Friday, October 22, 2010

Poetry Tips: Blogging

This is not about reading other people’s blogs, this is the active verb to blog, specifically about poetry. Many poets use blogs to share their own work, many are like myself and post things they believe are interesting or helpful.

For those of you who have blogs you know that it takes more time and effort to create it than for anyone visiting to read it. Even then, your readers most likely skim the material.

So is blogging right for you? Well, Monday’s post about Ron Silliman having three million bloggers would suggest that if you work hard and long at your passion, yes, it is worth the time and effort.

As for myself, I feel I have learned much more trying to blog than by trying to write and submit. This blog forces me to move out of my comfort zone to try new things, send poems to new places, to reach out to poets I would have been too shy to otherwise, and it has allowed other poets to reach out to me knowing that I support poets and poetry in all of its forms.

If you don’t have a blog you do not have to create one. The point for this post is to consider the idea. Find a way to reach out to more readers, writers, and editors and you may just surprise yourself.

For any veteran bloggers out there (I’d say you are veteran if you’ve been posting regularly for at least one full year) I’d love to see your thoughts about blogging in the comments section.

For potential bloggers, please feel free to leave questions in the comments section, even if you are afraid to ask a seemingly simple question all questions are good questions when it is unfamiliar territory.

Thanks for dropping in, please stop by again next week…

Rattle Open Submissions

You may send up to six poems, any length, throughout the year to Rattle Poetry. You may also send your work elsewhere but if your work is accepted elsewhere you must notify the staff at Rattle immediately. Make sure you look at their site to see if any of your poems fit any of the “themes” in upcoming issues to increase your chances of acceptance.

You also need to include your contact information. If submitting via e-mail to submissionsATrattleDOTcom, it would behoove you to put “Poetry Submission” and your last name as the title of your subject line in the e-mail.

If submitting by snail mail to:
12411 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604

Make sure your contact information is on each page of poetry.

For more details, visit:

Good luck to all of you who submit

Poems Found by Poet Hound

I have said before that I have been getting up early and as a result, forgetting my Poet Hound posts, so I do apologize. Here are the weeks' posts as they should have appeared:
Amy David’s “Reassurance”
Teresa Petro-Micchelli’s “Bob Dylan’s Lost Children”

Thanks for clicking in, please stop by tomorrow for more Open Submission…

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Interview With Ed Galing

Ed Galing was born in New York City in 1917 on the lower east side and has lived an adventurous life serving in World War II, giving performances with his harmonica, and publishing book reviews, articles, poetry (of course) and essays all over the United States. He has won literary awards, been given numerous literary nominations and has been featured in several literary journals in addition to serving as Poet Laureate in his now hometown of Hatboro, Pennsylvania. Did I mention he is also 93 this year? Mr. Galing’s poetry collections have been featured before on Poet Hound and I feel it is time to pick his brain and he was kind enough to oblige. This interview also focuses on his collection of poems in a chapbook titled Senior Center, published by Peerless Press, which is a world in itself that the majority of us don’t think about often, if at all. Not only is Mr. Galing himself an interesting subject but so is this collection of poems so let’s marry the two and proceed:

1.) Mr. Galing, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed. You’ve been writing for decades and you are still going. Any advice for writers who want to write as long as you’ve been writing? Any secrets such as “eat corned beef every day?”

Writing poetry, or any other media, fiction, articles, etc. is a burning desire to communicate with other people. One has to be committed-- (almost like a marriage) a true writer will always write – never stop. Others will do it for a while, then give up! Age has nothing to do with it! Only PASSION!

2.) I have read poets who discuss aging and how their lives are affected by it but you are the first to discuss life in a Senior Center, which is also the title of your collection that I have in front of me. May I ask why you wanted to devote a collection of poems to the people who work at and visit a Senior Center?

When I wrote Senior Center I envisioned those who go to them, who never had a VOICE! I wanted everyone to know about them—their LIVES, etc. Mostly widows and widowers—the lonely—sadly not many read this chap[book].

3.) The next few questions I’ll be asking you to expand on how you came up with some of the poems inside this chapbook. The first one I’d like to ask you about is “A Haven of Refuge.” For one, it is a group of people gathering for a very inexpensive meal, and second, you do not necessarily end up sitting with someone you know. For people like me who know nothing about Senior Centers, how is it that such a place comes into existence? Also, why do you sometimes end up next to strangers? Is it something the staff arranges or is it something you do to meet new people? Finally, you end with the easing of loneliness which is a feeling we can all relate to. Can you expand on the feeling of loneliness before you arrive at the Senior Center that drives people to come here for a meal and companionship?

A Haven For Refuge

we have several
in our senior
but the favorite
is the main
dining room…
open from twelve
to three,
and for just
fifty centers,
we are able to
sit down at a
round table,
complete with
table cloths,
holding about
six or seven
people each,
being served
a great jewish
meal on a nice
soup and salad,
chicken or fish,
while we rub
shoulders with
whoever is next
to us,
getting acquainted
all over again,
strangers when we
came in,
now no longer,
as we sip the soup,
eat our dessert,
and no longer
alone in the world.

Those of us who attend Senior Centers soon become friends—the common bond is we are mostly Jewish and share different experiences sitting around the table, men and women, being served by others, soon begin to talk, and share their lives. And they are all so interesting, all ages. The Government subsidizes the meals—and they are delicious. It’s almost like a “Red Cross Club” during WWII when everyone in the “SERVICE” came together. It’s a bond, a sharing—Senior Centers have been around a long time—being alone is often frightening—as my poem relates—togetherness spells LOVE! & Peace.

4.) In your poem, “The Young and the Old” you describe how the energy from the young people infuses you and your fellow visitors with joy and how at the end you feel like crying when a young girl kisses your cheek. Having worked as an Activities Director of a nursing home I know how much older people enjoy visiting with younger people. Some of the residents would say, “I don’t like being stuck talking to old people all of the time.” That sentiment comes clear to me in this poem, can you explain the importance of having a mix of ages to interact with in daily life for our other readers?

The Young and the Old

in our senior center
youth is celebrated
there are times when
the young come to
visit us;
they mingle with
we older folks,
and it makes us feel good;
the young boys
and girls
who visit
our center
come willingly,
to mingle with
us older ones;
to intermingle
and we swap stories;
and we listen to
their eager voices;
their freshness is
a joy to behold;
we all gather in
the large dayroom
when they come;
sometimes they entertain
they dance and sing;
to broadway sketches;
we sit in chairs while
they perform;
marveling how they move;
the joy in their faces;
there is a time when
the old and the young
in our center share
a common bond of humanity;
and once, when a young
lady kissed my cheek,
i almost felt like crying.

Senior Centers and adult day care centers are needed for those of us who are not too well, or lost someone, and needs a place for someone to take care of them for a few hours. Besides health care, they also have amusements, all kinds of singing, dog acts, harmonica, magicians, and young people to make the old people feel good. Both young and old learn from it.

My wife attended day care when she was 80 some years old. She mingled with others her own age while I did the shopping, etc. and I took a break. There were lots of activities and lunch, too, it was necessary.

5.) I think your poem, “Philosophy” is a very important one in capturing the sentiments I often hear expressed of people who are aging and I have to say I agree with your poem wholeheartedly. I am not quite sure how to phrase what I want to ask you for this poem but it boils down to this: How can you enlighten those of us who are younger as to what older people really want to see on television and hear on the radio? What is important to you and other people your age versus what those of us under 65 are led to believe thanks to the media that is focused on youth?


I am not a
very sociable

neither am i
a hermit

there are times
when the senior
center does
bother me a bit,

i will admit

i feel as if these
people are like

wanting to be cooped
up with our own

trying to keep old
age in a corner,

locked up in a box
away from the outside

everything on the outside
is geared to youth,

old people are never mentioned
in any television ads,
except when it comes to
arthritis; alzheimers;
constipation; diabetes; and
clogged arteries..

i begin to feel
like i want to stand
up on a soap box and
shout out loud,
liars, liars..
we live too…

Well, of course it’s the Young and Beautiful—but aging needs to be honored, recognized, respected, and understood. Many get older in looks but inside we’re FINE. Yes, we hate the thought of being old. I think women, more than men. Movie stars—all that, face lifts, all that. More older people now than ever and a cheerful redignation is better than “pumped up” make-overs. “Dem’s my Thoughts!”

6.) There are many poems I’d love to feature but then our readers wouldn’t have as large an incentive to reach out to you and read more of your work so let’s stick with some lines that piqued my interest instead of sharing poems in their entirety. You mention your wife who passed away several years ago and how you do not have someone at your side every day to pass the days with. If you don’t mind, can you expand on the role your wife played in your daily lives together and what life is like now in comparison without her?

The saddest, most heart breaking moment of my LIFE when my dear WIFE died at 88. She was very ill by then—Alzheimer’s, all kinds of ailments—I LOVED my wife—we were like Brother & Sister—like lovers, always. I loved her smile—her sense of humor—she was BEAUTIFUL! We went everywhere together, trips to the shore, New York, all over—I GRIEVE every day—I MISS HER.

7.) The last question I have for your collection is the one regarding the other Senior Center visitors. Many different kinds of people come to the Senior Center, including those who are homeless, you mentioned. How does such a large mix of people interact here in relative acceptance when in earlier years this mix of people would be unheard of in locations such as restaurants or parties or business events? What makes a Senior Center different from any other gathering place?

There is a linking bond at a Senior Center. A common sharing. Restaurants, parties, you come & go—it’s IMPERSONAL. Dancing helps, too, and MUSIC!

8.) Mr. Galing, being 93 and a poet who has lived a life full of family, friends, writers, do you still feel lonely more often than not? What do you do for yourself to combat those feelings nowadays? Any advice for the rest of us who may be lonely at different times in our lives?

Oh-oh-at 93, I am now in a “Scooter” Chair. Disabled. But get around. Lonely as heck. Write every day, I have people to help me every day from Government. Meditate. That HELPS.

Mr. Galing, thank you so much for answering my questions. I hope readers not only come away with an appreciation of your poetry but also an appreciation for people who are, as you say, “trying to keep old/age in a corner.” I hope to be as strong in mind and opinion as you are while I continue to age.

“Music Helps, PLAY harmonica”

If you enjoyed this interview and you would like to purchase a copy of Senior Center it is a mere $5.00. Please e-mail me at:
I will be happy to provide Mr. Galing’s address so that you may obtain a copy for yourself.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ron Silliman's 3 Millionth Visitor

On Oct. 14th Mr. Silliman announced he would soon have his 3 millionth visitor. That’s right, that’s what he said! He also talks more about the idea of poets reaching out by blogging and I urge you to read that post so when you visit his site, scroll down and read about this new record. It just may inspire you:

Thanks for clicking in, please drop in tomorrow for an interview with poet Ed Galing…