THE TIES THAT BIND

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, dear Readers.

There’s nothing more befitting a Mom’s pride and joy than those memorial words by Billy Collins in his poem, The Lanyard.

Personally, I’m a sucker for all those pre-school and kindergarten scribbles framed for Mother’s Day cards, first scrawls of my children’s names, paper dolls, and finger paintings.

These, for sure, are the ingredients to sweeten our memories—the memories we need to thrive in our golden years.

So here’s Billy Collins to remind us how good we are as Moms.

The Lanyard – Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

(From “The Trouble with Poetry; And Other Poems”, a Random-House publication.)

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NEED A FACE LIFT

The Facebook page I had created for Poetry at Willow Glen has suddenly vanished, and in place I see a strange template that I have to figure out and populate. New rules, new devices, and what’s more, I need a ton of ‘Likes’ to gain momentum on the page. Let’s face it, we could do with a real page-turner…

So I’m asking you poetry buffs out there enjoying this poetry month, to gravitate toward this page on Facebook by clicking the ‘Poetry at Willow Glen’ picture on the right margin that says ‘See us on Facebook’. Extend a “Like” when you get to the Facebook page so we can continue enjoying poetry and communicate, and create our own village, to read, share, and hear poetry read…

Don’t forget the annual poetry month reading this evening, April 19, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at the Willow Glen Public Library, an entire evening of open mic. You can read a favorite poem and one of your own…just keep it short so many voices can be heard…

And before you scurry off to your poetry shelf to look for a poem to read, let me remind you that it’s a whole year since Remembering, the anthology of poems read at Willow Glen Books made its debut in 2011. I’d like to celebrate this anniversary remembering a poem that Joan Irene Edwards contributed to the anthology. Sadly, Joan passed away last November, 2011, a day after Thanksgiving. You will find her poem in keeping with the reading this evening at the Willow Glen Library, which we now enjoy in shared light.

BREWED AROMA

Outside the bookstore window a woman passes
on the arm of her companion.  For an instant
her glance meets mine, taking my image with her.
Is it promptly erased by the artful display
of current titles, or dismissed on night breezes?

I am reading my poetry aloud.  Passers-
by cannot, will not hear my stanzas
thrown the width of the room over the rich,
dark beans in the coffee grinder whose verse
is heeded:  Sip and read!  Sip and read!

Images I had filtered through my ear
in the quiet space of listening, listening
to my computer hum, to birds and birch leaves
moving sunlight outside my window.  Images
glanced at, neither dismissed nor erased.

Inside the bookstore, devotees of language
listen to words rehearsed on night breezes,
swept this way and that, this way and that,
and cast into measures to sharpen appetites
like the pouring out of brewed aroma.

—Joan Irene Edwards (Remembering)

NEWSWORTHY: Back to the Future of the Anthology

Since the Firehouse reception for the publication of the anthology, Remembering, on March 5, 2011, there’s been some fierce book promotion and marketing in the works.

Shortly after the March 5th reception, a press release for the publication of the Willow Glen Books anthology was submitted to an editor at the Silicon Valley Community Newspaper. What started out as a request to print the press release resulted instead, in a telephone conversation with a news reporter and a subsequent meeting with a photographer across the original bookstore on Lincoln Avenue. The reporter also contacted Cathy Adkins, the owner of Willow Glen Books, and there you have it—a full-page story about the anthology, released on page 4 of the April 8, 2011 edition of the Willow Glen Resident. You can read the story online in the Mercury News in the My Town section.

Books Inc. on Castro Street in Mountain View agreed to keep some copies of the anthology on consignment from April 4, 2011, .

Hicklebee’s on Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen, San Jose also agreed to carry few copies of Remembering on consignment effective April 8, 2011.

Subsequent to approaching the Willow Glen Branch Library and inquiring about their acquisition process, an order 8 copies of the anthology magically appeared on the Jacaranda Press site via PayPal. On contacting the San Jose Public Library acquisitions personnel by email, he mentioned, he had several dealings with Willow Glen Books in the past with regards to acquiring books. He also validated the anthology as having local interest. Encouraged by this prospect, the Santa Clara County Library has also been approached.

Those of you who were unable to attend the reception on March 5, 2011, and have not yet requested copies via mail, can acquire the books at the next poetry reading, on April 21, 2011, at the Willow Glen Branch Library on Minnesota Avenue, in San Jose. Being Poetry Month, you can attend the reading at 7:00pm, and read one of your poems from the anthology if you like, and a poem by your favorite poet.