#PoetryMonth – This is the End…

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This is the end…or is it? Is that just me quoting one of my favorite poets in the music industry, Jim Morrison? Well, both, I think. It is the end. It is the end of April and with that National Poetry Month.

But what does this mean? Do we go back to our regularly scheduled lives and read fiction until April comes around again? Do we forget about all the poetry surrounding us in our every day lives? I hope not.

I had a few hopes for the outcome of this year’s Poetry Month celebration. One hope was that I’d be able to have at least one post for each of the 30 days in April. Another, to build off that, was for more people to come to the blog and discover some new poetry. And ultimately, I hope those who stopped by will keep discovering poetry, reading poetry, and stepping out of their comfort zone if they’re still not sure about letting poetry in to their lives.

Were my hopes realized? Well, today’s post is number 30. I need to thank all my guests for that accomplishment. I wouldn’t have been able to come up with enough content to fill 30 days without all of you. I also have to acknowledge that my daily view count has gone up. This month I’m averaging about 20 views a day. Ok, all you seasoned bloggers out there, I know that’s barely a blip on the “great stats” radar. But this is what blogging seems to have come to. At least on A Life Among the Pages. These are great numbers for me in the last year. The only thing lacking, still, is interaction. There’s been only a handful of comments for all 30 posts. I get some interaction through RTs in Twitter and sharing on Facebook. I’d just like to make sure my readers are enjoying what they read. So maybe consider interacting in the future? I know I’m kind of bad at it myself. Let’s all improve.

As for people reading more poetry and discovering poets, etc. I do think this has happened. Even I discovered new poets this month. Some are poets featured on the blog. Some I found in other places. This is something I’ll keep doing. It’s a thrill to discover new writers.

On a more personal level, I think I’ve finally figured out that I can, and should continue, read an entire poetry collection in a short period of time. It used to take me months because I’d skip around collections finding gems here and there. Doing that, I wouldn’t finish nor appreciate collections as much. I’m glad that’s changed.

So, what now? The month is over. What shall we do now? I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to read some of the collections I’ve borrowed from the library. Read more that I have on hold. And I’m going to keep reading poetry until I can’t any longer. I’m really enjoying this reading mood I’m in, even if it means I’ve barely read novels this year.

Before I leave you to go on your merry way, I have a question. Maybe a few. Did you enjoy Poetry Month? Would you like to see it again in 2017? If so, please let me know if there’s anything I can do to improve upon it. Also, if there’s anything else you’d like to see on the blog in general, let me know. I hope you’ll continue coming to the blog, even if I’m not posting daily.

Thanks again to all the poets, readers, and everyone else who made this NPM a great month!

#PoetryMonth – #Review: Unfinished Ink, by Joanne Marlowe

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Line curvyFor those familiar with my reviews, reviewing poetry isn’t something I feel I’m great at. I read it. I enjoy it. After that comes the explanation of my reaction and I normally feel I don’t have adequate words to express how the poetry has touched me or the analytical words for the technical elements of a collection. But, since I do try every now and then, I’d like to attempt another review of a poetry collection.

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Title: Unfinished Ink
Author: Joanne Marlowe
Rating: 4/5 stars

“Unfinished Ink is a unique collection of poetry about love, lust, loneliness, liquor and letting go.  Ms. Marlowe highlights the ups and downs of love with flirty connotations and paints haunting portraits of desperate souls.  Beautiful and tragic, her words will take you on a powerful and emotional journey that will leave you thirsty for a lover and another glass of wine.” (Description from Goodreads)

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Joanne Marlowe’s collection Unfinished Ink, which you were introduced to earlier in the month, is just what the description says it is. To quote a few words, it’s beautiful, tragic, and emotional. All the other words in that description apply, as well, but most of all these words are key.

When reading this collection, you know that Marlowe isn’t holding back. All-out honesty and emotion is what I look for in poetry. Marlowe delivers. Whether the poems are word-for-word accounts of real-life events or embellished upon for the sake of the poem (neither is an issue, of course, and great poetry tends to blur the lines), Marlowe’s words ring true and would be hard for readers not to get drawn in by.

This collection was filled with many gems and will be worth a reread (and many more to follow) down the road a bit. If a poetry collection makes me want to do a reread to enhance the first reading’s experience, it’s a poetry collection I can get behind. Marlowe’s work will be on my shelf for years to come.

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If you’d like a copy of this collection, you can order it directly from the Marlowe’s site:

Order Book Here

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About the Author:

Joanne Marlowe was born on June 3rd, 1975 in Montreal, Quebec.  Joanne currently resides in Hamilton, Ontario where she is continuing to work on her writing, developing new screenplays and publishing poetry.  She strives to help promote local art and artists and encourages others to do so as well.

She is also the author of My Little Book of Randoms and self publishes her work under Strangegirl Publications.  Her style of writing is short and sweet and to the point, much like herself and her personality.  Her poetry can be playful at times but also tragic.  Powerfully raw and candid, her words will resonate with you.

Joanne is currently working on her third book of poetry and hopes that 2016 will lead to some big projects that include film and music.

Find out more:

#PoetryMonth – Featured Poet @hgracestewart

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It seems like we’re traveling to Canada a lot this month. Today is no different. You know about Natasha Head and Joanne Marlowe from earlier posts. Now you get to find out a little about Heather Grace Stewart and her poetry!

I’ve had Heather on the blog a few times in the past. Most notably, she was part of an event I had a few years back called Poetry Week. It was like Poetry Month, but in a more condensed form. If you click HERE you can find Heather’s post on print on demand poetry, and read a poem from her collection Carry On Dancing.

Along with that, I’d like to share a little about her collections with you all. And it doesn’t stop there. She also has fiction out, so be sure to give that a look.
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Where the Butterflies Go

Poems about life and death, modern family life, and hope

From the author of Carry On Dancing and Leap. Heather Grace Stewart is an author, poet, and photographer. Her poems have appeared in Canadian literary journals, international anthologies (Routes, Babylon Burning) e-zines, and the British small presses. Where the Butterflies Go is her first complete collection.

Purchase

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Leap

Modern Life, Family Life, and Leaps of Faith Along the Way Readers of Where the Butterflies Go will already be expecting accomplished, fresh and lively work from Heather Grace Stewart, but even they will be surprised by the strength of this new collection, this genuine Leap, so direct, political and feminine by turns that it can take your breath away. A must for new and already hooked fans. About the Author Heather Grace Stewart is an Ottawa-born author, poet, and photojournalist now living in Montreal. She is also the author of Where the Butterflies Go and Carry On Dancing.

Purchase

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Three Spaces

From the author of ‘Where the Butterflies Go’ & ‘Carry On Dancing’ comes a brave new collection of poetry, prose and photography. Three Spaces explores themes within our public space, our personal space, and cyberspace.

Purchase

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Heather Grace Stewart is a Canadian magazine writer, author and poet. Her first poem was published in her school newsletter when she was five, and she’s been hooked on writing ever since.

Born in Ottawa, she lives with her husband and daughter near Montreal.

In her free time, she loves to take photos, scrapbook, cartoon, inline skate, dance like nobody’s watching, and eat Swedish Berries — usually not at the same time.

Find more about Heather at:

#PoetryMonth – @wingsobutterfly’s Origin Story

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Susie Clevenger is back! Susie is back for her third Poetry Month post, and this time she gets a little more personal.

One of the things I often like hearing about is a poet’s origin story. How did they first come to poetry? What made them first try writing? What keeps them writing? Many stories share similar elements, especially for those starting out in our teenage years, but the details make each story unique.

Today, Susie continues on writing 30 poems in 30 days, all the while reflecting on what got her here and what keeps her going. Here’s her story.

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Twenty days into National Poetry Month’s 30 days of 30 poems and I am feeling a bit weary. Yet, it is a good weary. There are times I’ve had to peel words off my brain. Other times words have come without any effort. The curse of a poet I suppose.

Why am I a poet and when did the drive to write poetry begin? I began writing poetry when I was fifteen years old. My freshman English teacher, Mrs. Kilgore, introduced me to the works of Edgar Allan Poe. There was a darkness in his work that spoke to the darkness in me. His nightmare words began to unseal my own. I was harboring the secret of childhood sexual abuse. The clamped jaws of fear kept me from telling anyone. My own fledgling raven wings found freedom through words.

I spent most of my high school years writing poetry. Much of it was silly, young girl topics, love, self-confidence issues. It was the 60’s so social/political topics spilled into my work also. Peace just wasn’t a word or a hand sign for me. I needed it myself. The sexual abuse had ended. The war to overcome the trauma was raging.

There is so much of my story I could share. That will have to come at a later time. I just wanted to give a glimpse into my poetic roots. The depth, the importance it has in my life. Poetry is many things, an art form, social commentary, rhythm, rhyme, a vehicle for change, therapy. I have this hunger for expression. I am a poet of few words. In the scrabble that is my mind I connect the dots of thoughts quickly.  Putting it on my blog or in a book makes my ego vulnerable, but that’s fine. I’ve got tough skin.

To use my own words, “I’m hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath…I’m living in a poem.”

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Don’t forget about Clevenger’s latest collection, Insomnia’s Ink!

EBOOK: Amazon

PRINT: Createspace | Amazon

 You can also find more of her poetry in her first collection Dirt Road Dreams on

Amazon

Here’s how to easily access Edgar Allan Poe’s poetical works, as well.

Project Gutenberg

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About the Author:

Susie Clevenger is author of the poetry collections, Dirt Road Dreams and Insomnia’s Ink.  Her poetry has been featured in the online publications, The Creative Nexus, Poetry & Prose Magazine, Yellow Chair Review, The Global Twitter Community Poetry Project, and Journey of the Heart. Susie resides in Houston, Texas with her husband, Charlie.

Find out more:

#PoetryMonth – Unfinished Ink, by Joanne Marlowe

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What’s a great way to celebrate National Poetry Month? Easy, by reading more poetry! How do you read more poetry? By buying more poetry and supporting great poets in the process. It’s good to support poets (authors, and all artists) so we can keep putting out more work for you to read.

Today I’d like to share a collection that you may have seen on the blog last year when it came out. It’s by Joanne Marlowe, a fellow poet who’s so supportive of the arts. She deserves a bit more exposure, and I’m here to help do that. I hope you consider spreading the word about her collection, as well. If you’ve already read it, it’s not her only collection. Click that order link below and you’ll find other work by her!

Now, before I let you go off to read some more poetry, here’s a little bit about Marlowe’s collection Unfinished Ink. There may even be a poem or two down there to tease you.

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Unfinished Ink is a unique collection of poetry about love, lust, loneliness, liquor and letting go.  Ms. Marlowe highlights the ups and downs of love with flirty connotations and paints haunting portraits of desperate souls.  Beautiful and tragic, her words will take you on a powerful and emotional journey that will leave you thirsty for a lover and another glass of wine. 

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Windows

I had a dream last night
That I was on the other side of the world
And I saw the most beautiful sunset
I took a picture of it to send to you
But then I realized that I took this picture
Through a window
I also realized that you weren’t there with me
We should have shared this moment together
Outside
It made me sad
Then I thought
I shouldn’t be watching the world
Alone
And through a window
I should be outside
Breathing in the fresh air
And that I should be here
Seeing the world
Experiencing it
So I stayed there
Forever
But not alone
I turned around
And someone else was there
That person took my hand
And we went outside
We watched every sunset together
And I never looked through another window again

Copyright © 2015 by Joanne Marlowe and Strangegirl Publications

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Hipster

You over there, smoking your cigar
20 year olds don’t look cool smoking cigars
You’re trying too hard at something
It doesn’t work for you
I see you looking around to see
Whose watching you
You get the occasional look
But not in agreement
Too young to be a hipster
Too old to be cute
And spare us your story of
How you began your love affair
With cigars and Castro
And stop using the word “stoked”
I hate that word
It doesn’t go with your cigar anyway

Copyright © 2015 by Joanne Marlowe and Strangegirl Publications

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If you’d like a copy of this collection, you can order it directly from the Marlowe’s site:

Order Book Here

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About the Author:

Joanne Marlowe was born on June 3rd, 1975 in Montreal, Quebec.  Joanne currently resides in Hamilton, Ontario where she is continuing to work on her writing, developing new screenplays and publishing poetry.  She strives to help promote local art and artists and encourages others to do so as well.

She is also the author of My Little Book of Randoms and self publishes her work under Strangegirl Publications.  Her style of writing is short and sweet and to the point, much like herself and her personality.  Her poetry can be playful at times but also tragic.  Powerfully raw and candid, her words will resonate with you.

Joanne is currently working on her third book of poetry and hopes that 2016 will lead to some big projects that include film and music.

Find out more:

#PoetryMonth – Insomnia’s Ink, by @wingsobutterfly

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If you’ve been following along with the month’s posts, your poetry TBR might be a close to toppling over. Along with featuring fellow poets, I’ve done two Sunday Themed Recommendations (Indies and What I read in College). Today, I’m going to try adding at least one more book to that TBR pile. Maybe more than that 😉

I have Susie Clevenger back on the blog. You’ll remember her from day 2 when she let us know she’ll be attempting to write 30 poems this month. Don’t forget to follow along with her progress HERE. And you can find my 30-in-30 poems HERE (yea, you tried clicking that didn’t you? There’s nothing to click. I’m failing at the writing this month…but maybe I have something up my sleeve later on. We’ll see.)

Today we’ll learn a little bit about her latest collection of poems, Insomnia’s Ink. With that title alone, I’m sure the writers reading this can relate…and the readers can relate due to the long nights of not wanting to put down a book.

Without holding you up any longer, here’s Insomnia’s Ink!

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Insomnia, I believe I was born with it. My youngest memories are lying wide awake at night with my imagination running at full throttle. With my brain hotwired to function on little sleep I find midnight to 3:00 a.m. is when my muse decides to send poetry to pen.

Insomnia’s Ink is a sampling of the scattered thinking I live with. My brain is a lot like a remote control in my hand. It is constantly channel surfing what I’ve read, what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard, what I feel until it finds a place to stop long enough to focus and create. In this collection if I were to choose one word to describe the ink blots across the pages, it would be emotion.

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Insomnia's Ink

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Insomnia’s Ink is birthed from night hours of little sleep, caffeine,
and open eyed dreaming. Sit with Susie Clevenger beneath a forty
watt moon and explore the shadow and light of emotions that visit
her between midnight and the birdsong of morning.

If you’d like to get a copy of the book, you can find it on:

EBOOK: Amazon

PRINT: Createspace | Amazon

 You can also find more of her poetry in her first collection Dirt Road Dreams on

Amazon

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About the Author:

Susie Clevenger is author of the poetry collections, Dirt Road Dreams and Insomnia’s Ink.  Her poetry has been featured in the online publications, The Creative Nexus, Poetry & Prose Magazine, Yellow Chair Review, The Global Twitter Community Poetry Project, and Journey of the Heart. Susie resides in Houston, Texas with her husband, Charlie.

Find out more:

#PoetryMonth – Throwback #Review: Stop Pretending, by @SonyaSones

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Books of poetry aren’t always collections. They can come in other forms. One of my favorite forms of poetry in recent years is the verse novel. I’ve read a number of them and continue to discover them. To keep it simple, for those who haven’t heard me talk about them in the past, a verse novel is just what it sounds like: A novel written in verse. The same full arc of a novel is told, but instead of pages filled with words, sentences, ideas, etc (prose), the author uses the shorter, more exact form of poetry to tell the story.

Today, and maybe later in the month, I’d like to share a review of one of my favorite verse novels so far. I read this awhile back, but my opinions of it are still the same. It’s a book by Sonya Sones, called Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy. Sones have a number of other verse novels out, so be sure to take a look at all her work. I’ve read all but one so far and enjoyed them!

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Title: Stop PretendingStop Pretending
Author: Sonya Sones
Rating: 5/5 stars

“It happens just like that, in the blink of an eye. An older sister has a mental breakdown and has to be hospitalized. A younger sister is left behind to cope with a family torn apart by grief and friends who turn their backs on her. But worst of all is the loss of her big sister, her confidante, her best friend.

In the eloquent tradition of THE BELL JAR and I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN comes this haunting first book, inspired by the true story of the author’s life. It’s an intense and brutally honest story, told in a succession of powerful poems that take us back into the cyclone of the narrator’s emotions: grief, anger, guilt, resentment, horror, and ultimately, acceptance.” (description from Goodreads)

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Sonya Sones grew to be one of my (recent) favorite authors after I read What My Mother Doesn’t Know, and soon after, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know. I went out and bought all her books after I read those two. But what I didn’t expect is that Stop Pretending, Sones’ first book, is an even better book than those that came after it.

Sones’ free-verse novel, Stop Pretending, does two amazing things that I haven’t witnessed in other free-verse novels so far. A majority of this book’s poems can be read separately from the others. They stand alone as very powerful works of poetry and don’t need the support of the “larger story.” At the same time, they all mesh together into that “larger story” that is hard to step away from, even with it being an emotional read. It’s the combination of these two effects that makes Sones such a great novelist and poet, all in the same work.

Being that this is strongly influenced by the author’s life growing up, I feel that it helped her create the very real main character. The poems bring the reader deep into the mind of this teenager who doesn’t know how to deal with her sister’s hospitalization. This can only come from someone who’s dealt with similar issues in real life. It also allows a reader, and even society in general, to consider all sides of the situation. It’s not just the patient who needs therapy, or just someone to talk to in general. It’s all members of a family, no matter how much they try to hide it.

Sonya Sones’ first book is by far my favorite of hers so far. It’s no wonder her books have gotten the attention they have.

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You can grab a copy of this book from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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About the Author:

Sonya Sones is an American poet and author. She has written four young adult novels in verse, as well as a novel in verse for adults and a picture book.

You can find more about Sonya here: