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Red Stilts / Ted Kooser

RedStilts_Red Stilts finds Pulitzer Prize-winner and former U. S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser at the top of his imaginative and storytelling powers. Here are the richly metaphorical, imagistically masterful, clear and accessible poems for which he has become widely known. Kooser writes for an audience of everyday readers and believes poets “need to write poetry that doesn’t make people feel stupid.” Each poem in Red Stilts strives to reveal the complex beauties of the ordinary, of the world that’s right under our noses. Right under Kooser’s nose is rural America, most specifically the Great Plains, with its isolated villages, struggling economy, hard-working people and multiple beauties that surpass everything wrecked, wrong, or in error.

Mr. Kooser’s poems have graced the pages of 3rd Wednesday six times and two of those poems appear in Red Stilts. Here is “Ohio Bluetip” from our Winter 2019 Issue. In this poem Mr. Kooser demonstrates that much can be accomplished with a single sentence.

Unmapped Worlds / David Chorlton

Unmapped Worlds by  David Chorlton

Unmapped_WorldsThe Unmapped Worlds in this book extend from history to a way of life centered on European villages to the marginally surreal experience of our own times. The poems are previously uncollected ones enjoying their rediscovery. Whether through the visions of a medieval mystic or the routines that defined existence in a small town on the free world’s edge, David Chorlton reaches for what brought the mind to life in the course of living from day to day. The desert emerges as it appeared to early missionaries and conquerors in the Southwest and comes to bear multiple cultures today. Writing is a journey to the poet, and the work here follows some occasionally surprising side roads for Chorlton. 

Available from the author, $20.00 includes postage and packaging. Checks to David Chorlton. Send address to DavidChorlton@centurylink.net

Books and Videos / Mark J. Mitchell

Roshi_2Roshi San Francisco, cornered between sea and sky, is Mount Olympus. It is where he talks to the Gods. They are all here, along the geography of the town, hiding within the wind and fog, sliding down the hills and huddled up across the bridges. He is a master of his town, crossing the cobbles and the alleys, guiding acolytes between Edwardian bays and windowed walls. A Roshi is a master: Mitchell has mastered the city’s moods, its mountains, and its weather, its overlooked gems and foibles. “San Francisco itself is Art”, said William Saroyan. The year is 2020a nd like most metropolitan cities San Francisco is being reborn. Will the streets depicted hold their luster? Why don’t you come along for the ride, and find out! (Click the cover photo)

Link to Mark’s Youtube channel (He reads poems around San Francisco, with some tour guide information as well):


MarkMitchell

GreenAppleAll of Mark J. Mitchell’s books (fiction and Poetry) can be purchased through Green Apple Books in San Francisco (Let’s support independent booksellers!) https://www.greenapplebooks.com/

Spindrift / Laurence W. Thomas

SpindriftCoverSpindrift suggests stuff blown onto beaches, beaches of discovery in one’s mind. When these poems show a squirrel, a fish, birds, a beggar, an Irish pub, or a dish we see these as metaphors which conjure up ideas or feelings from our own familiarity with them. A poem that begins as an abstraction, like an enemy or peace or patience, becomes objectified. Spindrift is comprised of whatever little gems might be found along the shore, examined closely to become part of the reader’s experience. These jottings of spindrift take off from that experience like going to an airport when you want to be someplace else – or like poems which say one thing when they mean another.

Published by Atmosphere Press, 2021. 124 Pages, ISBN 163649532X
or purchase from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

aaLarryThomasLaurence W. Thomas is the founding editor of Third Wednesday Magazine. He has been around long enough to know the sting of rejection and the salve of acceptance. His shelves are lined with his own publications as well as the works of many other poets. He Chancelor Emertus of the Poetry Society of Michigan.

Art Work / Terry Allen

ArtWorkFrontArt Work
Publisher: Kelsay Books
Publication date: March 9, 2021
Available for Purchase: Amazon.com & Kelsay Books

These poems will surprise you. Their deep concerns are handled in ways that the reader can’t help but be reminded, if not stunned into revelations, concerning the human predicament.  Terry Allen’s Art Work opens with the poem Isadora, about one of the most famous avant-garde dancers of the 20th Century. We see in her life the rewards and dangers of opening up to the world, how we are liberated and yet die in the act of liberation, leaving the reader with the echo of her words, no matter the risk, “Don’t let them tame you.” Allen then takes us on a wild ride through history but never abandoning the historical moment to the past, but showing how it touches the present moment, as when he pays tribute to the florescence of ancient Greek playwriting, especially, the comedies of 2,500 years ago, but then the poem begins its closing with these lines: It’s like Bertolt Brecht/said…one shouldn’t fight/dictators one should/ridicule them, and how tragically that sentiment reflects the present day. Reader, these poems are all in the early pages of Art Work. You have so much more to look forward to. From a 1910 Vatican decree against Modernism to the speak-easy years between the two World Wars, to a delightful dialogue between father and son on the way to school as they challenge each other to name famous movie dogs, and expect to find Latin, Cicero, Harry Potter, and Trivial Pursuit banging up against each other in a single poem, all telling us that history never stops revealing itself to us. This book is a masterful achievement.
Walter Bargen, first Poet Laureate of Missouri and author of Pole Dancing in the Night Club of God

The poems in Art Work are both accessible and engaging. Terry Allen’s involvement in theater and his love of jazz shines through on many pages. This is a collection to read, savor, and read again.
– Karen Loeb, Eau Claire, Wisconsin Writer in Residence, 2018-2020, author of Jump Rope Queen & Other Stories

Terry Allen’s poems pull you in like an intriguing conversation and leave you with a jolt of surprise and smiling at their sly humor.
Rebecca Graves, librarian, poet, and author of The Racoon at the Bottom of the Stairs

terry_allenTerry Allen was born in Brisbane, Australia. He is emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he taught theatre arts. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and he is the author of the chapbook, Monsters in the Rain. He lives in Columbia, Missouri with his wife Nancy.

A Quick Exercise in Ekphrastic Poetry

Writing ekphrastic poetry is a great way to break out of slump (I never say writer’s block). Here is a technique that makes an ekphastic poem seem to write itself. To demonstrate we’ll use a poem that was originally published in The Ekphrastic Review. It was insprired by the famous photo of the same title as the poem.

The poem is written in three parts, each part it’s own stanza, though that is not any kind of rule. It’s just how I chose to work with this short poem. I think it’s brevity contributes to it’s impact.

The first stanza is a simple description of what’s seen in the photograph. It’s best to concentrate on just one or two details and extend them, perhaps through comparison using simile or metaphor.

In step two I have brought in sensory experiences beyond the visual. This animates the photograph, turns it into a living scene that includes movement and the senses of hearing and smell.

The final step is for the poet to enter the photograph and to interact with the visual elements. This is purely imaginative and the most engaging part of writing the poem. You can talk to people, touch or pick up objects, use tools, taste food etc.

There you have it, short and sweet; 1) Describe, 2) Animate, 3) Enter and interact.