Margo Taft Stever is a prolific poet who has worked with many great poets through the years and through her work founding the Hudson Valley Writers Center and Slapering Hol Press. Listen to us discuss her two books of poetry that was released this year, her work process and philosophies!
You can purchase a copy here: CavanKerry Press
You can order your copy here: Kattywompus Press.
END OF HORSES
I write to you from the end
of the time zone. You must realize
that nothing survived after
the horses were slaughtered.
We sleep below the hollow
We look into dust bowls
searching for horses.
When you walk in the country,
you will be shocked to meet
substantial masses on the road.
We do not know whom to blame
or where the horses were driven,
who slaughtered them, or for what
purpose. Had the horses slept
under the linden trees? The generals
and engineers pucker
and snore on the veranda.
First published in chapbook, Ghost Moose, Margo Taft Stever, Kattywompus Press, 2019. Forthcoming in Canary: A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis.
Bio: In 2019, CavanKerry Press published Margo Taft Stever’s book, Cracked Piano, and Kattywompus Press published her chapbook, Ghost Moose. Her four other poetry collections are The Lunatic Ball, 2015; The Hudson Line, 2012; Frozen Spring, 2002; and Reading the Night Sky, 1996. Her poems have appeared widely in journals such as Verse Daily, upstreet; Plume, Blackbird; Salamander; Poem-A-Day, The Academy of American Poets; Cincinnati Review; Salamander; Prairie Schooner; New England Review; Poet Lore; West Branch; Seattle Review; and in numerous anthologies. She co-authored Looking East: William Howard Taft and the 1905 U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Asia (Zhejiang University Press, 2012 and Orange Frazier Press, 2015) and created a traveling exhibition of “Looking East photographs. She is the founder of the Hudson Valley Writers Center and the founding editor of Slapering Hol Press.
Listen to me and Luisa Kay Reyes discuss how she got into writing, her many other talents such as singing operatic and classical music, playing the piano, and the many languages she speaks. We also talk about the lost art of letter writing.
by Luisa Kay Reyes
published in Little Rose Magazine, March, 2019
As we walked into the empty breezeway of this Spanish Colonial style building that was set off of the main plaza of a rural village in Michoacan, Mexico, the sole gentleman standing there pulled out a very dusty and rickety small wooden table from the back corner along with an equally flimsy small chair and set it out in the middle of the foyer for my father. Who promptly set his dark colored cloth bag full of Mexican currency on the top of the table. And as soon as I turned around, what had merely a second before been an empty outside corridor styled with the traditional Spanish archways, was now filled with a long line of working men who were eager to change their U.S. Dollars into Mexican pesos. It was a most exposed way of changing money. Causing my mother to not unjustly worry about the safety of my brother and me as we were visiting our father during the summer and accompanying him while he conducted his in person money exchanges. With it being the early 1990s and the use of Western Union, Mejico Express, and other means of electronically transferring money internationally not yet in vogue along with the reticence of the mainstream banks to change dollars in a land where counterfeit movies, music, knock-off purses, and fake sterling silver jewelry could be easily purchased at any weekly street market; there was a great demand for those willing to undergo the inherent dangers and risks of such an enterprise. And my father happened to be one of them. With our proud to be an American side of the family comprising of teachers and professors who were highly educated but receiving at best average compensation, the mass quantities of U.S. Dollars being changed into pesos that day were a first for my brother and me. For we had never beheld so many bills even during our periodic long drawn out Monopoly games. Yet, as the line continued increasing with the men continually bringing their dollars to change, it soon became evident that while the U.S. Dollars flowing through that day would never run out, the Mexican pesos that our father had brought with him for the exchanges - might. Once the glamour of seeing so many dollars in one place wore off and the day evidenced that it would be a sizeable one, my brother and I ventured out of the breezeway into the village’s central plaza and looked around for what treats we could find to eat. We were deep in the heart of Mexico in the region that had once housed the mighty Purepecha empire, but with Michoacan being a primarily agricultural state, the current necessities of making a living had commanded many to go up to “el Norte” and figure out how to send their dollars back home. While every year hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of monarch butterflies migrate up to three-thousand miles from Canada and North America to their winter homes in the oyamel fir trees of Michoacan, over time it became apparent that they weren’t the only entity undergoing such a lengthy journey. For the next time my brother and I went to visit our father in Michoacan, his money exchange business was now a brick and mortar one with several branches operated by his siblings throughout the area. “Why doesn’t Mexico just use the dollar as their currency once and for all?” I asked my father. For it certainly seemed like a much simpler option than this continual hassle of changing money back and forth from dollars to pesos and vice versa.
“Well, that’s what I’ve always said” was his reply. “But it is better for me that they don’t.”
Then late one night we went to meet with some city officials who were wanting to buy some dollars for the city treasury. For with the ever present concern of the Mexican peso undergoing further devastating devaluations, even the city was deeming it expedient to have some dollars on hand. And my father’s business was in a position to sell them some dollars at a better price than the banks could offer. Now that the money exchanging business was more official with its office in the center of the historic colonial era downtown, lots of money orders, cashier’s checks, and IRS refund checks were coming through the teller windows, as well. Often times they weren’t filled out properly and we would have to draw arrows back and forth between the “pay to” and the purchaser fields. There were also some very wrinkled diminutive peasant women covered in their native shawls among the clientele now who were coming through with thousands of dollars worth of money orders, the result of five or more sons sending their earnings back home. The locals informed us that Michoacan had reached the point to where there were more people from Michoacan living in the U.S. than in Michoacan, itself. And the rural villages that we used to go to with our father, were now devoid of men. Since all of the able-bodied males from the ages of twelve to fifty were in the United States working. We actually missed getting to explore some of the outlying villages like we’d done before, although, sometimes my brother was able to accompany the security guards to some of the more remote branches. Why the banks were so hesitant to enter into the money exchange business was a bit mystifying for my brother and me. Since after seeing so many dollar bills come through, it was quite easy to spot the counterfeit ones. There was just something a little bit off about the swamp green ink color or the thickness of the paper not feeling quite the same. Yet, one time, my brother took back a counterfeit bill to the States. And after eating at a restaurant, he decided to see if he could get away with using it. Sure enough, the friendly server accepted the bill without question. And fearing that she might receive a reprimand if her boss were apprised of the fact that she had just accepted a counterfeit, I insisted we tell her to bring it back and let us pay with the real money. She didn’t want to do so. She just couldn’t see how the bill was a counterfeit since she swore it looked identical to the real thing. But, after a while, we convinced her to let us pay with the real money and still a bit puzzled by it all she reluctantly accepted to make the exchange. Admitting to us that she simply couldn’t tell the difference between it and the real money. Having more employees in the money exchange business meant there was less for us to do during our summer visits. So my brother and I got to indulge in a lifestyle barred from us in the USA, that of spending the day in the country clubs and fine dining in the evenings. Yet one time I decided I wanted to save some of my money to buy a new cd player. A notion for which I was quickly called to task, since my father felt the money he gave us to spend during our visits was for us to have a good time. So, while I still managed to save back some and make my purchase when we went back to the States, I did learn to spend the money freely. A lesson I learned perhaps too well. Then one day while I was in college and driving to my local bank in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to deposit my refund check from the U.S. Treasury, I held it up and stared at it in disbelief. I knew that getting a refund back was far better than owing money and going on an installment plan to make monthly payments to the IRS. But I couldn’t help but stare at its pale yellow background emblazoned with the statue of liberty on it. Since I was all too familiar with these checks. They were the ones I’d seen the peasants cash back in my father’s business in Mexico. And somehow it had never occurred to me that I would one day receive one of those, as well. But upon glancing at the amount, it occurred to me that I had a lot more work to do before I could match their sums. And now I understood first-hand where they came from.
Kay Fabella is a Filipina-American Creative living in Spain. Listen to her inspiring story about her struggles with depression and how she carved out her space and made her name living her dream abroad, as well as publish her book: "Rewrite Your Story", showing others how to find their voice as they find their way through adversities.
Just when Kay Fabella was beginning to feel that she’d found her path to success―graduating from college in 3 years, a paying job in the midst of a recession, and a bright future ahead―she was diagnosed with clinical depression.
A lifelong overachiever who started reading at age 2, graduated high school at 16, and college at 19, burnout forced Kay to re-evaluate her own definition of success. She decamped for the support of family in Los Angeles, and began a journey of healing to stay away from meds and hospitals.
Along the way, Kay discovered how to create a life that was aligned with who she was―eventually leading her to create her dream life and business in Spain. The practices that Kay cultivated over the past 10 years to thrive post-burnout and manage her mental health eventually inspired her to write this book.
Rewrite Your Story chronicles how Kay recovered from burnout, and walks you through the practices she herself cultivated to begin to ask what success looked like on her terms… and invites you to do the same for your life.
Today, Kay operates her business as The Story Finder as a Filipina-American expat in Spain. Stories = diversity = inclusion = social change, and it’s Kay’s mission to give underrepresented entrepreneurs a platform to grow their audience by leveraging the power of their stories. She’s been featured in Fast Company, Thrive Global, Huffington Post and Spanish-language newspaper, El País.
Heather Davis and Jose Padua are powerhouse poets and writers that have worked and encouraged each other's work throughout the years. Listen to us discuss their journey, their writing process and their challenges and their joys as poets who are married together with children.
Jose Padua’s first full-length book, A Short History of Monsters, was chosen by former poet laureate Billy Collins as the winner of the 2019 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and is now out from the University of Arkansas Press. His poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in publications such as Bomb, Salon.com, Beloit Poetry Journal, Exquisite Corpse, Another Chicago Magazine, Unbearables, Crimes of the Beats, Up is Up, but So Is Down: New York's Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992, and others. He has written features and reviews for Salon, The Weeklings, NYPress, Washington City Paper, the Brooklyn Rail, and the New York Times, and has read his work at Lollapalooza, CBGBs, the Knitting Factory, the Public Theater, the Living Theater, the Nuyorican Poets' Café, the St. Mark's Poetry Project, and many other venues. He was a featured reader at the 2012 Split This Rock poetry festival and won the New Guard Review’s 2014 Knightville Poetry Prize.
After spending the past ten years with his wife (the poet Heather L. Davis) and children in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, he and his family are back in his hometown, Washington, D.C. Padua also writes the blog Shenandoah Breakdown, (http://shenandoahbreakdown.wordpress.com/).
These So Long Days We Spend in the Middle of Things--Shenandoah Breakdown
A Short History of Everyone in the World – Verse Daily
Gin and the River – Pea River Journal
Two poems - Bomb
My Confederate Town
A Life of Uncontrollable Urges (or Tourette’s and the Writing Life)
Heather Lynne Davis earned a B.A. in English from Hollins University and an M.A. in creative writing from Syracuse University. She attended the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets and is a winner of the Hayden Carruth Poetry Prize at Syracuse University, a Larry Neal Writer’s Award, Bethesda Literary Festival essay and poetry prizes, and the Arlington County Moving Words Poetry Contest. She is the author of The Lost Tribe of Us, which won the 2007 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award and has published two short stories in the Rehoboth Beach Reads anthology series. A short story is also forthcoming in the anthology Us Against Alzheimer’s: Stories of Family, Love, and Faith. Her poems have appeared in Cream City Review, Gargoyle, Poet Lore, Puerto del Sol, and Sonora Review, among others. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, the poet José Padua, and their son and daughter. She is at work on a novel.
A few poems and links to poems are here: https://heatherlynnedavis.com/poetry/
Lynn McGee is a poet with many fine publications and accolades. Listen to us discuss our childhood experiences growing up as military brats, her reading some of her fabulous poems and find out where and how she gets her ideas for her poetry collections.
Order her book:
Lynn McGee is the author of the poetry collection, "Tracks"(Broadstone Books, 2019); Sober Cooking (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2016), and two award-winning poetry chapbooks: Heirloom Bulldog (Bright Hill Press, 2015) and Bonanza (Slapering Hol Press, 1997).
Lynn earned an MFA in Poetry at Columbia University, where she held teaching and merit fellowships. She was awarded a MacDowell fellowship, is a winner of the Judith's Room Emerging Writers Award, and taught writing at private and public colleges (George Washington University, Columbia University, Southern Methodist University, Brooklyn College/CUNY and others) as well as having led poetry workshops in public schools in New York City as an artist-in-residence with Teachers and Writers Collaborative.
A 2015 Nominee for the Best of the Net award, Lynn was also a nominee for the McGovern Prize and the Pushcart Prize, and was a semi-finalist for the Dana Award. She is a recipient of the NYC Literacy Center's Recognition Award for her work in adult literacy, and received the Heart of the Center Award from the LGBT Community Center in New York City. Today she is a communications manager at Borough of Manhattan Community College, The City University of New York. She lives in the Bronx, New York.
Listen to Tyler Gillespie and I discuss his beginnings being born and raised in Tampa Bay, Forida, his future plans, and listen to him read some of his excellent poems from his Florida Man: Poems and up and coming collections!
Order your copy here!
Tyler Gillespie is a poet and award-winning journalist published in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Vice, The Daily Beast, Salon, GQ, The Nation, and Playboy. He is the author of Florida Man: Poems and the forthcoming nonfiction collection Florida Men Monsters: My Search for Pythons, Pioneers and the Truth about Paradise (University Press of Florida). He also wrote a chapbook Dirty Socks and Pine Needles(Sibling Rivalry Press, 2012) and co-edited the humor collection The Awkward Phase: The Uplifting Tales of Those Weird Kids You Went to School With. His creative work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and appears in publications such as The New Yorker, Brevity, Los Angeles Review, and the anthology LGBT Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans and an MA in Journalism Media Studies from the University of South Florida.
Listen to Briana discuss how she got into poetry, her new collection future projects plans!
You can by her book here:
Interview on San Diego Voyager:
Briana Muñoz is a writer from San Diego, CA. now living in Los Angeles, CA.
Her poetry and short stories have been published in four editions of the Bravura Literary Journal. In the 2016 publication of the Bravura, she was awarded the second-place fiction prize. She has been published in LA BLOGA, an online publication, the Poets Responding page and in the Oakland Arts Review. Her poem “Rebirth” was featured in the Reproductive Health edition of the St. Sucia zine, a publication dedicated to “Exposing What It Is To Be A Mujer”. Briana’s work was one of ten chosen for “The Best of LA BLOGA” from 2015. One of her prouder writing accomplishments is being able to have been part of the 2017 U.S. delegation attending the international poetry festival of Havana. In March of 2018, she presented her poetry at the 21st international Spanish literature and studies conference in Quito, Ecuador. Briana is excited to continue sharing her poetry in print and spoken form. When she isn't typing away, she enjoys traveling, live music, cats, and thrift stores.
Rae Luskin is an award winning creative activist, author and artist. Listen to her give tips on how to gain a new or different perspective through visual and creative exercises as well as writing prompts. This is a lively episode jam-packed with great ideas for art lovers, novices and seasoned professionals.
Bio: Rae Luskin is an award winning artist, author, activist and the creative mindfulness mentor dedicated to raising awareness of creativity as a positive catalyst for health and well-being. She specializes in interactive presentations, providing creative tools and strategies to foster self-worth, resilience, healing, and out of the box thinking. For twenty years she has helped individuals and teams discover their passion, purpose and authentic power to become confident and effective change leaders and creative problem solvers. Rae, a community activist passionately focuses her lens on improving the lives of women and children whether designing art work for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s “ask” gun safety campaign or sharing her personal story of healing from childhood sexual abuse. Rae believes when we share our stories of resilience, people know they are not alone and it creates a positive ripple of hope. In 2016 she received woman of Distinction award and was nominated for Beauty In Beauty Out award. She is the author of Art From My Heart a self-discovery journal, Stuck to unstoppable journal and the Creative Edge: 30 days of creativity prompts and the Benjamin Franklin award winning inspirational book, She has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Roosevelt University and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning.
Edward Vidaurre is the barrio poet from East LA Poet Laureate of McAllen, TX. He has amassed several collections of poetry and has been a pivotal voice in the LatinX literary community where he runs Flowersong Books and continues to write and publish. Listen to us discuss his process, his influences, his experiment with jazz and heavy metal music, and him reading a couple of his inspiring poems.
JazzHouse ~ compelling love songs to the intensity of everyday life; from the magic in the routine to the marvels and miraculousness of living. Edward Vidaurre takes us with him on his life trip, from East LA to the Rio Grande Valley and the all the far reaching roots that accompany him in the form of ancestors, spirits, family, and other familiars.
JAZzHOUSE is a base camp, and a life. We are invited in to share some food, some cafecito, or a glass of wine - to sit awhile and be grateful for every minute we are alive.
Edward Vidaurre, the 2018-2019 McAllen,Texas Poet Laureate and author of six collections of poetry: I Took My Barrio on A Road Trip (Slough Press 2013), Insomnia (El Zarape Press 2014), Beautiful Scars: Elegiac Beat Poems (El Zarape Press 2015),Chicano Blood Transfusion (FlowerSong Press 2016), and Ramona Rumi: Love in the Time of Oligarchy Unedited Necessary Poems (Hercules Publishing 2018),JAZzHOUSE (Prickly Pear Press, 2019) and forthcoming from King Shot Press, WhenA City Ends. Vidaurre has been published in several literary journals and anthologies.
Vidaurre was the Director of Operations in 2018 for the Valley International PoetryFestival, moderator for Poets Responding, and founder of Pasta, Poetry Vino - a reading series in the Rio Grande Valley. He is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and resides in McAllen. He writes from the front lines of the Mexican-American borderlands of El Valle in south Tejas. Born and raised in Boyle Heights, California.
Poet Laureate: City of McAllen 2018-2019 Publisher: FlowerSong Books Founder of Pasta, Poetry Vino
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