Eastern Pennsylvania’s Pollen Extravangaza

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The past few weeks have been challenging. It’s nothing life-threatening. Just a lot of changes and stuff all crammed into a small amount of time. The rest of the summer looks like more of the same. Because my head was near the esploding point this morning from stress, I went for a longer than normal weekday hike (1.5 hours instead of 30 minutes). I worried a bit about the pollen: everything is coated in yellow goop and I breathed that stuff in as I hiked. Happily, I survived without an asthma attack. I also managed to get a good workout (I hike very fast, and most of it was uphill over rocks) and see a few birds I’d often heard, but never set eyes on before. Here’s my list for today:

Ovenbird (holy moly, so LOUD)
Brown Thrasher (sweet, sweet song)
Indigo bunting
Eastern wood pewee
Rose breasted grosbeak (female)
Scarlet tanager (female)
Pileated woodpecker
Robin (of course!)
Catbird
Red-bellied woodpecker
Northern Cardinal

I’m happy now. I have no idea what the purple flower is called. I don’t know what the one below is called, either, but they’re gorgeous, aren’t they? These are iPhone pics and I had to crouch over and avoid the poison ivy to get the shot. If I wake up itchy and cranky tomorrow, we will all know why.

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Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY is three months old

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It’s been an interesting three months. Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY is my recreation of Autumn Sky Poetry, a journal I published from 2006-2011. I missed reading poetry every day, and disliked the poems I found to read. My request for submissions brought me more poems than I’d ever hoped I would receive. Even more delightful is the quality of poems that have landed in my inbox. I am amazed at your work, dear poets. Thank you for sharing your words with me. I hope to keep publishing for a long time to come, but of course, that will depend on what I get.

So far, I haven’t found myself growing weary of reading. The accepting poems daily via publishing model seems to be working. I’m also pleased I don’t have to send out rejection letters. I read all the poems I receive. I am sad for those poets whose poems I don’t accept because I know what that feels like. I also recognize that what I publish may be only as good as what I like to read, and other readers may like different things.

As I’ve stated so many times in my past Editor’s Notes on Autumn Sky Poetry: Reading poetry is a pleasure for which too few of us have the time to spare. My aim, as editor, is to make poetry as accessible as possible: simple pages, simple formatting, exquisite poetry. I’m still trying to hold true to that. When I falter, I’ll take a break, but that time has not yet come.

 

National Poetry Writing Month begins tomorrow #NaPoWriMo

Poem

This little poem
is very, very bad.
It doesn’t rhyme right—
how sad.
It has no feet,
nor iambic stress.
I think it’s freaking out
in a little blue dress.
It makes no sense
and has no style.
Maybe I should put it away
for awhile.

****

I’m freaking out a little (or maybe a lot).

I’ll be posting at my forum: Autumn Sky Poetry Forum. You’re welcome to join us. Register, and send me a message via Facebook or email so I know to approve your membership request.

NaPoWriMo began here: http://www.napowrimo.net

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April.

This website is owned and operated by Maureen Thorson, a poet living in Washington, DC. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month), she started writing a poem a day for the month of April back in 2003, posting the poems on her blog. When other people started writing poems for April, and posting them on their own blogs, Maureen linked to them. After a few years, so many people were doing NaPoWriMo that Maureen decided to launch an independent website for the project.

Let the insanity begin!

#Reviews for Dark Matter #comingsoon #excerpts #poems

Orion

forthcoming autumn 2015 – Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books

 

From the author:

This particular collection was written over the past seven years. All the poems are based on images from the Astronomy Picture of the Day website: APOD.

 

An earlier version of Dark Matter won the following prizes: 

2009 Ellen La Forge Poetry Prize (formerly the Grolier Prize) for poems: “Star explodes halfway across universe,” “Saturn’s moon may have hidden seas,” “Smallest black hole found,” “How to search for aliens,” “Mysterious white rock fingers on Mars,” and “Three galaxies and a comet.”

2009 semi-finalist in the Philip Levine Prize in Poetry.

2009 semi-finalist in the University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series, Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prizes.

2009 semi-finalist for the Sawtooth Poetry Prize, Ahsahta Press, Boise State University.

2010 semi-finalist for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award Competition.

 

Reviews:

These beautifully meditative poems explore while fusing the worlds of astronomy and of human relationships. In Chrissie’s deft hands, each world seems both to explain and deepen the mystery of the other, leaving the reader with a vivid sense of the grandeur of each. In these poems, black holes, nebulae, stellar winds and the march of constellations somehow feel like the natural partners of parenting and relationship difficulties, of the joys and upheavals of daily human life. In clear, confident language, the poems condense into wise emotional insights that make this collection as much a map for modern living as they make it an astronomy lesson of astonishing breadth and variety. Bravo!

~Nic Sebastian, author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark and Like A Web, both published under the poetry nanopress model with partner editors. She is co-founder and curator of The Poetry Storehouse.

****

The perspective of Christine Klocek-Lim’s Dark Matter is that of a star-gazer on Earth, a parent with a rich inner life, looking up, “where nothing important / happens quickly.” These poems reveal a rare intimacy with the sky, an affinity for the stuff of space, planets, stars, even chaos and collapse. Each lyric is as much a love song to oblivion as it is a portrait of life now. “We dream / and drive and delay talking / about love as though tragedy / is manageable: / the tidy moons of our psyche / orbiting.” Through these stark and bravely bright poems, one feels the gravity of Earth at odds with something else, something inside us or among. By probing the metaphors of unfathomable space and time, Klocek-Lim pushes against that more familiar tug—until life on the ground feels changed.

~Billy Merrell, author of Talking in the Dark.

****

Christine Klocek-Lim’s stunning Dark Matter reminds that poetry is an agent of transcendence and percipience. She casts her clear-eyed gaze and wonderment skyward and returns to us earthy, elegiac and astonishing poems of luminous lyricism. The dazzling and accomplished poems in Dark Matter honor how “Our ancestors/
were always trying to make sense/
of the unseen” and celebrate how “Sometimes we still collide/ with each other, staring heavenward/ until the stars blind us.” You’ll return to these poems again and again and each time you’ll emerge newly awed.

~Patty Paine author of Grief & Other Animals, and editor of diode.

 

Excerpt:

Despina, moon of Neptune

She said she’d rather sing alone
than perform for some random guy,
but then Voyager 2 flew by,
eyes trained on her curved form
like a desperate man (the kind
whose lady walked away forever).
He just didn’t know when to look aside.
She said she tried to hide, quiet her light
against her father’s blue sky, but the lens
found her four times. She gave up
silence for fame, gave up space
and time, until the sun finally fell
down across the steely horizon.
Her father Neptune didn’t seem to care
and that was what hurt her most.
The galaxy beyond everything she knew
was so much less infinite than she’d hoped.
The camera took what he wanted
and left. Despina endured the scrutiny
of a thousand careless eyes—

In the end, she would only wear white,
the color of purity, and not even the dark
could get her to sing anymore.

-first appeared in WMNR’s The Night Café, October 2014

 

Violent collision of stellar winds detected

You talk through the chronic sadness
of late Sunday, ignoring the sunlight
that slants over the new daffodils.
Tomorrow you will be gone to work
and I will be cleaning, both of us indifferent
to the violent collision of stellar winds
they say is happening right now,
the glow brighter than four million suns
together. Strange how invisible accidents
affect things: as we speak, the static
conversation of the big bang murmurs
in the background, though we can’t
hear it. And tonight, we’ll look up
to stars that are no longer there.
Twenty-one years ago we held
hands at twilight and spoke
of trivialities, keeping our voices
hushed in the darkness.
Now the conversation fades,
but the energy from Eta Carinae
is still apparent in the way our shoulders
touch, not precisely kissing, but colliding
nonetheless.

-first published in Astropoetica, Vol. 9.2, Summer 2011

 

Supernova remnant Cassiopeia A

One night the angels came
for her, rustling their wings
in the starlight. She was sleeping.
They grasped her arms and ankles,
lifting her away as though
she weighed nothing at all.
The next morning her feet ached
and her daughter gave her comfort.
That night again they took her,
carrying her past the atmosphere.
She told them she wanted to see
Cassiopeia and they brought
her to the mountains of creation,
dipping her hands and toes in the dust.
She woke dreaming of beauty
but could not walk. Her shoulders
ached and for the first time
she feared. Again in the darkness
the angels found her, hiding
in the bathroom, holding her arms
around her heart. They sang
and she fell asleep. This time
she remembered nothing but
could not smile. In the morning
she found feathers in the bed.
When night came she lay awake
in the dark, pinching her skin,
imagining grief as they gathered
around her. She did not speak
as they pulled her close, pressing
their fingers against her eyes,
brushing their lips to her hair.
She wept and did not look back.
The angels laughed, pretending
happiness, but she felt how they
trembled, holding her too tightly
for hours. That morning she discarded
fear to explain love to her daughter
but by nightfall she knew the angels
had gone and she braided her hair
with sorrow. And when she died
she dreamed of angels crying
in the explosion, scattering
their light in the infinite dark.

-first published in Diode v3n2

 

The great rift on Saturn’s moon Tethys

Every rock looks the same. A bit gray,
some cracks and craters. Pick it up
and your hand goes stiff with dust
as though everything is disintegrating.
Tethys is dying as we speak, shedding ash
into space, the long rift of the Ithaca Chasma
watching from the pocked surface. Yesterday
I refused to dream because too many years
had passed since my grandmother walked
into the darkest valley. I could not recall her face.
Space is like that. You think the rocks will last
forever, but really, all the stars and moons are broken.
Are breaking. At birth, the crust of Tethys cooled
and the landscape seized up and wrenched apart.
Or maybe bombardment formed Odysseus,
the crater in Tethys’ Great Basin, and the rift.
We’ll never know. She died and the vast black
of space fell down. Ten years later and I’m still
contemplating sorrow, fingering rocks I’ve gathered
and kept like tombstones, like the dust that rings Saturn.
I’m hoping for a halo like that, some sign of light.
I’m hoping that someday at journey’s end I’ll come home
and find the valley of the dead waiting in the backyard,
filled with dust and bits of ancient, cherished stars.

-first published in Lucid Rhythms, Issue 2, 2009

#FirstCrocus #poem #spring

Yesterday:

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Today:

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First Crocus

This morning, flowers cracked open
the earth’s brown shell. Spring
leaves spilled everywhere
though winter’s stern hand
could come down again at any moment
to break the delicate yolk
of a new bloom.

The crocus don’t see this as they chatter
beneath a cheerful petal of spring sky.
They ignore the air’s brisk arm
as they peer at their fresh stems, step
on the leftover fragments
of old leaves.

When the night wind twists them to pieces,
they will die like this: laughing,
tossing their brilliant heads
in the bitter air.

by Christine Klocek-Lim, first published on About.com.

Happy first day of spring.

Q & A about #editing on Tuesday!

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I’m heading to Wegmans this coming Tuesday, March 10 for a fun Q&A session about editing and writing, courtesy of the Lehigh Valley WriMos. Come join us at 5000 Wegmans Dr, Bethlehem, PA 18017, from 6-8pm. Should be interesting. Ask me anything! ‪#‎editing‬ ‪#‎writing‬

We’ll be talking about submissions, editing, and writing.

1. How many different flavors of editor am I?

2. What are my biggest pet peeves when I receive a submission?

3. Is plot important?

4. Why publish poetry when no one reads it anymore?

5. Why do I hate prologues?

6. Why is knowing your audience important?

7. How do you know if a small publisher is legit?

8. Why shouldn’t you design your own book cover?

9. How much money do authors really make?

10. What is head hopping?

11. Are social media and self promotion important?