The Newsletter of 
April 2016


"Poetry gave me back my voice."
~Maya Angelou

  • Write an ode (in praise of, or dedicated to, something or someone).
  • Write a poem giving instructions on how to do something.
  • Write a 20-line poem describing what is in your "junk drawer."
  • Write a poem or story about a joke played on you or a joke you played on someone else.



For many people poetry is daunting, but for others it's a huge source of inspiration. Some people prefer to read poetry, while others prefer to write it. I am particularly drawn to poetry that is accessible and moves me emotionally. I am less drawn to poetry which I have to read over and over again in orderto figure out the poet's message.

My transformative moment came about when Billy Collins came to read during my MFA program at Spalding University. I walked out of the room completely motivated, and all I wanted to do was write poetry that related to everyday events and feelings, just like Collins did. There was also something magical and crafty about the way he strung words together. His keen observations were real and universal, which, coupled with his dry sense of humor, inspired the middle-aged poet in me.

When people ask me who my favorite poet is, I tell them that it depends upon the day. Some days it's Collins, other days when feeling more romantic, Pablo Neruda or Rod MdKuen comes to the forefront, and when I am needing spiritual inspiration, I turn to Rumi or Bazzo.

National Poetry Month is a good month to submerge yourself in the poetic world, write a poem or visit poetry websites such as:


Instead of Sadness (poems) by Catherine Abbey Hodges.
This book is the winner of the inaugural Barry Spacks Poetry Prize, and as someone who knew and admired Spacks, I feel that the book really deserves this wonderful honor. Instead of Sadness is a collection of short, precise poems that inspire readers to either stop and ponder a particular poem, or read it once more for additional nuance. Some of Hodges's images will inspire you to paint a picture within your mind relating to what is happening in the poem.
The subjects of the poems are diverse-encompassing nature, death, dreams, childhood, and more. Many of them deal with feelings or images that we might have felt in the past but were unable to articulate. For example, one of my favorites poems is "Safe." It starts like this: I am six / I don't like coffee, / but the smell of it drifting/ up the stairs / along with breakfast-making clatter / means I'm safe./

How many children have felt this way, and how many adults recall this feeling many years later? Not many, but Hodges imparts these emotions brilliantly. Many thanks to her for sharing her poems with the universe and may Catherine's month be filled with beautiful poetry.

"Inspired by Nin." Cafe in Space: (essay). The Anais Nin Literary Journal. Volume 13 (93-97), 2016.

"Secrets: Saviors or Demons?" Psychology Today. (blog post). March 14, 2016.

"Baby Boomer Perspective: Why Do I Write?" (blog post). Huffington Post. March 22, 2016..

"Wishing Well." (poem).
Pyrokinection, March 26, 2016.

'The Naked Brain." (blog post). Psychology Today. March 27, 2016. 

Creatively yours,

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(Subject: Newsletter) 

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