Poetry reading list for National Poetry Month, part one

Asheville’s Beanstreet coffeehouse, circa 2005.

As stated earlier this week, my poetry reading list for National Poetry Month is designed to encourage you to seek out the influence of living poets — where they live and and where they read. Allow me to introduce you to a few of the living poets I met at the open mics and coffee dens of Asheville, North Carolina.

One of those souls is an editor, poet, journalist and friend, Pasckie Pascua.[1] He has published several chapbooks and collections of poetry and prose. We first met at a coffeeshop in West Asheville and later haunted Beanstreets and other places from North Carolina to New York City. He left the back door to the poetry scene open for me and allowed me to grow and mature as a poet and writer. He also published many of my early writings. Lines from his poems still echo in my mind, like this one:

“The color of my poem

is also the color of my brother’s soul,

the color of my friend’s heart.”[2]

Another poet I wrote with and read alongside is Jessica Newton.[3] She facilitated a writers group when I first moved to Asheville. We gathered at the UNCA library or other spots around Asheville to write and read our compositions. Sometimes she brought writing prompts or other sources of inspiration. We shared prompts and poems. One night Mara Leigh Koslen[4] brought examples of haibun.[5] She introduced the poetic form and then we wrote. It was that night that I composed the first draft of a poem that would later be published.[6] Several other poets and writers visited the writers group.

My poetry reading list is really an introduction to friends and poets who I have met face-to-face. We read and wrote poetry together. We drank coffee at sidewalk cafés until dark-thirty. We shared wine after a moonlit poetry reading. Met in cafés and coffeehouse, taverns and art galleries, bookstores and basements and rooftop ballrooms. We did life together.

When I introduce you to poetry, I introduce you to friends.

I’ll continue the reading list, introductions throughout this month and maybe beyond. Why should poetry only be celebrated in April?

NOTES:

[1]Learn more about Pasckie Pascua from this Rapid River Magazine article. http://www.rapidrivermagazine.com/2015/red-is-the-color-of-my-night/
[2]Read the full poem, “Red is the color of my night” and other poems. http://pasckiepascuawords.blogspot.com/p/poetry-red-is-color-of-my-night.html
[3]Jessica Newton is published in several literary journals. The last time we read together was at the Asheville 100 Thousand Poets For Change event. https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2013/10/03/100tpc-quote-jessica-newton/ Jessica was also a finalist in the Mountain Xpress poetry prize: https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2011/04/07/who-will-be-the-winner-of-the-2011-mountain-xpress-poetry-prize/
[4]Mara Leigh Koslen bio: https://palimpsestgarden.com/about/bio/

 

 

[Reprint] Poem: Never look a doughnut dealer in the eyes

[Reprint] Poem: Never look a doughnut dealer in the eyes

NOTES: 1) Originally published April 5, 2011, https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2011/04/05/poem-never-look-a-doughnut-dealer-in-the-eyes/ 2) This is a rough draft and includes typos, erroneous grammar and other literary warts. In this case, perfume is intentionally misspelled to represent a unique American accent.

Ever have one of those days…

DSCN2490[squaretiltdallashi]

Ever have one of those days when you write a blog post that you think is really witty or brilliant, save it as a draft, come back a few hours later and realize it is not only stupid and self-absorbed but utter rubbish?

Yeah, that was me yesterday. So, I deleted the post and decided to share this image of a nice coffee shop and café located in the historic section of downtown Racine, Wisconsin.

Before the landmark Porters of Racine building was demolished last year into a gaping scar of urban planning, it was easy to direct people to Circe Celeste. The hole-in-the-wall café faces — or rather, used to face — the Porters of Racine building. Circe Celeste has a wonderful intimate, ambience and a delicious selection of pastries, coffee and lunch specials. The scones alone are worth a visit to the café.

For regulars to Circe Celeste café, it is a place where everyone knows your name. If you are so fortunate, you might have a sketched portrait of yourself on the wall in the room to the left of the front counter.

It is also a great place to grab a cup of coffee on a rainy day after spending the morning at the Racine Public Library — located a mere block away. It does not matter if the printer/scanner is not working. Or the batteries in the digital camera died while trying to photograph a sketch for a client. Or the iPhone charger was left somewhere 15 miles west of Racine and the phone battery displays 23% power. Circe Celeste café is open and the pour over coffee tastes smooth and bitter with a hint of sunshine.

// 7:14am – been awake for over 2 hours. i think it’s time to brew some coffee.

RT @tweetmeme 50 Beautifully Delicious Coffee Designs | Webdesigner Depot http://bit.ly/tdaMK // really. need. coffee.

Coffee snobs unite!

There’s coffee and then there’s coffee. Ditto what David Burn says:

“I have enough compromise in my life, I don’t need it in my coffee.”

Link