I believe that the world is beautiful, and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone

“I believe the world is beautiful
 and that poetry, like bread,
 is for everyone,
 and that my veins don’t end in me
 but in the unanimous struggle
 for life, love, little things,
 landscape and bread.”

-Graffiti on a wall in the Mission District of San Francisco

I believe poetry is for everyone. Although many people who read serious print matter and quality fiction do not read poetry, I think that this is their loss. The poetry coming out today is accessible, relevant and enjoyable in concept and sound. Take look at Billy Collins, Natasha Trethaway or even Louise Glück, the 2020 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

My book of poetry, Touch My Head Softly, is accessible. It’s about my experiences with a partner who died of Alzheimer’s. Check it out: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

Add me to your bookshelf on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860

Perspective and Art

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” ― Aldous Huxley

For the artist, the world is shaped by perspective.  It is that ability to view things from their own unique point of view, yet contextualize this point of view in factual reality. Can everything be defined in a limited world?  Can the artist place his/her/their work in the larger framework?

As a writer, I try to contextualize my work in the larger world, but it changes so rapidly.  I find I have just gotten my pen around one situation when another arises to contradict the first.

I have been doing phone banks these past few weeks to get out the vote for the presidential election.  I try to listen to other people’s perspectives when I speak with them because if there is no dialogue, there is no bridge to unification and understanding between people. If I can’t listen to someone, I can’t convince them of my point of view.  The country is so divided that I fear we will never come together again. There are so many signs in front of people’s homes, even in my own community, that advocate different philosophies.  How will we all find a common voice after the election?

The dream state is sometimes a source of inspiration for writers, but this is the opposite of reality. But writes thrive on illusion, on an alternate view of what is.

As we pass through daily living, we pass through many―colored lenses that paint our writing with its own view. Yet how do we bring our view back to the world view, so everyone can relate?

My book, Touch My Head Softly, was recommended by Brilliant Light Publishing.  It is my perspective on Alzheimer’s Disease.  Take a look:

https://www.brilliantlightpublishing.com/eileen-p-kennedy_poet_massachusetts

Big Bear Books Opens in Easthampton, MA

Big Bear Books has just opened in the Keystone Building in Easthampton, MA, 122 Pleasant Street #132. Check out the website:

http://www.bigbearboksandcafe.com

Watch the website for events listings.

Hours are:

Tuesday – Saturday 8:30-4:30, Sunday 9-3.

This beautiful new store features a coffee bar, where up to 10 people can be seated at a time. Come in and relax, grab a coffee, and read a good book.

Big Bear will also take your book orders at:

413-320-8946 or veronica@bigbearbooksandcafe.com

You can also arrange to donate your books here. Stop by and take a look.

“…put your pen to paper and use it to release the animal that hides in the shadow of your hand.” – Pat Schneider from “Sometimes Writing”

What writing releases for me is multifaceted.  It gives me permission and justification for my sorrow, frustration, anger.  I can put it onto the page, and it may stay there, in my ongoing journal, but even if I am the only one to see it, it’s still a release.

It’s a spiritual path, practiced through writing.  I’m not talking about God necessarily.  I’m a recovering Catholic who is currently agnostic, letting in the possibility, but not really knowing.

Creativity is a natural process and blocks to it are unnatural.  Writing unblocks those pathways and gives us access to our true selves.

I took a spiritual journey in writing my latest book of poems, “Touch My Head Softly.”

I released my pain and frustration about having a partner who was stricken by Alzheimer’s Disease and eventually died, leaving me devastated.  Releasing those feelings in the vessels of those poems has been healing for me.

“Touch My Head Softly” is in pre sales at Finishing Line Press:

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

it can also be gotten by clicking on the book cover on this page.

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I’m Delighted that Brilliant Light Publishing Recommended My New Book

I’m delighted that Brilliant Light Press has made me a Recommended Poet for my new book, Touch My Head Softly, from Finishing Line Press.

Take a look: https://www.brilliantlightpublishing.com/eileen-p-kennedy_poet_massachusetts

Can a Book Make a Difference?

“Act as if what you do makes a difference, it does.” William James

Can a book make a difference?  We are told our actions make a difference, but can a book, with diminishing print sales, lack of readership, and confusion about meaning, make a difference. This topic has been on my mind ever since I decided to donate part of the proceeds of my book of poetry about my partner who died of Alzheimer’s to the Alzheimer’s Association.  

When I approached my publisher about it, she didn’t respond.  When I approached the Alzheimer’s Association, they had never heard of such a thing and thanked me for the donation. When I told my friends, they asked if I thought I would sell enough copies to even form a decent donation.  

So why do it?  Some five million people are living with Alzheimer’s, and the number is growing.  I never had it, but the disease killed my partner and wrecked my life ten years ago.  It’s strange to write, publish and then read about this experience.  I thought if I contributed something to the research, it might ameliorate this whole process.

I also found it hard to talk to people about the donation, because they may see it as some strange hero thing. On the other hand, it can also be viewed as self-serving as people may buy the book because part of the proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Association, but as Adele, when she was asked if she was nervous hosting Saturday Night Live, recently said, “But if there was ever a time for any of us to jump head first into the deep end with our eyes closed and hope for the best it’s 2020 right?”

My book, Touch My Head Softly, has two weeks left in pre-sales, that time when my royalty and print run will be determined.  If you buy a copy, you will be getting a good collection of poetry and contributing to the Alzheimer’s Association:https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/touch-my-head-softly-by-eileen-kennedy/

My book is also on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3609820860

I’ll be continuing to post announcements on Tuesdays and blog on Thursdays.

Amherst Books Reopens

There’s nothing like your local book store for a writer. Here you find worthy books, interesting readings and events, and a place to sell your books.

Amherst Books is located at 8 Main Street in Amherst, MA. New Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. You can order books online at books@amherstbooks.com) or by telephone (413-256-1547, 

They believe, and so do I, that books and bookstores are essential, especially in times of crisis. Support them or your local bookstore.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

A Suggestion for Writer’s Block

When I have writer’s block, I sometimes freewrite.

What is freewriting? A writing exercise in which you  write quickly and continuously, with a free association of ideas.

Freewriting is a good technique to shut down your “inner censor” and let your writing flow. The idea is to put down your thoughts as they arise, without judging them, or the way in which they get expressed.

According to  Peter Elbow, a founder of freewriting:

“If you want readers to breathe life into your writing so that they get a powerful experience from it, then you must breathe experience into your words as you write. I don’t know why it should be the case that if you experience what you are writing about–if you go to the bamboo–it increases the chances of the reader’s experiencing the bamboo. But that’s the way it seems to work.”

The basic technique is to simply write without stopping for a set amount of time, say 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t correct what you write. See what happens.

 

My latest collection of poetry is coming out soon. Check it out:

Touch My Head Softly by Eileen Kennedy – Finishing Line Press


 
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

When I have writer’s block, I sometimes freewrite.

What is freewriting? A writing exercise in which you  write quickly and continuously, with a free association of ideas.

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

I don’t know how you deal with self-doubt and self-criticism, but I know that loving life helps.

In the midst of a pandemic, I know this is hard.  But I have been trying to come  up every day with something to be grateful for.  I live in Western Massachusetts, which has some of the loveliest landscapes and lakes on the earth.  I canoe with my partner often.  I find focusing on nature is a great antidote.  I have a porch that looks out on a beautiful meadow and even while I’m sitting in my study writing, I’ll go out to the porch and look at a tree or plant or flower.

My latest collection of poetry is coming out soon. Check it out:

Touch My Head Softly by Eileen Kennedy – Finishing Line Press