One More Raffle to Help Eradicate Cancer

Hello, everyone! I just wanted to pop in with an update on my family’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society campaign. First of all, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to my campaign and personal mission to raise $5,000. Each of you is helping to advance cures! We are making wonderful progress. I have one more raffle happening now — read on for details…

Our work isn’t done yet! I still need to raise almost $1,000 by the end of this month to meet my goal. If you haven’t had a moment to do so yet, please visit my website — which is at https://pages.lls.org/mwoy/txg/houston22/ajamail — and make a donation. And if you have already contributed, please consider sharing my link with others you know who might want to join our efforts. One little mention can make a big difference!

Your donation is so appreciated by the 1.2 million Americans battling this disease. For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Let me share some facts:

  • Blood cancers are the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.
  • In the past 40 years, only 5 oncology drugs have been approved for first use in children.
  • More than 33% of blood cancer patients do not survive five years after diagnosis.

It is not too late to join us in this fight. I’m now hosting one more raffle, this time with three prizes. The first is another copy of Jayne Pillemer’s glorious book Still Mine, which will warm and heal the grieving hearts of readers of all ages. (Read more about it here.)

 

The second prize is a piece of handmade jewelry made by me. It has a very summer-boho vibe and uses natural gemstones.

adjustable leather ties, pearls, Swarovski crystals, baroque mother-of-pearl beads, garnets, labradorite stones, glass, sterling findings

And the third prize is a collection of poetry art cards, also made by me. They’re blank on the inside and have fragments of poetry on the front.

Donations of $25 or more will earn tickets in the raffle — in fact, you’ll get a separate raffle ticket for every $25 you contribute! I’ll hold the raffle on my Facebook page on June 1st.

Thank you for your support! (And please feel free to share this blog post around so more people will see it.)

Monday Earworm: Marcin (Yes, Again, Don’t @ Me)

Look, I have about eleventy kajillion papers to grade this week, a slush pile to finish scoring before the end of the month, and no small amount of angst over my fourth-circle-of-hell state (the geographical kind) right now. Plus, a bunch of my students are about to graduate, and I’m feeling both ecstatic for them and melancholy for myself over it. They are young people who have the capacity and preparation to do great things. So in their honor, here is a young person doing great things with a melancholy mood that makes me feel slightly ecstatic. Enjoy.

Come Write Poetry With Me For An Hour

The title of this post is not an exaggeration.

I’m going to be leading a workshop called “Daily Dose of Poetry” on Monday June 13th through WAN (Write About Now) as part of their weekly virtual workshop series, and I’d love for you to join me!

The workshop will be synchronous, live, and interactive on Zoom. It starts at 6:00 p.m. central time and actually lasts until 7:30 p.m. The workshop will be generative and also give you a chance to share the poetry you write in the workshop for feedback or just accolades.

This class is appropriate for all levels: if you are a seasoned writer and want to revive or enhance your practice; if you are newer writer and want more prompts to help you generate ideas; if you just have a lot of thoughts swirling around in your head and aren’t sure how to rein them in so you can get some sleep. There’s something for everyone in Daily Dose of Poetry.

If you want the official course description, here it is:

“In this class participants will use short poems and exercises as models for writing poetry and poetic fragments, and will practice techniques to increase observation and lyrical thinking. We’ll look at mentor texts and have a discussion on language and form. We’ll also have exercises in metaphor and imagery. Attendees will get a chance to write short form poems and use the techniques covered in class to enhance their daily writing practice.”

And if you subscribe to WAN, I think there’s even a discount on the already quite low registration fee. Here are the other workshops being offered in June:

So come join me on June 13th! Register here for the event on Eventbrite. I look forward to this relaxed and low-stress poetry party with you!

Charlie’s Angels Raffle and Livestream

Hey there! I want to show you something excellent:

These are the tickets so far for the raffle I’m doing this week in support of Charlie’s Angels, my family’s campaign to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Get your donations in before tomorrow (Wednesday) night so be included in the raffle. Each $25 donated gets a ticket — which means if you donate $100 you get four tickets, and if you donate $250 you get ten, and so on. I’ll be doing a livestream Thursday evening to pick the winner of this raffle, who will receive a signed and personalized copy of Jayne Pillemer’s gorgeous children’s book Still Mine.

Click here to read more about the giveaway and to read more about this incredible book, including photos of the cover and interior.

And click here to be taken to my LLS campaign page where you can donate directly.

And thank you so much to everyone who has already donated — and to everyone who will! So much love.

Monday Earworm: U2

Aaaaaaaand we’re back to Monday Earworms.

Here’s one of my favorite U2 songs. I think it was one of the last songs I wrote a choreography to, a double veil for what used to be Eclectic Bellydance, but I never did have the chance to perform it. Ah well. Maybe if I ever come out of dancing retirement, I’ll relearn it. 

In the meantime, enjoy!

National Poetry Month: One Last Post For This Year

Hey there! Earlier this month I posted an invitation for people to send me Book Spine Poems (a type of found poem) that they’d constructed, and I want to share this one by Chuck Wemple.

Speedboat

My Uncle Napoleon
The wave in the mind
The traveling circus

Bad girls of the Arab world
The face of war
Last night at hot slit
Our women on the ground

Against interpretation

***

Thank you to Chuck, and to everyone who participated in this year’s National Poetry Month celebration here at Sappho’s Torque! It was a real pleasure to feature so many excellent poems. 

Also, I’m already curating next year’s Poem-A-Day series (!!!) so if you have a poem you’d like me to consider for it, drop me a line in the comments or via email: forest [dot] of [dot] diamonds [at] gmail [dot] com.

And now I’m going to go rest a little bit and try to get caught up with my semester, which is rapidly drawing to a frenetic close. Monday Earworms will resume tomorrow, and I’ll be sure to update you on how things are going with my family’s LLS campaign and my efforts to excavate myself from the stack of grading that appears to have buried me.

Cheers, y’all.

National Poetry Month: Saba Husain

Dear reader, it has been such a joy to share so many poems with you this year for National Poetry Month. I’d intended to include more different types of posts this year — prompts and poetry-adjacent things and such — but ultimately I just had such a wealth of people’s poems to share that I bent to that impulse as the month wore on.

Today I’m pleased to feature a poem by Saba Husain to round out our poetry celebration. I hope you’ll enjoy it, as I hope you’ve enjoyed this whole month’s series.

The Missing Planet

Oblivious to the red blood moon
we strung the universe on a wire hanger
in order of distance from the sun:

Neptune’s swing entangled
Saturn’s rings, and sent Jupiter
spinning towards Mars.

While the lunar jaw dropper was witnessed
from Sri Lanka to California,
I counted generations on my fingertips,
and imagined faces I’d never met
turned towards the sky.

In another time and age I’d be
on my knees at the spectacle,
having dallied enough nights on my driveway
to know a Texas sky.

Grandson, hold on to the blue green
sphere you plucked from your mobile,
tuck the Earth under your pillow,
let the moon orbit your eyes.

***

Saba Z Husain’s work has appeared in Sequestrum, Bangalore Review, Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Texas Review, Bellevue Review, Houston Chronicle, Aleph Review, Synkroniciti, Equinox, and the anthologies of Mutabilis Press, Ankelbiters Press, Lamar University Press, Southern Poetry Vol. VIII: Texas, and elsewhere. She was a finalist for the 2021 and 2020 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, and semifinalist for the 2020 Philip Levine Poetry Prize. Saba serves on the board of Mutabilis Press.

National Poetry Month: Autumn Hayes

I only recently first encountered Autumn Hayes’ poetry at this month’s Mutable Hour reading, and wow! Powerhouse.

Sonnet #1

What’s that thorny thing you clutch so close
Pricking the blood to your palm’s numb palm? A rose
Wild-born, lightning-crooked bush? A ball
Of pig iron painted black? A dying sun with spiked rays?

What tether have you fashioned to control
Its swing and land? A synthetic cord? A bow
Of metal marrying metal? How heavy does it hang
Welded to the weight of the wait? Does it ripple your gut

To hear it hum through the anxious air? Where
Does it cling to your body? At elbow? At knee? For me
It’s my right. Elbow, that is. Swift shrug, shoulder flick
And the air at least has been stabbed. A fuzzy brown cuff

Holds it in place. Where do you keep the tool that can sever
The tether? Behind your back? Like it’s the weapon?

***

Autumn Hayes is a freelance writer and poet; her work has appeared in Xavier Review, Storm Cellar, The Washington Spectator, 3:AM, Teachers & Writers Magazine, and the micro-fiction anthology 140 and Counting¸among other places. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she has taught reading, writing, public speaking, math, drama, and vocational welding in Los Angeles, Houston, and the Mississippi Delta. She holds an MFA in poetry and teaches English in her hometown. Find out more at autumnhayes.com.