Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Le Tour de France

Every year during July, former world time trial champion Emma Pooley hears the same question: Why aren’t you riding the Tour de France? And every year, the British cyclist is forced to give the same answer: Because there is no Tour de France for women. 

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Today it is at the 17th 
staging area!


Profile of Stage 17,  23 July

  Midweek Motif ~ Le Tour de France

Your challenge is to write a vivid poem . . . 

. . . about the annual event or any one of its parts, locations, personalities  ...  take us there with rich imagery!

For this once you may use a poem you wrote anytime during this year's race--it doesn't have to be new today.

Here's inspiration ~  Tour de France Poetry 
from Bicycling Magazine:

Today was the final day
in the mountains
and the fog descended,
as did the mists, over wet
roads making for dicey riding.
Froome pulled Wiggins
up the final ascent
while Vincenzo Nibali appeared
to drift away both mentally and physically,
perhaps dreaming prematurely
of the Champs-Elysees
or a vacation somewhere at sea level
with a cool drink in his hand
and warm sand beneath his calloused feet.
Cadel Evans, clearly under the weather,
looked sluggish and burnt,
his dimpled chin tucked down
to his chest, sweat dripping
onto his red and black jersey,
his race is nearly over
you could see it in his face today.

One in a series of poems written for the 99th Tour de France by Todd Colby. To hear Todd Colby read this poem, click on the title above.  For other poems in this series, click here.    Currently blogging at Todd Colby's Glee Farm, Todd's new book of poems, Splash State, will be out September First from The Song Cave. 


1.      Post your "Tour de France" poem on your site, and then link it here.
2.      Share only original work from July 2014  inspired by the Tour de France.
3.      Leave a comment here.
4.      Honor our community by visiting and commenting on others' poems.

(Next Week's Midweek Motif will be Boycotts.)

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Life of a Poet - Claudia Schoenfeld

I have a wonderful treat for you today, my friends. This week we are meeting with Claudia Schoenfeld, who writes  at Jaywalking the Moonwhom we all know so well as a beloved staff member at dVerse Poets Pub, which has just celebrated its third wonderful year! We will be visiting this lovely, warm-hearted poet in Germany, close to France and Switzerland, which sounds pretty exciting to this armchair traveler!

Sherry: Claudia, I am so happy to be meeting with you. Let’s go all the way back. Where did you grow up? Is there anything you can see in your childhood, looking back, that you think led to your becoming a poet? Is there one person who encouraged your creativity as a child?

Claudia: I grew up in a small town in the south of Germany and, funny that you ask for childhood influences on my becoming a poet, because just last week I found an old “Poesiealbum” That is a little book that you give to your friends and teachers and they write little verses into it. There was one entry from my German teacher – must have been 6th grade or so – and she wrote a little poem into my Poesiealbum and underneath wrote “I hope that in the future you will have as much fun with poetry as you have now” I didn't remember this, and we didn't read a lot of poetry in school, but when we did, I liked it.
Basel marketplace with red Town Hall

Sherry: That sounds almost prophetic, Claudia! I saw in your dVerse bio that you live in Germany, close to France, work in Switzerland, and are used to crossing borders. What a fantastic location!! 

Claudia: I still live in that little town close to France and the Swiss border, with my husband of 26 years, and three grown up kids. I cross borders into Switzerland every day to get to my workplace in Basel, where I'm working full time in a technical company, organizing customer events and Seminars.

My three children

Sherry: It sounds like a marvelous life, Claudia. And your children are beautiful. When did you write your first poem? And what was it that made you choose poetry as your means of creative expression? 

Claudia: I wrote my first poem on June 17, 2010 – that was after a long, rainy spring and I just longed for sunshine and summer and the words kinda poured themselves onto the page without me really realizing what was happening... smiles.

I wrote my second poem for the first OneShotWednesday when OneStopPoetry started – that was July 7, 2010 – it was about an origami artist whom I met in Lucerne during an Event.

Sherry: What do you love about poetry?

Claudia: I think I love the freedom and possibility that poetry gives – nothing is wrong – you can walk the edge between truth and imagination – invent images as you go – I love this – It’s like breathing for me.

walk the edge between truth and imagination....

Sherry: I love that quote! What keeps you writing? What are your hopes for your writing in the years ahead?

My sketch of my mom's coffee table

Claudia: Poetry for me is also “snap-shooting” little slices of my life – it's a bit like a diary – I wanna “store” the moment with all its emotions and colors like you could never do in a photo – think that is what keeps me going. Getting published is not necessarily a goal, though I have been published in several magazines and collections.

Sherry: Oh, that's cool, Claudia! (I love your sketch, by the way!) Where has your work been published? 

Claudia: I'm published in two issues of an american magazine and different anthologies. I have ten poems in Fragments by blueflute,  and I was about to do a book with his new founded press, with a collection of just my poems. It was a lot of work and editing though, and I gave up halfway through, cause for me it is more important to interact in the online poetry world with other poets than to have a book out. Maybe one day I will change my mind, but for the moment I'm happy with that.

Sherry: When you're ready, the last half will go quickly, kiddo.  How has blogging impacted your writing? How did your blogging journey bring you to dVerse Poets Pub?

Claudia: I started the blog to “practise” for a blog I had to write for my job – and I first wrote in German about everyday events – looked at other blogs – stumbled upon a guest post by Ed Pilolla – a poem “Bribing the Fireflies” and loved it – and that kinda hit me -  through him I met Brian Miller when they were just about to start OneStopPoetry – that got me started.

Sherry: I love them both! Such beautiful men! What do you find most rewarding about helping to run a community blog? Is there anything you find disheartening about it? Does it consume a lot of your time?

Claudia: I think it's great to have a place on the web where poets can come and just be who they are, where they find teaching and encouragement, people to talk to. This is one of the reasons why I love to run the pub. It is a lot of work though, and it’s disheartening when people just link and run and never visit or comment on others' work. For me it’s giving and taking – some people just take and that makes me sad a bit.
Sherry: Your staff does a wonderful job at dVerse! It is such a supportive and welcoming place. Who is your favourite well-known poet, and what do you love about his or her work?

Claudia: I like Bukowski a lot and love Bob Hicok's poetry almost as much as Brian Miller's (only almost though...smiles) What I love about Bukowski is that he’s real and raw – Bob Hicok does amazing things with images and metaphors – Brian does both – he has a wide range from hip hop style to very gentle – I love this.

Sherry: I love looking at the world through Brian's eyes. He is a man with a wonderful heart. Do you have a favourite poem, or two, written by you, that we can include here? Is there a bit of backstory to it, you might like to share?

Claudia: There’s one that I wrote just recently that is close to my heart as it marks a turning point.

My husband and I had big problems in our marriage and a few weeks ago I moved out cause I didn’t see a future for us anymore. But then we decided to work on our marriage, did a communication training and counseling, and things have changed quite a bit since then..

beyond the frayed parts//what it took //to make me cross back into wholeness

i carefully undress
into the heat, the holiness–
of first times/musk_taste on my lips
across the open prairie, wind,
a lion’s head bent back
in silent worship to the breeze,
mane glistening
with humidity,

&i —expand lightning in his arms
last night after our conversation-homework
halting/shivering lips
i read one of my poems to him/
fragile/first time/first steps
“it is good to get2know you in a new way” he says
i translate,

lay my heart/opened
next to a pile of books, remote control,
a cup of tea// for him to touch//me
“if i’m not commenting on your blog, is that ok?”
“that’s good”
i lean against his chest

„can you stay?“
i test the planks, step back
„not yet“
pull my car into the traffic
in the rearview, taillights– red/
reverberating on his face

back in the bed at my friend’s flat, there’s a poem
by my husband, ink-wet
in my inbox
titled “thoughts”
not more
&more i ever hoped for

to decrease life’s brittleness
& close the last big gap
before me

Sherry: I remember the series of poems you wrote as you walked through this process. Thank you so much for sharing it here. I was so happy when I read this poem, about the breakthrough moment. You and your husband look so good together. Here is a favourite of mine that you wrote soon after that:

on theA8 – Stuttgart //Basel //&my shoes are business blue but still– a little magical

the turtle in the rearview looks at me with old, dark eyes

autobahn singing grey-toned tunes
beyond the lane a smile
and on my sword

the blood of twitching dragons

“see” i say to my colleague
“i wanna do the right things, not just things/ right&—”

her eyes red with moonlight
“you know what i mean?”
“i think..”

my work phone rings— India
“ok – i’ll check the dates once i’m in the office,
when they stay in Zürich, do they really wanna go to Engelberg?
i would suggest—”

&there’s a weird intimacy in rubbing lips
with concrete at 150 miles per hour
a red Ferrari

i want a fountain
sprinkling over me
dancing in my white bikini&plateau blue
in a cradle with the sunset’s
melting chest

“got a key code for the tank card?”
“yeah, it is–“

i grab a bucket
wash an insect army
from the windscreen’s tainted face,
send an image of my new blue sandals
to my man,

the sun’s fragmented spine&i
in every drop that spills
evaporating from the wiper’s lips
he messages

“oh dang, those shoes are hot”

&i climb back in the Mercedes’ overheated womb
white shirt and business suit
& through the rainbow text

“i’ll be home (check watch) in–“

press delete//deciding

to surprise him

Sherry: I so love the hope and happiness in this poem. You write most often in free verse. Do you like form poetry? Find it restrictive? Or?

Claudia: I like to try different forms, and the challenge that comes with form poetry - but my true love is freeform just because I can do whatever I want to – ha – I love the freedom and flexibility freeform gives.

Sherry: Me, too. Tell us about you and music.  Do you perform, or play for your own pleasure?

Claudia: I love to sing and sang for years in a choir. I can play the guitar and the piano moderately and played both in our church band, and I started playing the Alto Sax when I turned 40 – just to try something new and because I love the sound, but hardly find time to play at the moment.

My kitchen

Sherry: What other things might we find you doing, when you aren’t writing ?

Claudia: I love hiking or biking on my road bike. I also started to sketch a few months ago and will actually attend two sketching workshops this summer – one in England and one in Italy – I tend to exaggerate... esp. if something’s new and exciting...smiles

Sherry: I envy you those sketching workshops in such beautiful places.  They will be wonderful.  Do you love to travel? Favourite place you have ever been? Top spot on your Bucket List you’ve still to visit?

Claudia: Oh yes – I love to travel – it makes me feel alive – expands my borders and stretches me in a challenging but good way.

It's not easy to pick a favourite – maybe Rome – New York – I fell in love with Berlin and still not quite sure what it is that fascinates me so about that city...

I have never been to Asia – I would love to visit India one day.

Sherry: One poet said if you can only go to one place in your life, make it India. I hope you make it there. Is there a cause you are passionate about? What keeps you awake at night?

Claudia: I can get passionate about almost everything and luckily I have a good sleep – so...

Sherry: Well, sleep is important. Smiles. Is there anything you’d like to share that I dont know you well enough to ask?

Claudia: I love the scent of fresh washed laundry in a summer breeze...smiles
I have a very good nose and smell things usually before others do
I'm very bad with orientation and keep getting lost...

Sherry: I love that. Now we know you have a sensitive nose. A surprise in every interview! Anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Claudia: I think you're doing a great job, and I know how much work it is to run such a site and make people feel welcome, prepare the articles, interviews etc. – thanks for that.

Sherry: Thank you, Claudia, for a wonderful visit. It has truly been a pleasure.

Another pilgrim making her poetic journey, my friends, and isn't she lovely? Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Poetry Pantry #210

Greetings, Poets!

Hope everyone is having a great July so far.  We are finally having some seasonably warm weather here, which is nice.  I waited a long time.  Hope the weather is good where you are.  We are in the middle of festival season here at our lakefront and downtown.  We have already had our large 10-day-long Summerfest, Pride Festival, Bastille Days, and this weekend is Festa Italiana.  Next comes German Fest, followed by Irish Fest, Mexican Fest, Indian Summer, and so it goes.  Something for most everyone to enjoy.

Glad to see each of you here this week for Poetry Pantry.  It is always enjoyable for me to get to know you through your poetry; and I hope you feel the same.  Admittedly, I personally appreciate those with whom there is a feeling of reciprocity, which makes for a feeling of community.  I think we ALL tend to visit (after a while) people with whom we reciprocate.  I just don't GET people who link and enjoy visits, yet don't bother to visit others -- even those who spent time making comments on their poetry.

This week I am sharing a photo I found on Wikimedia Commons.  It is a photo of  the Charlotte, North Carolina, skyline.  I am hoping others will share photos with me so that I can share them here....

Be sure to visit Poets United Monday to see what Sherry Blue Sky  has planned to share.  Will it be a featured poet?  A featured blog?  Or a featured poem?

Glad to see there is always a  great turn-out for Midweek Motif.  We hope to see you this coming week for another challenging prompt by Susan Chast!  (And, ha, perhaps many of you have noticed that if you look at one week's prompt Susan gives  a clue about the following week's prompt as well, so you can get a head start.)

And on Friday, remember to see who Rosemary Nissen-Wade features on "I Wish I Had Written This" or  "The Living Dead."

I issue an invitation here to those of you who participate in Poetry Pantry.  If YOU have special photos that you would like me to feature some week, let me know what kind of photos you have.  There are participants here from many different cities, many different countries.  I think it is great fun to see different areas featured. I am especially interested in scenic views of your area or an area you have visited.  Send inquiries first to letting me know what you have.  I am interested in city or country views - in your home area or places you have traveled.

Link your ONE poem.   Then leave a comment below. Then visit other poets.  And I will too.  (If I miss your poem, visit me, and I will visit you... I am like anyone else, appreciating reciprocity.) We ALL like comments, so if you link please DO spend time visiting others.  That is part of the fun as well.  We really like it if you link back to Poets United too, so we spread the Poetry Pantry word in the blogosphere.

Come back a few times on Sunday and Monday to see what's new.  Visit some strangers, and they will become new friends!  Making new friends and reading new poetry, what more could one want?

If you are on Facebook, look for us there as well. Join our site.  It is one more way to stay in touch!

And is the procedure, for those who are new here:  Each Sunday we start a new post with a New Mr. Linky for you. This is so that you can post a link to a poem in your blog. The link will close Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CDT), but you can still visit the links of those who have posted them.