Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

Last Day of the Year

From a beautiful blog: Jing-reed's Musings "Fractal Images: Mosaic"


Simple Graces

snow on cedars
logs on the fire
cajun shrimp
red beans and rice
hot tea
small black dog
a sanctum for poetry
everyone home safe
wind over the prairie

the year ends on a comfortable note

I am grateful. Endlessly.

May the New Year bring grace to your life.

oh, fun.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Viscountess Amy the Undefeated of Lower Beanthrop in the Hedge
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Dedication & Inspiration

Bly lived for a while in New York City, where he set out to write 12 hours a day at least six days a week. --The Writer's Almanac

I really admire this goal. I can't imagine how I could possibly fit 12 hours of writing into my day. I think I might be able to fit twelve hours of writing into a week. For the challenge, I completed 26 drafts in 31 days. The attempt at 30:30 has taught me this much:

I need to make time to write, to let ideas brew, to examine the world.

Update on the 30:30

Ok, so this drafting a poem everyday business is getting tough. The first few days went well but the last few days I've been struggling. I fell behind, but wrote three drafts yesterday all on a similar topic: a series I suppose. It's strange that I have three seperate ideas in play as I write.

1. I've begun what I hope will turn into a chapbook, there's a narrative idea floating around of a family set in Detroit in the time between the two great wars. There's a few poems towards this in my 30:30.

2. I'm also still struggling to write poems about my cancer experience. I always feel like no one will want to read about what it was like: it's too private, it's too personal, there is a limited audience. But isn't that audience an important one? Would it help if there were more poems in the world so we were less afraid of the challenges that lie ahead? There was no road map for me, perhaps I can put a few dots on the maps for others who (lamentably) must follow.

3. I have a poem about a girl murdered as a witch. A poem about women who are oppressed today. I don't know if this really qualifies as a theme yet.

And the semester ended. And the new semester looms. I am still tired, still have papers to mark with a red pen, and festive merrymaking to attend to.

I am thinking about the gifts I have been given. I do not want to squander them. Tonight I will pull out my flute and fill the house with carols.

A Joyful Noise.

Be blessed as you travel and spend time with your loved ones. Be blessed as you stay home and cook soup in the peace and quiet of aloneness. Be blessed on this holy evening and on the days and weeks to come. Be blessed.

What triggers this?

No Second Troy
by WBY

WHY should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great.
Had they but courage equal to desire?
What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple as a fire,
With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this,
Being high and solitary and most stern?
Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?


I know what triggered the poem for Yeats; historical context can tell us much about that failed love affair, and her subsequent devotion to the cause.


But I can't figure out why this is the poem on my mind today. Is it that it is pointless to argue with one's self about what one is committed to? Or that I need to accept others for what they are? And not take other's unkindness to heart? But I haven't felt critical of myself or of others recently.

Is it that other passions are just as valid as my passions? But, I know this already; I try to acknowledge this in my day to day life as much as possible.

Why this poem, today?


About Jane: the fear of death shakes me like a rat

from a reading at UVA. Donald Hall introduces his poems. The poems on this page are printed as prose. That does not prevent them from speaking eloquently about Jane's life, her fight with leukemia, and about going on after her death.

She said:
the fear of death shakes me like a rat


In the new Poetry

I found the editorial to be rather interesting this month. "In Praise of Rareness" argues that perhaps editors should publish less poetry. And for the most part, I agree. If you've ever picked up a Collected by a favorite poet and then realized that you've read their best work in the anthologies, then you'll know what he's talking about. He claims that "regular people" (those not involved in the writing poetry life) have singular favorite poems rather than favorite authors.

What do you think? Do you feel cheated by the 10 poems that comprise this month's edition? Or do the drawings make up for it?

But then I think about all the wonderous variety of poetry that doensn't always find a home and I sometimes wish to take more chances with what I read and accept.

And I learn from the poems I read, even if they're not the best-of-the-century quality. I listen to the voices; I look at the trends; I listen for music in a poet's work; I look for poets to go on my "watch list," a list I keep of younger poets whose work demonstrates a spark, a hint, a whisper that they will have more to say.

Should we not comb the haystack?

On "Self-Reliance"

These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world.
R.W.E, American

My, my, was he smart or what? And what he was saying way back then, still shimmers today. Possibly shimmers even more today than back then. Listen to yourself, he says. Don't just follow blindly along, learn the language of the masters so you can speak with them. Don't rely on all that junk you're collecting in your house. Find your own compass; tack your ship to your own coordinates. Who you are is not in the big moments but in the little ones.

and that hobgoblins line is delicious.

They stared back blankly.

This is America. Does he still speak for us?

I am still listening.

An Anniversary Draft

untitled (as of yet) but about my last chemo treatment:

Draft One

We entered the hospital hand in hand, heads up
face forward into the now familiar routine:
blood work by the nurse whose father
had just finished his final round of chemo,
a stop at the waiting room with the lemon drops
and the cheery staff who talked of Christmas,
Weight, blood pressure, any pain at the incision?
And how are you sleeping, eating, making love?

The visit with the doctor who is encouraged,
encouraged by the results of the lab tests,
the MRI and the CT scan; the best we could
hope for—this the last of eight, the last four
for the microscopic risk, to eliminate rouge
cells knocked loose, escaped, left behind
after the muscle with the bulge like a softball,
was unhooked from my hip much like a sock
unpinned from the clothesline, and thrown spinning
into an abyss, never to return. Then up the escalator
to ward 42, waving at the nurse who sits on the end
the bed and laughs about the antics of my sons.

We tried not to look in the open doors
where we laid, with the lines hooked into
our skin, where our scalps shone pale,
where life shrank to the odor of sweat
soured by poison we took willingly,
another round, another shrinkage,
another day to wait out the chemicals,
the tainted reek of urine, the smell
of coffee, sandwiches, soup turning
our stomachs, five days until we could ride
the wheelchair down the elevator and
to the front door and wait in the cold
on the sidewalk where the taxis idled
and babies entered the world, sleeping,
and the smell of exhaust was the sweetest
smell, of the road, of home, of putting
what we hope is past, at last, behind us.

Press Release

Pushcart Nominations
By steve mueske

Three candles journal and three candles press are proud to announce the following Pushcart Prize nominations:

Lynn Strongin
Tintoretto Twilight

Carolyn Srygley-Moore
Casting Out

Oni Buchanan
Architecture of Tears

Bernadette Geyer

RJ McCaffery
The Angel of Sleep

Tony Trigilio
The Longest Continuing Running Policeman


If you see them around, be sure to say Congratulations!

And make sure you stop by three candles (.org) to read
these very fine poems.