Oct 22, 2015

Nice by Karin Gustafson ~ Book Review

NiceNice by Karin Gustafson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Karin Gustafson is a captivating story teller. She planted me in the middle of family dysfunction, dark secrets, and siblings and I wasn't sure where the story would ultimately take me. I laughed, I cried, got angry, kept reading. The difficult and delightful in this book had me visiting the ghosts of my own childhood. It's a hearty thumbs up for this read!

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Oct 18, 2015

The Conservative Congregant ~ Book Review

The Conservative CongregantThe Conservative Congregant by Paula Walker Baker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paula Walker Baker speaks through her character, Eloise Dowager, the message of change, going outside one's comfort zone and mindset to address the validity of faith put to action. This inspiring read is about serving others and the impact it has on the spirit of the servant.

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Oct 11, 2015

Keep Coming Back ~ Mike Zito

This is the title song from Mike Zito's new album, "Keep Coming Back" which releases November 6, 2015!

Oct 5, 2015

Book Review ~ Birthing Inadequacy

Birthing InadequacyBirthing Inadequacy by Natasha Head
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No Inadequacy in Her Poetry

Natasha Head is a talented poet who speaks truth in all its colors with boldness. In “Birthing Inadequacy” she speaks her truth, the truth in observation, the truth that life can hit like hell. Natasha’s brilliant portrayal of the correlation between actual pregnancy and life experience is powerful reality. I know from having delivered two children and being in life’s womb the pains of inadequacy leaves scars.
I have so many favorites, but I will share the ending of Natasha’s poem “Wolf Born.” It is the growl of remaining true to self, of strength, of a steel will to defy conformity.

“I will not be broken nor be made to abide in a society of
dancing in the face of my blood lust
thinking their safe pasture
will tame me”

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Oct 2, 2015

Romeo Is Homeless ~ Book Review

Romeo Is HomelessRomeo Is Homeless by Julie Frayn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Needle Through The Heart

Alright, Julie Frayn you didn’t have to hit me so hard with this one. I’m a sucker for a love story, but this one isn’t covered in white lace. Julie’s character, August, rebels against her parents by ditching farm life and runs away to a city she’s fantasized as being warm, cuddly and welcoming. I hate spoilers so I won’t jump into details. I will say what August learns about city life is so raw it had me a bit afraid to turn the page. This book isn’t pretty. It’s not meant to be. Having searched a few city streets for runaways myself Julie either has done it or she did some amazing research. Yes it is a hard read, but one well worth your time. Too many kids are living what Julie was bold enough to write.

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Aug 24, 2015

Inhale the Night ~ Book Review

Ben Ditmars is a talented poet who knows how to reach deep inside the reader and touch the passion, love, heartbreak inhabiting the heart. Inhale the Night is full of melancholy and yearning for love desired and love lost. Yet, it isn't a cloudless night because he sprinkles it with light, a quickened pulse, the slip into a dream state where impossible can't invade. I have so many favorites in this book, but Genesis Reloaded, spoke to the poet in me.  "On the eighth impossible day God created words...and he rested and he dreamed and he saw that it was poetry."  This is a book I will read over and over. I highly recommend adding it to your library.

Mazie Baby ~ Book Review

You never know what someone is enduring next door to you and in Julie Frayn's, Mazie Baby, she makes that evident. Mazie endured physical and emotional abuse from her husband for years until she reached a trigger point that made her come to a life changing decision. I am not a fan of spoilers so I won't elaborate. I will elaborate on Julie's authentic voice on abuse. Her wording, phrasing tells a story as if she has lived it. The agony of Mazie's mind and body jumps from the page to hit you with outrage. Julie doesn't ask you to agree. She doesn't ask you to speculate. Her words ask you to look at the reality of domestic abuse. Mazie Baby is a powerful read. It is fiction with electric truth pulsing through it. It is a tough read I highly recommend.  

Jun 15, 2015

Cancer, Living With The Word

Fold up all your wounds,
tuck them into another hour,
and never let them see you cry.

No, that's not me. I am good with a smile and a joke, but not good about hiding pain when it effects my children. Dawn, my oldest daughter, has had cancer. She lost her left kidney to the disease in 2008. It was another physical hit among all she has taken over the years. 

She has been for the most part an unanswered question for every doctor she has come in contact with over the past seventeen years. Oh, they have tossed out things like Lupus, Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Wegener's, etc. etc., but there has been no definitive diagnosis. 

Now she is again facing questions, one being cancer. Yes, I wrote it. It is a word I don't like to speak. I don't want to give it airtime when all I have at this point is fear to spill into the universe. A recent MRI presented some question marks that will require biopsies. I won't step out on the cancer bridge until or if I need to cross it. 

Sometimes I really feel like the weak link in the support chain. I don't feel brave or a warrior on my child's behalf. I hold it together as best I can. So much of me wants her right where I can see her, touch her, but that isn't a life she needs or one that I should live either.

Cancer, yes there is living with the word. My daughter is proof of it. I have fears, but they don't own me. There will be plenty of tears along the way. It is my way of coping. My resolve grows a little stronger after the rain.

You can read Dawn's thoughts about cancer here:
Let's Change The Way We Talk About Cancer

May 1, 2015

The Mighty Orq

The Mighty Orq is a Houston, Texas treasure. Get out and hear him if he is ever playing in your area!

Apr 3, 2015

The Nexus Cafe Returns

Wake-UP World! [The highly acclaimed internet radio show The Nexus Cafe will be returning soon!] [It's about ‪#‎art‬, ‪#‎artists‬, ‪#‎artisans‬, ‪#‎poetry‬, ‪#‎music‬, and much more!] [Featuring the original crew: Matthew Hatt, Susie Clevenger, Natasha Head, and Roger Allen Baut] [Listen to previous episodes on BlogTalkRadio.]

Check Out Art Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The Creative Nexus on BlogTalkRadio with The Creative Nexus™ on BlogTalkRadio

Mar 30, 2015

Upon the Blue Couch (Book Review)


Laurie's book is written with transparency. She lets you sit with her on her blue couch and read her highs and lows, and see a bit of yourself in her words. Her poem "Fatalities" hit me hard. Two words cancer and alcoholism so painful that spelling them is easier than saying them, but Laurie pours them into verse and lets you feel their (her) agony. This book is brilliantly written and a definite must for your library.

You can find Laurie at ~ Laurie Kolp Poetry

Three Note Howl: The Wild Hunt (Book Review)


First of all, I love the title of this book. Secondly, I knew I would love this book even before I read it. I am a fan of each of the poets, and when you put them together, you end up with an amazing collection. Shay, is an incredible storyteller. She can move from humor to sensuality with such ease you are not sure whether to laugh or fan the blush on your cheeks. It is hard for me to choose favorites from her work, but three that stand out for me are Sugar, Harpies, and Ruination. "Tell me your name--like something sweet on a spoon, still on your lips, offered, irresistible." ~ Sugar

Kelli has such mastery of being able to say so much with such few words, none of them wasted. The poem, Her Dying: A Review, is so painfully honest. "In her dying there is no poetry. No pretty words to honey the hemlock." Another favorite for me is, Shut up (I'm Writing A Sonnet.)

Joy has a mystical quality to her work. Whether she speaks of flesh and bone or a season you are left with the feeling you have knelt at the feet of a seer. I love the ending to her poem, Brujeria, "Our glances cross in the night world-Ay si, mi amor, it's good to be a witch." Yes, Joy leaves you feeling she has you under her spell.

You can find Shay at ~ Shay's Word Garden

You can find Kelli at ~ Another Damn Poetry Blog

You can Find Joy at ~ Verse Escape

Feb 2, 2015

Mike Zito

I am so happy to see my friend, Mike Zito's song, "Death Row" featured on the promo for WGN America's new show, "Outlaw Country." Mike is a super talented singer/songwriter/musician.

Check out more of his music at mikezito.com Videos | Mike Zito