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::wonderland:: . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

The last Wednesday Writing Prompt, March 28, invited poets to write about place. Here are the interesting, intriguing, and sometimes poignant responses from poets: Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brooks, Kakali Das Ghosh, and Sonja Benskin Mesher. I’m touched though not surprised that home inspired a few of the poems featured today.

For some writers poetry may be a primary form of artistic expression but it is not the only one. You’ll note, I always include links to contributors blogs when they have them. I hope you’ll visit and get to know them or connect with them on Facebook. Gary, Sonja (an award-winning artist, so many I can’t keep up) and Kakali are stellar artists, very different in style but rewarding.  Paul (who often writes in regional dialet), Gary and Sonja are also photographers. Given Paul’s knowledge and love of art, he has distinguished himself with some very fine ekphrastic poetry.

Gary is sharp, original and unique. He honored me with one of his sketches. Thanks again, Gary!


I’m pleased beyond all the words with which we play to present these remarkably talented folks to you here, one of the gratifications of a “connected world.”  I hope you’ll share your own work with us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.

the phoenix and phoenix

phoenix arizona lies
asprawl across the valley of the sun,
and that sun in summer stuns one
who is wise to heads indoors,

but the winters, mild and tasty,
bid a million phoenicians rise
and form a wing-flexing phoenix
of basking and bonhomie
and renewal.

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay, Image and Text)

the phoenix and phoenix

phoenix arizona lies
asprawl across the valley of the sun,
and that sun in summer stuns one
who is wise to heads indoors,

but the winters, mild and tasty,
give a million phoeni

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay, Image and Text)

Our Wombwell

sunbreaking brought bling jewels from overnight
rain, droplet tiaras/earrings trees, lampposts ankle bracelets.

On bus glimpse un netted/unblinded windows massive TVs window on window on corporate images: ogle goggle boxed.

Fresh grass laundered, barbeque wafts, rounding white clouds sky ablaze: Natural delights

cat trots downhill to bike shop. Black stringtied purse roadside. Folded bus pass at bus stop: ways home

© 2018, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow)

My Black Spot

A treasure island mark on a palm
for which mam says she has blankets
in the airing cupboard.

For any metal crashes
we might hear from
the busy A one.

A grey metal bridge
over the spot
I trundle my Raleigh bike

to meet with crystal set Duncan,
bright as the guards
on his new bike.

An overgrown cottage
with walls like broken teeth
and shattered windscreen glass

meets me at the footbridge bottom.
There is no blood,
only what’s left after the event.

On return footbridge
is now flyover, black spot removed.
Folk fly by too fast.

My old home is a turn off.
into village quiet.
A place folk glance at
on the way to elsewhere.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow)

Flinch At Cold, Cold,

sticky touch
of scaffold pole steel,
in the sunblaze,

negotiate unlashed wooden
planks of a half built brick house
opposite my Mam and Dad’s,

miss my foothold, bang my knees,
graze my elbows, dazed, brickdust gob,

see behind closed eyes, few years earlier,
another bright, warm summer,
my fall

fifteen feet from a branch
in a tall forest, to sharp earth,
concussed, bruised, rip

my jeans, leaf litter gob,
so mate John,
who I’ve played with

for months takes
me, where I’ve never been,
over the massive quiet

of the cricket pitch of a cut lawn
his dad’s garden,
crunch pristine, white gravel

to his big sandstone Hall,
John says “Take them off.”,
as he takes his shoes off,

I take off my forested sneakers,
through white barndoor
of a front door, smell fried onions,

pad over red tiled hallway,
into a bright, high frontroom,
bigger than our village school

assembly hall,
to a vast leather settee
and first colour tv I’ve ever seen,

looks small in the centre
of this space,
asks me to sit while his mam

fetches a warm
cup of tea in a china cup,
and asks if I want her

to fetch my mam or dad.
I say “It’s kind of you to say,
but, no. I’m ok.”

And sunblinded, sore,
bloody again, on the scaffold,

as mam said, “And don’t let me
catch you clambering over
that building site!”

© 2018, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow)

#It Was The First Time #

It was the first time
I was there
It was the first time
I felt his touch on my shoulders
Bay of Bengal :gazed at me with its profound look
With its stories untold for years immemorial
With its beach bathing under April sun
With its wavy dance dashing over boulders carving relics
It was the first time a heavenly child on a horse threw a celestial smile at me while passing through rocks
It was the first time he rehashed me
a statue spellbound
And it was the first time that tamarisk wood in the skyline
swayed each corner of my heart
My courage unfolded to say you -“I’m yours -just yours .”

© 2018, Kakali Das Ghosh

:: wonder land ::

it was a long winter

spring came, and i went to


finished work, drove the hill,

there before me, misted,

pink polaroid,

pointy trees,

i could not breathe

for wondering.

plas newydd, the house

of lady friends

who flew from family

to nest in looking


a world away.

breathe came,

all there was in the

whole world was this place


pin pointed, pinhole,

and mindfulness.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;


to live in this place,

walk down to see fish,

waterboat men, dimpling


rest amongst bird

song, tapping the wood.

know you have

a piece of mind,

however fleeting.

to be in this place.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;

.this place.

enjoyed waiting with you, leaning on the fence.

quietly remember you who made this place. special.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings;



Honoring Anita Shreve (October 7, 1946 – March 29, 2018)

Anita Shreve. Photograph courtesy of her Amazon page. The copyright holder is not cited there.

“I love paintings within paintings. Stories within stories.” Anita Shreve to Hillary Casavant, Anita Shreve: Solder On, The Writer, March 21, 2014

I was sorry to learn on Friday that Anita Shreve died. She was an American writer, well known for her novels, several of which I read and appreciated. She wrote quite a bit about loss, such a big part of life.

Ms. Shreve started her writing career when she was working as a high school teacher in Reading, Massachusetts. One of her early stories, Past the Island, Drifting (1975), was awarded an O. Henry Prize in 1976.

Anita Shreve spent three years working as a journalist in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1999, while she was teaching Creative Writing at Amherst College, Oprah Winfrey called her with the news that The Pilot’s Wife was selected for Oprah’s book club. Since then, Ms. Shreve’s novels have sold in the millions worldwide. 

In 2000, her novel The Weight of Water was made into a movie. It was directed by Kathryn Bigelow. The movie starred Sean Penn, Sarah Polley and Elizabeth Hurley. In 2001, her novel Resistance became a film starring Bill Paxton and Julia Ormond. That same year, CBS released The PIlot’s Wife, a movie of the week. It starred Christine Lahti and John Heard.

Ms. Shreve died of cancer on March 29, 2018, at her home at Newfields, New Hampshire. She was seventy-one.



SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS: Calls for Submissions, Contests, Events, and Other News and Information

Happy Easter – eyd fash saeid – to my family and others who are honoring the day. xo Chag sameach to my Jewish friends who are honoring Passover. xo No matter religion or lack thereof, may our hearts, minds, souls and bodies be ever free. I hope everyone enjoyed the day and now – LOL! – back to work.


Opportunity Knocks

DIRTY PAWS POETRY REVIEW published its first issue in December and is preparing to publish its second. Submissions are now open through May 25, 2018. There is to be a special section of Women of the South. Details HERE.

OYSTER RIVER PAGES has published its inaugural issue  featuring fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual arts by sixty-plus contributors. It is an annual publication with an open call for submissions to its second issue through May 15, 2018. No submission fees. No payment. Details HEREInternship 2019: Opens for applications in December 2018.

RATTLE publishes poetry and translations of poetry. It is open for submissions year round. There are no fees for submissions. Payment for print publication is $100 and a subscription. Publication online is paid $50. Rattle’s 2018 Fall issue is dedicated to previously unpublished poets. Rattle’s editors say it will celebrate fifteen or twenty first-publications. The deadline for submissions to the Unpublished Poets issue is April 15. All free submissions are automatically considered for the annual Neil Postman Award for Metaphor, a $1,000 prize judged by the editors.

RATTLE YOUNG POETS ANTHOLOGY requires parent, legal guardian or teachers to submit poems. Teachers may submit poems from up to five students. Submissions are open through June 15, 2018.  Youth must be under sixteen years. Details HERE.

RED HEN PRESS, A Nonprofit Literary Organization, publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry books. Submission guidelines are HERE.

THE RUSH LITERARY MAGAZINE, a publication of the MFA program in Creative Writing at St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles is accepting submission of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and visual art and photography through April 15, 2018. No submission fees. No payment. Details HERE.

STILL POINT ARTS QUARTERLY, a publication of Sharti Arts, is honoring the 75th anniversary of the 1943 publications of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings, These were based on President F.D.R.’s 1941 State of the Union address with its fall issue, The Four Freedoms Reinterpreted. The April 1 deadline for writing submissions has been extended though May 1, 2018. Submissions may include fiction, non-fiction, essay and poetry. The art submissions deadline is July 1, 2018 and includes painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and more. Acceptance notification by August 1. Details HERE. Shanti Arts also offers online classes in writing and photograph that run from $160-$190. Details HERE.


Opportunity Knocks

THE 2018 AGNES LYNCH STARRETT POETRY PRIZE COMPETIONS of The University of Pittsburgh Press is open for submissions through April 30, 2018. $25 submission fee. Cash award of $5,000 and publication. Details HERE.

THE CAROLYN FORCHÉ PRIZE FOR HUMANITARIAN POETRY is open through August 15, 2018. The prize winner and ten runner-ups will be published in the 2018-2019  anthology, Elusions: Refugee Poems, to be published by WaterWood Press. Cash award: $1,000. Submission fee: $10. Details HERE.

“Different people have articulated … [poetry as] the natural prayer of the human soul. I feel very blessed to have this vocation. ” Carolyn Forchè

THE CLIFF BECKER BOOK PRIZE IN POETRY TRANSLATION for a book-length manuscript is $1,000 and publication by White Pine Press. Submissions accepted through April 16, 2018. Submission fee: $25. Details HERE.

$10,000 RATTLE POETRY PRIZE submission deadline: July 15, 2018. $25 entry fee. Details HERE.

RED HEN PRESS LITERARY AWARDS offeres several opportunities each year. Two of their competitions are currently open for submissions: The Quill Prose Award (150 pages by a queer writer), which closes on August 31, has an entry fee of $10 and a cash award ($1,000) and publication; 2018 Red Hen Press Nonfiction Award, closes on April 30, $20 entry fee, and $,1000 cash award and publication.

THE DIAGRAM 2018 CHAPBOOK CONTEST is accepting submission through April 27. Entry fee: $20. Cash award of $1,000 and publication. Details HERE


RUTH LILLY and DOROTHY SARGENT ROSENBERG POETRY FELLOWSHIPS sponsored by the Poetry Foundation (U.S.) is a national competitionaccepting application through April 30, 2018 from poets age 21 – 31 years. The award is $25,800. Details HERE.


  • East Bay Launch for “Invisible Gifts, Poems” (Manic D Press) with Maw Shein Win and Guests, Pegasus Books Downtown, Sunday April 15, 7:30 p.m. “Themes of vulnerability and power emerge through reflections on family, art, and loss from an award-winning poet.” Details HERE.
  • Poetix: Poetry Events for Southern California 
  • UK Poetry Festivals,The Poetry Business
  • The European Poetry Festival, April 5 – April 12, 2018. Forty poets. London. Five events. Details HERE.
  • Book Festivals U.S., 2018, Book Reporter


  • Bozhidar Pangelove, Bulgarian poet, for the publication of On the Sand They Remain in Oddball Magazine.
  • Denise Fletcher, American poet, for two poems included in The Words Are in My Soul Anthology, available now at Amazon
  • Michael Rothenberg, Terri Carrion and others in 100TPC for their poetic protest against gun violence, which was featured in the Tallahassee Democrat HERE.


YOUR SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS may be emailed to Please do so at least a week in advance.

If you would like me to consider reviewing your book, chapbook, magazine or film, here are some general guidelines:

  • send PDF to (Note: I have a backlog of six or seven months, so at this writing I suggest you wait until June 2018 to forward anything. Thank you!)
  • nothing that foments hate or misunderstanding
  • nothing violent or encouraging of violence
  • English only, though Spanish is okay if accompanied by translation
  • your book or other product  should be easy for readers to find through your site or other venues.



PLEASE do not mix the communications between the two.

Often information is just thatinformation – and not necessarily recommendation. I haven’t worked with all the publications or other organizations featured in my regular Sunday Announcements or other announcements shared on this site. Awards and contests are often (generally) a means to generate income, publicity and marketing mailing lists for the host organizations, some of which are more reputable than others. I rarely attend events anymore. Caveat Emptor: Please be sure to verify information for yourself before submitting work, buying products, paying fees or attending events et al.