Issue #13, Spring • Summer 2017

To have the latest issue of Word Fountain, the Literary Magazine of the Osterhout Library shipped to you (within the continental US only), please visit our library’s donation page and make a suggested donation of at least five dollars. Be sure you mention in the notes that you are requesting a copy of the latest issue of Word Fountain. You can also ask the recent winter issue while they last!

Read more: Issue #13, Spring • Summer 2017

Of My Mother, and of Life, Thirty Years Later

My mother on her honeymoon, long before I came along.

It’s Mother’s Day, and a young poet friend has been three days without his mother. She died suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep. What can one say, except, “Friend, you are not alone?” I’m thankful that he has many friends and family to look out for him. Eventually, it is my hope, he will feel the truth that she is always with him, a part of him, not just his memory, but his very person.

It’s been thirty years since my own mother died on “Good Friday.” The date was April 17th, and while I know that, to me, the cloud is always over that religious weekend. I think it took until this year for me to look out the window and actually take a little joy in Easter, and not to feel any resentment.

I saw a young rabbit in the yard, among the fresh Dandelions and Violets (weeds, people call them–I don’t understand), a Robin in the grass nearby, digging for spring worms.  And what I already knew somehow sorted itself out in my brain so very clearly, that the old resurrection story I grew up with was, in its proper context, symbolic, metaphorical–for this, but also for our lives in general. So much pain has been caused by taking only the literal view, or taking the symbolism only as far as the doctrine of Christians being “born again.”

I think Emerson would agree that somewhere along the way, and probably very early on, the original intention of an inspiring parable of rebirth and renewal for the earth and for our own spirits, was subverted into something that focused only on the death of one man and how we now must build our entire lives around him. But perhaps the original was a metaphor, a super-hero story (which is always a story about the untapped power within ourselves), symbolic of what we might become if we were to follow nature’s cue and let the old seasons of depression, cold and darkness pass away and see our world anew again. Continue reading

Launch of the Spring-Summer Issue

And this has been coming together and coming up fast! If you are in NEPA, why not join us for the launch of the next Word Fountain issue? Next Friday in Wilkes-Barre!

Word Fountain

Word Fountain, the Literary Magazine of the Osterhout Free Library launches its next issue, Spring/Summer 2017, on May 19th from 6:00 to 7:30 PM in our library’s reading room at 71 South Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre.

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Poetry Month Playlist Wrapup

An old favorite of the whole crew, poets on the ends, guitar players in the middle.

My youngest boy had a lovely idea for Poetry Month; we would agree on a poet for each week of April and each of us would record a poem or more by that poet. It was fun, and I even found a few poems by these favorites that I hadn’t heard before. You can follow back through this blog and his, or to skip the commentary and just go for the audio experience, we’ve put together the whole playlist. As the young man says, it only takes about 9.5 minutes to listen through.

As Summer Comes with Edna St. Vincent Millay

English: Main house at Steepletop Farm, home o...

Main house at Steepletop Farm, home of Edna St. Vincent Millay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I conclude this Poetry Month’s readings with a sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay. You can hear Micah’s Millay reading over on his blog. We’ll try to put together some sort of playlist from these too, and who knows, maybe we’ll add a bonus track or post as well.

There is something about reading a sonnet. It only takes about a minute, and in just a couple of practice reads, one gets the feel for how the lines should turn, whether there should be stress at the end or at the beginning of a line, any internal rhymes or pauses within them.

Of course, the form is usually set, though some poets enjoy playing with the rules. Here Millay keeps the conventions, the meter, and rhyme scheme of a Shakespearean sonnet, right down to the turn of thought at line nine (the Volta) and the concluding “twist,” or epigram of the final couplet.

As titles go, I like to think of this Continue reading

Tuesday Muse: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Photograph of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Photograph of Edna St. Vincent Millay

This is the project my son and I are doing: We picked four poets for this Poetry Month and for each week we both record a different poem or poems by the chosen poet of the week. Micah has recorded his Edna St. Vincent Millay poem and has hinted to me that since it’s early in the week, there may be more coming.

It’s no wonder we picked Vincent, as she liked to be called, for our final poet. Looking back, I’ve written about her and recorded her works quite frequently, in over a half a dozen posts, in fact. And she keeps showing up in our Thursday Love Poem feature as well since it is based on her little piece called “Thursday.”

My recording for this week will be coming up in the next day or three, so for now, here’s a flashback to exactly five years ago today, while I was doing my infamous “30 Poets, 30 Days” project, video recording, and writing about a different poet and poem each day that April.

From Day 25:

The lady at the counter looked at me over her glasses when I handed her the book.

She said, “I don’t like her.” I wanted to respond, “I don’t care.”

Read the rest and view the one minute video by clicking on the following: Day 25 – 30 Days, 30 Readings: Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Portrait by a Neighbor”