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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

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TUZIBEBE KANGA ZETU

TUZIBEBE KANGA ZETU

Leo siku ya simanzi
tuzibebe kanga zetu.
Tusambaze kona zake nne
zikawe ngao ya uchungu wetu.
Kanga zetu zibebe faraja
hadharani na faraghani.
Magufuli katutoka
kama jua linalozama.
Tuzibebe kanga zetu
tukasambaze matumaini.

Machozi yatutiririka
kwa kasi ya mto Ruvu.
Tuzibebe kanga zetu
tukadeki nyuso zetu.
Kilio kimetutia kikwi
tujisitiri na kanga zetu.
Waliotangulia tuwaombee
heri iwavushe kwa maulana.
Tuzibebe kanga zetu
kama mkeka wa sala.

Kanga zetu tuzifukize rehema
ili tujawe karama.
Vinyongo na visasi tupepee
vitoweke kwa haya na soni.
Marehemu wetu tuwaenzi
fedheha sio kanga yetu.
Tuilinde amani yetu
kwa umaridadi wa kanga.
Tuyavae maneno mema
kwa madaha ya utanashati.
Tuzibebe kanga zetu
tukamuage baba yetu.

Tamati ya maisha imefika
buriani haitoshi pindo.
Kanga zetu ni vigawanyio
kati ya mauti na maisha.
Sare za kanga zetu
ni shada zenye thamani.
Tutandike kanga zetu
kwenye njia ya mazishi.
Waliolala wanafarijika
kusindikizwa kifahari.
Tuzibebe kanga zetu
safari ya baba imekwisha.

Translation/Subtitles:

LET US CARRY OUR KANGAS

Today is a day of mourning
let us carry our kangas.
Let us spread its four corners
as a shield for our pain.
Our wraps should carry comfort
publicly and privately.
Magufuli has left us
like the setting sun.
Let us carry our kangas
to go spread hope.

Tears are welled up
like the speed of the Ruvu river.
Let us carry our kangas
to mop our faces.
Weeping has hiccupped us
let us shield ourselves with our kangas.
Let us pray for the gone ones
to cross over with blessings.
Let us carry our kangas
like a prayer mat.

Let us fragrance our kangas with mercy
so we may be gifted with deliverance.
Let us wave away bitterness and vengeance
that they depart ashamed and confounded.
Let us honour our late loved ones
for ridicule is not our kanga.
Let us protect our peace
with beauty of the wrap.
Let us wear good words
with pride of elegance.
Let us carry our kangas
to bid farewell to our father.

The end of life has come
farewell does not fit the hem.
Our kangas are a border
between death and life.
Our kangas as uniforms
are valuable wreaths.
Let us lay our kangas
on the road to the funeral.
Those gone are comforted
by this elegant escort.
Let us carry our kangas
our father’s journey is over.

Alchemy Using Words

Author Interview
Ruth Nakamura and Anna Griego Author Interview

Crow Moon is a book of poetry with a unique and vivid view of life and nature. What inspires you to write poetry?

Anna Griego: Writing for me is like a form of alchemy using words to evolve, and sypher through experiences and emotions. As a child writing was a form of escapism. Now it is necessary. I studied at the University of New Mexico.

Ruth Nakamura: I grew up surrounded by the natural world in the south valley of Albuquerque. I felt very in tune with creatures and plants, and had an imagination that lent that communion its own mythology. I also watched programs like Wild America and National Geographic with my Grandma Lucille. My mom was an artist and was always pointing out things like sunsets, migrating geese, as well as the concrete elements of the city. Ever since second grade, I loved writing stories and poems. It was my favorite part of school all the way into college at the University of New Mexico.

What was the collaboration process like between Ruth Nakamura and Anna Griego?

Anna Griego: Ruth and I have been collaborating our writing since the college days. We enjoy each other’s growth and evolution.

Ruth Nakamura: Anna and I met each other in college because we are so similar we kept finding ourselves enrolled in many of the same classes, from poetry to Chicano studies courses. From there we discovered we also shared many life experiences, from being single mothers, having drug addicted exes, to finding joy and healing in the writing process. I think at the time we were both beginning our healing journeys, rediscovering ourselves.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in your poetry?

Anna Griego: Healing was an important theme for my section. The idea of molting, Ecdysis of old skin and the growth of new skin. Shedding of past hurts to become something new.

Ruth Nakamura: Just like Anna, the theme of healing is very prevalent in my part of the book, and the healing journey at first becomes a dark and shadowed underworld. I loved the idea of Persephone’s journey below, and back again to the light. All this entwined with the seasons metaphorically correlating with the moods and feelings of the narrator.

Do you plan to publish more works of poetry?

Anna Griego: Yes! Publishing is a very important career move for both of us. You can find me on Facebook under Anna Griego and on Instagram at Dreamingintheyellow as well as Blackberry Bramble Books.

Ruth Nakamura: Yes! There is plenty more to work on. We have another collab coming soon, centered on the landscape of dreams. We decided to kickstart by publishing Crow Moon as an indie book, but we have hopes for publishing traditionally, as well. I have another several manuscripts waiting in the wings for editing and revising. The whole process brings such joy. I can be found on Instagram at veranotaos and at Blackberry Bramble Books.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

A book of poetry by two Chicana women from the southwest U.S. Life in the desert.

Let’s Go Walking in the Storm

Let's Go Walking in the Storm: A Collection of Poetry and Reflections for Soul and Spirit by [Gloria D. Gonsalves]

Let’s Go Walking in the Storm: A Collection of Poetry and Reflections for Soul and Spirit, by Gloria D. Gonsalves contains over one hundred poems, including more than a dozen reflections on various topics. This anthology of poetry is comprised of poems about tolerance and inclusionappreciating life, holding on to dreams, overcoming obstacles, protecting the earth, preserving nature, the COVID-19 pandemic, and death. The quantity of poems in this book ensures that each reader can find ones that speak to them personally.

I liked the poems with uplifting messages, that made me feel like we don’t have to be the perfect image that society depicts, and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to other people or what others expect us to be. I think it’s important for people to realize that they don’t have to be like everyone else, that we should embrace our own individual uniqueness.

The structures of the poems varied, which helped to make them feel distinct even though similar themes were used in multiple poems. For example, one of the poems was structured so that the first letter of each line spelled out a word that was the theme of the poem, some poems had very short verses of only two or three words, while other poems were broken up in to sections, and one poem was written in Swahili. Some of my favorite poems were the ones about nature. Like the author, I’ve always found joy in being outdoors. It was interesting to read the author’s notes at the end of some of the poems and reflections, which gave insight into the inspiration for writing them, or additional information about certain aspects of the prose. I enjoyed reading the reflections that asked questions of the reader to encourage thinking about and rethinking our own perceptions and considering how the concepts could be applied to our own lives.

Pages: 160 | ASIN: B08NVGY6NV

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A POEM IS LIKE A TREE – Gloria D. Gonsalves

A poem is like a tree:
stuck where it was created, waiting
while receiving what passersby give.
Sometimes, whoever squats on it
gives not suitable compost for growing,
a causal act for sloping to the ground—
the roots ready for the wind death.

A poem is like a tree:
swaying this way and that way
nodding its approval and disapproval
if taken to where the branches meet
the crown or not, for lessons and admiration.
Whoever rushes it to the top,
the branches won’t be there to save it.

A poem is like a tree:
sometimes thin, sometimes thick,
the diameter of its body promises not
of being understood or scolded
by the light necessary to photosynthesize
the human condition as a diet,
for life to be relished and respected.

A poem is like a tree:
it will leave you rooted where you are
or extend your branches for the unknown.
What you grasp or not in the stretch of verses
will thin or thicken the trunk of your soul.
Either way, the wind of trials will bend you
and the triumph is to keep swaying towards life.

 

Gloria-Gonsalves.com

 

The First Collection – Book Trailer

A lyrically bardic first collection from accomplished poet, Sarah Lipton-Sidibeh.

Spanning the ages across Britain’s colonial landscape, Sidibeh explores not only the body, but the body politic. With unflinching intimacy, Sidibeh illustrates the vagaries of ageing and loving in a body caught by endless possibilities and boundaries. Through the same critical eyes, she undresses Britain’s colonial past and criminal present, laying bare society’s ills and inequities.

A comprehensive collection of humanity’s collective struggles and radiant joys, The First Collection is an ambitious accomplishment.

Book Depository

 

Awakening

Awakening by [Jennifer Leigh Pezzano]

Awakening is a beautifully written and emotionally rich tale that weaves together the past and the present. Jezebel is a cleaner with a tragic past but life takes an unexpected turn upon meeting a new client, one Mr. August De Sanguine. Jezebel discovers that there is more to our world than she previously believed, but August seems to both pull her in and push her away. He has his secrets, but she does too, and she hopes to reach beyond the mask he has formed. Their fates are bound somehow, but their paths are tangled and winding, twisting together in ways neither of them could have foreseen.

Awakening is such an emotionally touching romance novel because of the way it addresses the human experience through characters and experiences that are more than human. The author touches on trauma, love, desire, sorrow, sex, and so many other aspects of the experiences of life. Even though many of the characters are otherworldly in some aspect, it is the deep emotional connection that the author weaves that allows the reader to relate to these characters and see our own sorrows, traumas, and desires in them.

Despite the sometimes quite heavy sentiments discussed by the narrative, Awakening also has an intricately layered plot that starts out relatively simple but grows increasingly complex and detailed. The world-building and mythology of the book is original and unique enough that it seems to outdo many popular franchises. Additionally, the story covers both past and present in a way that fleshes out the innate connections between the two. I found the extended flashback both enjoyable and informative as to the connections that make Jezebel’s and August’s story so magnetic and fateful. The story starts out what what seems to be a fairly simple love story but goes on to reveal some of the secrets of the universe and the origins of humanity as well as the power that lies within each individual.

Awakening is written in such a way that readers will forget that the story is fiction. Although the book is not action-packed, it is rich, well-imagined, and will keep readers turning pages. I highly recommend this book for those interested in romance and provocative philosophical ideas and theories.

Pages: 344 | ASIN: B08P5SMG3M

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Dispatches from the Swinging Door Saloon

Dispatches from the Swinging Door Saloon: Poems from my 10-year bender inside heaven's dive bar (Bar Poems) by [Randall McNair]

With a name like Dispatches from the Swinging Door Saloon you expect a certain level or drunken late night epiphanies and high jinx associated with your local dive bar. What readers are treated to instead is a whole new level of thought provoking prose that turns any preconceived notions, or personal experiences, on their head. Randall McNair captures a world so many fail to explore, detailing what the reader can only imagine to be his life on the barstool at the corner of a dark room filled with regulars. The sort of place you just don’t pop in to try, but have a long established history with.

Each poem provides glimpses into the human psyche. One might think, from an outside glance, these are just ramblings. They are not. They are so much more. From the banker lamenting his lot in life to approaching wildfires threatening to burn the Swinging Door down, the thought that is put into every line makes this piece of literature provocative and absorbing.

McNair just might be a genius, having used his time nestled into the bar wisely. He evokes images of crazy, deep thought, and sheer brilliance sprinkled throughout for good measure. I found a world within his words that could easily be translated to a fully fleshed out manuscript. He has clearly studied the art, as admitted in the beginning of the book as he sat on his favorite stool reading countless other books on poetry.

Oh sure, there is lighthearted whimsy here, and more than a few poems that left me wondering. But overall this was an enjoyable collection of poetry from a man who has seen much, experienced more, and was kind enough to jot it all down for the rest of us to read.

Pages: 130 | ASIN: B0895697Q3

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