Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Friday Five2

“Five” is more of a guideline, really.

Because I believe in reaching beyond limits and breaking all manner of ceilings, I’m not going to limit my links this week to five. I believe we can all benefit from going beyond our limits today (and also tomorrow…and for the next four years…). Going beyond our limits and doing and being more is something it would be good for us all to learn to practice.

Things I saved from the Internet this week:

  1. Happy birthday to Michelle Obama on Tuesday. BookBub lists five books she has mentioned loving, because reading and knowledge are power. And I love people who read to kids. This year, I want to follow her example. Reading to children is the only thing I miss from working daycare.
  2. Off the Shelf compiled a similar list of what has been on Barack Obama’s bookshelf.
  3. Ann Patchett wrote a touching goodbye tribute to the Obamas.
  4. My friend Bola has created a character that I can’t wait to see on the screen. A black mermaid? Yes, please. Follow The Water Phoenix on Facebook.
  5. I am not your Teachable Moment – from Everyday Feminism.
  6. Dallas is getting a new independent bookstore – Interabang Books, coming in May!
  7. Another reason to get a piano – studying/playing music is linked to increased civic engagement, improved reading comprehension, and better math skills. While I am firmly in the camp that believes that defending the study of music because it’s good for other things is “like defending kissing because it gives you stronger lip muscles for eating soup neatly,” I also recognize that it is good for other things. And we may need it to be good for other things…
  8. …because Betsy DeVos. Tell your senators no. Here are some ways.

And my favorite thing I’ve read this week – it’s long, but so worth it. To Obama, With Love, and Hate, and Desperation.

Edited to add – my friend Jamie Wright Bagley has a poetry e-course that is up on her website. It’s free, but it’s only available for a limited time. You want to do it!


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Happy new year, everyone! I will post my resolutions and goals early next week, but the planning phases began months ago. Here are some sites I’ve saved to help me out.

  1. I’m obsessed with poetry these days, and I write better in general when I read and write poetry, so I’m going to do more of both those things this year. I love this post from Interesting Literature listing 10 Winter Poems.
  2. I want to submit writing for publication more often. If you’re an essayist, consider submitting an essay about learning from nature here. Deadline is February 1.
  3. Getting up earlier (on days when I have to be somewhere in the morning – not everyday. Let’s be reasonable) is something I desperately want to be good at. When I accidentally do it, the day goes so much better. Here is a little motivation on that front. I want to be insanely healthy!
  4. I love anything that makes cleaning easier and less time-consuming. This list actually has tips I’d never heard of before.
  5. And finally, this article from NPR addresses a problem that has wormed its way into my writing in the last few years. Pandering slows me down and makes my writing weaker. More on this next week.

Welcome to 2016!

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Advent Poem

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As is the way of Advent, I’ve done some slowing down.

I’ve finished the semester and have helped with room checks; today is actually my last day at work for two and a half weeks!

I’ve finished the introductory revision course with Joan Dempsey. If you have a manuscript that you need to revise, and you don’t know where to start, she is the person to help you. Her next course  – Revise with Confidence – starts on January 26, 2016, and $99 is a steal of a price.

Now I’m soaking in Beth Morey’s Poetry Is course (which you can still sign up for!). I like it because you work at your own pace. That’s good, since I signed up three weeks ago and haven’t even finished Week 1. But Week 1 is found poetry, so I might be dragging my heels a little, because I love it.

The picture above was my first poem that I art-journaled for the course.

How could it be?

To know without kiss of spoil

To receive you whole among us.

That pretty much sums up Advent to me. Wonder, expecting, knowing, receiving.

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[I always feel weird saying I’m writing “haiku,” because while I can totally do the 5-7-5 thing, there’s a nuance to it that I miss because I don’t know Japanese. Part of me wants to learn Japanese just so I can write proper haiku. Maybe that will be my goal for my 50th year.]

My Facebook page has informed me that the “113 people who like Suzanne Terry, Writer, haven’t heard from you in a few days.” It’s just been 5 days, Facebook.  Calm down.

The problem this week has not been writer’s block. I don’t often have that problem. I can produce some words. The problem is producing words that anyone else would want to read. So this is one of those weeks where I have oodles of content but nothing ready to share. It’s like all the words are locked away for safekeeping.

Writer’s lock, I guess.

But here’s what I can do. I can unlock a few words and give you my week in haiku(ish) form.

Monday, a liar

Easy lulled tranquility

Leaving unprepared

 Tuesday, a charmer

Books, wine, and friends – piece of cake

Sunshine in my hair

Wednesday, a chaos

Spinning, dancing, speaking, rush

Untimely dew spritz

Thursday, a fresh breeze

Calm madness of life and work

Friends gift friends coffee

Friday, a welcome

Whatever comes, light follows

Into shadow night

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I am from Barbies and toy tractors.

From cute shoes and impossible standards,

From hard work and making things grow.

I am from a writing desk with lion pulls on its drawers, 

From roaring before I knew what roaring was for.

I am from a name that means lily but is not Lily,

From surprises just under the surface.

I am from macrame owls and cross-stitched ornaments,

From a people who create.

I am little black dresses and big black boots,

From pretty with pearls

And not taking any mess.

I am seasons and liturgy and praying the hours.

I am also feet washing and laying on hands and re-dedication.

I am all the places I’ve ever been 

But also none of them.

(I took wild liberties with this template to piece this poem together)

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This week has been a cornucopia of madness, so today’s post is accomplishing several goals.

  1. Last week’s assignment from Story 101 was to write something out of your comfort zone. I chose form poetry, because my poetry doesn’t generally like to follow the rules. My sonnet is giving me fits.  So hello, haiku.
  2. One of my goals made with the online writing group with Andilit was to post two blog posts this week.  This makes two.  Done!
  3. And I am linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday, hosted this week by Crystal Stine.  Join us and add your two cents (or rather, five minutes). The prompt is “belong.”

And go:

You belong with me

Like cats curled together warm

Even in summer

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Sky plummets to earth

Horizon fights off the wind

Somehow they belong


A sea of people

Often I wonder – will I

Ever belong here?


Clouds burst; rain comes; lush

I breathe in the rooted ground,

Belonging to it.


And because I just can’t help myself…

Whirr, boil, brew, inhale

My heart belongs to coffee.

Bearable morning

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Sarah Laughed

“I will make you a great nation.  Sarah will bear you a son!”

The Visitor always did like to make an entrance.

None of the standards –

No, “How have you been?”

Or, “Friend, that was a long journey!”

Only a big announcement would do.

She heard while she was minding the supper dishes.

And Sarah laughed.


The Visitor was perplexed.

“Why is Sarah laughing? What – does she think I can’t?!”

Abraham, sweet man, tried

To act like it was nothing

To deflect the sound coming from the other room

“Probably just thinking about something funny that happened today.”

She stood in the kitchen, listening to men make plans,

And Sarah laughed.


Wouldn’t this have made more sense, Sarah wondered,

To have told me this Himself?

Abraham’s a good husband,

But there’s only so much even a good husband can do to bring a child.

I guess I should be flattered, she thought.

They’re throwing me a surprise party.

In my womb.

And Sarah laughed.


She remembered elusive promises and hopes stirred.

How long had the story been told?

Around tables and fires, shrouded in wonder and awe.

Descendants outnumbering the sand.

It need only start with one.

But the one was nowhere to be found.

She had been told of His perfect timing,

So Sarah laughed.


She remembered elusive sleep and garments rent.

How many tears had she shed?

Surrounded by a sea of children, but always on the other side of the door.

Skinned knee unbandaged, wedding unattended, grandchildren unheld.

Age showing her what it was capable of

As the bleeding stopped, and the book closed.

She had already cried,

So Sarah laughed.


Is this how promises are fulfilled?

To wait until all hope, desire, and ability are gone?

To finally bring her what she always wanted

But only after it was too late for her to enjoy it fully?

Just to make Himself look more special than everyone already knew He was.

Maybe what she wanted to do was punch Him

But she couldn’t

So Sarah laughed.

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