BASTARD

I have often thought of the inhumanity that is forced on women and the stigma that attaches to children by the sins of brute men. This poem is one of the most moving I have ever read.

muna chinedu

image

Bastard

They call you bastard
to make your heart contort
into folds of pain and rejection of yourself
you wish to fall into perpetual coma
you go to your mom to demand your father,
your mom that tied you on her back
and held tight to the thorny fetters of life
your mom that shielded you from bullets
targeted at you, and blinded her left eye
she bows her head, ashamed, rueful,
you feel the push to force her mouth open,
dip your hand into her throat to dredge it up

If you are the bastard,
who then
is the man that planted you into her?
the bastard is wandering about unabused :
the bastard
is that rapist that pounced on your mom
the bastard
is that unknown father
that goes about with his taut manhood
looking for more vulva to devour
the bastard
is that father that does not…

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Poet Interview – Toni Bunnell

toni-bunnell

I first observed Toni in my favourite cafe bar as she laboured away scribbling sentences in a notepad or tapped rapidly on her laptop. I imagined she was a teacher preparing lessons for eager students. After a year or so we were introduced and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Toni was, in fact, an academic,  lecturer, poet, author, songwriter and an accomplished musician. With many books and a range of musical CD’s to her name, Toni is a widely read and respected author and musician. I am pleased to welcome her to our blog this month. I hope that Toni’s experience of the writing world will inspire you and that you will choose to visit her web page and avail of her works.

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Welcome, Toni.

What inspires you to write?

I am pretty much driven to write, having written songs since I was ten. Certain things catch my attention, and propel me into a new storyline.

What is a measure of success as a poet and author?

If the poems or stories that you write are enjoyed, provide an insight into a different world, and reach out and touch one person only, this is surely a measure of their success.

Who are some of your favourite poets?

Wordsworth, Byron, Tennyson, Coleridge.

The Supernatural appears in many of your books. What inspires you to write about it?

Since childhood I have tended to occupy a parallel world much of the time. This was generally referred to as ‘daydreaming’ and was greatly frowned upon, particularly as I tended to do this during school hours. Inspiration happens as and when, and I have no hard and fast answer as to why I write in this genre.

You are a singer/songwriter as well as a poet.  What makes a poem or a song good?

If the words, and tune when portrayed as a song, engender the emotions in others that I felt when I wrote the song or poem, then I feel that I have achieved my goal. I tend to rely on feedback, when I perform my songs, regarding whether they are good are not. It is also useful to see if they stand the test of time.

What was the inspiration behind ‘The Nameless Children’? Could you say a bit about it?

With The Nameless Children, my gothic supernatural story, I happened to see a reference to ‘nameless children’ when visiting Howarth and the graveyard at the Brontë House. These two words conjured up a world of mystery and intrigue which drew me in, developing into a story that I would never have imagined in the cold light of day.

What advice would you give aspiring authors and poets?

Don’t waste time wondering about which genre you should write for, or what your intended audience might be, just write from the heart. In addition, don’t spend time developing a plotline, just because you think it is expected of you. This can often be distracting and might serve to suppress the creative spirit within you. Write because you want to.

Running

 

I ran today with the feet of a deer

I ran in my mind so no-one would hear

The thud of my heart as it beat in my chest

Or my soul call out to the East and the West

 

I ran through the deserts where the seas ran dry

I ran where no-one would hear me cry

The wind was my only companion

And stayed by my side as I ran on and on

 

And why do you run the voice inside said?

Do you run from yourself, from the voice in your head?

Or do you try to keep pace with the winds of change

Moving forever with the wind and the rain

 

And an echo came back through the rustling leaves

Finding its way around rocks, around trees

It spoke to the voice that still lingered on

Saying ‘run, if you must; run on and on’

 

For you need to feel the sun on your face

The deep-sounding caves out of time and of space

To go beyond limits where the edges are blurred

For no sense can be made of this parallel world

 

Your spirit must find its own way now

Not stay with the others or run with the crowd

For staying apart is your one saving grace

And being alone will help you find your place

 

© Toni Bunnell 290112

www.tonibunnell.com

April: Keith Terry – Poet Interview.

Debris Inside My Mind

 

KeithTerry

I met Keith in summer 2014. We immediately began a rapport that led me to a deep understanding of his poetic urge, right from the outset; we went on to spend and hour talking about the experiences in his life that had prompted a catharsis for pain, humour and his unique ways of wishing ‘to be’. Keith first wrote ‘First Aid for My Soul’ followed by his extended ‘The Debris Inside My Mind’. Here, in an honest and frank interview, he tells of his journey with the Muse.

What inspires you to write poetry?

My inspiration to write poetry is more often than not, the desire to explain and to release what I am thinking, without having to do it face to face. It is invariably to illustrate the darker or more euphoric thoughts and aspects of life and to express my feelings, emotions and observations.

What is a measure of success as a poet?

A measure of success is often measured in book sales. For me, that could not really be further from the truth, though the occasional royalty cheques are a bonus. The printing of my poems was a mere by-product and publication only icing on metaphorical cake. Success is knowing that something I have written has affected someone in a positive way, or at least begun to understand something of what and who I am, and have become. An example of this is an email I received from a reader, after I began to leave copies of my book on trains, with the label “Please read me!” This resulted in the following email: -I recently fell upon your book on a train from Tamworth to Crewe. I had just been in a job interview and was feeling down with a long journey ahead.The poems were inspiring and beautifully written, changing my outlook on that day. Fate will help me find the right job, and your collection made me thankful for what I have. So thank you! I left the book on my next train between Crewe and Bangor in hope that it reaches another willing reader. There is no greater measure than that.

Who are some of your favourite poets?

Rob Stevens (also known as Steven Zarel – stevenzarel.com), writes with such depth and insight. He can be sought out through Word Wizards in Buxton. His style and rhythm is such that his reading of a telephone directory would be enthralling. Greg Lake, (of Emerson Lake and Palmer fame) penned “Daddy”, which is the most profound and moving poem I have ever read.

What about ‘The Debris Inside My Mind? What is special about it? What inspired you to write about it?

The first poem in my book, entitled “My first one”, relates to the investigation and my dealings with the rape and brutal murder of a 14 year old schoolgirl. This violent episode had a traumatic and long lasting effect on my life, culminating in nightmares for over 30 years. The process of putting these feelings into words was so psychotherapeutic, that the nightmares ceased after the poems very first reading out loud. ‘The Debris Inside My Mind’ then became a collection of cathartic meanderings of events throughout my lifetime, and expresses my hopes as well as fears and observations.

What makes a poem good?

The ability to convey thoughts to paper in such a manner that the writer can paint a picture the reader can relate to and find meaningful. Invariably, truthfulness and openness help when writing from the heart.

What have you had published so far?

I have had a few articles published in magazines and many of my documents and video productions are used nationally, however, ‘The Debris Inside My Mind’ is my first published book.

What advice would you give aspiring poets?

Engage a good proof reader! Nothing puts me of moor than simpull speling miss takes and grammatical errors. They can interrupt flow flow and really braking flow off other-wise beautiful thoughts and observations.

Both collections are available from www.amazon.co.uk in one collection on this link.

Barefoot in the snow

The Silent Eye

footprints-man-beach-morning

Have you ever walked along the water’s edge in wet sand, leaving behind a transient trail of footprints that will be washed away by the sea? The image is an evocative one, though a little trite perhaps. Many have seen it as an illustration of the fleeting and impermanent nature of our passage through the world.

Although there may be few things more wonderful than walking through warm shallows and laughing at the sun, that too brings an image of life to mind. The shallows are comfortable, they are safe and known, the point where land and water meet. We experience both without leaving our own natural element. We don’t even need to adjust much, simply take of the shoes and walk. At worst we risk stepping on a shard of shell. But we feel the caress of the waves on our skin and the shifting tides echoing in our…

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February: Marianne Eloise – Poet Interview

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Marianne Eloise

‘Cactus’

 

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Today we welcome Marianne Eloise to the Muse Shack. I found her debut poetry ‘Cactus’ enlightening, current, challenging and entertaining. It awoke in me, a fellow mover of places, some of the emotions and feelings of the author. I recommend this volume to all readers

Bio: Marianne Eloise is a UK-based writer, academic and journalist who works in the media. She loves pop culture, the coast, and 90s/00s trash aesthetics. Cactus is her debut poetry collection.

 

What inspires you to write poetry?

I don’t really get inspired as such, I’m just very motivated to write and work through my experiences. I also write in an attempt to preserve a place I’ve been or a particular time.

What is a measure of success as a poet?

I would consider myself successful if poetry was the only thing I needed to sustain my lifestyle, but I haven’t achieved that yet! I don’t think there are many poets who have achieved that, so for now I’d be happy just having people know who I am.

Who are some of your favourite poets?

Honestly, I don’t read poetry. I like Plath enough, but I am primarily influenced by music and literature. Traditionally, poetry can be very inaccessible linguistically so I aspire to something more easy-going or lyrical. I probably borrow more from emo music like Bright Eyes or Brand New than I do poetry.

What about Cactus? What was special about it? What inspired you to write it?

I have been publishing poetry online for over three years and I wanted a collection that I and my readers could hold and that I could share. I looked at my work to establish a theme and found that I wrote about place a lot in an effort to understand my relation to certain locations, so I gathered several of them together and wrote new ones.

What makes a poem good?

As someone who doesn’t read much poetry, I’m not sure I’m the best to answer this, but I’ll try! When I was at University and reading other students’ poetry every day, it was so immediately clear which ones were false or trying to practice forms or ideas that didn’t come naturally. I think you need to have a really strong voice and an understanding of language to know how to manipulate it and have words work well together. Trying to sound old fashioned or evoke the same voice as writers 200 years ago is a really easy way to make a poem terrible. I just don’t think that a genuine voice is something that can be taught, only practiced.

How did you publish ‘Cactus’?

After researching and soliciting a great deal of advice on how to publish through a publishing house, I realised that it could take years and I wouldn’t have the control over my work that I want. So I turned to Blurb, a self-publishing site where I could have complete control over editing, design, etc. My partner (Owain Anderson) designed the cover, which I never would have had with a traditionally published collection.

What advice would you give aspiring poets, especially those who want to get into print?

Get a real job because poetry will never pay the bills. But if you’re good work hard at it, get your work out there, do readings, make friends. Read as much of anything as you can. Have other options and expertise, because it gives your work far more depth than if you’re just working in a vacuum of poetry. Google magazines and websites, especially ones in your area, and try to get some traction. Make yourself known in some way, even if it’s through your own website or self-published.

You can reach Marianne at her website, twitter @marianne_eloise, Instagram @mazisthebest, or by email Marianne.eloise@hotmail.com

CACTUS/LINKS

Cactus is Marianne’s debut poetry collection and contains three sections of poems about places: Leicester, Brighton, and California.. It has several poems you will never see on February Stationery.

 

You can find it in these places:

Kindle
Blurb
Amazon UKUSA (available on others if you search)
Bigcartel (directly from me, with a note)
and the Goodreads page (courtesy of Becca at Libfem) is right here