Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

New Review

My review of Rachel Contreni-Flynn's Ice, Mouth, Song is now at three candles. It took me awhile to warm up to this book, but once I did, I found a lot to like.

Some (serious) silliness

The Other Guys

Just for Fun

As action movies *are* the number one genre in our household. . . (right behind Veggie Tales that is!)

You scored as Maximus. After his family was murdered by the evil emperor Commodus, the great Roman general Maximus went into hiding to avoid Commodus's assassins. He became a gladiator, hoping to dominate the colosseum in order to one day get the chance of killing Commodus. Maximus is valiant, courageous, and dedicated. He wants nothing more than the chance to avenge his family, but his temper often gets the better of him.

Which Action Figure Would You Be? v.2

Thanks to Scoplaw & Steve for the link.

Send More. . .

We extended the Touchstone deadline to Friday, so if you're in a writing program and have poems hanging about, send them my way! (E-mail submissions; more info HERE.)

I'm looking forward to sitting down this weekend with the pile of poems and seeing what has arrived from the four corners of the poetry sphere. It feels akin to an Easter Egg hunt or opening presents, that joy of the unknown. Even when a poem isn't perfect, you can at times see that flash of something that tells you that the poet will one day shine if they continue to work at their craft.


The last day of my children's school year was the third emergency room visit: May 27th.
Since then here's a list of the things I wasn't expecting to experience in my 34th year.

  • Ambulance rides: 2
  • Hospital stays: 9 for an approximate 55 days total (thus far)
  • rounds of chemotherapy: 7 with one to go
  • surgeries: 3, one for a biopsy, one to install a port for the chemo, and one to remove the tumor.
  • number of staples post-tumor removal: 55
  • home health equipment: walker, bedside commode, and elevated toilet seat
  • number of interns: who can count?
  • Doctors on my treatment team: 3
  • cat scans complete with barium swallows: 4
  • average number of times it takes to thread an I.V. into my arm, even with the I.V. team: 3
  • times I've lost my hair: twice. It grew back when I had a break from chemo after surgery.
  • poems I've written about this experience: 4
  • Days where C. Dale's blog has been too difficult to read: several, especially when he's had patients with terminal diagnosis.
  • prognosis: very good. the cancer responded to the chemo even though there was only a 40% likelyhood that it would.
  • what my 8 year old said: "I'll love you when you're bald"
  • new vocabulary words (medicine): zofran, anti-nausea
  • number of labs (ie blood drawn): twice per week
  • days I feel lucky to have such a supportive husband: every minute of every day

I've had a difficult time writing about this, obviously it's taken 6 months before I could even broach it on the blog. One of my doctors has encouraged me to write about my experiences, I don't know that I have much that is helpful to say, I don't feel brave or strong or as if I've had an epiphany along the way, but I can say, "here I am, here's what I know." Perhaps that can be enough.


Before the CT Scan

by Amy D. Unsworth

The older gentleman looks my way
a time or two.

It isn’t difficult to figure
a diagnosis:
no hair equals chemo
equals cancer equals my familiarity

with the IV team, needles, and
the shooting pain of a tube
threaded in the vein.

I’m not used to this sort of thing,
he tells the nurse
who mentions bee stings and
a few moments hum of the scan.

His doctor wants to rule out
a mass, a blockage, anything
visible that causes
a little dizziness,
a little trouble breathing.

The nurse forgets to draw the curtain
before pulling the elastic tourniquet tight.
I can’t meet his eyes
as she fails three times to find a likely vein.

Book VI and other musings

Each of us inevitable,
Each of us limitless--each of us with his or her right upon the earth
Each of us allow'd the eternal purports of the earth
Each of us here as divinely as any is here.

-Walt Whitman

Jeff has been talking about the poetry boards and how many current po-bloggers used to participate at the various sites. I found the on-line poetry community at a time when I had just returned to writing after a long break. I had three small children and no time to go find poets in the city where I was living. The fellow poets I've discovered and admired and have listened to over these past six years have moved with me across three states. The boards gave me an opportunity to participate that otherwise I wouldn't have found.

My faith in my own writing grew while I participated at the boards, and without them I probably would not have taken the next step to return to graduate school for the more formal education in poetry. Jeff also talks about the negative comments that were inevitable, but I found that over time, I learned to listen to both the comments from other writers and to my own internal editor. Learning to judge what was a helpful suggestion and what would not work with my vision of the poem has helped me be a stronger writer.

What has also been amazing has been the many publications in journals and the many, many books that this community has produced. Perhaps when they look back to speak of what was happening in poetry in the 00's they'll mention how the internet brought us together.

Carry on friends.