Springing with gratitude


It happens this way …

Wednesday night’s reading at the Ledding Library Pond House was a poet’s dream. Tom Hogan and Emmett Wheatfall are warm, welcoming hosts who work hard with their committee and the City of Milwaukie to bring poets into their charming space and make them feel like Pulitzer Prize winners.

And then there is the audience. Some poetry lovers are there at every reading; others arrive to support a poet/friend. Whatever the reason, they fill the space with support, acceptance, and love.

That was my experience on Wednesday as I launched A Penchant for Masquerades. Since I had never read most of the poems I selected for this program, I had no idea how they would be received. From the moment I started, I knew whatever I read would be all right with the standing-room-only folks who smiled at me with encouragement. One thing I learned years ago as a business trainer  was to focus on someone in the audience who seems open and engaged. No matter where I looked on Wednesday night, there was a “someone” beaming at me. You know who you are — and I am so grateful.

If you couldn’t make it to the Pond House, I’m reading at the Thurman Library on April Fool’s Day.

Then on April 3, 10, and 17, I’m leading a series of free poetry workshops at the Happy Valley Library. Seating is limited, so call the library today to register.

Thank you, dear readers and friends, again and again and again.


Slowing down for poetry

It happens this way …

When Christi Suzanne, a writing colleague from my days with VoiceCatcher, invited me to do an author’s interview for her blog, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I’m Martin Finallaunching A Penchant for Masquerades on Wednesday, March 13, at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Milwaukie Poetry Series at the Pond House , and this interview offered me the opportunity to slow down and think about what and how I’ve been writing.

Perhaps my greatest discovery in answering Christi’s questions was the fact that I no longer feel any pressure to produce. If Penchant is my last book, so be it. If the last published poem was truly the last, it’s all right. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing, but I can do it for the sheer joy of the experience. Of course, the next book has already been started; of course, I’m still sending new poems out to journals. But, the energy behind both activities is un-pressured and relaxed. What a gift to myself!

Here’s the link to Christi’s blog and the interview: Another Writer Writing a Blog.

Thanks to you, Christi, for the opportunity to remember what’s important.




Spring is sneaking in …

It happens this way …


This week Spring

smuggled passels

of squills and crocuses

into our yard.

Which means

it’s clear-out time

for weeds and moss

and all those broken twigs

sticking to the bottom

of the pond.


But a poem is chasing

me around the house –

its inconvenient voice

fending off practicalities,

demanding attention

for nothing more

than ornament.


When has a sonnet

pruned a fir?

A quatrain

thatched a lawn?

And free verse?

Not sharp enough

to root out

rotten stumps

or relocate a bush.


Today I’ll negotiate

how deep

I’ll have to dig

to find words

to cultivate.

Poems aggravate

that way.