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National Poetry Month April 2019

Welcome to National Poetry Month.
What are you doing to celebrate this year? Are you reading poetry? Writing? Carrying a poem in your pocket to share with everyone you meet?  Attending poetry readings? Whatever you do, make it count for the sake of poetry. In my opinion, poetry and math keep the world from going insane in the turmoil of life and the world around you.

I am doing an innovative fundraiser for Tupelo Press.

“Rainbow arcs and honey-laced milk,
These are a few of the things I won’t seek”

But I do seek your support.

I am in a “marathon” this month with ten other poets, writing a poem every day, and raising funds for Tupelo Press. We invite family, friends, and colleagues to sponsor us (for instance at a per poem rate, for instance, $3/poem x 30 poems = $90). Every dollar you spend is a vote for my poetry, and for poetry in general!

Running an actual marathon might be a little easier than writing a poem every day, it turns out. You should try it, but in lieu of writing your own poems, you can read mine!

If you know me, you know I care about my work, and it is a big risk to put such fresh work on public display before I have a chance to edit, to perfect it, and hear a public opinion. I wasn’t sure I could do it. Some days I am still not. I need to hear from you, my family and friends, my own fan club! Can you take a little time to look at my poetry?

Tupelo Press is a prestigious non-profit press, for seventeen years their mission has been to publish new voices. They are giving my work some exposure, and bringing me into a community of over 350 alumni helping each other publish our work.

Today you have a chance to help one of the few, and one of the best non-profit independent publishers we have. To help them survive and continue to put more poets into print. Here is what you are supporting:

■ Independent literary publishers are mission-driven—they focus on publishing literature.
■ Independent literary publishers provide access to the voices of entire communities.
■ Independent literary publishers produce over 98% of poetry being published each year,
and the majority of literature in translation and works of fiction by emerging writers.

There are so many ways you can support the press. A subscription to fabulous books of poetry, sent to your home. A one-time donation at any level. I hope you consider supporting me, and supporting this amazing press I am representing this month.



Growing Pains

Dear Readers and contributors,

Thank you for your support these last four fabulous years. I can’t express my gratitude enough. As The Literary Nest enters the fifth year this April, we are experiencing some growing pains. This post addresses some of these issues.
It has been a long time since I communicated with you. To be frank, I have been swamped with reading submissions and website updates, not to mention personal projects. If you noticed, I haven’t had a chance to conduct poetry workshops in a year. Three of my fiction readers have moved on to their own priorities. In light of these facts, I am making some changes to the publishing schedule.

I am suspending fiction section until further notice.

There are two reasons for this decision.

  • In the last year, our fiction acceptance rate has been only about 20-30% of the total submissions received. We want character-driven fiction with rare insights into a character’s mind. We reject a lot of the work that is plot-driven with weak character development. Pacing and a lot of “telling and not enough showing ” are the other few issues we noticed. Also, the editors and readers are human with limited time on their hands, and if the story doesn’t capture attention in the first couple of pages, the likelihood of acceptance goes down.  To steer the submissions in the direction that we want, I will add links to some relevant articles in a month or so.
  • We simply do not have the bandwidth for the detailed edits to the stories.

The summer issue will be poetry only issue. I will revisit the decision of including fiction at that time.

The poetry workshops on hold until further notice.
Here’s an important note to the submitters.

I personally respond to all the submissions and send out acceptances and rejections before the issue arrives. I do not read and respond to the submissions that do not follow the guidelines. One obnoxious person sent submissions to multiple magazines without addressing any of the editors. If you feel that you followed the guidelines and didn’t hear from us, please send a polite inquiry. I am human and make mistakes, but I will always respond to a polite query.

That’s all for now. Thank you again for your support and stay tuned for the excitement of the National Poetry Month.

Music in Poetry

If you love to write poetry and you are like me, you love to write in formal meter but are not completely comfortable with the rigidity of the meter. Yet, I bet many of you speak and write in rhythm without even realizing it.  If you have ever recited Mother Goose rhymes, you recognize the swinging and swaying of the words.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row.

Which words in this nursery rhyme did you emphasize? Did a pattern emerge?

How about these lines?

I feel the nights stretching away
thousands long behind the days
till they reach the darkness where
all of me is ancestor.
Do you feel the similar swaying? “da-dum da-dum.”
This rhythm is Trochaic. A stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable.  Look through your poem(s). Can you make simple alterations to make your existing poem into a Trochaic one?
For a complete guide to meter and a step-by-step guide to scanning, check out Annice Finch’s blog post.
Do send us your poems for the upcoming issue.

Poems Wanted

For some strange reason, we are really in short supply of poetry for the summer issue. Please check our submission guidelines and submit. Please spread the word among other poets. We accept themes and non-themed submissions, so if you are stuck on the current theme “Shadow and Light,” don’t fret. Send us your best work before July 1st, 2018.

Poetry Wanted

Second Poetry Workshop

Poetry Workshop Match 5 – April 15.

We are almost at the end of the first poetry workshop. The second workshop will begin on March 5th and run for six weeks. The last assignment will be delivered on April 9th.

Technical Requirements: A computer, email account, and internet access, and a PayPal account.

Every Monday, you will receive a warmup activity to prepare you for the week.
Every Tuesday, you will receive the lesson and a writing prompt.
You can send your poem for the week by Friday of the week.
On Monday beginning the second week, you will receive feedback on your poem along with the new warmup activity.

Fee: $30.00 Donation to The Literary Nest. PayPal link provided upon registration.

Sounds good?
Sign up by sending an email to with “Poetry Workshop Signup” in the subject line.

Poetry Workshop January 2018

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holiday Season from all of us at The Literary Nest. We are working hard on creating the winter issue. Look for it online on January 15.

As we enter the fourth year of the publication, we are putting the lessons we learned along the way to some significant actions. We are pleased to announce our first online poetry workshop.

Poetry Workshop
January 8-Feb 12 2018

Technical Requirements: A computer, email account, and internet access.

Every Monday, you will receive a warmup activity to prepare you for the week.
Every Tuesday, you will receive the lesson and a writing prompt.
You can send your poem for the week by Friday of the week.
On Monday beginning the second week, you will receive feedback on your poem along with the new warmup activity.

Fee: $30.00 Donation to The Literary Nest. PayPal link or mailing address provided upon registration.

Sounds good?
Sign up by sending an email to with “Poetry Workshop Signup” in the subject line.

Feature of the Week – 7

Henrietta M. Dahlstrom
The Hibiscus
To observe summer’s extravagance
I bought a big potted hibiscus
for my empty front  porcha single blossom, dark pink coral,
and five overlapping petals that swirl
like a Flamenco skirt encircling

the stalk of a bright bold stamen
that thrusts up to flaunt five red stigmata
and lemon-yellow anthers heavy with pollen.

The flower lasts only a day.  It folds itself up
and falls off but by then another has burst open
and every day there is a new bloom

passionate and urgent, relishing
its short sumptuous existence

as I in my old age relish each day
as if I might fold up and drop off
this tender earth at any moment.

Weekly Feature Prompt – Week 8

Write a poem (40 or fewer lines) or a flash fiction story ( < 1000 words) on any theme. see the complete guidelines here.

Send in your entries to with the subject line “Weekly Contest Submission” by Thursday, July 27, 2017 – 7 PM PDT.

The image here is just for inspiration. You are not required to write about it.