THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Friday, June 26, 2009
POET OF THE WEEK: JANICE TOWNLEY MOORE
Janice Townley Moore at Coffee With the Poets in Hayesville.
Over the years Janice Townley Moore has been working hard at the craft and technique of poetry. She has worked quietly, hardly ever calling attention to herself, but the writers with whom she has studied will attest to her talent and determination. Janice has taught for many years at Young Harris College, in Young Harris, Georgia, while living in Hayesville, NC, just across the state line. She's been instrumental in the renaissance of writing in the Clay County area, leading workshops and giving readings. I've known her since 1979. The attention she is receiving is long overdue, including the recent first prize in Press 53's National Poetry Contest, which I judged, not knowing of course that the three poems I immediately set aside as the creme de la creme were hers.
Here's her official biography:
Janice Townley Moore lives in Hayesville, NC, and is a member of the English faculty at Young Harris College in the North Georgia Mountains. In 2005 she published a chapbook, Teaching the Robins, with Finishing Line Press. Her poems have also appeared in The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, Cortland Review, and Apalachee Review. New work is forthcoming in The Pharos and Main Street Rag. Her work is included in several anthologies: The Bedford Introduction to Literature, The Poets Guide to the Birds, In a Fine Frenzy: Poets Respond to Shakespeare, and Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia. She is actively involved in Netwest and serves as the facilitator for the monthly critique group.
Your grass fails to intrigue, programmed as cloned blades-- bermuda or centipede. No pleasant wild onion reek, luck of the four-leafed clover. Where lies the allure of strawberries, the first tiny hearts we ate on a dare for their poison? No ripe boys roll cigars from weeds No queens of the May sit splay-legged, threading clover stem upon stem for the longest chain. In your sad sod dandelions remain extinct, their little parachutes never blown by children with grass prints on their knees into the wild green yonder till our mothers’ voices call us in across the patchwork giving up its light.
from Appalachian Journal
“The breath goes now, and some say, no:”
In Michigan’s Museum I stop, startled by a cube of glass that holds the vial that holds the final breath of Thomas Alva Edison. Who can tell if the air is real, collected by his son at Henry Ford’s insistence? A task of false starts, in this case endings, I imagine Charles Edison on his knees listening at bedside, like a doctor pronouncing, capturing, he thinks, the last of the genius, but having to toss out one gasp for another, and another before he saves the final wisp, genie breath, if uncorked would shatter the cube, the ceiling, blow the steel roof off this building.
first published in Golden Poetry (Brumby Publications)
Photos From Another State
Whatever room for romping a wide back seat offered in the Forties that day ours hosted a picnic. My father lifted it out, lugged it from the rhinoceros belly of our black Desoto. In the shade by the curving cliff it became table and bench. My mother brought forth sausage left from breakfast and three oranges like Christmas. Lyrics from the unseen creek trickled through laurel. This was before Alzheimer’s and chemo, the one time the rhino with its hood ornament like a horn reached another state without needing new parts. This was after my father paid a week’s allowance for my photo with the Indian chief, arms folded across his chest. Beside the wigwam I quivered in white sandals. On the trip home, in the back seat, I spied on my father, his hand making mysterious signals out the window or pointing at something I could never see.
first published in Southern Poetry Review
TEACHING THE ROBINS If it's true what the Chinese say, souls can filter into birds like those two robins outside my window, swooping down. Their feet land on March's early green at the same moment I am teaching Emily Dickison's grief, my throat more taut from last year's losses than the students slumped, sleeping under lowered brims of their baseball caps. The robins stare in at me. They listen to my voice hobbling over "tombs," "the feet, mechanical." They watch me pacing forth and back befhind the panes. The students sleep on in their numbness where poetry does not exist in the lighted arena of their dreams. I think of all the dead, how they do not have to worry about being dead. This morning life is on the other side of the window where one robin remains like an eye coprehending me, long after the other dies.
Previously published in Prairie Schooner and included as the title poem of TEACHING THE ROBINS, 2005
UNDER THE EARTH
Where the road slices through Needle Gorge animals of stone root out of the cliff.
Their snouts, heads, shoulders bulge from red clay as if to catch the scent of ancient water.
Eons piled upon eons this is the only place where the mountain lion will lie with the lamb.
Stacked together, the buffalo, wild boar, oxen, the goat with its grassy beard--
Did they all stop before they reached the saving water of the river, caught in their final breath?
--Janice Townley Moore
Previously published in Southern Humanities Review and included in TEACHING THE ROBINS
Here is a note from Nancy Simpson, posted on her blog, Living Above the Frostline:
I sometimes feel I know Janice T. Moore's poetry as well as I know my own. We have kept in contact about our writing down through the years. We touch base on the phone. She would sometimes ask, "Have you heard from the editors yet?" I'd say, "I got a rejection from X." She ask, "Anything in the human hand?" We consider it encouragement if an editor writes any kind word on the skimpy Post It size rejection, such as "send again" or even the word, "Sorry."
On the phone one time, I asked Janice where she keeps the poems when she is working on them. That was a long time ago and the place may have changed, but her answer was, "In the kitchen in my cookbook. I always have and still do keep my new and in process poems on a clip board and the clip board goes everywhere with me.
"What are you working on." I asked one day. She said, "Do you know the old road between Hayesville and the Folk School? I'm working on a poem titled "What Lies Under the Earth." I have some images of huge animals. They're coming out of the bank, heading toward Brasstown Creek. "
"Yes, I've seen them."
She finished the poem, submitted it to Southern Humanities Review and it was quickly selected for publication. Later UNDER THE EARTH was reprinted in LIGHTS IN THE MOUNTAINS: Stories, Essays and Poems by Writers Living in or Inspired by the Southern Appalachian Mountains (2003) and in Teaching the Robins, Finishing line Press 2005.) You might like these stories:
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.