Monday, February 28, 2011

ON THE LAST DAY OF FEBRUARY - WE'RE STILL HONORING HELEN LOSSE AS POET OF THE MONTH


It's been a pleasure to share seven poems by North Carolina poet Helen Losse in this her birth month. Thanks to all who commented. As promised, I did save two of the best for last here on the last day of the month.  
















Negating Natural Erasers by Helen Losse

I walk the rocky road after midnight,
moon overhead, feel dew descend,
land on dusty weeds at the road’s
edge.  The soft wind will strive to
negate my walk, blow my scent away.  
I will write my name in dark sand
near the ocean, hum a tune that can’t be
heard over breakers.  They will
wash away all evidence that I walked
here.  Can I prove them wrong—
from now on—by writing love songs
(first published in Independent Tribune)

Point of Departure  by Helen Losse
There’s an echo against the cliff
below the castle where the sand is
wet with tears, seaweed
a faded shade of brown.  A tide-driven froth
coats my bare white feet.
Beachcombers in lingering shadows 
rummage through fragments. The only light
is an orange moon.
The tide is green.
. . . Listen, listen.
All dreamers hear sounds, whispered by shells.
Some hear the Atlantic as she softly moans.
While the story travels, up, riding the flotsam
and sea foam, and slowly unfolds,
the trees near the ocean’s edge hint
at what happened.
Yes, they only hint.
But oh!  Oh, at the point of departure,
how the spirits speak!  Sounds like
horrible groans.  Sounds.
Like the rattle of chains.  Sounds.
Listen.  Listen hard.  For the voice of the echo
is joined to the cliff by salty tears:
The tears who married that dark, dark sand.
The bones of kings,
who last saw Ghana as they
sailed away, crossing the vast and silver water—
then probed by small, mean fish—
are preserved now by salt and have settled,
several fathoms deep on the ocean floor,
where the whole world is as black as it was
in the hold of the slaver’s ship.
first published in Independence Boulevard and later in my book in Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009)  available from the author or Amazon.com  

If you want to read more, remember Helen Losse's new poetry collection is forcoming from Main Street Rag.  Also, if you want to buy a copy of Better With Friends, click below.


http://www.amazon.com/Better-Friends-Helen-Losse/dp/1599481952/ref=dp_return_1?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books
Helen Losse is a Winston-Salem poet, author of four collections of poems, including Seriously Dangerous (Main Street Rag, 2011) and Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009) and the Poetry Editor for the online literary magazine The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Her recent poetry publications and acceptances include The Wild Goose Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Review, Blue Fifth Review, The Pedestal Magazine, ken*again, and Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and twice for a Best of the Net award, one of which was a finalist.  Helen blogs at Windows Toward the World http://helenl.wordpress.com/ 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

THREE POEMS BY HELEN LOSSE - POET OF THE MONTH February 2011



Here Above the Frost Line, we are celebrating the poetry of Helen Losse as POET OF THE MONTH in this her birth month.  Your comments are welcome.


























A Duplex For Wrens  by Helen Losse
When I wanted a birdhouse,
Daddy built one.  We hung it
from a branch of the maple tree.
A rusted hanger keeps it there,
though it rocks when the wind
blows.  And a dusting of snow
on its lavendered roof glistens—
coldly—in the light of
a haloed moon.   No one occupies
the duplex for wrens.  Despite our
hospitality, they always winter
further south.  The leaves
turn yellow and off they fly,
while fickle birds leave apartments
in disarray.  The remnants
of an abandoned nest jutting
through the northernmost door.
A well-crafted perch—
once painted green—
has faded and fallen to the ground,
landing with the common sticks,
hiding under frost-tipped leaves.
first published in Tacenda and later in my chapbook Paper Snowflakes (Southern Hum Press, 2006, OOP)
Railroad Flowers
by Helen Losse
The plants growing by the railway bank are
five feet in height, prolific in bloom.
A late-afternoon shower freshens each blossom.
The blue sky darkens at dusk, when the sun is
swallowed by the earth, far, far away.  A ’bo hops
a boxcar, springing up from the ballast beneath two
shiny rails.  The Great Evening-Primrose   
perfumes the air, entices a pollinating moth.  
The earth’s silver moon kisses yellow flowers.
Under such softness, the railroad flowers open fully:
An act performed nightly from June to September.
But by morning, the blossoms have closed in their rest,
and lovers of a different persuasion,
who perused the night with radios and listened for
the whistle of a train, greet the dawn with its
waving engineers and have their cameras ready.
first published in Southern Hum and my chapbook Paper Snowflakes (Southern Hum Press, 2006, OOP)
History Lesson by Helen Losse
After the rain
has fallen into the graveyard, I
hear the hidden wings of an owl
in the lonely, country grove.
Fallen leaves—
wet, brown, & curled—    
lie on the hallowed ground
or sit on the tombstones nearby.
Jittery shadows blow—moving
darkly—in the cooling evening
breeze, beneath the indelible slit
of a late October moon.
The once-trapped raindrops are
descending from moving branches
in silver-bullet cascades,
refurbishing foot-shaped puddles—
carelessly left—
next to a freshly opened grave.
And under heavy brush and behind
a picket fence, the loosed water
pounds a black, ’30s sedan in
a  fertile setting for resplendent legend—
concerning Bonnie & Clyde—complete
with an accent of goldenrod, of rust. 
first published in Spillway Review and later in my Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009) available from the author or Amazon.com  
Helen Losse is a Winston-Salem poet, author of four collections of poems, including Seriously Dangerous (Main Street Rag, 2011) andBetter With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009) and the Poetry Editor for the online literary magazine The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Her recent poetry publications and acceptances include The Wild Goose Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Review, Blue Fifth Review, The Pedestal Magazine, ken*again, and Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and twice for a Best of the Net award, one of which was a finalist. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

FULL SNOW MOON - MY FAVORITE MOON POEMS

Poet Kathryn Stripling Byer




















My all time favorite moon poem was written by  Kathryn Stripling Byer. 
Full Moon
Full moon says I am
over the pinebreak, says give me
your empty glass, pour
all you want, drink, look
out through your windows of ice,
through the eyes of your needles
observe how I climb, lay aside
what you weave on your looms

and see clouds fall away
like cold silk from your shoulders,
be quiet, hear the owl coming back
to the hayloft, shake loose
your long braids and rise up
from your beds, open
windows and curtains, let light
pour like water upon your heads,
all of you women who wait, raise
the shades, throw the shutters
wide, lean from your window ledge
into the great night that beckons
you, smile back at me
and so quietly nobody can hear you
but you, whisper, "Here am I."
Click below to download a recording of Kathryn Byer reading "Full Moon"
from BLACK SHAWL., LSU Press
"Full Moon" [mp3, 870kb] to hear Kathryn Stripling Byer read it.

My second most favorite moon poem is  also written by Kathryn Stripling Byer
"Empty Glass" from WILDWOOD FLOWER, LSU Press
"Empty Glass" [mp3, 527kb] To hear Kathryn Stripling Byer read it.
In EMPTY GLASS she writes of the dark night, dark moon,
reminding us that the moon is up there, even if we cannot see it.

FULL MOON OF FEBRUARY 2011 AND THE QUESTION ABOUT POETS AND THE MOON





















(Moon over the Mountains by Lynn Hamilton Rutherford)


MOON REACHES FULLNESS  on February 18, 2011.  
According to The Farmer’s Almanac, this is The Full Snow Moon. Full Snow Moon is the most popular name, however,  because of the challenge and difficulty of hunting in winter, the Algonquin tribe chose the name Full Hunger Moon.  The Cherokee named February’s moon Full Bony Moon.
THE QUESTION  - POETS AND THE MOON
A question I have often asked is, do poets pay more attention to the moon than others do?  So far, there has not been much discussion on the topic, but I do think second to scientists. Almost all practicing poets have a moon poem. The poet of the month of February on this site Helen Lass has or will have seven poems reprinted here before the end of the month. All seven poems have a reference to moon. I hope you will read them. I’m fascinated with Mary Oliver’s moon poems.  I also like Christina’s Rosetti’s moon poem.(below)
Is the moon tired? she looks so pale
Within her misty veil:
She scales the sky from east to west,
And takes no rest.
Before the coming of the night
The moon shows papery white;
Before the dawning of the day
She fades away.
From Sing-Song by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Poet Maya Angelou



Dr. Maya Angelou, the acclaimed poet and writer was presented America's highest civilian award by President Obama today, February 15, 2011.









Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world, spreading her legendary wisdom. Within the rhythm of her poetry and elegance of her prose lies Angelou's unique power to help readers of every orientation span the lines of race and Angelou captivates audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of her words and lyrics.


http://mayaangelou.com/

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

HELEN LOSSE POET OF THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 2011

WELCOME to poet Helen Losse of Winston Salem, NC, POET OF THE MONTH here Above the Frost Line in this her birth month.

















Deep Purple Shadow


The sun sets behind black trees;
a soft wind cools the air;
the moon’s but a sliver: 
An orange reminder of what’s yet to come.
Fire tonight,
and the Blue Ridge Mountains
cast a deep purple shadow. 
Over a peak, a single star.
Animal sounds appear to surround,
while the moon disappears
into a navy blue sky.
So let us proceed to gather ample wood.
first published in Right Hand Pointing and forthcoming in my book Seriously Dangerous (Main Street Rag, 2011) available for advance order at a reduced price at Main Street Rag Bookstore
Wintertime Prayer
The evening begins with the darkening of trees,
and I enter the sweetest of solitudes.
Where the sun gives us color, setting in the west—
pink and orange, purple and navy: precursors all,
to the purposeful blackening of the sky, which,
nightly in December, forms a simple backdrop.
Yes, pageantry inhabits a cloud-filtered moonlight:
A few lonely stars.  Then the fullness of shadows is
come, is frozen into a landscape, into genuine hope—
where snowflakes fall on the evergreens, on footprints,
are lost in the darkness of deepening snow,
and where inside, the glow of a candle-flame comforts me.
first published in The Centrifugal Eye, and also in my chapbook Paper Snowflakes (Southern Hum Press, 2006, OOP)

POET HELEN LOSSE





Helen Losse is a Winston-Salem poet, author of four collections of poems, including Seriously Dangerous (Main Street Rag, 2011) and Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009) and the Poetry Editor for the online literary magazine The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Her recent poetry publications and acceptances include The Wild Goose Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Review, Blue Fifth Review, The Pedestal Magazine, ken*again, and Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and twice for a Best of the Net award, one of which was a finalist.  Helen blogs at Windows Toward the Worldhttp://helenl.wordpress.com/

Leave a comment. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE New and Selected Poems by Nancy Simpson has been nominated...


LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE New and Selected Poems by Nancy Simpson  has been nominated  for a 2010 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Poetry Award.


LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE New and Selected Poems by Nancy Simpson  has been nominated  for The Weatherford Poetry Award 2010.



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FREE COPY OF 2011 POET'S MARKET GOES TO JANE ELLEN GAGE

Dear Joan Ellen Gage,

You're the one! You made the most comments on  LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE during the month of January 2011. Thank you. You win THE POET'S MARKET.

Poetry sustains me. Reading poetry, writing poetry and teaching  is my life. I'm not sure anyone can imagine how much I appreciate getting comments. It is like a conversation with other writers.

Having a focus on POETRY is a daily challenge. Recently a book store owner in a nearby town told me she would not and could not sell my book, not even if she got them at half price,  because no one will buy poetry. What the book store owner said, that no one will buy a book of poetry, startled me. and made me sad.  I was immobile for days. I'm happy I do not live in that town. I would be ashamed to live in a town where it is open knowledge that not one person values poetry.

My purpose for LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE is to celebrate poetry on a regular basis and to give support to practicing poets. I aim to feature a poet of the month, usually in his or her birth month. I've promoted the poetry of many Southern and Appalachian poets: Kathryn Stripling Byer, Clarence Newton, Bettie M. Sellers, Janie Townley Moore, John Stone, Glenda Barrett, Glenda Beall, Maren O. Mitchell, Brenda Kay Ledford, and others.  For the new year, I wanted to give the perfect gift to a poet, to give one poet maybe the gift they had dreamed of receiving for Christmas but did not get - THE POET'S MARKET. Thank you, Joan. You will receive the new, up to date 2011 copy. I hope it will help you to decide where to submit your poems. I have a copy and I use it.

You are not alone in reading my blog.  Although I'd like to get more comments, to help me know which way to go, I must say I can not be happier with the number of readers. Readers amaze me. 19,077 total visits. 36,603 pages read. The last 100 visitors, I do not know by name, but whomever they are, they are from:
Fayette, Alabama
Tallahassee, Florida
Pullman, Washington
Dublin, Ireland
Mountain View, California
Gray, Maine
Charlotte, NC
Rosenberg, Oregon
Louisville, Kentucky
Waconia, Minnesota
Blairsville, Georgia
Suresnese. lle-de-France
New York
Dalonega, Georgia
Nashville, Tennessee
Dew Delhi, Delhi
Farmington, Minnesota
Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Sarasota, Florida
Statesboro, Georgia
Winter Park, Florida
Franklin, North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Houston, Texas
Sterling, Illinois
Hamden, Connecticut
Bloomington, Indiana
Orlando, Florida
Safety Harbor, Florida
Schenectady, New York
Langnau, Bern, Switzerland
Elmhurst, Illinois
Hephzibah, Georgia
Seattle, Washington
Front Royal, Virginia  
Saudi Arabia
LosAngeles, California
Thomasville, Georgia
Canada
Cleveland, Ohio
LaGrange, Georgia
Pearland, Texas
Taipei, Tai-Pei
Gainsville, Georgia

January 19th and 20th were days with the most visitors. 72 readers were looking for info on the 2011 Full Wolf Moon, 16 were looking for our poetry site in general, 5 were looking for info on Physican Poet John Stone, 4 were looking for the Full Wolf Moon 2010 post, 3 were looking for the poem by US Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin that was read recently at the memorial service in Tucson. There are quite a few searches for weather in the southern Appalachian mountains. Throughout the month there were a number of readers reading poems by Poet of the Month  for January 2011,  Jeannette Cananis-Brewin.

Few Readers are  from my own region.  I thought there would be more. I hope for more in the future. Thanks again, Joan. I am happy to say, "You are the winner."