Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guest Blog: Review of MariJo Moore's A BOOK OF CEREMONIES

By Suzanne Zahrt Murphy.
Review  of A Book of Ceremonies and Spiritual Energies Thereof by MariJo Moore (rENEGADE pLANETS pUBLISHING, 2012). by Suzanne Zahrt Murphy
In a land that cherishes “big,” we could be fooled to think that the slenderness of this book, written by a woman who is Cherokee, Dutch, and Irish, about personal spiritual ceremonies, is of minor significance.
In fact, it is quite significant. MariJo has identified a need, and, with much concern and wisdom and energy, she has brought forth this little book with the blessing of the late Vine Deloria Jr., and others who have followed her work. She tells us why we need ceremony:
Ceremony is a necessary act to obtain or regain balance with the Spiritual Energies of the universe. The purpose of ceremony is to integrate: to merge one with all of humankind as well as the realm of the ancestors, to blend one with all of creation.”
MariJo Moore's work has always had a spiritual source. Her first books, centered upon nature, gave us small yet powerful inspiration found from her visits to the desert, her kinship with crows, her relationship to trees. In these books, her Native American ancestry and knowledge of the circle of life reminds us to accept all creatures, and that we are only a part of the totality of life.
Our relationship to our spirituality is an always present theme in all of her work, including: Red Woman with Backward Eyes – a book of short stories; The Diamond Doorknob, in which a mixed blood woman discovers her need to develop and love herself before she can accept the love of others . . . .   See the rest of this review at this link:
Suzanne Zahrt Murphy is a writer, artist, and nurse educator. She is of Cherokee, German, Swedish and Scottish heritage and resides in Albuquerque, NM. Her forthcoming book is titled As We Tumble on Your Plain.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Talk, Drink, Eat: Writers Conference Poem by Kevin Rabas

I heard Kevin Rabas read this poem about what really goes on at writers' conferences--indeed, many conferences. As AWP board member and former conference chair, I have seen the hard work staffs and organizers put into conferences. First-rate programming is the first step, and the second step is to make sure the bartenders are ready for sober and less sober writers who spend long hours congregating. Despite warnings the bar in Chicago ran out of some essential supplies, for example. People who use words for a living love to talk--no surprise. Talk, Drink, Eat. This poem, from Kevin's forthcoming book Sonny Kenner's Red Guitar (Coal City 2013) is about one writer group's expedition out of the conference hotel to find local flavor:

When the Writers Gather and Drive
                                   AWP Austin, for Amy Sage Webb
Amy, a foodie, says she knows about this great place
 outside of Austin, and we gather around my car
in the Hilton parking garage, which is lit like a cave.
We cant get the childs seat out, and so Amy volunteers
 to sit in it. I have on my first pair of roper cowboy boots
 since I was 12, and I floor it, unintentionally, and we barrel
 out of the Hilton parking garage and into the purple Texas night,
 four writers looking for fine food on the outskirts of town,
 down and around lots of curves and rises and falls in the road,
 Amy, perched like a baby bird, in my toddlers child seat.
 Like a scene from Wonder Boys, movie of writers and their cars;
 Grady Trips trunk holds a dead dog, a tuba, and a set of suitcases perfectly,
 just like in the ad. Although Im driving, Amy is in the lead, saying,
 Go left here. Now straight through the next two lights. Now right.
 Bart is in the backseat with Amy, and he says, There are almost no
 families with siblings who are writers. The Bronte Sisters,
 the Brothers Grimm, they are the exceptions. Were alone
 in our families. But were all brothers and sisters here, someone says,
 and Jeffrey tilts his ballcap back, and I step a little harder on the pedal,
 and we scale a series of small curves. Like a rollercoaster climbing, we make our way
 up the mountain and to the restaurant that looks like a cabin from the outside.
 Inside, its finer than the Ritz, and we take shots in the entrance,
 using my disposable camera, pulled from a pocket and snapped into light.
 This is the life you never hear of, the once a year gathering of the birds,
 of the tribe. There are a bunch of us, say 8000. But we live all over
 the country, and there seem to be no two in one town, people who choose paper
 over television, legal pad and quick pen script over that email or Facebook
 youre just dying to write, people who watch and write down what
 the neighbors do and do not do, who record the town, in secret, for about 35K a year,
 and sink into ecstasy when a small press picks up what they have written
 and prints it, and it stays in print, in a few libraries and in the homes of friends,
 decades after the writer passes, a record, a sketch of that time, traced and retraced
 until it almost takes on paint, the way revision works. Someone spent a lifetime
 writing and rewriting a moment, a scene depicting your life, and that someone
 is speeding down curves, in a loaded car, full of wine and fine food, the best meal
 they may ever have had, and that is the way of it, once a year, when the writers gather,
 Webb in the coxswain spot, giving directions, as the car sways and rumbles, writes
 its way into the oncoming night.
Kevin Rabas co-directs the creative writing program at Emporia State University and is co-editor of Flint Hills Review. He has two books of poetry, Bird’s Horn and Other Poems (Coal City Review Press) and Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano (Woodley Press), a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award Winner. He is a winner of the Langston Hughes award for poetry. "When the Writers Gather and Drive" reprinted with permission of the author. It was first published in Blue Island Review.