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Like Fire and Ice 

Like Fire and Ice by Eli is a raw and honest collection of poems written by the author to provide a way to cleanse the mind of difficult experiences and the emotions accompanying them. These poems delve into many challenging and sensitive subjects, including traumatic experiences involving sexual assault and physical, mental, and emotional abuse. Eli writes explicitly about their personal experiences and how they left a significant impact, as writing about them provides a way to heal while offering a therapeutic effect for readers.

Eli doesn’t hold back from the rawness of their emotion, including expressing a complex, love-hate relationship with their mother, feelings of unworthiness, and idealization of self-harm. The author frequently relates the darker side of life and parental relationship and their impact throughout one’s existence. While Eli presents a well-written collection of powerful and riveting poems, they are not an easy read and will take the reader on an emotional roller coaster. While some readers may find the reading poetic and healing, there are trigger points for others that leave a strong impression. Overall, I found Eli’s presentation thought-provoking and realistic, a refreshing take on subjects that are typically avoided or censored from the mainstream.

I personally found the book to be relatable and therapeutic. Eli uses symbolism and powerful words to convey difficult yet potent emotions. The author’s creativity brings a sense of clarity and dark beauty to a sometimes tough read while giving the reader a sense of how trauma can emotionally impact a person for a lifetime. I highly recommend Like Fire and Ice for its courageous presentation and the ability to capture both the horror of trauma, complexities of the human experience, and the beauty of healing at once.

Pages: 144 | ASIN: 1639884335

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Making Peace With Our Imperfections

Michael Froilan Author Interview

Clouded Thoughts is a collection of poetry about the celebration of loving and accepting yourself. Why was this an important book to write?

We live in a world where almost everybody is looking outside themselves for validation rather than embracing their authenticity. We discredit ourselves when we constantly seek stamps of approval. I penned this collection with my own vulnerabilities & flaws, hoping to inspire readers to accept theirs. Making peace with our imperfections is another level of freedom. After all, we only have this one life. Why not celebrate all the rarities and idiosyncrasies that make us who we are? We can’t spend our life living on our knees with our hands out for a thumbs up.

But if I were to give you a self-centred answer, it would be that writing a book has always been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. So this debut book was important to me to prove myself right. More times, we’re so motivated to prove other people wrong, but this “in-your-face” mentality can only bring you so far. In a subtle way, this book is a testament that you can turn a dream into reality when you believe in yourself enough.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this collection?

Self-evaluation was one of the primary themes I intended to highlight in this collection. We’re so quick to turn a blind eye to our flaws and magnify someone else’s imperfections. The age-old advice of knowing yourself has been tossed around for decades, and the truth is we’re often all guilty of being ignorant by our way of thinking. And with that in mind, I aimed to incorporate humour within the pieces when I sifted through matters of sorrow, healing, peace, and doubt, all of which we are bound to experience during our time here on earth. And, of course, what good is a poetry book without love?

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your collection of poetry?

I hope this book inspires readers not to let life pass through their hands. I hope it stands as a reminder never to lose focus on what’s truly important while they piece together a meaningful life. When all is said and done, all that counts is profound peace & love – whether it stems from family, significant other or anything that strengthens you. Because in the end, everything else falls away.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My third collection is still up in the air—all in divine timing.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

“Michael Froilan’s debut collection of poetry ‘Clouded Thoughts’ is a jubilant celebration of loving and accepting yourself. Froilan does not ignore the pain and disappointment that is part of every life, but instead embraces it as part of our internal growth, and explores how we become stronger by challenging adversity. The love of self is extended in poems that find joy in knowing and understanding another person. There is a lot of gratitude running through these works, from the gratitude of just being here in this world breathing, to appreciating the continual support of a kind family.

These poems are written to be easily understood and absorbed. Phrases could be pulled from many of them and would be perfect pinned on mirrors, written in diaries and used as mantras repeated daily to remind ourselves to focus on what our life truly means to us.” – Clarissa Pattern, Author of Airy Nothing

Here’s to flourishing in a world where becoming the best version of yourself is frowned upon.

Here’s to breaking through barriers and exceeding expectations, including your own.

You will discover a fistful of engaging well-versed themes within the pages bound to empower you, uplift you, and remind you of your truth.

More importantly, this book goes over and above to emphasize the importance of looking up when confronted with intimidating setbacks. Because this understated act is the keystone to overcoming the stumbling blocks life throws and rising above our shortcomings.

Death Throes of the Broken Clockwork Universe

Death Throes of the Broken Clockwork Universe is Wayne David Hubbard’s first book of poetry. This is a collection of anecdotal observations from the author’s experience with change, time, and love. The book is split into two parts: Part One, The Time Studies, and Part Two, The Love Studies. Several of the author’s poems were featured in various journals, magazines, and other publications, though the majority of poetry included in this book is published for the first time as a part of this collection.

In Wayne David Hubbard’s own words, “these poems are portraits of where [I] have been.” I’ll be clear about the theme of the author’s poetry with the following disclaimer: this collection is not for you if you’re looking for an easy read. The author uses metaphorical wording and tackles abstract ideas and themes that will force the reader to think. If you’re a fan of mainstream poetry collections, you may initially find it takes a while to grasp some of Hubbard’s concepts and meaning, though it’s a worthwhile investment. Once you dive into the book, you’ll find his writings thought-provoking, providing interesting ideas to ponder as you develop an understanding of each poem.

As I became familiar with the author’s work, I enjoyed his style and how he approaches aspects of life from a refreshingly new perspective. His collection is shareable with anyone who enjoys a read that conjures a new way of thinking about life and experience from Hubbard’s personal perspective. He focuses on the universal and familiar topics from a new angle, without regurgitating standard ideas but instead breathing new life into subjects in such an evocative way that readers can connect with the unknown or an unseen layer of the familiar.

Death Throes of the Broken Clockwork Universe provides a great opportunity for readers to expand their impressions of the world around them and of themselves. I recommend this book for its creative originality and the author’s ability to recognize a deeper connection to humanity as a whole.

Pages 68 | ASIN: 1639884750

We Each Have A Story To Tell

Rhonda Harris Slota Author Interview

By Fire is an expressive collection of poetry that tells your family story through the ‘50s and ‘70s amid family trauma and mental illness. Why was this an important collection for you to publish?

As a child, I read other people’s stories which helped me build resilience and learn how to navigate my own confusing life. We lived in the country and the library truck came every three weeks. I couldn’t wait. I read novels, biographies and autobiographies, and later, poetry. I devoured books as though starving for those stories which helped me better analyze and understand my own. We each have a story to tell. We never know who will be affected in what way when we begin to tell ours. I found that many people identified with, felt drawn to, were touched by, and wanted to hear the stories in my poetry.

In the ‘80s, when I visited my dad in Indiana, I asked him to tell me about his life experiences. I was genuinely interested—I didn’t wish to judge him, just to understand, and he opened up to me in ways that often surprised me. Mental illness carried such stigma in those days, which is changing, but there is still much work to do. I have a son who also suffers from schizophrenia so now I experience it from the point of view of a parent. Coming to terms with my dad’s illness helped prepare me to better advocate for and support my son, but the journey is still a challenging one.

My favorite poem from this book is ‘Apologies’. Do you have a poem that stands out to you from this collection?

I’m glad you like that poem. I do too. It shows our humanness as two adults and offers a glimpse of peaceful redemption.

It is very hard to choose one. I think it would be “Revelation” or “Prophet.”

“Revelation” depicts a slice of my family’s life. It portrays not only my father’s struggle with hallucinations steeped in his religious beliefs, but also demonstrates the exhausting role of the ill-equipped caregiver, in this case my mother, in supporting those who are ill. It reveals my fear that, as his daughter, I was or would become mentally ill, not unusual for the children of those who suffer from this illness.

The poem “Prophet” is based on images and stories my father told me about the childhood experiences that shaped his life. It is filled with the religious symbolism of his visions or hallucinations born of those experiences. This poem also deepens the sense of my own grappling, self-reflection, and identification with him. The poem concludes “each of us alone and the same since that first night I woke up, heard him singing and clapping his hands in the hallway outside my door.” Many of the poems in the book are about coming to terms with that moment.

I also resonate deeply with the more recent “To Myself: The Child Who Hid in Closets.” It offers a forgiving, compassionate view of how I discovered, grew and changed as I journeyed into the healing realms of my own personal and spiritual awakening.

Thank you for indulging me in mentioning three poems instead of one!

What are some themes you feel your poetry often explores?

The themes in my poetry include self-exploration through analyzing one’s family history; the role, significance, and symbology of spirituality or religion in our lives; the perseverance, resiliency, and devotion of a poor, rural family in the ‘50s–‘70s; the strength, inner wisdom, and love of women in navigating a patriarchal dynamic; the power and complicity of natural forces; the complexities of mental illness and its effects on not only the person who is ill but everyone around them; and how a child steeped in family trauma can find her own way to love, understanding, forgiveness, and spiritual wholeness.

Do you have plans to write and publish more works of poetry?

Despite years of writing very little as I immersed myself in the roles of teacher, administrator, wife, mother, and caregiver, I have come back to myself as a writer. Not surprisingly, my journey with my son through his mental illness is a consistent theme. I am more deeply rooted and balanced in my own spirituality and I think that shows in my current writing. I am working on several pieces now and, hopefully one day soon, those will emerge and be published.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

“With meticulous detail and plainspoken language, Rhonda Harris Slota unveils the story of a family held hostage by religious extremism when its beloved father falls victim to hallucinations and paranoia. In adulthood, the daughter sets out to make peace with her father and through that process, constructs a covenant of her own, one of compassion and forgiveness.”
Paula Amen-Judah, author of Añoranza

“Rhonda Harris Slota’s writing is so fine, so precise, the way it includes the flowers, the laundry, the secrets, that I devoured her story. Incandescent poetry that shimmers as it remembers and reveals.”
Lauren Coodley, author of Lost Napa Valley

Set in rural, southern Indiana in the 50’s-70’s, these poems tell the story of a complex family dynamic. This debut collection blends Bible images, authentic dialogue and powerful natural forces to relay the effects of family trauma and mental illness.

The daughter often questions her own sanity as she watches her fundamentalist father struggle with internal demons and the illusion that he is the prophet, Elijah. In this patriarchal world, the women hold together the seams of life’s tapestry through perseverance, inner wisdom and love.

As time passes and the father plunges deep into his fears and delusions, his young daughter learns to forge her own pathway through the maze of duality: dark and light, fear and joy. This finally leads her to reconciliation and acceptance through spiritual surrender.

I Write What I Feel

Derek R. King Author Interview

Twelve Red Roses in Verse is a collection of poems that explore deep unconditional love along with the significance of the rose. What inspires you to write poetry?

I write what I feel at the time of writing. Sometimes those pieces are beautiful love poems, like Twelve Red Roses in Verse, and my collaboration with Julie Kusma “Amore”, other times inspired by nature like Natyre Boy which you reviewed and Poetry Mouse, or driven by darker themes such as Noir, which you also reviewed or Darker Half Volume 13, another collaboration with Julie Kusma.

What are some literary devices that you find yourself using often?

Most often I use literary devices without realizing it, as I think most folks do. I like my poetry to be little narratives or vignettes of feelings or scenes. In writing those narratives, I love using enjambment, introducing line breaks to force the read in the manner the rhythm of the piece is written, almost like a performance delivery style to some extent. Sometimes I repeat words or phrases for effect, and I do love alliteration to create soft flowing or tension depending on the piece I’m writing. 

My favorite poem from this collection is ‘Energy Flow’. Is there one poem that stands out to you from this collection?

There are many that stand out for me, each associated with a specific memory, moment in time. A favourite of mine is “Your Sweet Song.” I love its simplicity, yet conveys deep emotion and contentment to me. 

Do you have plans to write and publish more works of poetry?

Yes, I have a couple of upcoming solo project releases. The final part of my trilogy, beginning with Noir, followed by Natyre Boy, is scheduled for release 7th October, that volumes is titled the Elegy and is available for pre-order now. Later this year, I will be releasing Urban, a collection of gritty cityscape poetry. And due to popular demand, there will be a second volume of love poetry, a companion to Twelve Red Roses in Verse, in January of next year. 

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Twitter | Website

The world isn’t always kind, but there is love awaiting to release its boundless gifts in every corner. One of those gifts is the beautiful aromatic rose. Derek R. King reaches into a treasure trove of emotions to bring you on a journey of love—one rose at a time.

From the first poem to the last, you will learn the meaning behind each rose and bouquet of roses given to the love of your life. Then, as you travel along with the love affair of the rose and its lovers, you’ll learn what it’s like to yearn, to need, to want; and finally to become entwined with your one true soulmate.

The roses in this book symbolize the growth that people endure while seeking companionship throughout their lives. While one rose means one thing, ten roses mean another. In the end, what matters is how we show our love and the significance of the rose in the banquet of emotions as we become entwined, unconditionally, Forevermore.

Near Scattered Praise Lies Our Substantial Endeavor

Near Scattered Praise Lies Our Substantial Endeavor is a stimulating collection of poetry divided into three parts, Ante Meridiem (morning), Post Meridiem (afternoon), and Fragments and Petites Essias (small trials). Comprised of poems written from the mid-1960s to current day, the collection covers a wide range of life experiences, such as fighting in the Vietnam War as a younger man and fighting cancer as an older man. Written in a style that is reminiscent of classic poets such as Walt Whitman, while also challenging long-standing poetic forms, Penoyer’s debut collection explores themes of survival, meaning, belief, and truth.

Penoyer keeps his poems on the shorter side, rarely going past a full page, so his work has an urgent and direct tone. Though his poems are short, he makes use of every word, carefully selecting each word and metaphor. The range of topics that are covered while all still feeling like they belong was impressive too. He uses a lot of sound play which can be seen in this example of alliteration from first stanza of the poem “Even in Eden.” In other poems, he sticks to a recognizable rhyming pattern.

Near Scattered Praise Lies Our Substantial Endeavors by Ron Penoyera is a beautiful collection, though I found the first section stronger than the last two sections. I find some of the lyrics hauntingly beautiful, coming back to me even after I closed the book. I am happy I have had the opportunity to experience this collection.

Pages: 132 | ASIN: B0B69J21YB

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I Want To Shine A Positive Light

M C Rydel Author Interview

Almost a Memoir is a collection of poetry that explores family, love, change, work and a variety of other things we face in life. Why was this an important collection for you to publish?

I figure I have about 10 good years left. With no cure in sight for my PD and MG, I feel a sense of urgency to memorialize my ancestors, family, friends, and others with these poems. The verse also reveals the distractions of daily life that compromises our search for divinity and our spiritual lives. I also want to shine a positive light where it doesn’t seem to appear.

This collection was performed as spoken word poetry in bars, bookstores, theatres, and coffeehouses. How has performing your poetry changed how you write it?

I started performing at the Heartland Café in Chicago in 2010. As a true open mic, the show provided a stage for poets, musicians, comedians, and a few magicians. They sat in the audience waiting their turns. Veterans of slam poetry, they were not shy reacting to the poems. Their reactions helped me change first drafts into final drafts that combine the voice of spoken word with the techniques of both form poetry and traditional free verse.

What are some themes you find yourself often exploring with your poetry?

Most of my poems have characters, extended metaphors, and a narrative element, which explore a world of illusions, disorder, and fate. Like the family who has eleven months of immortality and one month of doom, sometimes you’re timid and sometimes you’re bold, and not always at the most predictable times. These poems also follow apophatic thought. If God created the universe, God is by definition outside of the universe. Thus, God is unknowable, which paradoxically proves that God exists. Just not with us. “You’re already in heaven / it’s just not that good.”

My favorite poem from the collection is “Our Collection of Masks.” Do you have a favorite poem from this book?

I like “Second Shift at the Fermilab.” It’s about the one thing every poet needs: a day job. In this case, the job is supervisor of young scientists who use a particle accelerator to solve the mysteries of matter, energy, and space/time. They perpetuate a mutiny and start dancing in their underwear in an obsolete accelerator. They end up changing the space/time continuum. In the words of George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove, “I wish we had one of them doomsday machines.”

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

What would you do if you knew the month of your death? How would you survive that month every year? How would you take advantage of your eleven months of immortality?

Almost a Memoir, a new book of poems by M.C. Rydel, poses this question and others with a collection of lyrical narratives and metaphysical conceits. Performed since 2010 as spoken word poetry in bars, bookstores, theatres, and coffeehouses in cities as diverse as Chicago, New York, Grand Rapids, Flagstaff, and Sedona, this book of poems is almost a narrative, almost personal experience, almost faraway, and almost a memoir, yet it is always about loss & change, work & family, friends & lovers, cats & dogs, moths & bats, and Pablo Neruda & Joseph Brodsky.

This book brings poems from the stage to the page by describing interrupted dreams, heroic and ironic journeys, villanelles, pantoums, ballads, and thirteen poems from the plague year of 2020. Over 100 characters appear in 67 poems. They live in an apophatic universe. Created and then abandoned. They find themselves looking for signs of divinity in a godless world.

The Vast Corpus Of Poetry

Author Interview
Dr. C. A. Buckley Author Interview

Poems from Heartlands is an evocative collection of poetry that explores faith and contemporary life. What inspires you to write and publish this collection?

I have been writing poetry for a long time and finally felt I had to get the material published, I had previously published a collection, The Last Irish Romantic, which was launched at the Listowel literary festival and the response inspired me; it was described by Gabriel Fitzmourice, the noted poet as reminiscent of T S Eliot and Michael Hartnett , and the noted Dublin publisher Pat Boran who published it for me described it as a work of distinction. This inspired me to write a sequel that would draw on the vast corpus of poetry I had accumulated over the years.

What inspired you to create this Special Illustrated Color Edition?

The color edition – I was inspired to publish the special color edition, by the fact that I had so much art work interwoven with the poetry in my notebooks, and wanted to produce a unique distinctive collection with both printed poems and handwritten works within my own art work, I called the result art poems and it turned out beautifully

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

The ideas that inspired the poems were as varied as my life that they embodied, my faith, my concerns with contemporary life, my memories of childhood in Ireland, my experiences in Oxford where I did my doctorate, and experiences as a lecturer in Israel and the Philippines where I worked, and above all my faith struggles as a priest; my whole life and soul went into the poems.

Are you working on more poetry that you’ll publish in another volume?

I am about to publish a new collection of “art Poems”, to be called “Journeys into Light: New Art Poems”, I think this collection is better than the two previous ones. I am also about to publish a novel call The Cottage.

Author Website:

This second book of poems by Dr. C.A. Buckley has been five years in the making, but comes from a lifetime of dedicated writing of poetry. His first collection, The Last Irish Romantic was launch by Gabriel Fitzmourice, the noted Irish poet, in John B. Keane’s pub at the Listowel Literary Festival of 2015. He described the collection as a striking series of works reminiscent of T.S.Eliot and Michael Hartnett. The book was also praised by the legendary poet and publisher, Pat Boran of the Dedulous Press, as a “truly distinctive debut volume”. The prize-winning modern British poet Bernard O’Donoghue was more fulsome is describing it as “brilliant”. For those who have been patiently waiting for a sequel here is an even finer, more mature and more varied follow-up volume.
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