Photos from last weekend’s Racine and Kenosha Authors Book Fair


Kelsey Harris reading her poem “Pinkest Thoughts.”



Dan Nielsen reading is (in)famous five-liners.


Nick Demske reading from his celebrated book Nick Demske.


Marcia Eanes reading from Passion’s Zest.



Kelsey Hoff reading from her recently published Sad Girls Poems.


Is poetry the language of protest?

This question is like a sliver under my skin. It started after I read an article that made the following statement: “At its root, poetry is the language of protest.”

  • Is this statement is true(objective)? Or opinion (subjective)?
  • Does poetry function as poetry if it no longer contains an element of protest?
  • If poetry is like a kitchen recipe with ingredients and proper baking instructions, what would the recipe look like?
  • Do you come to poetry with a desire to protest?

What say you, dear reader?

Racine and Kenosha Authors Book Fair


Rumor has it that I am one of the many authors at this event.

Here are details of the event from the Racine and Kenosha Authors Book Fair Facebook page:

September 20 from 6 to 9 pm, authors from all over Racine and Kenosha will converge at the Racine Arts Council. Six featured poets and authors will give readings (Kenosha Poet Laureate Jean Preston, Kelsey Marie Harris, Dan Nielsen, Nick Demske, Marcie Eanes, and Kelsey Hoff), and many more will be present to sign their books and meet with readers. This event is also the official release of Sad Girl Poems, a chapbook self-published by Kelsey Hoff. Light refreshments will be served.

The Racine and Kenosha area is a thriving arts community, with a surprising number of authors and literary publications in residence. This event will represent the diversity of that community, with up-and-coming writers side by side with well-established ones in multiple genres including poetry, fiction, young adult, and nonfiction. Representatives from Left of the Lake and Straylight Literary Arts Magazine will be present with copies of their publications available.

Quote: “All the words that I utter…”

All the words that I utter,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm-darken’d or starry bright.

—  William Butler Yeats, “Where My Books Go” (via bookoasis)

Want your words to reach millions of people?

Goodreads May 2014 e-newsletter announces winning poem

Goodreads May 2014 e-newsletter announces winning poem and poet

It is very attractive. Even tempting. Imagine that you are a poet and “more than 20 million people” read one of your poems. That is equivalent to everyone in the state of New York reading your single work of poetic vision and craftsmanship. That is the claim of the monthly poetry contest promoted by Goodreads and the ¡Poetry! group.

The contest rules are simple. All you need to do to enter the monthly contest is to post your poem in the monthly feed of the group. [1] Each month the contest receives hundreds of poems [2] — enough to fill a large print anthology book. I have contributed twice, [3] [4]  but have not won a contest. The May finalists — four of them selected by the judges — were posted on April 29, 2014 [5] for readers to vote on their favorite poem of the contest. [6] On May 14th, a Goodreads e-newsletter arrived in my inbox announcing the poetry contest winner for the May contest. Congrats to the winner!

Yet, there is a part of me that is a bit sad. Not because I did not win. But because I almost deleted the email. In order to read the winning poem, I had to scroll all the way to the very bottom of the e-newsletter. And then I wondered — how many of the 20 million recipients actually read the poem? Even if one percent of the people who receive the e-newsletter actually read that poem — it is still more readers than any published literary journal or magazine in America can reach in a single month. That is impressive.

[1] The June 2014 Goodreads Newsletter Contest, accessed May 14, 2014,
[2] 384 poems to be exact. That is the total number of poems submitted for the May 2014 Goodreads Newsletter Contest, accessed May 14, 2014,
[3] I contributed the 148th entry for the May 2014 contest (accessed May 14, 2014):
[4] Also, the 104th contributor for the March 2014 contest (accessed May 14, 2014):
[5] If I remember correctly, there were supposed to be six finalists, but two were disqualified, accessed May 14, 2014,
[6] For the next two weeks, finalists wait and/or self-promote their way to the top spot and winner of the contest, accessed May 14, 2014,

Acoustic music and poetry

If you were to match a musician with a poet for an evening of culture and entertainment, who would they be?

A month ago I noticed this ad:

An evening of acoustic music and spoken word/poetry at Pepperdine University

An evening of acoustic music and spoken word/poetry at Pepperdine University[1]

Who wouldn’t want to attend this event? Two great artists on one stage for one evening. Makes sense to me.

Acoustic music and poetry fit together. Nearly a decade ago, I participated at a bookstore café event with musicians.[2] It is something I really enjoyed doing. The marriage of poetry and music resonates with an audience—especially an audience who does not know that they might enjoy poetry.

A few years ago, the Rooftop Poets (somewhat legendary) roof garden book launch and poetry performance featured jazz to accompany an evening of poetry.[3]  Three poets and two musicians joined for a lively evening of poetry, music and light refreshments.

What about you? As a poet, who would you love to work with for an evening of acoustic music and poetry? I have my wish list. What about you?

NOTES: [1] An evening of acoustic music and spoken word/poetry
[2] Malaprop’s Music/Poetry Gig Meditations
[3] A poetry reading and jazz show on the Roof Garden of the Battery Park Hotel

What did I write?

Block print Christmas card

What did I write that got some much traffic?

A few weeks ago I noticed that the traffic on my blog spiked due to a post I wrote a year ago: “Advent Poems (or the 12 days of Christmas poetry)”.[1] At first, I thought it was a fluke, but for weeks now many of you have visited this blog. Many thanks! And I hope the Advent Poems are a blessing and encouragement to you this year.

Also, feel free to look around and enjoy other poetry related blog posts.

[1] Advent Poems (or the 12 days of Christmas poetry)