Highland Park Poetry’s 2018 challenge—deadline January 29

294_HP_Poetry_color_smallIn the northern suburb of Highland Park, Jennifer Dotson works hard for poetry–organizing readings, exhibits, and contests, such as this year’s challenge in which poets of all ages are invited to submit original poetry in response to:

Electricity (in honor of the 75th anniversary of Nikolas Tesla’s death)

Monsters (in honor of the 300th anniversary of publication of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein)

A Golden Shovel Poem (a poetic form created by Terrence Hayes).

Original poetry (of 30 or fewer lines) should express the writer’s experiences, thoughts or feelings related to the challenge themes or form. Previously published works are accepted but please indicate where and when the work appeared.

The deadline for submissions is Monday, January 29, 2018. Selected authors will be notified on or before February 26, 2018.

There is no reading fee to submit one (1) poem. To submit additional poems, there is a reading fee of $4 per poem. Poems will be awarded in the following categories: Student, K – 5; Student, 6 – 8; Student, 9 – 12; Student, College/University; Adult Highland Park Resident; and Adult non-resident.

For exact details on how to submit, consult the Highland Park Poetry site.

Selected adult poets will be invited to read their poems at a venue and date still to be determined.

Selected student poets will be invited to read their poems at the Highland Park Public Library Auditorium (494 Laurel Avenue) on Wednesday, April 18 at 7:00 p.m.

Selected poetry will also be featured on the Muses’ Gallery on the Highland Park Poetry website throughout April 2018.

Photographers and visual artists are encouraged to submit works related to the 2018 Challenge to be included in our display.

For all the specifics, go to Highland Park Poetry. Once there, you may also want to spend some time watching interviews or reading work in The Muses Gallery.

Write on.

Peace, love, and solace

Electric flower © Ellen Wade Beals, 2018

Electric flower © Ellen Wade Beals, 2018



2018 starts with two new poetry books

IMG_6248Hey there! Happy New Year!  Hope your year has gotten off to a good start. Hope you are keeping snug.

There are two new books of poetry that might interest you.

Solace in So Many Words contributor and Evanston poet Susan Spaeth Cherry has a new book–Sackcloth and Silk: New and Selected Poems. She will be reading from this collection Thursday, January 11 at 7 pm at the Community Meeting Room of Evanston Public Library.

Copies of Sackcloth and Silk will be available to purchase with both Susan Cherry and Scurfpea Publishing donating half their proceeds to Doctors Without Borders.25396232_10155336956679385_1206406005903844711_n

Susan Spaeth Cherry began her writing career as a journalist. Her award-winning poetry has been published in anthologies, literary magazines, and on poetry web sites. She is the author of five poetry collections (I Am the Pool’s Perimeter; Reflecting Pool; Breaking Into the Safe of Life; Sonata in the Key of Being; and Hole to Whole). She often sets her poetry to choral and instrumental music that she composes herself.   Congrats Susan!

Congrats are also extended to Arlyn Miller whose press Poetic License just came out with its latest publication: In Plein Air.

It’s a collection of fifty-two poems in response to the natural world printed in an individually numbered, limited edition of two hundred and twenty books.  Each of the forty-three poets spent time outdoors while creating these poems, so that the collection is not only about the outdoors, but also of the outdoors.

26166789_10155028079636850_3362660982121811949_nIn Plein Air  includes twenty-two graphite illustrations hand drawn expressly for this anthology.

For more information, check out Poetic License site where you can order the book and learn about upcoming events. Previous collections include: A Light Breakfast: Poems to Start Your Day and A Midnight Snack: Poems for Late Night Reading.

Write on. Read on.

 Peace, love, and solace


Gift of the wild

I just spotted a coyote across the creek, running along the bank.

Happy Christmas Eve to all. Peace, love, and solace.


Gift of the wild

On Christmas a coyote came to our fence
and ever since my dog has been visited
by dreams of running with the pack,
almost able to catch up but never quite there,

lagging, and so her back legs push off
as she sleeps in her bed, her eyes squint
as if to see between the pickets,
beyond the slats shadowed on the ground.

She wants to stalk the ducks in the creek,
no leash tugging like a conscience, to tip over
garbage cans or to rustle among the leaves
for mice, to see the moon and call to it.

Cookies, I shake the box, her reward for coming in
but she skulks along the fence, desperate for any scent,
any sense that she could follow, could still catch up.


© Ellen Wade Beals

Wild desire © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Wild desire © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017


Thank you again and again

IMG_1434Ho, ho, ho no. Have you encountered holiday grumps?

My instinct is to tell them to focus on the positive instead of the negative, to practice gratitude. Then I realize it is advice I can use myself. I have so much to be grateful for—I hope you do too. Thank you for reading; I appreciate you giving me your attention.  Happy holidays!

Peace, love, and solace


Everyday is a gift

so says the plaque on the bathroom wall.
Of course, there should be a space between
every and day. It is each and every
day that is the present.

But the everyday is a gift too,
wrapped in plain paper
addressed in Papermate blue,
bound in time and string,
left on the doorstep
near the mat, common as dirt and dust,
ordinary as tap water, easy to miss.

When you return to the table at the restaurant
it may have taken you seat
—look before you sit. It is there
with you in the car, built in better
than cup holders. You can see it
out your windshield—big sky
country and rainy day commuting,
broken shoelaces and loose teeth,
salty as canned soup
and just as remarkable
unless you have specific recall of the mundane,
all happenstance and chicken fingers.

It wouldn’t be special
to get a gift everyday–what greedy
children we’d be. No matter; it hangs around
with your clothes and tags along after breakfast
like a balloon from the carnival,
or the toilet paper flagging your step,
constant companion, sometimes making you self conscious.

A gift. A prize. A favor
cheap as the tchotchke in the Cracker Jack box,
cute as Monopoly’s Scottie dog,
succinct as a vanity plate and vague as a bubblegum fortune.

It’s the balled tissue in the toes of new shoes,
noticeable only when you put your foot in it.

Or it’s a bitter process, tough-as-gristle work,
comforting as an I-told-you-so but iridescent
like a pearl, and dirty as a root vegetable.
After all, some gifts we’d like to return.

But whether it is as vexing as catsup,
frivolous as confetti,
or hard and gleaming like the cold comfort
we take from still being alive, it
will not to be denied but remains
obvious as the banner
that boasts “sanitized for your protection.”

Sure, everyday is a gift.
Unwrap it carefully
and save the paper.


© Ellen Wade Beals, 2008


Here's my guy © Ellen Wade Beals, 2014

Here’s my guy © Ellen Wade Beals, 2014

We are all in the gutter © Ellen Wade Beals, 2014

We are all in the gutter © Ellen Wade Beals, 2014

Older posts «