This video was created and posted on YouTube by BooUrns28. It’s a tour of Coney Island and includes some of his thoughts and memories delivered in sterling Brooklynese.  If you are viewing this post from an email subscription, you’ll have to link to The Poet by Day to see it.

The lagoon and tower at Dreamland Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, 1907.
The lagoon and tower at Dreamland Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, 1907.

One belongs to Coney Island instantly . . . “

I’m playing with writing a poem about the Coney Island of my childhood and youth. I know “the good old days” weren’t what they’re cracked up to be and nostalgia is an unhealthy indulgence. Occasionally, however, it provides momentary relief from the questions and tensions of the present.

The materialistic 50s and rebellious 60s: Lugging bags with bathing suits, the requisite portable radio, beach blanket and towels, hopping on the BMT, enduring summer’s outrageous heat and humidity, and heading for Stillwell Avenue and Coney Island, a place of delicously unhealthy food and all that is weird but engaging.


The raucous Coney Island rides were never to my taste, but some of the strange shows, the boardwalk, the people-watching, the beach, riding the waves, the carnival games, Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and french fries, and holding out for Surf Avenue and Shatzkin’s potato knishes . . . . . . these were fascinations. 

The old Coney Island was once so much a part of American iconography and honky-tonk subculture that it’s probably on your radar even if you’ve never been there. It’s the stuff of artists rendering in everything creative: photography, movies, music, fine arts, books, and poems. Link here to a short film, In Memoriam, Coney Island 1952, which was an International Venice Film Festival prizewinner. The narrator is Henry Morgan. This movie catches the flavor of the place as I and my contemporaries knew it with its incredible crowds and all that is odd, funny, vulgar, dubious, kitschy …  and yet, somehow perfectly wonderful.

© 2016, words, Jamie Dedes; photo credits ~ Dreamland Tower, public domain photograph courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress, Nathan’s Famous photograph courtesy of Willyumdelirious under CC BY 2.0 license.

THE SUNDAY POESY: Opportunities, Events and other News and Information



Opportunity Knocks

PLOUGHSHARES AT EMERSON COLLEGE is in its 45th year and one of the most prestigious literary magazines in the US. It is published in quality paperback three times a year: January, April and July. Each issue is guest-edited by a prominent writer – usually writers who have been awarded Nobel and/or Pulitzer prizes, National Book Awards, MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, and numerous other honors.  Guest editors explore personal visions, aesthetics, and literary circles. Ladette Randolph is editor-in-chief. Guidelines for the journal are HERE.  Guidelines for Ploughshares Solo Series are HERE. Guidelines for the Look2 essay are HERE.

NARRATIVE is a relatively new publication (2003) that was established to “advance literary art in the digital age. … Our online library of new literature by celebrated authors and by the best new and emerging writers is available for free.” Nonetheless, it is a paying market for writers and poets. It publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Submission categories and guidelines are HERE.

NOSY CROW is a UK publisher of books for children: bound, iBooks, and multimedia, interactive apps for tablets, smart phones and other touchscreen devices. Submission guidelines are HERE.

SOUTH/85 is aa semi-annual online literary journal of the Converse College Low-Residency MFA Program. This journal publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, reviews, and art by new, emerging, and well-established writers and artists. The editors say “we are especially interested in pieces that demonstrate a strong voice and/or a sense of place.” Details HERE.

SOUTHERN INDIANA REVIEW accepts manuscripts between September 1st and April 30th for annual fall and spring issues. The magazine publishes drama, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art and photography. Details HERE.

THE WALLACE STEVENS JOURNAL (John Hopkins University Press) “welcomes submissions on all aspects of Wallace Stevens’ poetry and life. Articles range from interpretive criticism of his poetry and essays to comparisons with other writers, from biographical and contextual studies to more theoretically informed reflections. Also welcome are previously unpublished primary or archival material and photographs, proposals for guest-edited special issues, as well as original Stevens-inspired artistic and creative works.”  Details HERE.

MACSWEENEY’S INTERNET TENDENCY publishes on its website and in its quarterly as well as through its book publishing arm. Its book-publishing arm is not currently accepting submissions for children’s books or for poetry.  Details HERE.

THE BeZINE, a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines will review submissions for the December issue, themed The Healing Power of the Arts, beginning on December 1.  Submit poetry, essay, nonfiction, creative nonfiction, photography, music videos and art or photography by December 10 to  Please review the publication first and the submission guidelines.


Opportunity Knocks

PLOUGHSHARES EMERGING WRITER’S CONTEST is open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have not had a book published or self-published. The winner in each genre will be awarded $2,000.  The contest opens on March 1, 2017 and closes on May 15, 2017 at noon EST.  There is a $24 entry fee, which includes a one year subscription. Details HERE.


PALM BEACH POETRY FESTIVAL January 16 – 21 includes workshops, readings, talks on the craft of writing poems, manuscript conferences, panel discussion, social events and more in downtown Delray Beach, Florida. Former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, Charles Simic, is special guest. Poetry Writing Workshop Faculty includes: David Baker, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Tina Chang, Lynn Emanuel, Daisy Fried, Terrance Hayes, Dorianne Laux, Carl Phillips, and Martha Rhodes. Apply to attend. Details HERE.

WORLD POETRY DAY,  Tuesday, March 21, 2017 celebrates and supports poets and poetry around the world.  It is an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Details HERE.

StANZA 2017  (Scotland) is scheduled for 1-5 March, 2017. The themes for next year are The Heights of Poetry and On the Road. Sixty poets are scheduled for nearly 100 events. Details HERE.


Submit your event, book launch and other announcements at least fourteen days in advance to Publication is subject to editorial discretion.

“My Joy Is Like Spring” … The poetry of Thich Nhat Hanh


ZEN MASTER THICH NHAT HANH (his students call him Thãy) is a revered spiritual leader, a poet and a peace activist.  Martin Luther King called him an apostle of peace and nonviolence and suggested Thãy for a Nobel Prize, which Thāy never received.

Thāy is sometimes called the other Dalai Lama.  His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live peacefully in the present moment.

The featured poem (below), Please Call Me by My True Names, moves us to compassion. It reflects the Buddhist concept of interdependent coexistence for which Thāy coined the term “interbeing.”  In it he seeks to remind us that we are one with each other and with nature. His poetry is gentle and his word-pictures and pacing tend to sooth and heal. His many published works include several poetry collections.

Thãy lives in Plum Village in France, where he is recuperating from a stroke.

Thích Nhất Hạnh (Nguyen Xuan Bao) b. October 11, 1926). Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist. He coined the term "Engaged Buddhism"
Thích Nhất Hạnh (Nguyen Xuan Bao) b. October 11, 1926. Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist.

Please Call Me by My True Names

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow—
even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.

I am a mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his “debt of blood” to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up
and the door of my heart
could be left open,
the door of compassion.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Poem from Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh

Thāy’s photo courtesy of Duc (pixiduc) under CC BY SA 2.0