8
April

Good Monday Morning Rainbow

Good Monday Morning Rainbow

Good Monday Morning Rainbow
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Photo: Rick Stephen - 08-April-2013

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4
April

White Crowned Sparrow

White Crowned Sparrow

White Crowned Sparrow
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Photo: Rick Stephen - 01-April-2013

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2
April

Ladderback Woodpecker

Ladderback Woodpecker

Ladderback Woodpecker
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Photo: Rick Stephen - 01-April-2013

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22
March

Vacuum by Rick Stephen

vacuum
a space not filled
an emptiness
a void
shaped like you

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21
March

The Sounds of Yore by Rick Stephen

rotary-phoneResearch suggests that smells and sounds are most effective in evoking our memories. It seems to be the case as far as I am concerned. Smells certainly seem to bring forth the most vivid memories but sounds aren’t far behind. Earlier this week, I heard the sound of an old rotary phone ringing. I have no idea how many years it had been since I’d heard that once pervasive sound but it got me thinking.

So many of the common, everyday sounds with which I grew up have vanished or are rarely heard today. This reality prompted my latest poem, The Sounds of Yore. I hope you take a moment to enjoy it. If you’re near my age or older, it’ll be a trip down memory lane. The very young may not be able to relate but in 20 or 30 years they will, believe me!

The Sounds of Yore

There are fond sounds which I no longer hear
sounds from my youth which have grown so dear

sounds that were simply part of life’s soundtrack
but are now memories that I’d like to have back

so bear with me a moment as I reminisce
and recall a few sounds that I so miss

like the gurgle of coffee as it’s percolated
the sound of the brew for which Dad waited

read more …

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19
March

March 21st is World Poetry Day!

worldpoetrydayEvery year UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) celebrates March 21st as World Poetry Day. UNESCO adopted March 21st as World Poetry Day during their 30th session in Paris back in 1999. It’s been celebrated each year since.

The goal of World Poetry Day is “to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities. Moreover, this Day is meant to support poetry, return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, promote teaching poetry, restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music, painting and so on, support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art but one.”

Issa Poetry truly is a universal language and art form and goes far beyond any single language and culture. There is such wonderful poetry to be found from around the world be it English, Urdu, Hindi, Japanese or whatever. The rich diversity of language and culture is what makes reading poetry such a profound experience. To celebrate World Poetry Day this year, I’ve decided to step out and read the works of a variety of poets from around the world. Fortunately, I don’t have to be able to read their native tongues as many great works have been translated into English. May I suggest you do likewise? Put down the Frost, Dickinson or Shakespeare and read some Omar Khayyam, Jean Cocteau or Kobayashi Issa. Celebrate the true spirit of World Poetry Day!

You can learn more about World Poetry Day and how you can participate by visiting the UN’s World Poetry Day page. The Hindu Business Line website also published this interesting take on World Poetry Day. It’s definitely worth the read.

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14
March

Bee on a Blossom

Bee on a Blossom

Bee on a Blossom
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Photo: Rick Stephen - 13-March-2013

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9
March

Highly Subjective Lists of Favorite SoCal Poetry Venues

poetixI found this list on the Poetix website today. I’ve written about Poetix before on this blog and it’s continues to be a great resource for the poetry community in Southern California where I reside. If you live in SoCal or are a visitor and looking for a poetry venue to visit, G. Murray Thomas and Terry McCarty provide their takes on their favorite SoCal poetry venues. I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll enjoy close to you.

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8
March

Poets House

poetshouselogo

about-buildingBeing relatively new to the world of poetry, I am constantly running across great resources for those who love poetry. Recently I came upon Poets House. Frankly, if I tried to write something to describe Poets House it would probably read about as well as my poetry. So I will let Poets House describe itself. The following paragraphs are from Poets House own “About” page. If you want to learn more, you can visit their website. It is packed full of information, resources and programs for poetry lovers of all ages and backgrounds. Check it out. I only wish I lived in NYC to visit the Poets House library in person.

Founded in 1985 by the late U.S. Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz and arts administrator Elizabeth Kray, Poets House began a year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary of public programming this year, a celebration of our modest beginnings and growth to serving millions each year. Poets House continues to bring world-renowned poets to new audiences, welcoming poetry experts as well as those new to the art form, every day.

We invite you to visit our 50,000-volume poetry library in New York City. Poets House’s collection is among the most comprehensive, open-stacks collections of poetry in the United States. Attend our acclaimed poetry events and poetry workshops. Be sure to become a member today to receive special benefits and to support our ongoing work – Poets House documents the wealth and diversity of modern poetry and stimulates public dialogue on issues of poetry in culture.

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6
March

Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?

head-in-sand1Here’s some food for thought for all you Indie authors out there. I’ve heard reports of the issue of Amazon, Createspace and other companies incorrectly reporting sales from a number of sources but they were little more than rumors. However, John R. Clark, Managing Editor of AgeView Press makes a compelling and troublesome case in his guest post, “Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?” on Jeannette Vaughan’s blog.

Jeannette Vaughan is the subject of Mr. Clark’s post and her book, “Flying Solo” was published by AgeView Press. His post raises serious and troubling concerns for any writer considering publishing independently. If you are one of them, this post is a must read.

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