Notes | 25 Feb 2017

Poetry and literary websites that are new to me:

Please take time to read and then follow all submission guidelines. Some publications have demographic or geographic limitations. Some charge submission fees.

My poem Emptied was posted this week at Dime Show Review.

Okay.  I have had a good month in receiving acceptances from publications. But experience tells me that there are long dry spells in between these happy clusters of publication successes.  Part of that is due to quarterly or semi-annual publishing schedules.  Part is hot streaks where my writing comes together better than other times.

The BBC News website ran this video that features black poets from Washington DC riffing on President Trump during Black History Month.

Continuing the interview questions. #5.

          Tell about one of your favorite poetry experiences.

I visited Crestone, Colorado in the mid-1990s to hike the national forest on the San Luis Valley side of the Sangre de Christo mountains.  Earlier in the week I hiked all the trails at Great Sand Dunes National Park. On this particular day I was on a trail to Mt. Crestone (14,296′).  My hike was an all day effort, though I never broke the tree line. Personally, I do not understand topping mountain peaks as a goal, although many people find it is important and exhilarating.

In the afternoon, on my way down, I stopped to rest in a shady place along a snow-melt stream.  I figured I was alone, because I had seen so few people on the trail. So I pulled a collection of my poems out of my pack and read poems to the trees—a habit of mine.  I did this (and do this still) to let go deep-set emotions along with the related poems’ words for the wild to absorb, so my footsteps will be lighter. Forested places work best for me. I’ve met poets who prefer seashores or shorelines.

Three poems into reading to the aspens and pines, a young woman arrived at my spot. She asked if she could simply sit down and listen. She introduced herself as Ellie from Des Moines, Iowa, then urged me to continue with my poems. I was reluctant at first to share, to reveal so much of myself, then decided to continue since the day had a magical quality to it.

I read about 10 more poems aloud. During one poem she began to weep. I figured it was some deep-set emotion of her own she was letting go into the wild and had little to do with my poems. When her tears ended, we paused for water, then I finished the last couple of poems.

We walked down the mountain to town together with little conversation and got back just as the mid-summer sun was setting. At the edge of town where our ways parted, she hugged and thanked me, kissed me on the cheek, said the experience meant a great deal to her.

Ellie disappeared into the lengthening shadows and I never saw her again.  It was one of those “cosmic convergences” of two people’s lives for a very brief time.  I have a fondness for this memory.

— Kenneth P. Gurney



2 thoughts on “Notes | 25 Feb 2017

  1. Convergent: In memory of Carol Lewis as posted by Merimee Moffit, today, on Duke City Fix; Rich Bocher at Elbow Magazine and you, Kenneth, at Watermelon Isotope–you all work hard and successfully to sustain the poetry community. Thanks, and thank you for this beautiful moment. I did not make the summit of Blanca Peak, Colorado but rested at Lake Zapata just above the tree line. I share your belief that “getting to the top” is not
    conquering anything, but making the climb is a triumph over the ego.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s