What’s not to love about Darling, I Love You?

Yes, I admire any book that has a subtitle, “Poems from the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts and All Our Animal Friends.” The paperback’s $17 pricetag is a bit chilling, however.

Yes, I adore the illustrations of Patrick (Mutts) McDonnell. His art breathes life into words.

I had never experienced any of Daniel Ladinsky’s heart-warming poetry. Unfortunately, I read Ladinsky’s acknowledgements, too.

Here, he gives a nod to assistant Melissa LaScaleia. Some of the verses were penned by her alone. Others were collaborations between Ladinsky and LaScaleia. Making this poetry sound more like a science experiment, Ladinsky tells of staging a blind test with illustrator McDonnell.

“…in a blind test we slipped some of her work with haiku and renga into the over 1000 we submitted to Patrick for this volume.”

Sorry, sir. My enjoyment was overshadowed by wishes to see LaScaleia getting a cover credit.

Yes, I enjoyed this book. Meanwhile, I’ll be ready to read any more writing by Melissa LaScaleia. Your day will come!



The Green Box challenges readers, writers

GreenBoxBookR.D. Cowen is taking her literary life back. Her newest e-book, The Green Box: A Collection of Poems and Other Musings, is a fascinating exercise in creative courage.

The title refers to a treasure chest in which this mother collects letters to and from her children. “When I am gone, I think it will seem like they have a bigger part of me if my words are captured on beautiful paper, with good ink, in my handwriting.”

The true story takes one stunning tumble. In 2008, a horseback ride ended in near tragedy. Cowen was thrown, suffering a head injury and memory loss. “But love doesn’t let go. And I love writing,” she explains.

Her goal? “And maybe the memories will flood in. Maybe not. Either way, I must write.”

In The Green Box, Cowen is sharing writing from as early as 1987. Romance. Religion. Those themes develop over the next quarter century.

Her current writing overshadows her early efforts. This would be the case for any writer. However, would any writer be this brave, sharing EVERYTHING?

The passion and sincerity on every page make The Green Box worth opening.


Ogden Nash made poetry fun


A stamp worth reading!

Poet Ogden Nash broke rules.

Unconventional rhymes.

Unconventional attitudes.

This is National Poetry Month. I’m proud I attempted my own volume of poetry. The Kindle e-book is entitled 101 PO’ed Poems: Frustrations in Free Verse.

I thought of the master during the process, hoping he’d surrender a smirk or snicker over some of my ravings.

Essentially, Nash proves there are two kinds of writers:

1. Those who write what they think editors/agents/teachers/librarians/booksellers (and other scary mythic creatures) expect.

2. Those who write what they’d love to read themselves.

Are you having fun with what you write? If you don’t, how can readers enjoy themselves?

Applauding Rich Hanson’s Feral Cats poetry

????????????????????????????????????A gift of self.

That’s the greatest creation a writer can offer. My friend, poet Rich Hanson, has done just that.

His chapbook Feral Cats and Other Poems is an 80-page literary smorgasbord. Rich’s narrative verse has unique qualities unseen by far too many poets. The differences?

1. He is personal. Whether commenting on cartoon characters, the Civil War legends he’s researched or his own aging father, Rich offers a direct perspective, a sense of voice.

2. He connects the dots. Even while embracing humor, in works likeĀ Beatification of the Stooges or Popeye Gets His Ass Chewed by a Personnel Director, Rich makes clear comparisons. A patchwork quilt of ideas come together via Rich’s pen.

3. Less is more. The jewel I savored most was the nine-line poem Remember Me Then. A moment captured and felt by so many animal lovers.

Feral Cats and Other Poems is $14 (check or money order) to the poet:
Rich Hanson, 616 East Clinton Avenue, Monmouth, IL 61463