This is Your Brain on Poetry

When I first read this article, I couldn’t help but think of that old TV public service announcement “This is your brain on drugs.” While poems don’t fry our brains, there’s something peculiar going on inside our heads when we read them, infecting us, in the words of Nabokov, with  “the telltale tingle between the shoulder blades.” 

Wish I could find a picture of what your brain actually looks like on poetry. Meanwhile, read more to see what science tells us. this-is-what-happens-to-your-brain-when-you-read-poetry

Letter from the Grave

Just had a new poem published in the latest Starline, the official journal of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association.

Just like him to wait till now—
always the procrastinator
promising to write but
never getting around to it.
I can barely read the words,
scrawled like drunken
worms across the page.
And look at that stationery,
all crumpled and rotted
like he didn’t give a damn.
But what really ticks me off
is the postage due.

 

 

Latest Review of Trash Picker on Mars

A new review of my book Trash Picker on Mars. Thanks, Susan.

In Trash Picker on Mars, Gene Twaronite ends a poem with “They are the people I carry within. I’d show you their picture if I could.” Yet that is exactly what readers of this small volume of poetry come away with: snapshots of everyday people our society tends to ignore, those lost on the streets, asleep on the subways, or hidden behind plastered smiles as they serve daily lunch crowds. Through detailed imagery, insight, and compassion, Twaronite takes us behind their concealing smiles to the persons within, to their hopes and dreams and frailties, revealing them to be a reflection of ourselves. From the moment that lasts no longer than a handshake where we dare touch one another before stepping back into our “fortified trenches” of safe anonymity, to the eyeless faces of modern day mannequins, Twaronite’s poetry introduces us to trash pickers with their dreams still intact and to strangers on buses who will nod and recognize us as lifelong friends. I urge lovers of everyman American poetry in the vein of Robert Frost or Walt Whitman to pick up a volume of Trash Picker on Mars. Amazon customer review Trash Picker on Mars

–Susan Shell Winston, editor at New Myths, and author of Singer of Norgondy 

Emily Dickinson Puppet Show

There were so many memorable events at the recent Tucson Festival of Books. I wanted to share this delightful performance by my local poet friend Jeanne Missey Osgood, a fellow docent at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. She has now memorized a hundred of Emily Dickinson’s poems – a feat which astounds me. I can’t even memorize one of my own poems. Jeanne seamlessly recites Dickinson’s words through her charming puppet, bringing this beloved poet (and her dog) to life on the stage. Bravo, Jeanne!

Things Forgotten

There’s a store in the mall selling
personalized engraved gifts
to remember every occasion.
Too bad there’s not a store
to help you forget
those moments
engraved on your brain:
that time in second grade
when the bully won and you ran away,
the slap in your daughter’s face
and the slam of the door when she left,
the thud of his head as it hit the windshield,
the look in your wife’s eyes
when she caught you in your naked deceit,
the words that still echo in your head
or the words you should have said,
the relentless pain she endured
that helped you decide at the end,
the hour just before dawn when you
relive the horrors again and again.
No need for fancy gifts—sandpaper
and a buffing wheel will do,
applied judiciously to remove
just enough letters to dull the pain
without losing their meaning,
just enough to let you sleep at night.

Originally published in Tipton Poetry Journal Issue #32 (see page 76). Read more here (click lower right corner to expand to full screen mode).

Free Universe

 

It was a nice space
as universes go—
everything was free there,
from love, will, and time
to lunch, radicals and verse.
But the cost was too dear,
it could not last,
as even the strong force
was freed of its role
and things flew apart.
They had a big sale
but no one came,
so they closed their doors
and blinked goodnight.

Originally published Jan. 2017 in Care, a special publication of the science fiction fan magazine Not One of Us

Poem “The Container Store” Wins Honorable Mention

My poem “The Container Store” won honorable mention in Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2016 Poetry Contest  http://sfpoetry.com/contests/16contest.htmlTWARONITE COVER 1 (2)

The poem is part of my first book of poetry “Trash Picker on Mars,” available from my store or at Amazon.

The Container Store

Have you been to this store? It gave me the idea for this poem in my new book “Trash Picker on Mars” published by Aldrich Press and available on Amazon. YouTube (The Container Store)

Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy My Poetry Book

TWARONITE COVER 1 (2)1.You’ve never heard of the author. Real poets have names like Shelley, Byron, Bysshe, or Percy Dovetonsils.

2.) You’ve always hated your sophomore English teacher.

3.) There are no gunfights, car chases, exploding cows, or sex scenes in my poems (well, maybe a little).

4.) All the really good poets are dead.

5.) Buying books means killing trees.

6.) Poems are all about romance, pain, grief, nature, and the mysteries of life and death, and you hate that stuff.

7.) You only like poems that start with “There was an old man from Nantucket.”

8.) You can never remember the difference between a simile and a metaphor, and frankly don’t give a damn.

9.) Most.of the poems are free verse, so why should you have to buy the book?

10.) Poetry is like truth, and “you can’t handle the truth!”

If you’re still determined to buy my book, visit Amazon or purchase it here