Descriptions of Poetry Collections

Cover by Linda Foegen of American Book Design Copyright 2015

Cover by Linda Foegen of American Book Design Copyright 2015

Description

The majority of the poems in this collection were written during 2014. The rest are either visual poems that were not included in my other collections or were still under consideration for publication when I posted my other collections. The sections are loosely organized around themes that are reflective of my other collections.

Cover by Linda Foegen of American Book Design Copyright 2016

Cover by Linda Foegen of American Book Design Copyright 2016

Description

This collection of poetry contains about 500 poems that were written during 2015, many of which are short poems inspired by the poetry of David Malone and Adriana Dascalu, or the activities promoted by Karen O’Leary for her online poetry magazine, Whispers…. The poems range from the humorous to the morbid and reflect topics as diverse as nature, love, philosophical speculation, crime, and social commentary. The majority are free verse or haiku, but the sonnet, rondeau, and other poetic forms are also represented.

A Bard Out of Time

Cover by Linda Foegen of American Book Design Copyright 2014

Description

A Bard Out of Time” is a long poem that centers on a bard singing songs and traveling from one village to another in a fantasy world. Spells, magical creatures, kings and queens, werewolves, and the like all make an appearance in this poem as he regales his audiences with the ballads he sings. The other poems in this collection are also fantasy-oriented, but they did not fit in with the plot / structure of “A Bard Out of Time” (most are not ballads) or were not reflective of the setting of that poem. Some of these poems cross over into the dark fantasy/horror genre (particularly the ones with demons in them), but others are playful or risqué.

Review from Elizabeth Bartosinski:

Wow. I just came across these poems accidentally and I just love them, especially the ‘A Bard out of Time.’

If you like poetry that has music. I highly recommend these ones. Lovely.

A Field of Snow_1

Cover by Linda Foegen of American Book Design Copyright 2014

Description

While compiling this collection, I tentatively called it “Humor on Wry”, but it didn’t quite capture the end result. The playful little snippets in Part 1 fit the humor well enough, but the humor tends to be more direct than wry. Also, some of the poems in that section are there only because they’re short.

Part 2, on the other hand, has quite a few wry poems but ends with ones that are more risqué. I briefly considered calling that section “Humor on Wry … with Mayonnaise” but decided against it. Perhaps I should have reconsidered?

The real problem is with the not-quite-inspirational nature poems in Part 3. Some of them shout, Hey! This is cool! without getting too caught up in the oooohh factor. Others are appreciative and recognize the awesome weirdness of nature (without being maudlin, I hope). Only a handful are humorous, and I doubt they have any wryness—or rye-ness for that matter. At least, if they do, it wasn’t intended, which only confirms the theme of Part 2: Humor is a funny thing!

Part 4 is comprised of poems that are sometimes humorous, sometimes melodic, sometimes odd—whatever tweaked my fancy enough to include them. Overall, they are a fitting end to the poems in this collection, and I hope they, and the rest of the poems, bring a bit of joy and laughter (and maybe a few juicy groans) to your reading experience.

 

Snodgrass_Cover_1

Cover by Linda Foegen of American Book Design Copyright 2014

Description

I suspect most poets write poems about writing, and I am no different. When I was developing and refining my writing skills, I focused on writing techniques, the forms of poetry, the use of language and sound—the nuts and bolts of poetry. Although it was a useful exercise to write poems about writing, many of the results were mediocre or too egoistic to have much meaning for anyone else. Over the years, I have culled the worst of these several times, and the ones I couldn’t quite bring myself to throw away have found their way into this collection.

The poems range from general commentaries on writing to frustrations I’ve had in learning specific poetic techniques; the joyful burst of inspiration to lamentations when it fizzles to dust; the arduous, annoying process of submitting poetry for publication to the self-indulgent pleasure of having them accepted. In other words, it covers the broad spectrum of writing poetry.

Cover by Linda Foegen of American Book Design Copyright 2014

Description

When I began organizing my poetry, I intended to have the last collection be called “Mediocrity” and include the poems that weren’t bad enough to throw away and weren’t good enough to make the cut for the other collections. I had thought that I could make up with quantity what might be lacking in quality, and that would be that. However, I ran into a bit of a snag when I finished organizing my collections since quite a few of the ones that were left over weren’t mediocre. Some were, but not enough of them to warrant calling the collection as a whole “Mediocrity.” Instead, what was left over were poems that didn’t fit in with the thematic content of the other collections and did not relate particularly well to each other as a separate thematic collection of their own. That being said, Part 1 could be viewed as a chapbook, since it is a series of sonnets about mental disorders like OCD, hypochondriasis, schizophrenia, paranoia, and PTSD. When I wrote them, I was a student in psychology and was somewhat obsessed with writing sonnets. Parts 2-4 are a mishmash of odds and ends whose unifying theme is their randomness.

 

Last_Rites_and_Wrongs1

Cover by Linda Foegen of American Book Design Copyright 2014

Description

The following collection of stories and poetry explores the nether regions of the human psyche, that dismal, lonely place where morality takes a left turn into thanatos, the Freudian instinct toward death and destruction. Some of the works shy away from its borders like a swimmer dipping a toe in the pool to test the water, while others plunge willy-nilly into its abyssal depths, embracing it with the perverse satisfaction of a carefree cannonball from the highest diving platform. So, where did all this death and destruction come from? I was definitely influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, the poetry of Ai, the films of Hitchcock, and many others who have braved these wretched waters. But writing the poems was also cathartic.

For Aristotle, catharsis occurs when Greek tragedy provides the audience with an opportunity to experience, through a vicarious empathic connection with the actors and chorus on the stage, the release of emotions that would be destructive to society. These poems provide us with an outlet for experiencing negative emotions in a non-threatening environment without the risks that would occur if we actually expressed them in society. A similar phenomenon is used today as a form of psychotherapy: art therapy.

Art therapy is fairly simple: express through art (painting, writing, etc.) those things that are too painful or horrific to confront in the more traditional psychotherapeutic manner. It is indirect. It is utterly personal. It is a conversation with oneself about oneself. Freud would call it sublimation, redirecting the primal urges of the id into a socially acceptable form. By using art to explore and express emotions and memories, the patient can regain mental equilibrium. Writing is the medium that works best for me, and many of the poems in this collection have helped me to confront a number of troublesome issues from my past.

The poems are loosely organized around six themes, the first of which revolves around war and its aftermath, both for society and for soldiers. Part 2 is the most controversial section of this collection, since many of the poems are persona poems. Persona poems are written in first person and many readers mistakenly assume the poem is about the poet. However, the poems in this section are not about me; I have never killed anyone nor do I condone killing. Violence is the most non-productive aspect of human nature, and in writing these persona poems, I allowed myself to explore the vile urges that (almost?) everyone has had at one time or another without acting on them. For a brief time, I adopted a vicious persona and wrote a poem from that persona’s perspective. It’s called role playing, which has also been used in psychotherapy to help develop empathy by providing insight into what it is like to be someone else.

The central topic of Part 3 is abuse of various forms, some of which stem from my own experiences. I’ll leave it at that.…

Part 4 is, as its title suggests, disturbing—at least to others. For the individuals involved in various forms of sexual deviance, it may not be disturbing at all. And what about suicide? I have contemplated doing it once, but irony saved me. I was going to use a survival knife.…

Part 5 is all about the death of others, particularly the death of loved ones. We have ceremonies and funerals. We have stages of grief. We detach ourselves from it. We indulge ourselves in it. We seek sympathy. I write morbid poetry.

Part 6 is rather benign in this context, since it deals primarily with the interaction between humans and nature, particularly when it ends in death — which is perhaps the most natural of all events. Think of these poems as the anticlimax, one that allows the reader’s emotions to dwindle down to silence. Catharsis.

WARNING: This work is for mature audiences. Some of the poems contained herein may be disturbing to a sensitive reader. If you are easily disturbed or disgusted, proceed with caution or move on to a less disturbing work.

 

Cover by Linda Foegen of American Book Design Copyright 2014

Description

The poems in this collection are a strange marriage of love poems and speculation. It didn’t start out that way. When I was organizing my poetry into collections, they were separate categories, but by the time I had finished, neither one was quite long enough to be a book and a bit too long for a chapbook. So I combined them together. What resulted is part emotion and part reason, both of which are important parts of being human, and this comes through in the speculative poems on love in Part 1.

Parts 2 and 3 relate to the pursuit of love (particularly its newness, hopefulness, and uncertainty) and what it might bring when it lasts. Of course, not all ventures in love are successful, and Part 4 encompasses the frustration that love can bring when it is unrequited. However, love is also resilient and new opportunities often arise in the wake of such failures. Alas, much of this section is autobiographical in nature, inspired by my misfortunes in this area. The last section of love poems relate to the end of romance and, in some cases, the hostilities that sometimes follow in its wake.

The annoyance portion of the book relate to my interests in sociology, philosophy, and ethics. Part 6 are commentaries on the environment, economic inequality, and other less-than-ideal aspects of our society. Part 7 explores various aspects of the nature of reality and morality. The concluding section is an odd mixture of poems related to religion, some of which are inspirational and reverent, others critical and dismissive. This diversity is reflective of my journey from theism (with a Fundamentalist tendency) to a staunch atheistic stance, to my present agnosticism.

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