124th Virtual Poetry Circle

Today’s Poem is from Beyond the Scent of Sorrow by Sweta Srivastava Vikram (page 8):

Skeletons of Women

My feet were ticklish
from the acorns sneaking
inside the pockets of large rocks,
scratching them like a dog's belly,
that's what I thought at first.

But I was wrong.
Woodpeckers conspiring with moths,
mimicking chained cries
of stripped branches dying their own death,
were asking me to put a period, not a comma, in my steps.

Too late, the fire moaned.
With feet sinking like a widow's hopes,
I stepped on a cask of ashes
only to find skeletons of women with no fingernails.
Hunger ate them.

Welcome to the 124th Virtual Poetry Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Also, sign up for the 2011 Fearless Poetry Reading Challenge because its simple; you only need to read 1 book of poetry. Please contribute to the growing list of 2011 Indie Lit Award Poetry Suggestions (please nominate 2011 Poetry), visit the stops on the National Poetry Month Blog Tour from April.

So what do you think?

Guest Post: Victor Volkman Talks About Small Presses in the Modern Era

We’re almost midway through the month, and today’s guest post is from Loving Healing Press Inc.‘s Victor Volkman.  The press has been in operations since 2003, and is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The press also has a number of imprints, one of which — Modern History Press — published two volumes of Sweta Vikram‘s poetry, which I’ve reviewed and whom I’ve interviewed on the blog (click the links to read the reviews or interview).

I hope you enjoy today’s guest post from Victor.

Small Presses in the Modern Era: Loving Healing Press Inc.

My name is Victor R. Volkman and I am the president of Loving Healing Press Inc., which encompasses self-help and personal growth books as well as additional imprints like Modern History Press, which focuses on stories about the struggle for identity in contemporary times. Today I would like to address the question: “Why continue to struggle against mass market producers?”

That is a very good question and one which is germane to the reason why I founded LHP and its imprints. Specifically, there are important healing methods to expose and important stories to tell that are ignored by mainstream media. Specifically, there is only so much you can do with a website and if you want to engage someone in a meaningful discourse as opposed to topical news, opinion, or gossip, the longer format of the book is still the best way to go. In this guest post, I’ll highlight some specific books and why we continue to fight against the tide.

LHP addresses some very difficult topics that are rarely heard in the mainstream media, except with the perception that they are “terrible and nothing can be done about it”. This all started in 2003 with my first book at LHP, Beyond Trauma: Conversations on Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR), which highlights a brief therapy that can bring tremendous relief to sufferers of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) regardless of its source: combat, motor vehicle accident, domestic violence, rape, and so on. Best of all, it can be learned and applied effectively in a matter of a few weeks training. This is something the world needs now more than ever!

Getting further into trauma, we have a series of books about sexual abuse recovery from just such a survivor Margie McKinnon who has gone on to found a worldwide network of peer-support groups called “The Lamplighters.” Margie has written books for us which highlight a specific, seven-stage program called R.E.P.A.I.R. in different editions for adult survivors, children and adolescents, and even toddlers. Again, Margie’s vision of hope and recovery runs counter to the culture’s manifestation of victims being “scarred for life” with little chance of normal relationships.

Switching gears to our Modern History Press, we focus on books from people who have no access to ordinary media and are telling stories that you aren’t going to hear on the nightly news. For example, Issam Jameel’s Iraq Through a Bullet Hole: A Civilian Wikileaks is a highly documented factual account of his attempt to return to Iraq to resume a normal life after years of exile and the sheer chaos and mayhem of the new normal in Iraq. Shaila Abdullah’s Saffron Dreams (click for Savvy Verse & Wit review) tells the fictional story of a Muslim-American woman in the aftermath of 9/11 trying to make a new life while grieving her husband who as lost in the destruction of the World Trade Center itself. There’s a story you won’t find anywhere else! MHP’s “World Voices” series is focusing on English-speaking writers from around the world, including Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. MHP includes not only biography but also fiction and poetry as well. We’re anticipating the launch of new chapbooks by South African poet Nick Purdon and African-American poet Regina Jemison this spring.

Returning to the question, why struggle against mass-market producers? Because there is a whole world of stories out there to tell and with it the possibility of change for the better. Finally, with the mass-market acceptance of the eBook platform’s we’re seeing the last barriers fall between us and the conglomerates because the eBook has created a level playing field where no one may claim the “home court advantage!”

Thanks, Victor, for providing your thoughts on small presses in the modern era for the Indie & Small Press Celebration!

About Victor Volkman:

Victor Volkman is a Senior Software Engineer at UGS in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He writes for CodeGuru.com other print/online publications. Former part-time instructor at Washtenaw Community College, now serving on CIS Faculty Advisory Board.

He’s also webmaster for the Traumatic Incident Reduction Association (TIR.ORG) and the editor of Beyond Trauma: Conversations on Traumatic Incident Reduction and several other books on TIR.  And is a features editor for TIR Association quarterly newsletter.

He’s the owner of Loving Healing Press.  Check out this interview with Victor.