Denise R. Weuve

Ink Damage and Other Permanent Stains

Archive for the category “poem”

Day ??? ~ Ocean Vuong

First this is Saeed Jones fault because he keeps posting pieces of Ocean’s poems, reminding me why I like his work so much.

First I suck at Poet a Day

First I rock for even trying to do this

First Ocean Vuong is a heart wrecking, earth moving, pen master that makes me want to move to New York so I can know I am breathing the same air, and perhaps somehow his talent will drift through taxi exhaust, pipe fumes, and Tuesday refuge pick up right into my lungs.  A girl has got to dream, doesn’t she?

If you have never read Ocean Vuong (who in 2016 when his book Night Sky With Exit Wounds from Copper Canyon Press no one will ever admit to having not read him) and not fallen in love with poetry, the line, the word, then your heart stopped beating long before this blog was ever written.  He has won took many accolades to list, and I am not as thorough as likes of Poetry Foundation where you can learn about those all, but I can tell you he is the reason poetry is as vital as breath, and has value.  So much value that if you are wanting Vuong’s chapbook Burnings (SiblingRivalryPress, 2010) look to pay anywhere between $200.00-$850.00.

This is the opening “On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous”:

Tell me it was for the hunger
& nothing less. For hunger is to give
the body what it knows
it cannot keep. That this amber light
whittled down by another war
is all that pins my hand
to your chest.

See what I mean?  You now want to read anything Vuong writes.  No need to wait. Here are a couple of my favorites:


He came into my room like a god
stepping out of a painting.

Back from the wind, he called to me
with a mouthful of crickets–

scent of ash and lilac rising
from his hair. I waited

for the night to wane
into years before reaching

for his hands, my finger tracing
the broken lines in his palm.

My shadow beneath his shadow
across the hardwood. And we danced

like that: father and son–
our bodies like a pair of legs

over a broken chair.

from The Paris American 2014


From Youtube, a reading by Ocean Vuong
The most recent I can find of him, but you need to turn up the sound up full blast



Day 7 ~ LeAnne Hunt

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 8.02.37 AMLeAnne Hunt is my friend, and like many of my friends she is also a poet. I met LeAnne at The Ugly Mug readings in Orange, CA. (where I have met a lot of people I really like). She is a scientist (and works in lab coat and everything), a mother, a friend, and a damn good writer. She can often be found at Long Beach’s Poetry Lab, and this week will be found in Minneapolis hanging out with all your lucky folks heading to AWP. Should you be lucky enough to see her there, make friends, she has a great laugh that will always make you feel better, and if you are lucky she will show you some of her poems, but until then here are a couple of poems by the lovely LeAnne.


***This first poem appeared on Cadence Collective in 2014:

“Children are vampires,” my friend said.
After the park… the fair… the festival… the zoo… the circus…
the pool party… the playdates…and the birthday parties,
we sprawl in our chairs, like wilted prom corsages
three days after the deflowering and no phone call.
Our daughters whip around us like kites in hurricanes.

I cannot agree.

Children suck the marrow from bones, leach the color from hair,
bleach the skin and drain the life force at its source.
Vampires take only your blood, drink it down and stop;
children take your life and carry it forth.
All of your sins, half of your traits and three-fourths of your gestures
passed on like a virus replicating beyond control.
Vampires are kinder; they provide an end stop to your line.
Children run on and on.


***Last year for National Poetry Writing Month, LeAnne let me use this Pantoum on my website for the daily prompts, and now it is here because anyone that can write a form poem well, has my awe.

Letting Go of Stones

I am an empty bag, full of wind and crinkle.
I rattled at each pull until you broke through thin skin.
I learned to twist in your words.
I flung myself off a cliff to float. I held blue.
I gave you two children as promised.

I rattled at each pull until you broke through thin skin.
I learned to twist in your words.
You could not catch my inhaled breath.
I gave you two children as promised.
Wind carries ash the same as it does hope.

You could not catch inhaled my breath.
I flung myself off a cliff to float. I held blue.
Wind carries ash the same as it does hope.
I am an empty bag, full of wind and crinkle.

Day 5 ~ Lord Byron

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 4.39.52 PM“She walks in beauty like the night” was read in a British Literature class and I fell in love with poetry, and the handsome poet that was the writer, George Gordon or as he is better known, Lord Byron. The bad boy of the romantics made me fall in love like many other bad boys would do in the future. Yet this bad boy made me love poetry. So in the end he is also to blame for the fact I write poetry. He can be blamed for the horrible poetry I wrote, and at times the horrible poetry I still write.

I went into college writing like a D Class Romantic Era poet, and slowly had the Lord Byron sifted out of me, but he does remain with me in my heart. As romantic as he was, he wrote the beautiful satirical Don Juan, where the aforementioned character is not quite the womanizer history portrays, but instead a man who falls easily under prey to women.


She Walks in Beauty


She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

A very trippy and oddly beautiful performance of “She Walks in Beauty”


Don Juan: Dedication


Difficile est proprie communia dicere 
HOR. Epist. ad Pison


Bob Southey! You’re a poet—Poet-laureate,
And representative of all the race;
Although ’tis true that you turn’d out a Tory at
Last—yours has lately been a common case;
And now, my Epic Renegade! what are ye at?
With all the Lakers, in and out of place?
A nest of tuneful persons, to my eye
Like “four and twenty Blackbirds in a pye;

This is my favorite book of Lord Byron’s, which happens to be a collection of his letters and journals. Byron’s Letters and Journals


Speeding Down Poetry Super Highway

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 10.45.33 AMThis week I have the distinct honor of being a featured poet for Poetry Super Highway. Rick Lupert is not only one of the funniest poets I have ever heard read, but also he is an amazing supporter and resource for the local community of writers and beyond.

When you go to the site, to see my latest publication, take a gander at the links that will just  blow your mind with how helpful they are to you as a poet.

Submitting Is the Hardest Thing to Do. . .In Poetry!



Let’s face it, it is difficult to decide to submit your work, your poems, your babies out there to a careless, heartless, ruthless editor.  And what is worse is that ugly NO that comes back more often than not.

Here’s the thing, if you don’t let your poems out there into the world, no one will know how great you are, except you, and maybe a few friends.  To be honest, editors are not (normally) careless, heartless, or ruthless.  Most editors are dying for really good work to hit their inbox, and you could be hiding that poem that will rock their world from them.  I cannot begin to fathom how many magazines and journals are out there waiting for work.  Duotrope (great tool, but does cost $50 a year-worth it if you are going to really use it) might be able to help you a bit, or Poets & Writers for that matter, but I can talk about a few places that I think would be kind to you as you start or continue your journey into the publication world.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 6.58.31 PMLet me start with the guy that I hands down think is the nicest EVER, Russell Streur, and his journal The Camel Saloon.  He has guidelines to follow as all of these will have, but he will also write you back quickly whether it is an acceptance or a rejection.  He also, on rare occasion offers information on new journals.  Big bonus he has a great list of other magazine to check out on the web.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.02.56 PMIs your writing a bit dark, maybe twisted, or just simply strange.  Carnival Literary Magazine wants YOU and your work.  Currently the editors are Shannon and Jose Miguel.  I find the work on these pages refreshing and risk taking.  Nothing good happens without risk.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.06.42 PM


Next up Gutter Eloquence, founded and edited by Jack T. Marlowe.  This is a quarterly magazine ran by a darn good poet.  the work here is relevant, gritty, hard truths with powerful imagery, more often than not.  Send him work (when not on hiatus) that knock the proverbial socks off.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.11.07 PMWe all write about heart ache and heart-break, and Napalm and Novocain wants to hear all about it, in fresh imagery and poems that knock the wind out of the reader.  What is great about this press is Amy Huffman actually has several online magazines catering to different styles of poetry and flash fiction.  Write Haikus? There’s a place for you.  Write nature poems?  She’s got that covered too, and so much more.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.13.54 PMEunoia Review has a dear place in my heart, because when Kevin says he wants to help the new writer find a place, he means it.  This is the place that first accepted my work, over two years ago.  And Kevin continues to give new writers a place to call home.  Send to him, and he will respond with lightening speed.  Always kind, even when it’s a no.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.24.17 PMNice intelligent people, that love poetry, are not as hard to find as you would imagine.  Take for example Ariana Den Bleyker, who genuinely wants to bring new work to the public.  She does so through her press, and this journal, Emerge Literary Journal.  I should disclose that her New York Press, ELJ, is publishing my debut collection in October of this year.  How much more must I say to prove how nice editors can be?


Before you go off and start sending your work out, still make sure you read the magazines, and their guidelines.  The  quickest way to be rejected is to ignore guidelines.  Most (editors) won’t even read your work if you fail to follow those rules set by the magazines.

Happy Poeting Cats and Kittens.



All pictures from said magazine’s Websites

How to Submit Poetry for the Novice & Not So Novice Poets

Poetry is Hard

A lot of sites talk about Writers in a chunk, as though we all fall into the same category.  And we do to an extent, but poets do have a slightly different road to travel.  People do not understand how much time it takes to write a poem, to critique, to revise, to rewrite, to rewrite, to rewrite. Many of us publish a poem knowing it will never be done to our liking, and others publish a poem and keep editing even after its publication.  All this to say, for the purpose of this blog I am only talking to Poets!

When getting ready to submit your work for publication, I would first be sure that there are no grammatical, punctuation or spelling mistake that are not intended for the poem.  If they are there, it gives the editor a bad impression of the writer.  As an editor, I feel like, “they couldn’t even take time to proof-read  the work?”  Then Investigate the magazine and read some (we know you cannot read all) of the work that appears on/in its pages.  I cannot tell you how often I shake my head, when the magazine I edit for, that only takes prose poems, gets regular left aligned poems.  It is a disrespectful move that immediately tells the editor(s) that you not only did not read the magazine but also ignored the guidelines.

poets-corner-colorThe basics of formatting:

  • single spaced
  • spacing between lines indicates a new stanza
  • aligned left
  • if you choose to align differently make it purposeful
  • note odd spacing is difficult for editors if you do choose to use a non traditional align left space with tab bar, it makes life easier for the editor(s)
  • one inch margins (many computers have 1.25″ margin, it is a simple fix)
    • I do not think this is a big deal for editors, but good to know
  • bold title that adheres and adhere to title punctuation
  • do not put title in all caps or italicize, both of those are a publisher’s decision
  • do not include your name on individual poems unless specified by editor(s)

 Cover letter:

Some publishers don’t even want a cover letter, but some do.  If they do, or ask for email submissions, remember to be polite.  Seems like I should not have to say that.  Sadly it does have to be said.  If a publisher or editor asked for a cover letter, please make it more than a list of poems and your name.  Go with a simply friendly interaction that can be customized quickly for all your submitting needs.  Do your research, and mention something on the site that you loved, and why you think you will fit into their aesthetic.

  • Intro – who you are & how you found out about the journal
  • body – something you loved in their journal
  • closing – thank you for taking the time to read your poems (list the poems in order they will see them)

The bio:

  • Never been published before?
    • It is okay.  Make your bio short, and a little quirky.  BUT PLEASE STOP TELLING US that you have been writing since you picked up a pen.  It is not interesting and it does not let us know anything about you.
  • Been published before.
    • That is great, now let’s have some compassion for the editors and the readers, both of which would like to tell you that we do not need to know every place you have been published, and every book that has published you.  A good rule of thumb (that I will admit to breaking on occasion) list 3 journals you have been published in and 2 most recent books, even if you have 8 books.  If you have awards, give them one.  This is your contributors bio, not the bio for your book

Seems like a lot of information, and tomorrow I’ll give you a couple of sites to try, if you are ready to make an attempt at submitting.  All places that were extremely ind to me when I began.

Happy Poeting Cats and Kittens!

The Truth and its Deviations in Poetry~By Joy Von Ill

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 2.02.23 PMToday we have a fabulous article written by Joy Von Ill, who holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.  She is a poet  who lives in Omaha, Nebraska.  A small ambling of her work can be found at Fruita Pulp and the end of this GREAT article.  Her work has appeared in various journals and in An Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraskan Women Poets. She also writes three sentence reviews of books.  Now, on to why you are here, the TRUTH.

What I Know About the Truth and its Deviations in Poems

Someone, or a book maybe, said “write what you know.” I started writing about my life. At some point, I found that catharsis was not enough for me. Art was something I wanted to achieve in my writing. As my education continued I learned a few things that I would like to share.

  1. Writing about your life is dangerous.
    • In the book, Women and Poetry: Truth, Autobiography and the Shape of Self by Carol Muske discusses how while working at a women’s prison teaching writing, she advised her students to write the truth of their lives. One of her students wrote a poem about the prison’s denial of her request to attend her daughter’s funeral. The poem was copied and memorized, passed from woman to woman. Eventually, the woman who wrote the poem was put into solitary confinement for inciting a riot. Enraged by the prison’s response, Muske spoke with the warden, who informed Muske that the prisoner who wrote the poem was not allowed to attend the funeral because it was suspected she played a role in the child’s death. As evidence, the warden showed Muske pictures of the dead child’s beaten body and court documents implicating the prisoner’s involvement. This shows the importance of differentiating between the exact truth, the way things actually occurred, and one’s personal truth. Knowing this can change a reader’s relationship to poems that feel “real.” In the case of the example given by Muske, the prisoner writing her personal truth lead to a breakdown of society inside of the prison. Think twice of the consequences of your personal truth.
    • Eventually, at some point, if you are brave enough, you will be judged. The most recent example of this happened to me in a writer’s group where a woman asked, “Did you really kill your pet bird?” Everyone in the room stared at me. My response was to say “If I answer you will that change how you read the poem?” I have found that drawing the reader’s attention to the poem itself and away from your life will distract them from their judgment, but be prepared.
  2. The significance of your truth will be read differently with time. Robin Skelton, in her book Poetic Truth, states “The facts may remain unchanged, but their significance is continually changing.” How a poem is read is always changed by the perspective of the future. It causes me to consider how future events will change how people read my work about struggles that are common in life. Consider how you view a poem about the holocaust now as opposed to someone who would have read it in 1950. There is no way to guarantee readers can connect to your poem in future, but thinking about this view can bring extra depth to your work.
  1. There are different opinions on the artistic nature of the truth.
    • Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 2.11.13 PMIn an interview I did with Fran Higgins she discussed her views on using factual events in her writing. In her poem, “Fanam’s Car Repair & Tow”, which appears in An Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets, she changed or made up details about the garage because she could not remember particulars that would make the poem more impactful. She expressed a sense of falseness about the title, but in this case the title gives the reader a more complete mental image, making the emotional effect of the poem more tangible. As a writer, Higgins tries to be as truthful as possible. She even went so far as to state, “If I am not being true to myself in a poem then I’m not communicating accurately.” Her view of those who change details in their writing was expressed when she said, “Some people are shit poets and don’t communicate. People skirt around the truth because they are afraid of it.” While I respect this point of view, there is more to an experience and a moment than the facts. There are reasons to change events that can heighten the experience of the reader.
    •  In The Triggering Town, Richard Hugo discusses his poem, “The Squatter on Company Land.” In the poem he describes the event of a squatter trying to claim space owned by the airplane manufacturer Hugo worked for. Hugo didn’t know why the company wanted the land the squatter resided on, but cited a “hammer shop” in the poem because “The rhythm seemed to ask for it.” Also, the squatter owned many rabbits, as confirmed by one of the men who worked at evicting the squatter, but it was not a thousand. The hyperbole of the amount of rabbits makes sense to the reader, imagining the squatter as someone who was apart from main stream society. One of the reasons people read poetry is for prosody and the reader’s ability to relate to human experience. These goals are achievable by changing how we as writers report our experiences.
    • There is a deeper goal in poetry than explaining a narrative. In an interview I had with Cat Dixon she discussed T.S. Eliot’s phrase “objective correlative” (from the essay “Hamlet and His Problems”) which translates to using images or events to portray an emotion in literature. There are times when Dixon’s emotions tied to a particular event are more intense than the event would allow her reader to feel when it is expressed in poetry. She then expands the image, changing the even to evoke the emotions she felt in the moment. An example of this would be in her poem, “River”, which appears in An Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets . In the poem Dixon describes being drunk at the shore of the polluted Missouri River. Dixon said that in reality, she did sit by the Missouri River when it was polluted, but she did not go in. She considered going in, but refrained from doing so. Her emotions at the time were powerful and destructive, and she wanted the images to match the intensity of her emotions. Using this technique can create work that has the highest possible amount of impact on the reader.
    •  Changing the events can change the point of view of the poem. In The Art of Attention by Donald Revell, he writes, “How do you go about erasing yourself, how dispose of such a perilous and long-beloved forebear? Look up. Look out.” By removing one’s self from the experience being discussed, a new image and emotion can become apparent. He cites an excerpt from his poem “Heat Lightning,” where he describes his existence in the world. “Next door, in bright sun, a girl on stilts/ is so fabulously illuminated/ she blends into the light below her legs.” By shifting the focus from the “we” previously mentioned in the poem, the reader is able to see a new perspective, the writer’s “saint” and perceived salvation, is that of the girl on stilts. Revell shows an external experience outside of an interaction with a girl on stilts while he is in his office writing. External events can imply what happens internally, and have just as much effect on the reader, as the reader experiences their own emotions about the event.

As you have read, there are multiple ways this information can be applied to your writing life. Each poem that is written about a real life experience drives toward a different level of truth. Some poems can run purely on the universal truth of human experience while others require the structure of the true, factual, real life event to be an effective poem for the general reader. Be cognizant of the needs of the poem. The effects of the experience and personal truth is the best way to create an impactful poem. Be aware of the power of truth, and the power deviation from the truth holds. It can change how you write and ultimately how you connect with the reader.


To see poems by Joy Von Ill, you can visit Fruita Pulp and So to Speak Journal


Day 16~Make the Rules

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 10.32.35 PMAll our lives there have been rules.  The ones from your parents, your religion, your schools, your government.  If that is not enough you make rules as you live.  And we all do it.  How long to  wait before calling after a first date?  What is appropriate wear to the produce market?  When can you fight with authority?  So today we write a poem about the rules.  but make it rules we do not think about, but just do. Folding a towel.  Returning a gift.  Shower procedure.  Sleeping in someone else’s bed.

Turn your rules into a poem!

Happy Writing Cats and Kittens.

Day 15~Time to Crunch Some Numbers

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 6.14.23 AMYes, many will tell you how today marks the halfway point of 30 for 30.  If you are like me, you haven’t quite made the 1 per day mark.  I have written 10 out of the 15 and realized that’s 2/3rds.  Not bad, and about what I have left after the Tax Man Cometh in each of my paychecks.  This led me to the realization. . .today is TAX Day. Whether you completed your taxes long ago or are struggling to meet the midnight deadline, you will be hard press to not think of April 15th as Tax Day.  All this made me think we need a prompt about NUMBERS.  So here is the simple prompt:

Write a poem that is obviously about numbers.  That could be time.  It could be a list.  It could be a reflection of your age (tell me that isn’t a number)  Just write with numbers in mind.

Here is my sample from last year, graciously published by Poppy Road Review, “Countdown”.


Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 6.10.43 AM

Day 13~Give Me a Minute and I’ll Prove You’re a Poet

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 10.02.07 PMWelcome to the minute poem.  A sweet concise  diddy that was introduced to me by Cathy Smith Bowers (former Poet Laurette of North Carolina).  This form has no more and no less that 60 syllables in 3, 4 lined stanzas.

It breaks down like this my Poetry Cats and Kittens:

60 syllables

8, 4, 4, 4 first stanza with rhyme scheme aabb

8, 4, 4, 4 second stanza with rhyme scheme ccdd

8, 4, 4, 4 third stanza with rhyme scheme eeff

voila. . .you minute is complete. .

Check out this excerpt from Michael Friedman’s great minute poem, which features 5 minutes..


Excerpt from "Five Minutes of Frustration", by Michael Friedman

Excerpt from “Five Minutes of Frustration”, by Michael Friedman

Post Navigation