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Annual Scurfpea Publishing Poetry Anthology

Jennifer LeBlanc Author Interview

Jennifer LeBlanc Author Interview

Without Fear of Infamy is an anthology of poetry published by Scurfpea Publishing. What was the collaboration process like on this anthology?

It’s a very competitive submission process and I am very thankful that a few of my poems were chosen for this new anthology. Collaboration has been a great learning experience for me as a writer and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

My favorite poem was Be Every Color of the Sun. What inspired this piece?

IT came from a rare feeling of positive self-esteem I was experiencing at the time. I think this makes it stand out because a lot of us struggle daily to find those moments in our lives.

Besides your own, what is your favorite poem from the collection?

One of my favorites is Tempering Grief by Brit Graham. I really love her vivid descriptors and her overall style of writing. This one stood out to me as one I could personally relate to having experienced heartbreak in the same manner before in my own life.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Each year since 2010, Scurfpea Publishing has produced an anthology of poems. It’s a juried competition with a different editor each year and no entry fee; consequently, each anthology has a distinct flavor all its own. This anthology includes poems by: Charles Luden, Katie Alexander, Steve Boint, Lin Brummels, Raymond Byrnes, Jennifer Carr, Craig Challender, Susan Spaeth Cherry, Kevin Cole, Jason Freeman, Jerome Freeman, Brit Graham, Monica Gulbrandson, Roberta Haar, Carol Hamilton, Constance Hoffman, Brenda K. Johnson, Leone Kayl, Ivanna Kusijanovic, Jennifer LeBlanc, Charles Luden, Mary Ann Marko, Elissa Mittman, Marsha Mittman, Rosemary Dunn Moeller, Marcella Prokop, Larry Person, Marcella Remund, Lisa Rinaldo, Bruce Roseland, Barbara Schmitz, Dan Snethen, Gloria Sofia, Brad Soule, Jennifer Soule, Linda Duede Starbuck, Douglas Starr, G.M.H. Thompson, Norma C. Wilson, June Tuff Witte, and Susan Zueger.

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Paradise Remains

Shirin Ariff Author Interview

Shirin Ariff Author Interview

My favorite poem from the collection is Heartbeat. What is your favorite poem from this book.

My favorite poem is Paradise Remains.

The art in this book is beautiful. What was the art collaboration like for this collection?

The artwork by Zunash Ashiqali is phenomenal. Her illustrations are as if she could see my poems through my mind’s eye. Zunash was so aligned with every word and knew exactly what I wanted. I did not have to say anymore than share my poems with her.

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

My next book is a tribute to my 4 beautiful children. It is called The Adorables and it will be available by mid 2020.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitter | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn | Website

Keepsake: A Souvenir of Love by [Ariff, Shirin , Ali, Zunash Ashiq ]

“Keepsake – A Souvenir of Love” is a book inspired by the poet’s love and devotion for the Spiritual. Her poems are inspired by the wisdom of her spiritual journey and the values and ethics she has embraced.

The book contains several inspirational and meditative poems. Each one of them embraces values such as love and devotion, unity in diversity, the simplicity of miracles. The poems are in simple language and filled with emotion that readers can relate to.

The book has been illustrated by graphic designer and digital artist Zunash Ashiq Ali.

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Without Fear of Infamy

This is a collection of poems from different poets. You can tell when there is a change from one poet to another because of the distinct tone and stylistic change. Each poet brings their unique life experiences, view, perceptions and even temperament. Just like every other edition before this one, this book exhibits a unique collection of poets, each with their own tundra but somehow coming together seamlessly. Some works stand out more than others though.

Charles Luden opens in the first chapter. His second entry ‘Glory’ is an evocatively seductive and brief thought about a difficult time and the end of it. It is a reflection of the journey rather than the destination. Charles has said very much with very little. This entry dignifies the phrase ‘short and sweet’. His entry ‘Last Laugh’ stands out too with its painfully awakening truth.

Further into the book you encounter Brit Graham with ‘Tempering Grief’ which is an account of the unstable and aimless emotions of grief. The raw pain is seen through the choice of words. Then you get to the ‘Recipe for Forgiveness’ which is a simple guide that the world needs in these times of intentional genocide and blatant hatred.

We’re also treated with a guide to coexisting with others from Marsha Mittman’s NYC Observation. It speaks to the tolerance people should direct at other people. This entry is thought provoking and candid if not a little shaming to us as human beings.

‘Ideological Exile’ by Ivanna Kusijanovic is perhaps one of the most serious poems in this anthology. It reads like a personal inner voice chastising you and pushing you to be better, to do better. If you would like to read one piece first before going through the book from the start, this is a good one to jump to.

These are just a few, there are many more evocative, thought provoking, some so wonderfully heartbreaking. This is a collection of poems about life, death and everything in between. From the pain to the joy to untold suffering. It is a cornucopia of experience from the start to the very end. The title is a lovely homage to Dante as well as fitting to the choice of works featured in the book.

However, a few pieces seem to be misplaced in terms of the general depth of the poems. This could be intentional to provide a break from the intense emotion. All in all, the editors have done a good job.

Pages: 158 | ISBN: 1088987613

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Keepsake: A Souvenir of Love

Keepsake: A Souvenir of Love by [Ariff, Shirin , Ali, Zunash Ashiq ]

Ready to feel enlightened? In Shirin Ariff’s Keepsake, this  short poetry book is filled with powerful uplifting words in each heartfelt poem.

The central theme in this poetry book is about the author being inspired and closer to God. In each poem, the author talks about nature and welcomed God into their life. Each poem highlights her spiritual journey to become connected and closer to Him. Whether you’re religious or not, this book would brighten your day.

In Keepsake, the poet speaks from her heart, and her heart and soul is clearly poured into every page. These poems are emotional journeys exploring nature and God’s paradise. I enjoyed the poems symmetry and easy flow. I think this is a perfect book for poetry enthusiasts, nature lovers, and the faithful.

Pages: 17 | ASIN: B07QPBMXRH

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Seeing a New Color for the First Time

Incognito Author Interview

Incognito Author Interview

Paradox is a collection of poetry that strips down and analyzes many aspects of modern society. What was the inspiration for the pieces in this collection?

We as humans, as a society, are brainwashed. For better or worse, we only learn from the information/algorithms given to us at a young age. And this is unstoppable, no matter what society comes after this one. But there comes a time when these conditions and rules become a burden because the rules become an obligation. Instead of being a person and enjoying the thrill that comes with wearing a mask, it is taken too seriously. It stops being a game when you can’t stop it; it becomes an addiction. And it becomes hell when you want to stop but are forced to keep playing by the rules. Paradox is a reminder that you can’t take yourself seriously because there isn’t anyone there. “you” are just another idea you take too literal. And I know what it’s like to grow up being the black sheep of the family/society; so, I know what it’s like to feel alone even when you’re surrounded by everyone. My way of thinking has always been considered taboo and has crossed the line of “we aren’t supposed to be talking about this or that” many times. I’ve noticed more and more people are beginning to question life because isn’t it a bit odd to appear on this weird rock we call earth, with no memory or instruction? I think the fact that life is so vague gives room for our beautiful theories and beliefs to breathe.

I enjoyed the paradoxes presented in this book because it prompted me to think critically about things I haven’t before. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Well I created Paradox in a way that is very ambiguous because I wouldn’t want every person to take the same thing from this book. I’ve had hundreds of people email or dm me with a different interpretation of Paradox. For some it was about mental health, motivating, psychotherapy or just a story. But if anything, self-awareness. I am not asking anyone to have a mystical experience or a complete breakdown after reading this book, but self-awareness is important to me. I ask my readers to be anything they would like to be but be aware of your choices. Part of me wants to do what Jim Carrey and Alan watts did for me which was showing me that I wasn’t the only one who questioned the things people normally take for granted. Jim Carrey especially. He’s considered someone who is known for making people laugh yet if you ever hear him talk, you can sense that’s not the only part to him.

What is a theme you find yourself always coming back to while writing?

What first introduced me into writing was my ability to place an emotion inside someone else’s body. That to me is magic. I am obsessed with leaving my audience with something to think over. After reading any of my works, you will either finish thinking about something you have never thought of or seeing your life in a new light. it’s like seeing a new color for the first time. and sometimes that color can be hard to describe but it’s amazing while it’s new.

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

I just finished my 7th book and am working on a few more but my next book, “Workings of a masochist Vol. I” will be available this fall. Workings of a masochist will be a bit darker and a completely different approach mainly because I will never duplicate my work. I feel that Paradox has been wonderful in positivity, but I want my second book to really hit hard on what people ignore. We all read books about the victims of relationships of any kind but never the villains. The people who are hurting instead of the ones who cause the hurting. Because often the ones who hurt are doing the hurting. As of now, I believe “Workings of a masochist Vol. I” will probably be my best book.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

what do you mean when you say I? normally we would respond by saying a center of awareness or a feeling of empowerment/selfishness. but after answering that question, another question comes which is “who is the one aware of yourself?” fire cannot burn itself in the same way you cannot look into your own eyes without using a mirror. by being aware of this illusionary feeling of a self, there is a separation. and if you think about that long enough to realize that there is no self, who is it that knows there is no ego? we often hide behind the masks we create; the mask embedded into our skin. we try to find our real selves in our mask which only leads from one maze to another. lost between sanity and madness. what would it be like to remove the mask you don’t remember putting on? what would it be like to know that you didn’t have to hold onto yourself so tight? these are questions we avoid because we aren’t sure just how deep the rabbit hole can go. but there’s always a way out of an illusion. you might not be the you that you think you are.

WARNING: THIS BOOK CONTAINS CONTRADICTIONS

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We Are Earth (A Speech Poem)

We Are Earth (A Speech Poem)
Gloria D. Gonsalves
www.gloria-gonsalves.com

 

Paradox

Paradox is an intense read. Even though it’s basically a paragraph or two centered on each page, nearly all of them are hefty topics. The book is divided into four sections. However, it does not follow a traditional storytelling pattern. Instead the sections refer to the emotions that are evoked during the read. It is a fairly all-encompassing book- I’d have difficulty naming topics that it didn’t manage to cover. Everything from love, life, death, technology, philosophy, wisdom, psychology, nature. Everything is critically analyzed, re-analyzed, and stripped down to the core. Technically, one could refer to this as a collection of poems but it seems to transcend categorization. Also, I’m pretty sure that’s kind of the point.

Although I would never disrespect this book by calling it self-help, there were some strange observations that I encountered while reading it. I was implementing changes in myself; sitting up a little straighter, noticing more, listening more carefully, and paying attention to the decisions I made. Some of the passages feel like a sharp, cold breeze that wake you up. It’s so easy to succumb to the lethargy and passivity of life, but a jolt like this is required once in a while. Even if it doesn’t have the power to tell you what to live for, it reminds you that you’re still alive.

The passages about the connection between technology, especially social media, and the ego, or mask that you put on, were especially striking. They managed to voice issues and thoughts that are extremely relevant to this generation. Often, when I’m on any social media platform, I get the feeling that there is something problematic about all the pretension. It’s easy to brush that feeling away, because if the herd is doing it, so can you. This book shoots down that voluntary ignorance and encourages you to embrace the discomfort. There’s no glory in watching life pass you by.

It’s a strange exercise of the brain, reading this book. It’s almost doing sit-ups and looking in on itself. A little dizzying but how often does your mind get to do adventure sports. It was a strange and refreshing read that left me in a introspective mood. It’s the perfect read for anyone who likes to be haunted with their thoughts long after the book is over, but in wonderful ways. Go in with an open mind, and you will leave a different person.

Pages: 234 | ISBN: 1792977816

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Fragile Mind

FRAGILE MIND: Mental Health Poetry by [Thompson, Wesley]

Fragile Mind by W. B. Thompson is a mental illness-themed poetry collection with a mission: raising awareness of mental health issues and their possible consequences, helping to understand those who struggle with mental health issues and offering support for sufferers. The touching and meaningful poems offer an insight into the fragile mind’s daily struggles, including low self-esteem, hopelessness and anger.

W.B. Thompson creates a strong base for his poems with the introduction and the included suicide statistics. Every poem comes with a related image which indicates the content of the poem. The verses describe the wide range of emotions that a person with mental health problems can go through: confusion, loneliness, frustration, sadness, anguish and discouragement. I liked how the poet was able to send such a deep message, I could absolutely relate to the feelings of someone who is afflicted. The images and the titles are well-chosen and match the content. As a fan of well-written rhymes, I would prefer more rhymes in the collection, but I found the free verse poems also valuable and interesting.

Pages: 38 | ASIN: B07SH5ZCGP

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Through Me to You: A Life Through Poetry, Stories and Songs

Through Me to You: A Life Through Poetry, Stories and Songs by [Wick, Eve]

Through Me to You: A Life Through Poetry, Stories and Songs by Eve Wick is a collection of writings that span the author’s life from age thirteen to the present. A verse of Bible scripture accompanies each poem, story, and song, and the author uses these Bible passages to show that no matter what a person is going through, they can find an answer in God’s word. The purpose of this book is to inspire and encourage others who may be going though a difficult time in their lives, and it focuses on a wide range of emotions, from despair to hope, friendship, and love.

I enjoyed reading the poems, short stories, and songs in this book. I liked the connection between the Bible verses and the author’s own writing, which illustrated that even though the Bible was written thousands of years ago, God’s teachings still have meaning and power in the present, and people can find peace in the written word of God. I especially enjoyed reading the author’s short stories throughout the book, which were a bit longer in length than the poems.

Some of the scriptures seemed much more fitting to the author’s writing than others. When there was not as strong a link between the two, a different scripture could have been chosen instead. And if no more appropriate verse could be found, then I would have preferred not to have a scripture accompany that piece, since it seemed to take away some of the impact from the poems and stories that were much more closely linked to the accompanying scripture.

The verses that accompany the song lyrics seemed particularly fitting, which led me to believe that some of the songs are likely based on those specific Bible passages, giving them the strongest connection between the author’s writing and the words of the Bible.

This is an exceptional piece of work that I heartily enjoyed reading.

Pages: 118 | ASIN: B0794HFFVX

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The Ocean Seeks My Sorrow As Its Water

Poetry movie by Gloria Gonsalves

www.gloria-gonsalves

www.wochipoda.com

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