I’m over at Writing to Be Read with Robbie Cheadle interviewing me for her “Treasuring Poetry” post. I had fun talking about my favorite poems. Please head over to visit and let us know what you think.
Today, I am delighted to host poet and author Miriam Hurdle for the July edition of Treasuring Poetry.
Welcome Miriam Hurdle
I’m delighted to be your guest on Writing to be Read to talk about poetry.
Which of your own poems is your favourite
Among the published poems in Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude, several poems are my favorites in equal measure for different reasons. One is in the section of Songs of Marriage, one in Songs of Tribute, and one in Songs of Inspiration.
The time I wrote this post, my heart turns to the poem “Healthy Grieving” in the section of Songs of Tribute.
It’s my pleasure to feature Poetry Treasure on my blog today. Poetry Treasures is an anthology of poems by a number of talented poets. During the blog tour, each of the poets is introduced.
The editors of Poetry Treasure have a treat for you:
Follow the tour and leave a comment at each stop for a chance to win one of three digital copies of Poetry Treasures to be given away. (Winners will be randomly selected following the end of the tour.)
A collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on Writing to be Read in 2020. Open the book and discover the poetry treasures of Sue Vincent, Geoff Le Pard, Frank Prem, Victoria (Tori) Zigler, Colleen M. Chesebro, K. Morris, Annette Rochelle Aben, Jude Kitya Itakali, and Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Today I am thrilled to introduce poet Colleen Chesebro who is the contributing author. Please help me welcome Colleen and get to know her and her work.
Hello everyone! My name is Colleen Chesebro. I’m a prose metrist, which means I like counting syllables in my poetry. I worked in accounting as a bookkeeper for over twenty years, and that love of counting followed me into my poetry writing.
I wrote the poem, “The Weather Witch,” based off my love for all things magical, but there’s more to this story.
For years now, my husband has teased me, saying I’m a weather witch! We’re retired Air Force, and for many years we’ve traveled around the United States and various other parts of the world.
Every new place we settled in the weather acted strangely. For example, when we lived in Montana, the state was hit with the worst drought in decades. That continued until we left. I’ve heard from friends that the weather has now resumed a more seasonal pattern.
Last year we lived in Arizona. For over one hundred days the temperature in northern Buckeye, AZ soared to over 110-degrees F. The 119-degree F. days were too much for me! Now we live in Michigan… where the temperature has remained cool with a few mornings of frost well into the middle of May! You guessed it. My husband blames me. LOL!
If I was a superhero, I’d control the weather. Everyone needs a little magic in their lives. Think of all the possibilities—you could change the weather to fit your mood. I guess being a weather witch has some advantages.
This was a perfect day from last weekend when we visited with Dustin and Molly, are dear friends who live on the Grand River in Michigan. I want more days like this one! POOF! I guess being a weather witch isn’t so bad after all!
This poem is written as a double inverted nonet, twenty lines with a syllable count per line of 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 syllables which looks like an hourglass when centered on the page. I thought it resembled a tornado.
There’s a lot to unpack in this poem. I prefer the idea that we all have natural talents or powers that we can tap into to make the best versions of ourselves. All it takes is finding the good inside and projecting it outward.
Colleen M. Chesebro is a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly poetry challenge, called Tanka Tuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of syllabic poetry.
Along with JulesPaige, Colleen is also a co-editor of “Word Weaving, a Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse,” at wordweavingpoetryjournal.com. Submissions open May 15, 2021. The debut issue of this journal will publish in October 2021.
Colleen’s syllabic poetry has appeared in various other online publications. Recently, she created the Double Ennead, a 99-syllable poetry form for Carrot Ranch. Colleen’s poetry has poetry in various anthologies and journals including “Hedgerow-a journal of small poems,” and “Poetry Treasures,” a collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on “Writing to be Read” in 2020.
Colleen published “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry,” which illustrates how to write various syllabic poetry forms used in her Tanka Tuesday challenges; and a collection of poetry, flash fiction, and short stories called, “Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration,” dedicated to the Summer Solstice. She contributed a short story called “The Changeling,” in the “Ghostly Rites Anthology 2020,” published by Plaisted Publishing House.
I’m over at Carla’s blog of Carla Loves to Read. She read my poetry collection and posted a wonderful review. Carla and I have teaching and school administration in common. She is a retired elementary school principal/teacher/teacher-librarian. She blogs about book reviews, reading challenges, adults’ and children’s books, and a lot more. Please head over to read her post and browse around her beautiful blog with different features.
I took several weeks to enjoy this book of poems. I enjoyed them and wanted time to ponder them, not rush through them. Miriam Hurdle is a blogger I follow who shares wonderful photographs, poetry and snapshots into her life among other things. I enjoy her blog and wanted to read her book. I was not disappointed.
April is National Poetry Month. It is my pleasure to review Magical Whispers by Balroop Singh, a talented fellow poet.
I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly. ‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.
In this book, my poems focus on the whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message. Each day reminds us It’s the symphony of surroundings That whispers life into us.
Magical Whispers is an aesthetic poetry collection. Ms. Singh weaves the softest whispers of her words into dreamy tranquility. The poems in the first section Magical Whispers reflect on the nature that evokes the heart, the mind, and the senses. Many poems have the subject of water such as the lake, the waves, the pool, the stream, and the waterfalls that convey a soothing sensation. The poems in the second section Whispers of Life reflect on the self, the love, the heartache, the hopes, dreams, fears, and the memories. Ms. Singh submerges herself in nature and sees the beauty beyond appearance. She ponders upon the hidden treasures and finds hope in the puzzle of life. The poems are inspiring to many poetry lovers.
Balroop Singh, an educationalist, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. She would jot down her reflections on a piece of paper and forget about them till each drawer of her home started overflowing with poetic reminders, popping out at will! The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first poetry book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling of leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in San Ramon California.
This week, for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Amy invited us to look at the colorful April that spring brings us. Every year, the cold of winter melts away and spring brings a new beginning.
April is National Poetry Month. I’ll include a poem “A Light Exists in Spring” by Emily Dickinson.
Every year, the cold of winter melts away and spring brings a new beginning. The nature and the creatures wake up from their hibernation, stretch the limbs and pop the heads up to give us a big smile.
The flowers in my garden invited me to give them a visit.
When I take my afternoon walk, the vibrant colors stopped me more and more frequently to capture their beauty.
I’m grateful for living in a community with the walking/hiking/horse trails snake through the cities. These trails are in the neighborhood yet they seem to be away from the distractions of voices and noises.
A Light exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson
A Light exists in Spring Not present on the Year At any other period — When March is scarcely here
A Color stands abroad On Solitary Fields That Science cannot overtake But Human Nature feels.
It waits upon the Lawn, It shows the furthest Tree Upon the furthest Slope you know It almost speaks to you.
Then as Horizons step Or Noons report away Without the Formula of sound It passes and we stay —
A quality of loss Affecting our Content As Trade had suddenly encroached Upon a Sacrament.
Written in around 1864 but not published until 1896 (as with many of Dickinson’s poems), ‘A Light Exists in Spring’ beautifully captures the way that spring slowly appears in our consciousness, like a light in the distance. The final stanza of Dickinson’s poem also seems to acknowledge what we now call ‘SAD’ or Seasonal Affective Disorder, with the passing of spring affecting our contentedness.
April 2021 marks the 25th annual celebration of poets and poetry.
Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and, of course, poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives.
Each April, the Academy offers activities, initiatives, and resources so that anyone can join in National Poetry Month online and at home. Please visit National Poetry Month for a list of activities.
In 2014, I joined the Poetry for Pleasure group, which is part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program for the retirees or age 50+ individuals.
The Poetry for Pleasure group meets once a week for two hours during the regular quarters and intersessions at the California State University, Fullerton. We study the lives of the poets, classic and contemporary, and their works. Members signed up to lead each session. The leader would share the introduction, then the members would take turned to share and read a poem by that poet. Besides studying the poets and their works, we study types or themes of poetry such as humorous poems, poems from a 4-legged point of view, or poetry about love, family, and seasons.
In the second hour of the meeting, members would read their own poems. One member had been in that group for many years prior to my attendance. She was 90 years old when I first met her. She still wrote new poems until early 2021 at 96+ years old when she died of Covid complication. I remember her citing poems she wrote at age 6. It was an inspiration to watch her coming to the poetry group every week reading poetry of her own and others.
The group publishes an Anthology once a year. Each member has a share of eight pages to publish their unpublished poems. The last section of the Anthology is a themed poetry contributed by anyone in the group. One year, the theme was I Am From. The poems could refer to an actual location or a mental, physical, and emotional state, or a family origin. Such as…
I am from Boston where…
I am from a family of seven…
The following was my poem contributed to the anthology.
I Am From –
From a familiar land of Hong Kong, I came forty-some years ago –
to a land of the unknown in Portland, Oregon, following the rainbow.
From a dramatic scene of a skyscraper jungle crowded with people –
to a forest like of sky-reaching trees and behold the first snow.
From restaurants filled with muffled noises drowning my own voices –
to cafes so quiet I could hear the whispering and chewing of Époisses
From television, music, and chattering sounds saturated everywhere –
to air filled with crispy rubbing leaves and whooshing wind brushed my hair.
My surprising discovery was the intermittent tinnitus in my left ear –
which was masked by the environs from my discovery for many years.
The foreign land of the unknown now became my home.
Even when I traveled to places around the globe,
I long for coming back to my bed in my present home.
I will post poetry related posts during this month including the poets and their works, selection of my published or new poems, and other poetry projects.
What would you write if you were writing a poem or a thought on I Am From…? I would love to hear from you!
A beautiful tribute to Sue Vincent from Jim Webster. Thank you, Jim, for speaking for all of us and let Sue know what you were doing before her passing. She held all our love and appreciation with her.
Sue lived a courageous life. She was still writing when her legs were too weak to stand up. She showed us to be true to ourselves and be vulnerable. She didn’t complain about her dying but continued to value her living.
Sue, you lived a life greater than life itself. We all missed you tremendously and we’re thankful for the precious words you left behind!
There are times when a poet must make a stand and say, “This has happened without my cognisance and I will not accept it!” Today has not been the best of days. Today I got a note from a patron. Common enough, especially from her, as she was always quick to praise, swift to encourage. But today the note had a bitter flavour. She was sitting awaiting death. A week? Longer?
And what can a poet do? A poet can protest, a poet can stand tall and say firmly that this will not do. A poet can bang the table with his wine glass obvious of the fact it has shattered and the pieces lie glistening but incoherent, shards of dreams never now to be dreamt.
Others have known Sue for longer than I, others will doubtless feel the grief more keenly, will mourn longer, but my job as a…
I love landscape painting and chose this as Sue’s sample paintings.
Sue has been a caretaker of her son for 11+ years since he suffered from the traumatized attack. Besides the challenge, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. This is the time she would appreciate the support when she can’t run full speed because of the side effect and the exhaustion from the treatment, plus the impact from the Covid pandemic.
Carrot Rach has created a Rodeo Classic to orchestrate the support event. It calls for a 99-words flash fiction contest. To take part, you write a flash fiction story of 99 words or a poem of 99 syllables, using the photo prompt at Carrot Ranch to find the “Hidden” Inspiration, and enter the contest using a form on the post, then you’d be invited take part in a small donation to support Sue.
“Each story needs to have a beginning, middle and end. Poems must have distinctive theme, movement, and rhythm; no rhyme scheme is necessary, but neither will rhyme be punished…” – H.R.R.
There is a $100 grand prize and five runners up will each receive one paperback from Sue’s collection of published books (those who live in a region where the paperback is unavailable may receive an e-Book instead).
The contest will close at midnight on Friday, February 19, 2021. Winning entries will be announced and read at CarrotRanch.com/blog on March 22, 2021.
I hope you would participate and enjoy the fun!
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You may find Books by Sue Vincent and those written with Stuart France available in paperback and for Kindle via Amazon.
I’m delighted to have my fellow poet Balroop Singh here to celebrate the new release of her latest poetry book Magical Whispers. Please join me for the party and share her excitement.
The book cover is magical. Don’t you think? Now let me have Balroop tell you about her book.
Thank you for hosting me, Miriam
I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.
‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.
In this book, my poems focus on whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.
Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing. She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.
When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.
Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.
Today I am honored to be featured on the Author Spotlight at James J. Cudney’s beautiful blog This is My Truth Now. He asked me interesting questions in this interview. I invite you to head over to read this interview and you may be surprised with some answers.
James J. Cudney
Today’s post is an author spotlight. You’ll get to know the author and the author’s books, view book covers and marketing campaigns, read an interview between the author and me, and discover where to learn more about the author’s work, including social media contact links. Let’s meet…
Miriam and I met a couple of years ago through our blogs. After chatting about books, life, and poetry, we began following one another and became friends. I thoroughly loved her book, as you’ll see below. I’m thrilled share more about her now…
About the Author
Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.
She is passionate about poetry and her favorite poets are Robert Frost with his poems “The Road Not Taken,” and Linda Pastan with her poem “To a Daughter Leaving Home.”
Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.
She took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were also fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.
She earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California. She makes frequent visit to her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters in Portland, Oregon.
Hi Jay, thank you for your inviting me to appear on your blog for the Author Spotlight. It’s a privilege to share with you and your readers something about me.
What are your real, author, and/or pen names? What is your location?
Miriam Hurdle is my real name. I grew up in Hong Kong where I finished college and worked for several years before coming to the United States. While in Hong Kong, I taught Chinese as a Second Language in the Hong Kong Baptist University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I was also a Director of Children’s Department for Asian Outreach. At 26-years-old, I published four Children’s books. My boss was the editor. I worked closely with two in-house artists who designed the book covers and did the illustrations. I got in trouble once when I went into the darkroom to watch them developed the films of the photos for the books. My boss said I should be doing my job.
In the 1970s, I came to the United States for my graduate studies in the universities on the west coast and started working in 1980. After working for two years as a rehabilitation counselor, fifteen years as a teacher and ten years as a school district administrator, I retired. I have been living and working in southern California until now.
How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles?
I published my poetry in October 2018. It was a memoir in poetic form. I underwent cancer treatment in 2009 and took several years to regain the momentum of life. In 2014, I started volunteer counseling, taking classes in watercolor painting, poetry, publishing, and chorale at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). OLLI offers non-credit courses with no assignments or grades to adults over age 50. Since 2001, Bernard Osher Foundation launched OLLI programs at 120 universities and colleges throughout the United States. Many of the instructors are retired professionals.
I also started a blog in 2014 but it didn’t take off until 2016. For the following two years, I wrote poems and posted on my blog almost every day. Come to think of it, during the 27 years of working, life was a clock perpetuated the clicking. Retirement allowed me to review, reflect, and reevaluate. My poems were overflowing as the results of thoughts and feelings touching many parts of my life. Nothing agreed with my heart better than choosing the title: Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude for my book.
In early 2018, I thought of publishing a poetry book. I had heard of the rough road of traditional publishing. One author made a presentation about going through ten years of submitting manuscripts to the publishers but received nothing but rejections. By the end of the tenth year, a publisher approached her and wanted her to write a book on Autism of which she had no knowledge. She did a lot of research for that book which got her foot into publishing. She continued to do traditional publishing for many years until people recognized her name. She then republished all her books by self-publishing. I didn’t want to go through that route but checked out some publishers who charge fees to publish. One publisher would cost about $7,500 for publishing plus royalty for the life of the book. Recently, an acquaintance took a $10,000 loan to go with this publisher for her first book!
I wanted to learn about self-publishing. I purchased a “How to” package and studied for many months. By October 2018, I had designed the book cover, formatted the book and uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing. That was the year Amazon transferred from Crate Space to KDP. It was a lot of work, but I had fun learning the process. I published the eBook and paperback. I uploaded the Word Document for the eBook many times, but my formatting got all messed up. Eventually I used Kindle Create to format and upload the eBook. It’s easier for paperback because I uploaded the PDF file. If I publish again, I will trust the professionals to have the job done faster.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
I will continue to write in many more years to come. There are two members in their 80s in my poetry class at OLLI. They are my inspiration because they still write new poems.
Publishing four children’s books in Hong Kong was an enjoyable experience, and it is still my passion. I took a children’s writing course 15 years ago to learn how to get into the children literature market. My full-time job as a school district administrator didn’t allow me to go too far with that. Recently, I uncovered some stories and started to revise them. I also have several WIP writing projects, but it’s too early to reveal them. These projects will keep me busy for many years.
Do you belong to any writing group? Which one?
The first year at OLLI, I took a Life Story writing class with about twenty members divided into small groups of five to read and provide feedback to each other. This year I’m in a Writing for Feedback class with members writing in different genres.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)? Who designs your book covers?
I believe the book cover plays an important part to catch the eyes of a prospective reader. Once the cover catches the reader’s attention, the book has a chance to invite the reader to delve into the content. I received comments about my book cover long after the book was published. I designed my book cover by obtaining a free image and did some work to extend to image to the back of the paperback, also designed the front and back text. I played with the title and changed the wording many times before the final decision. Once the title was in a final stage, I searched the image that agreed with the title.
What is the craziest/funniest/most enjoyable thing you’re ever done in the name of research?
When I did the dissertation for my Doctor of Education, the research professor drew a big circle representing the scope of the research. Then he made a bunch of doodling and dots outside of the circle. He warned us to stay focus on our research. I remember that circle vividly whenever doing the research for my writing and tried not to get distracted. But when I researched again for another subject, I remembered certain information came across my mind in the previous research but was not saved in any folders. Subsequently, I created many subfolders and bookmarked a long list of links which may never be visited again.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I do not write full time. I have many interests, such as painting, singing, photography, gardening and traveling. At OLLI, I joined a chorale group which performs three or four times a year. I inherited my dad’s green thumb. My two plum trees produced 1,100 plums last year There are twenty-four rose bushes plus other flowers. Many real estate agents approached us to list our home on the market because of the attractive presentation of the front yard. The photography and painting serve as illustrations for the poems in the poetry book.
What advice would you give to your younger and/or older self?
My personality is such that I keep looking forward. I reflect on the past but do not regret. Robert Frost’s famous poem The Road Not Taken influenced me. Here are the first and last stanzas:
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
I believe who I am and what I have become are the accumulations of the past events, decisions, and experiences. Therefore, I could only give advice to my older self. I would tell myself to treasure my family and friends. Right now, I have the freedom to prioritize my life. I no longer need to build my career, so I should spend more time with them with people to build relationship. I don’t need any more fortune so I should focus on giving and not to expect anything in return. I want my family to remember me as someone who loves them and puts them first over myself as long as I could.