National Poetry Month Winners….

Click for all the posts from the 2012 tour, including those from Savvy Verse & Wit

Even though National Poetry Month is over and the blog tour has ended, I’ve still got a couple poetry items to wrap up.

First, thanks to everyone who participated this year, and I hope to see you all again in 2013. I’d like to recruit more poets, academics, and poetry readers to provide guest posts to other tour stops and to offer up their own blog stops on the tour. So if you’re interested, feel free to email me at any time.

We had some great guest posts and reviews, and you can visit any of the posts or tour stops by clicking on the tour button.  All of the links have been added to the Mr. Linky.  If I missed a post from you, please feel free to add it.

Second, I want to congratulate the winners of the National Poetry Month Blog Tour giveaway.

Congrats to Liviania from In Bed With Books and Lilian of Circus Toybox

Congrats to Jill from Rhapsody in Books

Congrats to Lilian from Circus Toybox

Congrats to the five winners of the Trembling Pillow Press Journals: Elizabeth, Gerry, and Parrish Lantern.

Congrats to the nine winners of Real Courage by Michael Meyerhofer: Leslie from Under My Apple Tree, Anna from Diary of an Eccentric, Kathy of Bermudaonion, Diane, and Chris.

There are some winners I still have not received an address from, please send it along so I can mail out your prizes.

2011 Indie Lit Awards Short List

After all the prodding and poking my team and I did on Facebook, Twitter, and our blogs, the nominations for poetry rolled in with over 200 nominations coming in for a variety of poetry.

But there were some clear favorites in the voting, with one short listed nominee collecting more than 70 votes alone.

I want to take this moment to thank the judging panel — Diary of an Eccentric, Necromancy Never Pays, 1330V, and Regular Rumination — for all of their help.  And as you know, with the announcement of the short list, your jobs are not over.  It is now time to read and discuss the short listed titles below.

  • Beyond Scent of Sorrow by Sweta Vikram (Modern History Press)
  • Catalina by Laurie Soriano (Lummox Press)
  • What Looks Like an Elephant by Edward Nudelman (Lummox Press)
  • Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems by Ramos, Emma Eden (Heavy Hands Ink)
  • Sonics in Warholia by Megan Volpert (Sibling Rivalry Press)

Luckily, the individual presses of these books have kindly offered to send copies of the books to all the panelists.  I wish all of the poets luck.

Please visit the Indie Lit Awards Short List for the nominees in Fiction, Biography/Memoir, Nonfiction, Mystery, Speculative Fiction, and GLBTQ

Interview With Emma Eden Ramos

I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Emma Eden Ramos‘ first chapbook, Three Women:  A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems at the beginning of November.  Her collection creates three unique female voices who are connected.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Emma via email to learn a little more about her as a poet and her collection.

Without further ado, please welcome her.

1.  How would you introduce yourself to a crowded room eager to hang on your every word?  Are you just a poet, what else should people know about you?

I’m pretty shy and self-conscious in front of large groups of people, so I would probably begin with a short anecdote as a way to personally connect with the crowd. From there, I would go into my background.

I am a twenty-four-year-old student from New York City. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about seven-years-old. That year I wrote my first short story, a fable, which ended up in a collection of children’s stories called Witches Brew.

I became interested in poetry later when my mother gave me a collection of Emily Dickinson‘s poems in my freshman year of high school. That was a rough year and I remember finding a great deal of solace in Dickinson’s words. I wrote my first poem that year, a poem about the main character from Edith Wharton‘s novel Summer. My English teacher was very supportive and encouraged me to continue writing. I did, on and off, until 2009 when I decided to take my writing more seriously. I wrote a novelette entitled Where The Children Play that was published in the Spring of 2010. I’ve been writing continuously ever since.

2.  How did you create the three women in your chapbook, Three Women:  A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems?  Were they based upon people you know or yourself?

After I agreed to write a poetry chapbook, I grew nervous. though I have a deep love for poetry, I see myself as more of a fiction writer. Creating and developing characters is essential to my writing process. I need them as guides. With Three Women I was lucky because, though the editor of Heavy Hands Ink had never published a chapbook with a storyline and characters before, he was supportive of the idea.

When developing the three characters, I attached each woman to a certain female archetype from Greek Mythology. I saw Annette as a manifestation of Aphrodite. She is outwardly beautiful and has relied on her beauty throughout her life. However, after her son’s suicide, Annette’s physical “perfection” has become more of a handicap. The beauty she once treasured now fully masks Annette’s internal torment.

I saw Julia as Persephone. She is the daughter trapped in the Underworld, which in her case, is adolescence. However, Julia is also very much based on myself.

Milena is a warrior. I have met many women like her and am always floored by their resilience. As an archetype, I saw her as Athena. Milena possesses courage, intelligence, wisdom, and strength. She may be under Annette’s “professional” care, but she is not the one who is lacking in emotional resources.

3.  Do you see spoken word, performance, or written poetry as more powerful or powerful in different ways and why? Also, do you believe that writing can be an equalizer to help humanity become more tolerant or collaborative? Why or why not?

I love spoken word and performance poetry and am a fan of artists such as Ursula Rucker and Anne Waldman. There is a power, an electricity, that comes from experiencing a poem  performed. Initially, I think performance poetry is probably more powerful than written poetry because it is synesthetic. There is a hidden quality to the written word, however, that I think makes it more durable. When I read a poem, the words are locked in my consciousness in a very different way than when I hear a poem performed.

I do believe that writing can be an equalizer, a tool through which human beings can find a common ground. Writing is a form of communication. Thoughts and perhaps, more importantly, feelings are channeled and conveyed through writing. While individuals are different, as a collective we share feelings that are fundamental to the human condition. Writing–poetry, fiction, non-fiction–can and has been a medium through which those universal feelings are expressed.

4.  Poetry is often considered elitist or inaccessible by mainstream readers.  Do poets have an obligation to dispel that myth and how do you think it could be accomplished?

When I hear people say that they struggle with this or that poem, find it impenetrable, I often agree. I cannot count the number of occasions that I have finished reading a poem and thought, “Wow. Beautiful language. Beautiful imagery. If only I knew what the writer was talking about.” I don’t know why this is. I have heard poets argue that poetry is personal. It comes from an unconscious place and therefor can only be understood by the poet. I respect this answer and the artist’s desire for self-expression. However, as I said earlier, writing, poetry included, has the potential to be a tool for communication.

5.  Please share some of your favorite contemporary and classic poets and a favorite collection or two from those poets and why you enjoy their work.

One of my favorite contemporary poets is a woman named Brooke Axtell. I discovered Brooke when I came across her first poetry collection, Daughter of the Burning. This collection, as well as Axtell’s other work, is a perfect example of the power poetry has to communicate strong emotions and inspiration.

Other poets I love are Adrienne Rich, Patricia Smith, Linda Gregg, Sarah Hannah, Sharon Olds, and the list could go on.

Thanks so much Emma for answering my questions.  I wish you great success in your poetry.

Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems by Emma Eden Ramos

Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems by Emma Eden Ramos, published by Heavy Hands Ink this year (it is eligible for the Indie Lit Awards), is primarily a series of poems about British-American psychotherapist Annette, her daughter Julia, and a Croatian immigrant, Milena.  Ramos uses the idea of the Triptych beautifully here, in which the poems about or told from Julia and Milena’s points of view are hinged on the poems told from Annette’s point of view.  Moreover, the poems from Julia and Milena’s points of view are used to flesh out the larger story of Annette and her grief, establishing not only the entrapment of “troubles” or suicidal feelings felt by the victims, but also the sense of enormous loss and emptiness felt by the surviving family members.  The message is the goal, and it is not bogged down by overly “pretty” or gruesome language.

From Fold One: Introductions in “Annette” (page 5), “I am a beautiful woman, perhaps the most beautiful/I’ve seen/But the exterior, she perjures herself like an unruly/teen.”  The first line of comparison is drawn when the poet takes the reader from this image of a beautiful woman whose exterior is deceiving to her daughter’s introduction, a young woman as troubled as her dead brother and her mother.  The line is further drawn to include Milena, who now feels out of place in her adopted home, America, since her father passed into a world of rest.  This unrest establishes the foundation upon which Ramos builds the Triptych or the links between these women.

On the surface, it is easy to see the connections between a mother grieving for her lost son and Milena grieving for her lost father.  Julia, it appears, is on the outside looking in because she does not believe her mother “sees” her through the grief, which gives her permission to be suicidal.  The connection Julia sees between her mother and her deceased brother are more than she can reconcile, especially when she too lost someone she loved.  It is not until the final panel is revealed — Fold Three: Connections — that the whole picture is revealed.  There is a melding here of these women, a verbal acknowledgment that they are the same.  However, what separates them is how they tackle the aftermath of suicide.

The other selected poems in the work are not as strong, unfortunately, but Emma Eden Ramos’ conversational style is maintained in the final poems.  Moreover, the stories in the final poems are so different that the collection would have been better served by further introspection by the three main women in the beginning set.  Two of the final poems are focused on body image and religion, but one of the poems maintains the examination of suicide, though in a more cryptic, less direct way.

Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems is a unique chapbook from a young poet, Emma Eden Ramos, that demonstrates a personable style that can reach out to readers and draw them into the story.

Please check out one of the best poems in the collection at the Virtual Poetry Circle.

About the Poet:

Emma Eden Ramos is a twenty-four year old writer from New York City. She has had short stories published in literary journals such as BlazeVOX Journal, The Legendary, The Citron Review, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Stories for children Magazine, and The StoryTeller Tymes.

Her poetry has appeared in Calliope Nerve, Ink Sweat & Tears, and Children, Churches and Daddies Magazine. Emma’s novelette, Where the Children Play, was published in the Spring 2010 issue of BlazeVOX Journal. Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems is Emma’s first collection of poems. At present, Emma is writing a middle-grade novelette. She will be a student at Brooklyn College in the spring. Connect with her on GoodReads.

This is my 27th book for the Fearless Poetry Exploration Reading Challenge.


This is my 64th book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.

121st Virtual Poetry Circle

Welcome to the 121st 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, visit the stops on the National Poetry Month Blog Tour from April.

Today’s poem is from Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems by Emma Eden Ramos, which I’ll be reviewing next week:

Inferiority Complex (page 36-7)

I sleep on the kitchen floor when I'm alone.
Twenty-six-year-old virgin,
I moved to Sweden simply for the lack of sunlight.

Summer evenings are hardest --
I spend them behind blackout curtains,
tucked under used-to-be-white, stained flannel

In grade school they called me Hobbit.
Fat-Ass-Farrah some years later.
My parents named me after a cute dead actress.
Cute? No

It isn't that I don't try,
Only, how can I fix these size 36 hips?
This 25 inch waist? I swear I was born with it.
I'd give anything to refigure my upturned nose,
thin my full-bodied brown hair,
or just lengthen the 5'5" stature I've been cursed

I love the winter months.
I can walk freely down the streets in Stockholm;
nobody notices.
I avoid the busy ones though,
the ones that are always well lit.
But sometimes I can't
and when I can't, it happens --
I'll catch a glimpse --
someone's looking,
somebody's seen.
The swollen-lipped whistle I dread,
the sharp sound that will inevitably trigger my dog-
like cower.
Because I am not stupid.
I know what he is thinking.
        ugly bitch!

No, I am not stupid.
That is not my problem.

What did you think? Share your thoughts.

I’m Hosting Mailbox Monday #148

First, I would like to congratulate (Bibliophile by the Sea) on winning Where Am I Going by Michelle Cromer from the last Mailbox Monday giveaway.

Stay tuned for the next giveaway later on in the post, but for now, let’s get to this week’s post.

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. Thanks to Amused by Booksfor hosting last month.

As host for this month, I have a couple giveaways planned, but mostly its about sharing books and the love of reading, so I hope in addition to leaving your post links in Mr. Linky that you’ll peek around Savvy Verse & Wit.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  The Time in Between by Maria Duenas for review (my second copy, look for a giveaway with the review)

2.   Twilight The Graphic Novel Volume 2 by Stephenie Meyer and adapted by Young Kim

3.  The Giver by Lois Lowry from the library sale for my daughter and myself

4.  The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis from the library sale for my daughter

5.  Who Am I? by Sesame Street from the library sale for my daughter

6.  Silly Sally by Audrey Wood for my daughter from the library sale

7. The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis for review for TLC Book Tours in early November.

8. The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White for review in November.

9. Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems by Emma Eden Ramos for review.

10. Beyond the Scent of Sorrow by Sweta Srivastava Vikram for review.

11. Soul Clothes by Regina D. Jemison for review.

12. A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead for a TLC Book Tour at the end of November.

What books did you receive this week?  Please leave your link below to your mailbox.

Now, for the giveaway for the week.  I’m holding an international giveaway for Waking by Ron Rash.  Deadline to enter is Oct. 22, 2011.

I reviewed the book earlier in the month and is my first experience with Rash’s work.  Have you read other Ron Rash books, if so which one and should I read it?

I also posted a poem from the collection in the Virtual Poetry Circle.

Please leave a comment if you are interested in this book.