I don’t want to appoint myself to the position of apologist for blogging and social networking. I think there are others who could do that job better than I can, but I do believe these tools have a place and a value.

We all have fabulous people in our lives . . . friends, coworkers, neighbors and cherished family . . . folks who share our values, history and place in the world but not necessarily our zeal for a particular cause or art. One of the intrinsic benefits that comes with the ability to easily connect over distance is that it facilitates meeting and sometimes befriending others who share our passions . . .

And so I come to the way an American poet living in Silicon Valley met an English poet who lives in London.  It was over a red dress.  Myra Schneider had written a poem – part of a collection called Circling the Core – and I loved it. In the poem Myra tells about wanting a red sheath, how it didn’t fit comfortably and how in the end she was glad to shed the dress and retrieve her body despite its “flaws.”  You see, Myra’s a survivor of breast cancer. It so happened that around the same time I discovered the poem, read up on Myra and found some more of her work, I found myself sitting in a doctor’s office with a friend. I was there as her moral support and as a sort medical amanuensis. My friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I’ve had a number of friends who have survived breast cancer and a mother who succumbed to it and colon cancer.  I know about the fear, pain and the mutilation.  I had to post the poem for the others and I did so on September 28, 2010, THE RED DRESS by Myra Schneider . . . a poetry reading.

Somehow Myra happened on the post and wrote to thank me.  She sent me some of her books, which I eventually reviewed and she introduced me to Second Light Network of Women Poets, a group I appreciate and enjoy very much.  Thanks to Myra and Second Light, I’ve become acquainted with the work of quite a number of accomplished women poets I might never have encountered.

Myra subscribes to my blog. I read her books and articles. We are Facebook friends. Myra has generously contributed poems and feature articles to The BeZine, which I founded and edit. As you can see, blogging and social networking are not just the domain of philistines. They have their place among the artful … I know I am mostly preaching to the choir here. So many of us are WordPress, Facebook and Twitter friends based on our love of literature, art and music … most profoundly, our love poetry.

Now on to a review of Myra Schneider’s latest poetry collection, The Door to Colour (Enitharmon Press) … Look for it here tomorrow in Part 2 …

“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting with the gift of speech.”
~Simonides of Ceos (556-468 BCE), Greek lyric poet

© 2015, article, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; 2015, photograph, Myra Schneider, All rights reserved

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