Some summer diversions

summer-2017-coverHey there – happy summer! I am happy to start the season with a cover shot. My photo “Petal Perfect” is the cover of the latest Olentangy Review. Thanks so much to Melissa and Darryl Price for choosing my work.

Here’s some stuff I found interesting these past weeks.

For Mockingbird, June 2, Sarah Condon wrote “Self-Righteousness at Home in the Twenty-First Century” and it has stayed on my mind. The subject matter is pertinent (“Because self-righteousness cuts a clear path to dinner with Satan, party of 2.”) and as you can see, the writing amuses.  This was the first I’d read of  Sarah Condon but it turns out she has written a book, Churchy, which I might have to check out.Churchy

After the elections in the UK, Manchester poet Tony Walsh (also known as Longfella) responded with this poem “Net Worked,” which I found pretty amazing. The video is less than two minutes long so it’s not a big time commitment.

Are you a crossword enthusiast? The Indie 500 crossword tournament has already taken place but you can purchase the pack of puzzles. Info is here.

LillianCoverI am looking forward to reading Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, which I just purchased at the recent reading by Kathleen Rooney at the Irish American Heritage Center.

I’ve mentioned before how I enjoy the work by photographer Kevin Nance. When he posts some of his abstract work, he categorizes it as “imaginary landscapes.” I’ve been experimenting with my camera and came up with an imaginary mapscape (and a seascape) which I share below.

Peace, love, and solace


A new continent © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

A new continent © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Billowing © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Billowing © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017


The Next Chapter Can Open New Worlds — 33rd PRLF

Miscellany © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Miscellany © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017


Hey Chicago — This weekend is the 33rd  Printers Row Lit Fest — here’s the link to all the info.


Donne, Wright, Calls for submissions

Words can hurt © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Words can hurt © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Howdy. I saw a tornado of cottonwood on my deck today. It’s that time of year. The lawn is edged in white.

The news of the world and my country’s official take on those news events have left me without adequate words.

Fortunately a Facebook friend named Bob Dixon-Kolar made a couple posts that caught my attention this week. One is this passage by John Donne, which is taken from  Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions. Donne wrote it in prose in 1624, but over time it has been morphed into a poem.

No Man is an Island

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

The second of his posts was the poem “A Blessing” by James Wright. It is not in the public domain so here’s the link. It’s a beautiful poem. Oh to write a poem half as satisfying.

If I did I would submit it to Rattle, which is holding a contest with a $10,000 prize. Interested? Here’s the link.

Also, there’s a call for submissions at Subprimal Poetry Art; here’s the link.

You may also want to look at the Highland Park Poetry page – there’s a call for submissions there too. It’s for ekphrastic poems on the public art in that village.

I also came across the poem “It Is Later Than You Think” by Robert W. Service and this poem, which relates a writer’s woes, hit a nerve. It’s a long poem so I will leave you with the first and last stanzas.

The first stanza:

Lone amid the café’s cheer,
Sad of heart am I to-night;
Dolefully I drink my beer,
But no single line I write.
There’s the wretched rent to pay,
Yet I glower at pen and ink:
Oh, inspire me, Muse, I pray,
It is later than you think!

And here’s the last stanza:

Lastly, you who read; aye, you
Who this very line may scan:
Think of all you planned to do …
Have you done the best you can?
See! the tavern lights are low;
Black’s the night, and how you shrink!
God! and is it time to go?
Ah! the clock is always slow;
It is later than you think;
Sadly later than you think;
Far, far later than you think.

So I guess I should get to it! Also, thanks to Bob Dixon-Kolar for such thoughtful posts.

Peace, love, and solace

P.S. Chicago people, this upcoming weekend is Printer’s Row Lit Fest; here’s a link to the schedule of activities.


Hope gives issue to hope . . .

IMG_0098Hello friends. Well, the world has seen carnage and hate and stupidity this week. I must admit I have a difficult time finding solace.

The literary world is mourning the loss of Denis Johnson.

In announcing his death the  Michener Center for Writers reported that Denis Johnson kept on his desk this quote by Walt Whitman as a personal manifesto.

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

In his poem “Surreptitious Kissing” Denis Johnson wrote: “I want to say that / forgiveness keeps on / dividing, that hope / gives issue to hope, . . . .”

I am going to keep these quotes in mind.

In totally unrelated news, way back in 2015, on April 20, I wrote a post about 420 and what the date means. Just recently I received an email (well, three actually) from Travis Bezos, who is the editor of RedEyesOnline. He wants you to know that his site has a very comprehensive blog post on the history and the origin of 420 – National Weed Day. Indeed the site has lots of information on marijuana so check it out if you have questions or curiosity about this subject.

Hope you have a great three-day weekend. My gratitude goes to the soldiers past and present. If you are interested in supporting the troops through contributions, I found the information on the site Military.com to be helpful.

Peace, love, and solace





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