Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.


The poet’s mind is in fact a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles which can unite to form a new compound are present together.

T.S. Eliot

EXTRA! Extra! Good News!

Ice Sculpture With Mermaid

Is now available for pre-ordering at http://www.threecandlespress.com.

Three Candles is offering really sweet deal - a temporary 10%, no shipping sale. That works out to $11.66. This is uber-cheap.

(Its normally $12.95, plus shipping)

Advance Readers Write:

"'Here we go a-sentencing' Robert Frost said about writing poetry. This is what you'll find in Ice Sculpture of Mermaid with Cigar: exceptional sentences, a wild, wily, Protean imagination, a sometimes generous, sometimes scaldingly wry intelligence, and a whole, properly crazy heart. RJ McCaffrey makes poems that are almost miracles."
— Thomas Lux

(I cut this copy from RJ's Blog => you can read more over there!)

If you know me from around the 'net you probably know RJ too, but I'd like to take a moment to celebrate with him and to encourage you to pick up this book to support both RJ & Three Candles Press.

Throwing Confetti into the Air! `* ~ * ' *

Topping 5K

Sometime next week the blog will have its 5,000th visit. I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who stop by from time to time to read. Poetry is of course an obscure & lonely business, but I feel in some small way connected to this greater community of writers who love the written word as much as I do.

I return to Kenyon, time and again:

Finding A Long Gray Hair

I scrub the long floorboards
in the kitchen, repeating
the motions of other women
who have lived in this house.
And when I find a long gray hair
floating in the pail,
I feel my life added to theirs.

--Jane Kenyon, Otherwise: New & Selected Poems

In Celebration of Kansas

So Kansas is the home of Courage the Cowardly Dog and The Wizard of Oz, but this doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of nice things about Kansas as well.

1. In the two hours it would take to cross L.A. you can drive from Lawrence to Manhattan and still have half of an hour to shop before your dinner reservation. And you won't have to breathe exhaust to do so.

2. The towns are small and usually friendly. If it takes you more than 15 minutes to get across town, you must be pushing your pick-up truck.

3. We have nice places to eat here too: Manhattan's 4Olives has been featured in Wine Spectator. Harry's Up-Town has wonderful Trout.

4. Wild animals exist here outside of zoos. I've seen Bald Eagles in the wild more than once since we've been here. And red fox, coyote pups learning to pounce, wild turkeys flying across the road, geese, teal, pelicans, herons, and more.

5. You can wear blue jeans to dinner if you want. Or dress up to attend internationally acclaimed groups at the McCain's Performance Center. Or attend poetry readings at KU, Rita Dove visited last year; Ted Kooser visited KSU this school year. B.H. Fairchild was here the year before last. And you will likely be able to find a seat and actually hear the poet speak.

Coming Soon!

My poem, which is a dramatic monologue, "And by His Hand, Lightning" is appearing in this collection of monologues. Since once upon a time I was a theatre person, I'm delighted to have my work appear here!

Almost April

It's that time. . .poetry month is around the bend. What will you do to promote poetry in this great land of ours? I don't think I'll have time to write a poem a day. Maybe a poem a week would be a more realistic goal. I might read a poem a day to my students. What is your goal? Have any better ideas?

Tick Tock.


Every once in a while, the whole business of poetry starts to wear on me: the worry about publication, the worry about if it's worthwhile, the conflict between wanting to create and wanting to "matter" as a poet. But then I find a moment of exhortation like this one and all of that falls away leaving the desire to create, to speak of this world, as my essential desire.

Doubt not, O Poet, but persist. Say "It is in me, and shall out." Stand there, balked and dumb, stuttering and stammering, hissed and hooted, stand and strive, until at last rage draw out of then that dream-power which every night shows thee is thine own; a power transcending all limit and privacy, and by virtue of which a man is the conductor of the whole river of electricity.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson


What the River’s Wife Feels
by Amy Unsworth

Under her feet, the endless mud
the shifting of pebbles, the twig-
half-decayed. The lips of minnows
against her bare calves, the wending
body of a snake, the turtle’s curiosity.

In winter, her lover’s insensible skin,
in summer, his breath rising as morning
mist. Autumn, his chiding for her
steadfastness as the leaves wither
and fall upon her outstretched arms.

Poetry in the Schools

As part of my son's Language Arts program, he came up with this rather impressive poem!


The king of the night,
his empire rises and falls forever
in the realm of mortals.

By J.U.

From behind the piles. . .

of books for my final project, of papers to be graded for my students, of homework that I must make sure my three sons complete, of laundry which needs to find its way into the washing machine, and of poetry which I'm writing and revising, I'm peeking out to say hello.

Spring break is on the horizon. The weather has been exceptionally beautiful. I am well but sleep deprived.

May spring come soon to where you are.