talkstowolves: (firebird belongs to the holy)
From [personal profile] erzebet (lovely editrix of Cabinet des Fées*):

Speaking of sentences**, the mythic/fairy tale anthology In The Telling (in which we find a title by an author whose work I happen to love) might not see the light of day due to low pre-sales. Times are hard and selling poetry is always hard, but I know that the people who read this blog are huge supporters of poetry and mythic fiction in general.

From the website:
"In the Telling celebrates the art of storytelling—whether the making of myth or the stories we tell ourselves to bring narrative and shape to the lives we leave. These fine narrative pieces in lyric form showcase the poetic talents of some of the most interesting emerging poets from Wales, the UK and the world. Woven together by skilled editors, both experienced poets, this array of stories become a poetic journey of meaning found in the telling."

Please visit Cinnamon Press (scroll down until you read the blurb for In The Telling) and, if it moves you, support this wonderful cause.

* Cabinet des Fées lately got an amazing make-over thanks to the designing prowess of [personal profile] erzebet! Check it out-- these are new clothes I guarantee you'll see the grandeur of! ;)

** [personal profile] erzebet also recently made a fascinating post about the power of stories, the essence of which can be distilled into one hard-hitting sentence. Join in the discussion!
talkstowolves: Fairy tales inform us for life.  (fairy tales take me far from here)
Anyone with a snatch of time, who's not adverse to poetry and can listen to something on the computer should do this:

Queue up S.J. Tucker's The Train Suite I, Ambient Mix (which you can listen to for free or purchase at that link). Then open up "In Nunhead Cemetery" by Charlotte Mew in a new tab. Start the music and begin to read.

It doesn't perfectly sync up, but there are some true moments of eeriness in the pairing.

(I research and write my papers while listening to music... and the above scenario happened completely randomly yesterday. Amazing. ...speaking of my paper, it's twelve pages now and as good as it's going to get for classwork.)
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
Speaking of giving work away for free, [personal profile] cadhla has been doing it for years, both in the form of Iron Poet and her awesome poetry tutorials. Because I am mad like a mad thing and also enjoy learning shiny new skills, I have also been known to engage in a round of Iron Poet or two and also to use [personal profile] cadhla's tutorials to practice new poetry styles. (I even composed a Lover's Chain. No, you don't get to see it. Unless you're the person it was meant for, in which case you already have.)

For the third annual International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day, I have decided to share some of my apprentice labors with you all! (Don't laugh too hard. Constructive criticism's okay. ;))

First, a triolet inspired by Desire from Neil Gaiman's Sandman:

"Eyes of Desire"

Your eyes amber, the color of dunes,
burn me like the sun sears the sky.
What is this desire that within me blooms?
Your eyes amber, the color of dunes,
cut me deep, leave me bereft as the sea croons,
lapping against the shore, a desirous cry.
Your eyes amber, the color of dunes,
burn me like the sun sears the sky.

Second, a tilay:

"A Nap Beside the Quiet Sea"

When She hums an elegant tune,
my heart is put at ease once more.

The elegance is of sussuration:
a sea rising and falling in gentle breathing
and blue tones in my mind set to softly seething.
She invokes movement of imagination.

Whole worlds spiral; I fall to sleeping curled:
a double helix of stars slowly revolve here
in my heart, in my eyes as I lie sleeping there
and I recall when I first walked this world.

This, the meaning of dreaming's core:
my weave revealed in Mother's croon.

And, lastly, a Variant Italian sonnet:

"Gather No Hyacinths"

The past echoes,
sinking through dreams, deep into blood and bone:
a body-map of what was
drifting from you like smoke from fire.
How do we set this down, a book read,
consumed, left to seep into
the background of life unfettered?
Why stand still in startled rue?

The past echoes,
stirring a memory of eyes: grey stone,
and a cheek slapped because
your wings spread and took you higher.
Can we not set this down, a book read,
some pages torn out, held true,
on your heart stenciled and lettered?
Why still stand in startled rue?

When can we set this down, a book read,
cast off for its foolish view?
Will we live a life undeterred,
leave this life of startled rue?

I will scatter past ashes
with no sense of startled rue.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
I have a poem in the 50th issue of The Pedestal Magazine:

"Ireland, A Sapphic Poem." A poem about lovers, about the love between poet and place, about the evocation of place in succinct lines.

Please drop by and read it, and the other amazing poems featured in this issue. I found "Suitors," which follows my piece, to be particularly engaging. Also, as guest editor Susan Terris notes in her introduction, she strung these poems together as beads on a string, so that each bead complements both the bead that came before and the one that tumbles after.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, both on my work and the rest of the magazine.

Also, at long last, my review of Clockwork Phoenix edited by Mike Allen has appeared at Green Man Review.

The subtitle featured on the cover of Clockwork Phoenix is "tales of beauty and strangeness" and, with Mike Allen's introduction, he immediately attempts to deliver on this promise. Readers are treated to an extended metaphor -- a brief sketch of a literal clockwork phoenix and its searing flight through a strange and moving train -- meant to prepare us for the contents and the journey this collection represents. This introduction comes across with mixed results: I prefer my introductions to be less abstract and with more relevant introspection. However, if you prefer to look at the anthology as a structure, I'm not sure what more appropriate foyer the architect could have afforded visitors.

The mixed results of the introduction are, in a way, perfectly representative of a collection of stories that is mixed in quality. Some of the worst stories seemed promised front-runners -- witness Catherynne M. Valente's "The City of Blind Delight" and John Grant's "All the Little Gods We Are" -- while some of the best stories turned out to be by relative unknowns, such as Erin Hoffman's "Root and Vein" and Michael J. DeLuca's "The Tarrying Messenger." Instead of trying to group these into sections according to their perceived quality, however, the best way to examine this anthology is surely to follow it through in its arranged order. [Read the rest of the review at this link.]
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
As of September 1st, 2008, a lovely new issue of Cabinet des Fées' online journal has gone live!

My poem "My Small Army of Souls" appears in this issue of Scheherezade's Bequest (the online treasure trove of Cabinet des Fées), along with a host of other quite intriguing and wonderful fairy tale poems and flash fiction.

(Note: My poem was inspired by Elise Mattheson's bracelet of the same name.)

In addition, there's an excellent essay by Mia Nutick on her brilliant [ profile] chimera_fancies pendants. (By the way, fair readers, there is going to be a [ profile] chimera_fancies sale next Monday at 6 PM PST. Be ready!)

This update also included the addition of Folkpunk 101 and Book Review* sections and an interesting interview with [ profile] tithenai and [ profile] mer_moon, the fascinating editrices of Goblin Fruit.

Check it out!

* I'll be contributing book reviews to Cabinet des Fées in future updates.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
Sometimes, this project is difficult. This is most often the case when I have eleventy-billion things to do and yet refuse to drop any commitments, especially this one. Sometimes, this project is difficult because the ideas that occur don't want to be limited to such a short form. They entice me, whisper how much more they could be. That was the case with the main character in "In Extremis" and with the fellas from "The Brotherhood of Applied Sciences."

For today's prompt-- "desire," given by [ profile] caudelac-- I came up with three long-form projects and one I couldn't write because of other people. Last night, in bed, another two occurred to me that I don't have a hope of gracefully pulling off in a short time frame.

One idea kept pushing at me: I want to show how much desire is responsible for repulsion as it is for attraction. Several of the above mentioned projects attempted to do that in different ways. What I settled on at last, however, is imagery I would say is charged for most people.

The work featured here today is not freshly written, so I don't feel right in putting up the donate button. If you appreciate the work and want to donate anyway, you can find the permanent banner at the Tales from the Wishing Well home page.

As always, if you have no idea what's going on here, click this link to read an explanation of the project.

Comments are welcome!

* * *

Mortal Desires
A Poem from the Wishing Well

by Deborah J. Brannon

Rabbit tossed a coin into the well, and upon this coin was inscribed: Desire.

"I seek mercy! I seek absolution!"
I offer neither.
"I seek love... I seek peace..."
I can be both.
"I fear you! will run!"
I will follow.
"I am weary. I await you!"
I will embrace you.
"I seek passion; I seek... feeling."
I am cold.
"In darkness, there is peace? In coldness, there is love?"
I am here for you.
"What do you want from me?"
Only you.



Tales from the Wishing Well.
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
As many have, ever since I saw the Wordle application on [ profile] nineweaving's journal, I have been playing with various texts. Below, you can see one representing my short story, "The Trees of Trellan":

"The Trees of Trellan"
(click for larger version)

Sadly, this short story of piratical and alien lovers has been rejected once again. I have a couple more venues in mind before it goes down for a rewrite, however.

In much better news, I have had a poem accepted for publication in the September issue of Scheherezade's Bequest on Cabinet des Fées! The poem is entitled "My Small Army of Souls" and both the title and text of the poem were inspired by [ profile] elisem's lovely bracelet, "My Small Army of Souls."

I'll also be reviewing Oscar Wilde's fairy tales for that edition, so look forward to it.

Finally, I've been promoted to the status of Master Reviewer at Green Man Review and also started writing blurbs (only for the book reviews) for their biweekly issues.

Mostly good news there, I should say!
talkstowolves: (all the poets know)
I meant to debut my website tonight, yet it seems that my provider has gone down. Alas. Tomorrow, my dear friends.

Yet all is not lost! Please, enjoy this short poem that I wrote the other day:

Southern Scribes
by Deborah J. Brannon

It is summer and magnolia blossoms
shimmer in the heat, white parchment
limp and languid under a Southern sun.
They dream of the soft calligraphy
in a sudden rainstorm, warm drops
teasing shudders from the petals,
scrawling unspoken poetry in strange
cadences across their aging pages.

* * *

[ profile] erzebet is selling some remarkable books, especially if your tastes run toward fairy tales. Help her and Papaveria Press flourish! (You can find the book sale posts by going to her journal.)

[ profile] erzebet is also selling some absolutely lovely wall art: bone scrolls made of beads and bone and flowers. Puck and Dragon Fly.

Fantasy Magazine is hosting a contest to wind a copy of Fangland by John Marks: all you have to do is submit a piece of flash fiction recasting a classic story in a contemporary setting.

[ profile] upstart_crow is looking for a cover for her forthcoming book The Memory Palace (autobiographical poetry collection, coming soon from Norilana Books in 2009). If you've any artistic visual skills, it could be you're the designer!

[ profile] deliasherman has posted the submissions guidelines for the second collection of Interfictions: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing. Reading period begins October 1st!

Whew. Some exciting stuff there.
talkstowolves: Books + tea, books + coffee, either way = bliss.  (reading is a simple pleasure)
There are some exciting things afoot! If only they weren't so behind-the-scenes right now. Still, I will shortly be able to share on some of them.

Last year, for National Poetry Month, I hosted intermittent poetry attacks on my journal. I haven't had the opportunity to do that so far this month (too tied up with school, etc.), but I hope I'll at least be able to throw some original poetry at you guys each week for the rest of the month.

So, in that spirit: have a poem!

by Deborah J. Brannon

I walked down the path
though I was frightened
--a thousand smoke-colored birds
flew up
startled (a sudden exhalation)
and I thought that must be
what terror looked like
in the hearts of the great.
The soft creature of me paused
a great tension stirring in my thighs:
I could feel the furious blood
in those desperate bodies
winging across the still bloodless
My eyes fell to a red sun rising
--but the blue of the sky could not leave
my eyes.
I kept walking.

Poetry from last year: Elegy for a Fallen Angel
(which, incidentally, was also my offering for International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day)
talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (Default)
The Internet (in some incarnation) is here to stay. Online interactive content is the wave of the future, and promoting the value of your work via the Internet is absolutely nothing to shy away from.

There are many, many artists that I have discovered online and subsequently spent large amounts of cash on. If it weren't for them freely posting some of their works to the Internet, I'm not sure that I would have found them as easily. This says nothing about their talent and everything about methods of physical distribution.

A few examples:

I found Stephanie Pui-Mun Law online and have spent hundreds of dollars on her artwork. I found Ursula Vernon online as well: I haven't spent hundreds on her, but I've spent a bit.

I also discovered the beautiful work of [ profile] elisem online, and I'm not even sure I want to figure up how much money I've spent on her jewelry.

In the realm of written works, I've discovered so many excellent authors online. Some I was introduced to via Endicott Studio (brilliant mythic arts site) and some I've found through various blogging sites: e.g., Catherynne M. Valente, Peg Kerr, Mia Nutick, and Jo Walton. Not to mention writers like [ profile] quassandra, [ profile] besideserato, [ profile] thewriteratwork, [ profile] aglassyday, [ profile] haikujaguar, [ profile] jackbabalon23, [ profile] kijjohnson, [ profile] lyda222, [ profile] penmage... the list goes on.

Do I even need to mention the amazing singing of S.J. Tucker, which I also only discovered because some of her songs were posted for free online?

I am a proud member of these Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Wretches. Make no mistake.

With all that being said, please find links below to my contributions to today's Technopeasant Revolution Celebration. I'll try and get them up on their own pages on the 'net (and on my website) later, but for now you'll have to read it via livejournal.

Elegy For A Fallen Angel (posted earlier as today's Intermittent Poetry Attack!)

Creative Nonfictiony Fiction:
And My Sky Full of Stars
talkstowolves: We love stories that subvert the expected. Icon inspired by In the Night Garden, Valente. (not that kind of story)
I chose this poem by Catherynne M. Valente ([ profile] yuki_onna around these parts) because of how closely I can identify with it. Anyone, I imagine, who's lived in another country, turned their tongue to learning another language, and listened with an unschooled ear can feel the depth of connection and shame illuminated through her words:

The Emperor of Tsukuyama Park
Catherynne M. Valente

When first the word was spoken, I heard:
Tsuki-yama -- Lord Moon.
And for me, the moon settled onto a dais, with
sixteen-pointed chrysanthemums in his phosphor-hands,
topknot oiled with seaweed and orange,
his hakama fringed in silver worms
which wove on and on,
flooding the nightingale-floor with silk.

The folds of his sleeves creased blue and black
in signet-shadows, descending like stairs to me,
in a poor, threadbare yukata,
my sallow Western skin protruding,
forehead pressed to his white tatami.
For me, the moon extended a branch of heavy plums
and with well-water eyes forgave my ignorance of protocol,
my botched obi, my hair unpinned and ragged.

When winter came to Tsukayama Park,
it seemed to me that the strange-limbed tigers
of his wall-hangings
rumbled like clouds, and I was permitted to watch
the sparrows spiral up to his ashen ear. Under his cratered arms,
I knelt, and whispered tears into the hiragana of my palm-lines,
obscuring the text with salt and snow.

For him, I was always penitent.
I did not question his rule over the cherry trees, the green tide,
the steam of tea in a glazed cup. I allowed him to stifle
my breath in twelve layers of white silk, to paint me a new mouth,
to fold back my hair in beryl combs
that cut my scalp with piscine teeth. For him, I pressed out my pride,
flat as a river, and bowed my face to the floor.

When summer came to Tsukayama Park
it seemed to me that his voice was the thrust-cry of cicadas,
that the wind beat drums of star-hide, that I had
learnt the angle of the closed mouth
well enough to pass for one of his own.

But in the midst of my prostrations, my rain-hymns,
the steeping of my braids in inkwells,
I heard a woman laugh at me.
She said that the word was
Tsukayama -- top of the hill -- nothing more.
And for me, the moon was excised from the sky.

I had no grace left but my face flattened into sun-cracked dirt,
no patron but the feet of a false moon,
evaporated into plain grass and a stone stair.

My kimono dissolved to water,
and the sparrows turned in shame
from my nakedness.

© 2005-2006 Catherynne M. Valente

You can find this poem in her Apocrypha collection.

I'd also like to show you the way to another poem of hers, published at the Pedestal Magazine: Suzuri. This poetic vignette captures one of my favorite Japanese holidays: Tanabata (or Hoshi-Matsuri, the Star-Festival).
talkstowolves: Writer by heart, English teacher by trade.  (bad grammar makes me sic)
I'm making my seniors read a poem each day in class since it's National Poetry Month. We take the first few minutes of class to read the poem, briefly discuss what it's about, and then to express what we think about it or how it makes us feel.

Today's poem was Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias." For your edification (and/or enjoyment), find the text of this poem below the cut:

Look upon my works, ye mighty... )

Of course, I had to explain it to them. I don't mean that I simply had to fill them in on the historical context (Ramses II and all that). NO. I had to tell them that, within the text of the poem, you read that the author meets a traveler who tells him about a broken statue of arrogant expression. And that the traveler reads an inscription that proves very ironic, given the shattered statue and the encroaching barren sands.

As I was explaining these basics to them, they interrupted me no less than twice to tell me they didn't understand. I became vexed and spoke over them, quite loudly, and somewhat caustically. All this before I even got to the historical aspects.

I weep for the future of America.

Meanwhile, in my Film Studies class, we've been watching Casablanca. At least 1.5 students actually got into it. I was so pleased and I didn't mind at all having to stop the movie multiple times to explain quips, plot points, or context to them. They were interested and wanted to understand. That was so refreshing.

Casablanca is one of my favorite movies of all time. It comes from an era when movie-makers didn't assume their audiences were stupid or possessed of 2-minute attention spans. I love the clever wordplay, the characters, and... yeah, it's just awesome.

I am clearly too tired, yet I said I would finish watching Van Wilder with my brothers. Obviously this is a far cry from the film I was just describing, but it's still amusing. Ryan Reynolds cracks me up.

P.S. For an awesome post on the myth of the medieval knight, please see this post on [ profile] sirandrew's journal!

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