Reading Poetry Aloud

 So you have just had a poem published in a good journal or even had a book manuscript accepted by a publisher. You feel you have accomplished something, and you should. But now you have to read your poetry to an audience. If you’re published, you need to get your work out into the world. This is not my favorite activity either.  I just finished a reading this week with seven other poets, and felt my inadequacies. 

Poetry is one of the hardest genres to read aloud. Every poem has its own rhythm, can contain rhyme, and often uses fragments or phrases to form lines. This is drastically different from the complete sentences which we are all used to.  Figuring out how to read a line of poetry is unique from interpreting how to read a line of prose. If you don’t read well, you’ll often lose people in your audience.

I do know that people who have done many readings get better at it.  It’s a simple act of “practice makes perfect.”  I’m on my second collection of poetry and I know that reading your poetry aloud will elicit interest.  I’ve had people listen to me read and buy my book. I’ve also read on the radio, and this also elicits interest.  My recently published book, Touch My Head Softly, can be viewed here:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

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Five Writers with New Books to Read May 26 at 7 pm EDT

Five writers with new books all read on May 26 at 7 pm EDT from their new books on the University of Hawaii platform. It will be a book launch for Touch My Head Softly by Eileen P. Kennedy

“Touch My Head Softly is a collection of emotionally-charged poetry that explores life with observant poems that will appeal to anyone who loves inspired poetry.” –Literary Titan

Touch My Head Softly is Eileen P. Kennedy’s new collection of poetry explores the anguish of dying of Alzheimer’s disease for both the victim and the partner. Her first collection, Banshees, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and awarded Second Prize in the Wordwrite Poetry Contest. The new collection is dedicated to people living with Alzheimer’s and their caretakers and part of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. Email EileenPKennedy@yahoo.com for the link to the reading.

Featuring:

Kathryn Holzman, Real Estate: A Novel

Jane M. Johnson, Maven Reaches Mars

Stephanie Shafran, Awakening

Lanette Sweeney, What I Should Have Said

Email EileenPKennedy@yahoo.com for the link to the zoom.

I’m So Grateful that Literary Titan Gave Me a 5-Star Review for Touch My Head Softly

Touch My Head Softly by Eileen P. Kennedy is a heartbreaking but honest collection of poetry. The poems are a stirring reflection of emotions, both before and after, the death of her partner that detail love, sorrow, and frustration. Kennedy’s poetry portray heartbreak and sorrow in few, but powerful, words.

The opening piece to her collection, “The First Decade of the Twenty-First Century,” encapsulates the decade with not only current events like the first black president but also with events in her own personal life, like the death of her partner to Alzheimer’s. My personal favorite from her collection is “Year.” In this poem, Kennedy is vulnerable and open to what life became with her husband’s disease. Broken up by months, we are only able to get a glimpse of that pain, and yet it is still poignant. When comparing this poem to the first one, “Getting Through the Night,” I couldn’t help but tear up a little. In “Getting Through the Night,” we witness the love and connection she and her husband had, and to witness the shift in “Year” was striking. It is important to note that not all poems are dispirited, some capture a bright life in Mexico. Touch My Head Softly is a collection of emotionally-charged poetry that explore life with observant poems that will appeal to anyone who loves inspired poetry.

Pages: 46 | ISBN: 1646624076

https://literarytitan.com/2021/03/30/touch-my-head-softly/?fbclid=IwAR1OQXT0Tbxe4QNs4iFSe6ulDqKmLt6v9rJjkWeaySY5y_oYj5HVADtnj9Q

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“There are dozens of unfinished or aborted projects in my files, but I can only assume they don’t get done because they’re not robust enough to struggle through the birth process.” – Grant Morrison

I have many unfinished poems. Billy Collins says five or six poems wind up in his trash bin before he gets one that’s a keeper.

The concept of being complete is an interesting one. If you are complete, you don’t have to strive to do anything else. You don’t have to reinvent yourself.

We can change as we develop new skills, new experiences, new outlooks. That’s what makes the writing interesting. We adapt to new circumstances and overcome limitations. This affects our writing.

I wrote a book that was just published by Finishing Line Press:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

After it was published, I floundered for awhile, trying to write different things, but not really liking any of the new work. Then I started on a new longer poem about the drowning earth. Here’s an excerpt:

The Boat

“Cuando sale la luna, el mar cubre la tierra

When the moon rises, water covers the earth”

                        –Federico García Lorca

I want to begin with the boat.  It was a thing of beauty.

Can one be seduced by a boat? I was.

This project intrigued me and I continue to work on it today. How do you stay engaged with your writing?

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Rich Michelson Interviews Eileen P. Kennedy about her New Book of Poems

Rich Michelson, author, art dealer and former poet laureate of Northampton, MA, will interview Eileen P. Kennedy on April 27 at 9:15 am EDT on Northampton Poetry Radio, WHMP, 101.5 FM/1240 and 1400 AM about her new collection of poems, Touch My Head Softly (Finishing Line Press, 2021.)

The new collection touches on her experiences with her partner who died of Alzheimer’s Disease in his sixties. Part of the proceeds of the book will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. Her first collection, Banshees (Flutter Press, 2015,) was nominated for a Pushcart and awarded second prize in the Wordwrite Book Awards. If you can’t listen live, check out the interview on the whmp.com website:

https://whmp.com/podcasts/shows/bill-newman/

You can check out the book here:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

You can donate to the Alzheimer’s Association at:

ALZ.org

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Creating a Rough Draft

When I taught writing, I always had my students to a rough draft before the actual paper. A rough draft should include a clear direction in your paper. When you are required to submit a rough draft, it doesn’t need to be perfect, but it should be complete. That means, you shouldn’t be missing any of the major parts of the paper. 

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You should begin with a draft. Write a draft and then walk away and return again. Your second and third draft will probably be better.

When I wrote my recent poetry collection, Touch My Head Softly (Finishing Line Press, 2021,) I didn’t have a draft. The poems came slowly through the years. If I did have the rough draft of what I wanted the collection to look like, it would have gone much more quickly. It was five years in the making.

My new book can be viewed at:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

This is the link to my book on Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Rich Michelson Interviews Eileen P. Kennedy about her New Book of Poems

Rich Michelson, author, art dealer and former poet laureate of Northampton, MA, will interview Eileen P. Kennedy on April 27 at 9:15 am EDT on Northampton Poetry Radio, WHMP, 101.5 FM/1240 and 1400 AM about her new collection of poems, Touch My Head Softly (Finishing Line Press, 2021.)

The new collection touches on her experiences with her partner who died of Alzheimer’s Disease in his sixties. Part of the proceeds of the book will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. Her first collection, Banshees (Flutter Press, 2015,) was nominated for a Pushcart and awarded second prize in the Wordwrite Book Awards. If you can’t listen live, check out the interview on the whmp.com website:

https://whmp.com/podcasts/shows/bill-newman/

You can check out the book here:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

You can donate to the Alzheimer’s Association at:

ALZ.org

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How Does Weather Affect Your Writing?

Weather can be a major factor in a story or poem. If you look out your window, you can be inspired. I live in Western Massachusetts, where they say “If you don’t like the weather, just wait.” It changes rapidly from beautiful sunny days, to mist, to rain, to snow, sometimes in the same day. I usually spend some time in Costa Rica in the winter, where I am now, where there are many ecosystems in a little country, including temperate, dry, tropical, sub-tropical. There is a dry and a rainy season, and the winds, called Papagayo, blow across the Cordillera del Talamanca.

Think of all the climates in novels. British author J. Ballard in The Wind from Nowhere, creates a dystopia in which hurricane-force winds dominate the climate. Mother of Storms by John Barnes describes a catastrophic weather change caused by a nuclear explosion. Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, where the world is divided into gated communities and pleeblands where the working class lives in unsafe, populous and polluted communities. Weather in a book an be a plot motivator or scene setter.

And where would we be without nature poems. Think of William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,”

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

March 2021

March has brought unusually beautiful weather Costa Rica, with sunny skies, and wind blowing cooling breezes through the mountains.   I hear the Northeast has been engaged in “glorious spring” with temperatures largely in the 60’s Fahrenheit.

Storms really are unpredictable. They can add an interesting plot twist to a novel, or line to a poem. And they can move from dangerous, unpredictable weather, to rainbows and sunshine. How does this affect your plot?

In my latest book of poetry, Touch My Head Softly, the story involves my lover who had dementia. While I see an “unrelenting grey,” my partner, in his altered state, sees “white lilies surviving frost.”

Check out my book at:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Or view it on Goodreads at:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Esterillos Este Sunset. Photo by Eileen P. Kennedy