makes perfect. Poetry does take time to get used to. So the more you read it, the more comfortable you'll begin to feel with the language, and thus the easier it will be for you to focus on interpretation.

2. It will take effort. Reading poetry should be an enjoyable way to pass your time yes, but it doesn't work if you aren't prepared to invest just a little bit of concentration. So when you start to read poetry, ensure that you are sitting somewhere quiet and comfortable, and that chances of distraction are minimised.

3. Remember that poetry interpretation is just that - interpretation. You may find that your view of the poem and your understanding of the poem's meaning differs to that of other people. That's OK. As long as you know why you have interpreted the poem in a particular way, you are entitled to your own opinion.

4. Unless you're in a silent exam room, don't be afraid of reading the poem aloud. Reading the poem aloud gives you the chance to focus on the rhythm and sound of the poem - you don't need to focus on interpretation right away. Get to grips with how the poem sounds and how it makes you feel when you read and hear it first, then start to think about why you feel this way. And then finally concentrate on what you think the poem means.

5. Images are frequently used within poems and by focusing on the images put forward, you stand a greater chance of being able to understand the poem in its entirety.

6. Similarly, poems often use metaphors, symbols and simile to convey meaning. Whilst at first this can make the interpretation of the poem seem even trickier than before, actually understanding these symbols can be the key to interpreting the entire poem. Winged creatures for example are often used in poems to symbolise a longing for freedom or escape.

7. Seek out patterns. Whilst a poem may initially seem to be a random collection of words and images, there is often a theme that runs through a poem, and if this can be cracked, so can the overall poem meaning.

Do you need help with editing or proofreading your poetry? Then use the professional editorial services from Words Worth Reading Ltd