Tuesday, 30 November 2010

One Shot Wednesday: Poetry Week 22

One Shot Wednesday: Poetry Week 22

Welcome to One Stop Poetry! My name is Adam Dustus, and I'll be your host for our 22nd week of One Shot Wednesday.

While it may come as no surprise that things keep moving rather quickly here at One Stop, I'd like to take this opportunity to make a few announcements...
One Stop Poetry is now calling for submissions. If you wish to post an article, highlight an artist, or use our platform to promote a worthy cause; we'd like to here from you.

The One Stop Bookshop
is up and in its early stages. If you have written a poetry collection, email us at oneshotpoetry@gmail.com Title the email "Bookshop," and if possible, include the ISBN code.

*Contest Announcement:
Okay, this contest is non-traditional, promises to be fun, and even involves video skits... Our good friend Kseverny (Richard North), the creative one-man force behind the Arts Web Show, would like to read humorous poetry during one of his next episodes (TBA). I told him the One Stop Poetry community may be able to lend him a hand in a way that promises to expose the selected poetry to a large audience. In addition, One Stop will also post what he selects. Think about it.... Could you write a poem that will make us all laugh? If so, email your entry to adamdustus@gmail.com I'll send the poems to K without names attached so he will decide on the readings. Hope you will take part in the fun!

One Shot Wednesday, here's how it works:

1) post a poem to your blog
2) link your poem to One Shot using Mr Linky, where you will be prompted to enter your name and the URL for your poem. The URL is the web address for your poem
3)Visit other One Shot Poets, as many as you wish. Tell them how you feel when you are reading, encourage and interact with them. If you wish to critique remember to be positive and constructive, negative criticism does not help anyone.
4) Tell others about One Shot Wednesday by including a link to this page on your post
I look forward to reading your posts.
Thank you for your participation,

One Stop Spotlight - Giovanni Cucullo

Giovanni is a New York Chef and a Writer - what a talented mixture!
I've never tasted one of his meals but I've tasted and enjoyed lots of his fantastic poetry and have to say - it's delicious.
First time I came upon Giovanni's blog the "jazz section" caught my eye, and being a saxophone player myself, his music poems touched my heart, my soul, my senses, my "everything."
And for today's spotlight, the poem on my wish list was this Jazz poem - I just love it!

Take a deep breath, enjoy and maybe you'll start to hear the seducing sound of mesmerizing saxophone tunes...(A shame we can't read with closed eyes.)
~ Claudia

Poem: aka Dig!

The earth grows out of an upright bass

and spins a walking love luster under its leg.

Dueling saxophones

throw down their bronze swords and

fly by the night

into the moaning mixture,

the howling moon;

the ferocious murmur of black and white,

the tender growl of an eighty-eight.

I travel

forever west

following incantations of a ghost drummer,

hypnotic sea-body rhythms

lure my soul

to the symbol of cymbals and crashing rhinoceri,

and the snap crackle staccato

of cool blue gurus doin’ a doobee doo doo with you know who.

The music soarrrs

through the weight of smoke

and bumps a ceiling fan.

Beebop! …and riddle-le-dee-bop!

What do you say when you wake up to a quintet of angels?

The space of music

and the piece on earth.

Knowing when to be silent

and allowing the secrets of another cadence to fall into your hands,

like the virgin rain,

like a tom tom boom,

like a good fresh funk.

Slippin’ and sliding and searchin’ and sometimes nailing the note…

as if the note was really looking for us the whole time.

Like sculpture in stone.

© Giovanni Cucullo

And here's some background information about Giovanni:

"Sometimes I search and scratch my way to the end of a sentence.
 I will chew on my pencil until the words write themselves on my teeth and the lines speak to me in tongues.
Sometimes, words rock and swing, floating gently down to me, like autumnal leaves marking a vibrant poet’s path; a scribe’s journey.

In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke begs the aspiring poet to “…describe your sorrows and desires, passing thoughts and the belief in some sort of beauty.” I have always looked to the world for inspiration and have happily discovered that every time I open my heart and my mind, beauty and clarity find their way home.

For as long as I can remember, I have had this urge for printed permanence. This journey of mine will continue and I have committed myself to nurturing and feeding my thoughts, my character and my relationships with beautiful things. I will continue to seek out fellow poets who shower the world with a reservoir of sacred gifts that inspire heart and mind to dance and to share it always and ever outward."

I live in Westchester County, NY.
Pursued music for many years studying Jazz at SUNY Purchase.
Got a B.S. in Business from Iona College.
Currently a chef, restaurateur and consultant.
Recently published a cookbook dedicated to my mother called:
Ricette di Maria - Maria’s Recipes.

My Blogs:

I have asked Gio if he'd also share one of his recipes with us, and here it is:

Recipe: Oven Roasted Tomatoes

If you like sun-dried tomatoes, you will love these.

Halve some plum tomatoes lengthwise & remove seeds (not the core).
Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking pan and season with salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs.
Slow roast in the oven for 2 hours at 300 degrees.
Remove, cool and store in mason jars, layered with fresh herbs and covered with more olive oil.
Covered in oil, they will keep in the refrigerator for 6 months and will come quite handy paired with fresh mozzarella and basil when you crave a fancier version of Caprese salad or any time you want to jazz up your favorite sandwich.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Monday Feature - Writer and Poet Mildred Kiconco Barya

I (Leslie Moon) am standing in for Brian Miller this week. I have the honor of featuring Mildred Kicono Barya, on One Stop Poetry, this week. I was introduced to Mildred (Midi) through a mutual friend,Josepf Haslam. I'm not only impressed with this woman's writing but her heart for her people. 

As a writer, poet and organisational psychologist, Mildred Kiconco Barya has worked in the book industry, broadcasting, and human resources consulting with Ernst & Young. She has written travel articles, features, commentaries, book reviews, essays and short stories for various newspapers, journals and magazines.
She is presently at Syracuse University (New York) working on her MFA (Master's Fine Arts). In her spare time, she is part of a non-profit established to encourage writing in Africa.

Many thanks to Mildred for taking time out of her holiday for this interview.

Midi - When you graduate from Syracuse what are your dreams for your writing?
To keep writing, really, and also to have more publications out because what's the point of writing to keep everything in the drawer if you believe in sharing? Right now, I'm revising my novel manuscript and also writing short stories. I hope in two or three years I'll have the novel out and some short stories as well. Poetry is the constant, it meets the every day life and concerns. Prose is something i have to plan and work on for the long term.

What message would you want to convey to a fledgling poet?
To keep writing. To keep trying until they find their feet (maybe nowadays its their shoes). No baby would be walking if they'd been afraid of that first step. So the point is to get the first words out, the first sentence, and follow it up with more words and somehow it will all begin to make sense.

How has writing changed your life?
This is a hard one to respond to in a few words. But I think it has made me more of a believer. By believing I mean in creativity, in possibility, in imagination, and in creating an unknown world. Each day begins with a high dose of optimism because of what I can create to make a couple of folks feel better, and because of what I've seen others succeed at creating. Without the writing, maybe I'd be a resigned person, which would be terribly sad.

Let me encourage you to read Midi's poetry a few times. There is a depth in her work that I know you will enjoy.

The Call
Come to the edge, he said
It’s dangerous there, I answered
Come to the edge, he said
It’s risky, I might fall and break my bones
Come to the edge, he said
I did,
He pushed me,
And I flew.

The Vultures
(I don’t usually try to explain my poetry but here I’ll say this poem has nothing to do with vultures but has a lot to do with vultures.)

The vultures descend
This one is ready meat, they say to one another
The girl pretends she’s dead
They poke her head eager to feast on her brains
But it’s turtle shell hiding arrows, mazes and puzzles
Their beaks crack and two leave
The one that stays strikes raising much dust
The girl rises, clears the dust and heads home.

After the Tsunami
Pain is in the swollen silence
That comes after watching
The broadcast news-
Laughter fades
Deep calls to deep of every nation
Eyes search for a place,
To lay down the sorrow.

Trapped in a web of tangled emotions,
Wordless wounds fester,
We stand on the banks and exhume the debris
Remembrance is nothing but this crumbled pile.

We did not notice how it started,
Waves that were callous
Gathered their force and ripped us apart
Wails of a thousand voices echo:
Prove that God is there, attest to his care!

We are stripped of all answers.

Tears happen,
Hearts splinter
Loneliness and terror,
Make their visitation known
This is what it means;
To hold infinity in a grain of sand,
To watch leaves blown by wind fall to the ground
We too are severed by the seasons’ change,
The price of memory crippled by loss.

The sky wears a cloak of bereavement
The moon is somber stricken,
We hung between despair and brokenness
Strands of grief weave us together
We are knotted into a ball of mourning
Wrapped in heartache’s arms
Only blinding faith and generous hands sustain us,
In the wake of Tsunami.

Her first collection of poetry titled Men Love Chocolates But They Don’t Say won the Uganda National Award for poetry publication, 2002. The Price of Memory After the Tsunami is her second poetry collection published by Mallory International, UK, 2006. Give Me Room to Move My Feet her third poetry book, 2009. Amalion. All available to buy from the One Stop Bookshop

Mildred’s short story publications include: “Scars of Earth” published in The African Love Stories Anthology, Ayebia Clarke Publishing Ltd, UK, 2006. “Effigy Child” published by Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) UK, 2004, and republished in Gifts of Harvest, FEMRITE, 2006. “Raindrops” published in Words From A Granary, FEMRITE anthology, 2001. “Land of my Bones”, published in Dreams, Miracles & Jazz, an anthology of New Africa Fiction, Pan Macmillan, 2008.

You can find more of Midi's fantastic writing at her website

The non-profit for African Writers that she is part of is called African Writers Trust.  African Writers Trust: aims to facilitate and put in place structures that encourage synergism, writing development and publishing prospects for African writers.

Photo by: Frerieke

Sunday, 28 November 2010

One Shoot Sunday - The Day After... Food Baskets for the Poor & Poetry Challenge

Did you ever think what happens one or two days after you deliver the bountiful basket of food for a family in need? I have held both ends of the basket. I've delivered many baskets and received many too. I know the feeling as a child to see a delivery from kind hands and hearts. As a child, I never worried about when we would eat; my poor, single mother did when her paycheck ran out on the twentieth of each month. She always had a look of relief when a bag food or a spare meal was delivered by a neighbor. She knew that for another day her little ones would not go hungry.

So to those of you generous folks during the holidays &
during the year...  Thank You. ~MDW
The Day After...
A poem by Leslie Moon
Today an abundance
of turkeys abound
potatoes in boxes
twenty-five a pound

cans and cans
fill the bags
candies for the kids
see how they sag

full of wishes
for full tummies today
families with nothing
shout a grateful "hooray"
"mommy where did
the food all go?
It seemed like plenty
not long ago"
"We ate it all
my darling -you see
we will wait for next year
bags again for you and me"
The plight of the homeless
the orphans and old
"such kindness the one day"
stories are told
Three hundred and sixty four
it's up to them
to scavenge and hunt
in the generous garbage bin
 There are big hearts
each day will see
the needs of those bellies
they will give freely

a poem by Pete Marshall

Across the fields and thoroughfare
when harvest reaps with food to spare
and eyes are wide with hope and prayer
we bring a feast to tables bare
and chose the gift of gratitude
to warm our hearts in helping you
then turn our backs on plenitude
and seal the barn of Corporate food

*photo by Leslie Moon


One Stop Poetry
Picture Prompt Challenge!

Thanks to Leslie and Pete for sharing today! In addition to their respective poetic stylings,  I deeply admire their care and concern for others :)

Okay, here is the challenge:
Write a poem (or Flash Fiction 55) inspired by the image below.
Post on your site & sign up using Mr. Linky so people can find your work.
Then let us know what you are sharing by leaving a comment below.
Finally, visit others who have shared writing & comment on their posts.
Today's Prompt

This photo was taken during The Great Depression 
Consider this image and please share your writing. 

For this challenge, I linked a poem called "Our Gang"

Thank you,
*image care of creative commons flickr:

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Where are they now? A Poem by Pete Marshall

Where are they now?
a poem by Pete Marshall

Her back was slumped against the wall
of needled art on fresh tattoo
A taste of beer would wet her lips 
as smokes were passed amongst the crew
and velvet tunes would pump the streets
as cans were kicked in DM’d feet
and Lucy laughed and smoked the skunk
as minds would turn in disbelief
but stocking tops and ripped up seams
and high heeled chicks and thigh high dreams
were all a part of teenage scenes
where boys would pain and girls would scream

Heady daze and heady girls
whose makeup wore upon myself
and clubs would buzz off Soho streets
for midnight dates in backroom suites

Debbie stood and laughed aloud
she drew the vibes from passing crowds
who threw her looks of dread and fear
her leather worn and makeup smeared
Jon would watch in silent stream
he liked the times with me and Dean
but never touched the liquid stuff
that rushed our nose and made us laugh
or smoked the stuff that Lucy sank
or drew on lines we paid with thanks
or took the pills and coloured tabs
or threw his life on needled jabs.


I have been in a reflective mood of late. This poem was a homage to my youth, way back in 1983, when I used to visit the Batcave, a club in Soho, London and be....a Goth....some great and sad memories...good times and bad....I saw so many things happening around me and although I kept my head clear others suffered for it....and I wonder, Where are they now?

image care of creative commons flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/strangrthancandy/

Friday, 26 November 2010

Friday -One Stop Poetry Featuring Poet Jessica Kristie

With the holidays in the States our schedule is a bit askew. Adam Dustus is off shooting ducks or something so I'm (Moondustwriter) standing in with some fabulous poetry by Jessica Kristie
Just wanted to point out that Jessica is another talented lady who I met on - Twitter. If you aren't there, you should be.

Can you briefly tell me when you first started writing?
I began writing when I was about ten years old.  I was always a very emotionally in-tune little girl, and at an early age searched for some sort of outlet.  I believe I found this venue from a school exercise, then realized immediately it was freeing and very healing.  I wish I could say I have written continuously since then, but it has been off and on with a more consistent run the last five years or so.

What inspires you to write?
I have many inspirations and “processes” for writing.  There is certain music that rings to me as poetry. I play those songs to get me in the mood, and the place I need to be to write. Being a stream of conscious and emotional writer, the flow often needs to be stirred.  I have learned through the years to capture it better and even trigger it more than I was able to in the past.  I also find great inspiration in others writing and will often become inspired by even just a word.  Those moments I love the most and always hope I have a pen and paper close at hand.

What are your hopes and dreams with your poetry?
I just finished putting together my first collection of poetry.  It contains 50 poems and 5 prose poetry works.  I am submitting it to publishers along with a children’s book I wrote, that is currently being illustrated.  I also have a very exciting collaboration I am doing with a photographer. We are collaborating to bring to life a poem I wrote in 11 parts that tells a story.  It is more than just doing a photo to match the words; it is bringing the words out in a unique way. We hope to find a great venue to make it available to the public once it is complete. I am already working on a second manuscript of all prose poetry with hopes to also have it published in the future. 

What is your favorite genre?
Classics always seem to catch my eye from Frost to Neruda, but also find myself attracted to such wonderful poets as Maya Angelou. I continue to find that it is always the romance that pulls me in the deepest. Often it is darker, but romance just the same.  I do hold a place in my heart for the more humorous side of things. It always does me good to laugh and I try to - at least ten times a day.

While e-mailing Jessica,we discovered that we grew up relatively close to each other. My father lived in her home town until his death. We may just have to do a road trip to my favorite city (well one of them) San Francisco. Please enjoy Jessica's fine writing.

Tragedy’s Room

Today I want to put skin around my words
Turn sentences into limbs
And reach across the seas
Finding my way to your door

My blankets of consoling will never do this moment justice
History has been broken
A tear in life’s time table
“Why” lingers at the footsteps you watched from birth
Hands by your side that can’t seem to bring enough healing

This time

Trouble feels so beyond
What you can mend

Warmth can roam
Beyond our flesh
Far past aching bone
It will make its way back
Where darkness looms
Where loss and heartbreak

Now claim this room

Bows break future moments
Pausing time
Covering moons
Lingering in our present
Floating in the in-between

But hands do breathe volumes
When crashing into tragedies door
Look now and know
What strength they hold
Your grip
Your reach

Barriers breaking as we speak

This next poem is inserted into prose that Jessica posted. If you want to read the entire piece, please enjoy it on her blog.


What poetic justice I weep from my pages
Yet I feel no sense of peace
Painting clouds with my finger tips across
an empty palette
A canvas that mimics hope yet whispers
only dreams

You can’t speak of change
When I Look at you and see the same
You can’t speak of love
When I can’t feel you break through me
I remember when

You speak of nothing

No words
No hope
No difference from one day to the next
Mediocre in this questionable decision

Maybe the hope is within a dream
Or maybe the needle has passed through
Now seamless
The two pieces have become

I remember when you told me
You would not give me up without a fight
When I walked away
You laid down so easy
And still you speak

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Moondustwriter Thursday- Random Acts of Kindness

Today in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US.
Thanksgiving means different things to different people. One thing that rings loud and clear for most is relationship; relationships include fellow workers, neighbors, friends, family. Whether you are in the United States, Ukraine, or Madrid, we need each other. I hope this story , in a small way, gives you a moment to reflect and be thankful for what you have and for the people in your life. I am thankful for each of you.

Random Acts

She awoke with color streaming through her window. "How could it be a better day? she mused. "The plans for my marriage to the love of my life are underway; today I am beginning my new job after my unexpected promotion, and the sun is shining. She pulled into the driveway at her regular coffee kiosk.

"How can I share my happiness?" she wondered. Quickly fussing through her purse, she pulled out her wallet. The only paper she had was her new business cards.

"Hope this day is full of sunshine - hope you can shed some into the another's life." She quickly wrote on the back of the card. As she pulled up to the barista, she pointed behind her "Please put that man's purchase on my credit card."

"Do you know him?" The barista smiled.

"No not at all. I just wanted to share the best day of my life with someone. Oh and please give him this card. Have a fantastic day," she smiled as she drove off with her latte.

"What's this?" Maxwell grumbled. Looking up at the barista, he was handed his scone, coffee, and a business card. "Sunshine -ha! In my life?? Pass it on...?" As he drove off he thought, "Maggie would have loved it if I could help one person today. Maybe I should."

"If this day, if this life doesn't get any better than it's the end for me the pre-med student sighed. I just can't go on. What is the point of life if I can't help people. Why was I given this mind? Why the rejections?" As he was given his double shot, he didn't even notice the barista's flirty smile. He certainly didn't hear her say "have a great day." His demeanor was torrential. Society doesn't need the likes of me." He thought sadly but with resignation of the handgun stowed in his top drawer - ready.

"Please show the applicant in," Dr. Stowell said on his squawk box. He looked at the picture of his wife of 45 years. She smiled back. "I wish you were here darling."

"I am", he heard a whisper in the wind. The air was more than still; yet there had been a gentle rustle in the leaves of the tree just outside.

"Then I will try to help someone today. In your honor, my dear."

"You always had a big, generous heart Maxwell," was the faint reply.

"Dr. Stowell, thank you for seeing me this morning" the tall,handsome, dark-haired student said as he shook the dean's hand. Stowell read something in this man's countenance. "What is it Maggie?"

"His heart is broken; his spirit thwarted with defeat Maxwell." The dean of the Medical School had done his homework. He had one unexpected opening for the entering class. A minority student would balance the entering class. The applicant was Native American. "Tell me why you want to be a doctor?" Dean Stowell asked. Daniel Brushwood was a bit taken aback. He was ready to share his grades, internships, etc. "Doctor Stowell I grew up on the reservation. My teachers saw that I was a smart boy and got government funding to send me to a College Prep for High School. While there, I excelled in Science. One year when I was home, my grandmother got very sick and died. They didn't have the care she needed. I asked why??? We just didn't have enough doctors or money. I vowed I would be a heart surgeon to help people who didn't have the money to pay for their care. I may never bring this institution recognition for the awards I get or the papers that are published but I would bring recognition for humanity."

"Ah- so the other schools won't take you because of your desire to be a humble servant to your people???"

"I guess so sir."

"Then let me tell you - this institution needs some humanity infused into it's haughty, dusty ivy system. Please go to our Financial Aid office to have them put together a generous scholarship package. Welcome to Medical School Dr. Brushwood."


Tears were streaming down the "sunshine girl's" face. Her mother had a heart condition that required surgery. Her dad had lost his job and subsequently the health insurance had to go. Becky called hospitals, agencies, the like.The economy was bad. No one had the money to help. Her last hope was to approach a doctor rather than an institution. She had a list. A very small list. She looked at the first one; he was known to be the best in the country. "Yes I am trying to reach the doctor regarding a special request: it's for my mother who won't live if she doesn't have the surgery. Time is running short."

"This is Doctor Brushwood, I have reviewed your mother's records her success rate is high if she has the surgery. We have her scheduled next Wednesday for pre-op."

Dr. Stowell, now retired, smiled at Maggie's picture.
" I just read in the paper that another life was saved by our boy, Daniel. Maggie you always knew how to pick 'em. Did you write that card that day my dear?"

Photography: by my favorite One Shoot featured photographer Terence Jones http://www.flickr.com/photos/terence_s_jones/4844779423/sizes/m/in/photostream
Creative Commons License
"Random Acts" a short story by Leslie Moon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://moondustwriter.com.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

One Shot Wednesday: Poetry Week 21

One Shot Wednesday: Poetry Week 21

Hi and, once again, welcome to another One Shot Wednesday. Each week I am amazed at how popular this is becoming but as a platform to promote your work it sure is a great place to start!

This week also marks the Thanksgiving holidays in the US. Coming from the UK this is not something that I am to familiar with but that still doesn't stop me wishing my fellow American poets a happy Thanksgiving. No doubt there will be a few poems following this theme and I look forward to being educated accordingly.

Leslie, Brian, Adam & Chris will also be feasting heavy on turkey whilst, jealously, I still have to wait another 5 weeks or so for mine. Curiously, there is nothing better to go with turkey than brussel sprouts, just wondered if you enjoyed these also over the pond?

I believe that you spend a four day break, feasting, enjoying family and generally having a great time? If you are stuck for ways to enjoy yourselves may I recommend the challenge I set last Saturday, The Riddle of the Fish?

Its been a busy week at One Stop and a new feature that we have introduced is the One Stop Bookshop. At the moment it is in its early stages, showing just a gallery of publications by featured artists. If you have written a poetry collection or can recommend a good poetry publication please email me at oneshotpoetry@gmail.com, marked Bookshop and, if possible, include the ISBN code and I will look at these accordingly.

Dont forget we are also open to submissions & our new forum, After Hours.

Okay, as you may have gathered, my name is Pete and I am your host tonight. For those of you new to One Shot here are the rules;

1) post a poem to your blog
2) link your poem to One Shot using Mr Linky, where you will be prompted to enter your name and the URL for your poem. The URL is the web address for your poem
3)Visit other One Shot Poets, as many as you wish. Tell them how you feel when you are reading, encourage and interact with them. If you wish to critique remember to be positive and constructive, negative criticism does not help anyone.
4)Tell others about One Shot Wednesday by including a link to this page on your post

Lastly, One Shot is your platform, so enjoy yourselves.....Happy One Shot......Pete

One Stop Spotlight - Underground Poetry London

Just imagine, you get up early, leave home in a hurry, grab a coffee to go, head for the subway and as you enter the station with thousands of commuters, someone would hand you an A5 leaflet - and as you start to read, poetry mingles into your early morning schedule - and when you look at the reflection in the subway window, you see a smile on your lips...

A dream? Not in London - thanks to a creative young lady, this could really happen to you...
I'm thrilled to introduce Nina Ellis and her Underground Poetry Group...
~ Claudia  

Nina Ellis:
I live between Cambridge (I am at university there) and London, where I moved when I was fourteen -- I grew up in Paris. I started Underground Poetry in March 2010 and ran it alone until this September, when I realised I needed to get some other people on board to take it to the next level. Now the team is comprised of me, Katya Kazakevich, George Shapter, Donald Futers, Talissa Spencer-Dewhurst and Leila Morad. We publish as many people as we can -- there are about thirty Underground Poets at the moment -- and the number of distributors also varies and is growing. We welcome anyone who wants to get involved.

a poem by Lizzy Dening

Nina, how and when did you get the idea to hand out poems to London subway travelers?

I got the idea when travelling on the Tube last March. I have always found other Tube travellers really interesting -- I love looking at the people around me and wondering what their stories are. It's strange, in a way, that we're all packed into a carriage like that, so close together, and yet don't know anything about each other. I think encouraging the connection and interaction of Tube-travelling strangers is a really positive, mind-opening thing to do. And since I see poetry as a sort of snapshot into its author's world-view, it makes sense as a way of achieving that sort of interpersonal connection. So we hand out poetry by Tube travellers to Tube travellers to give them insights into each other's lives and minds... And of course to cheer them up on their commute!

How do the commuters react to this - are they surprised or alienated?

They're usually surprised and happy. We do get some funny responses though, like "A free phone?" (no, it's a free POEM) or "How much does it cost?" (I said a FREE poem). But often people will ask for several to give to their families, colleagues or students, which is wonderful; or they'll be very grateful and supportive, which of course is so encouraging.

Do you get feedback from the travelers?

Yes, and UP is based on their feedback: they read the poems we hand out and send their own poetry to the email address printed beneath them... And then we print it the following month. Usually they do send messages with the poems. They're always really positive and encouraging, and often quite moving. It makes me so happy to read them and know that by doing this we're really touching people, emotionally and intellectually.

Are you working together with other groups or have you heard about something like this existing in other cities?

No, this is the first thing I've heard of that does this. People have asked to start UP projects in their own cities, so we're thinking about how we could do that. But yes... We love collaborating with other artists and art activists -- for instance, we're putting on a Live Poetry and Music night at the Troubadour in London on January 7th (see the website or Facebook group for more details), at which Underground Poets will be performing alongside musicians and artists. And of course all of our leaflets, and the logo, are designed by the artist George Shapter. So we do believe strongly in collaboration; we think sharing our art and ideas is the key to inspiration and fulfilment. That's why we do what we do.

What are your plans for the future?

To keep the Underground Poetry movement going and growing!

Also, here is our Manifesto:

"The goal of the Underground Poetry movement is to bring London Underground travellers into meaningful contact with each other through poetry: we hand out poems written by travellers to other travellers for free on the Tube. We believe that these poems act as social snapshots, as glimpses into their authors' worlds. By distributing them on the Underground we aim to give Londoners the opportunity to see life from each others' widely varying points of view. This process promotes empathy and tolerance, and appeals to a natural human curiosity about the man in the yellow socks who got on at Finsbury Park (or whoever). Of course, the Underground Poetry movement also encourages the day-to-day writing and reading of poetry. Every leaflet we print features our website and email addresses, so that the recipient can send in their poetry to be published by us the following month.

Underground Poetry was founded in March 2010. Since then we have printed and distributed a new batch of poems every month. Submissions have risen to over one hundred per month, and we now publish at least a thousand leaflets in each issue, featuring between five and twenty different poems. Printing is cheap and simple: we photocopy templates onto A4 paper, and cut each sheet into two A5 flyers, which we distribute. Since March, the Underground Poetry team has increased from one person to ten (including a treasurer, a web director and an art director, amongst others) and the founder and editor has been interviewed for a leading online poetry magazine. We have had a great deal of encouragement and enthusiastic support throughout, and have recently received requests to set up Underground Poetry in Bristol and Toronto. Word is spreading.

At the moment we are looking for funding to cover printing and website costs, so that Underground Poetry can support itself. It is not expensive to run: at the moment it costs us less than fifty pounds per month, though we would like to increase output in the near future."

Poetry submissions

We welcome submissions of any kind of poetry (or lyrics, or very very short stories), provided it will fit onto an A5 sheet of paper. It does not have to be about the Underground, but can be if you'd like it to be. We prefer to publish poems that Tube travellers can identify with, and that have about them a sense of joy and hope -- the Underground is dark and grimy enough as it is.

Email address for submissions is poetryonthemove@googlemail.com

Nina Ellis (middle) and her team 

Thank you Nina!  
All the best for you, your team and the fantastic work, you're doing!

Monday, 22 November 2010

One Stop Poetry: A Poetic Monday!

Hello everyone!

Today's Monday finds us with a slight change of pace. This week I'm your host - Chris Galford - so Brian Miller, who usually handles our Monday Spotlights, can have a little time with the family. He deserves it, work-a-holic that he is!

I know you're used to seeing a spotlight here at the start of your week, but to open the Thanksgiving week, which is a major holiday celebration in America, I would like to share with you a picture and a poem of the season. I hope you enjoy, and happy holiday to all those celebrating Thanksgiving!

"The First Thanksgiving," by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863–1930)
Of Turkeys and Bounty
(By Chris Galford)
A cornucopia, all for me,
how thankful is the blind man
to the fruits of his fair nothing—
the greenery, grown, beneath the
scarlet massacre-flood
through the sky, the day
the men in their wide-brimmed hats
forgot the sea, learned the barrel
no one ever looks the same
behind the sights.
A turkey stuffed
with all the hands, the hammers,
unsung ringings in the deep
lightly smelling of the smoke,
the factories that brimmed with weary souls,
to bring the table to the meal,
to bring the car that brought the people—
smoking still the stilling rifle,
that bought and held and earned
the right to live, to dine,
the right to never know the pain
of making—foundations
in a crowded horn, this overflowing
but the end, not the means.
No oven fire burns so hot
could give the soul,
we dine upon tonight.

Not the usual fare for the Thanksgiving season, but I hope you enjoyed it all the same?

For those among the rest of our global audience, a word on Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving is an annual tradition in the United States, tracing itself as far back as 1863. The basis for the event occurred even further back, though, in 1621, when the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony held a three day celebration - including a harvest feast - to give thanks for food given to them by local Native American tribes, which enabled them to survive the harshness of their first winter ashore in America.

Though the celebration originally began with more religious overtones, the day has since grown into a secular, national holiday largely based around the concept of spending time with one’s family, and giving thanks for all that has come to you in the past year. The government, as well as most businesses, close down in honor of the day, and the Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Turkey is a staple of the day itself, while stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and a host of fall vegetables are also commonly associated with most Thanksgiving dinners.

Thanksgiving is also traditionally a time of great care in local communities, many of which (as well as churches, businesses, and charity organizations) set up annual food drives for the occasion, to provide a Thanksgiving meal to the less fortunate.

Now a question for my fellow Americans among our audience today: what is your favorite part of Thanksgiving - your favorite memory?

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Photography Interview with Trent Chau & Picture Prompt Poetry Challenge

Welcome to One Shoot
Photography Sunday!

Once again I have the distinct pleasure of introducing an extremely talented photographer, and a young one too: Trent Chau, a Georgia-based photographer and member of the Atlanta Photographers Guild. Much of what he has learned has been self-taught, but beginning in 2009, he entered the Gwinnett Technical College looking for a degree in photography. He has a penchant for portraiture photography, but has certainly run the gamut of the art.

Since entering the photography scene Mr. Chau has also built himself a web presence, operating a website, as well as a blog where you will discover samples of his work and discussions about photography. He’s also active on Twitter, @trentchau.

*One Stop Poetry's Chris G. conducted the following interview:

What sparked your interest in photography? How long have you been working with photography?
TC: I was first exposed to photography through my father.  He had an old Canon AE-1 he got from the PX while serving in the military that he used for family photos that he handed down to me in the late 90's.  It wasn't until the early 2000's did I really get an interest in it.  After years of doing graphic design with Photoshop it became more and more natural to encompass photography into it.  In 2003 I purchased a Olympus C-5050 and with its 2.0 lens all of a sudden this newer world of "Bokeh", DOF, and Macro came into the picture and BAM! I was addicted.

What about photography appeals to you? What inspires you?
TC: Two main things about photography appeal to me.  The subjective human factor of it.  The interaction and communication before and after the shot is inspiring.  While talking to or directing a model, I also talk to them about their life.  While shooting a wedding it's not uncommon to chat at the groom about how the Dawgs (University of Georgia) are doing (except for this year :(), and lastly the amazement and satisfaction that people are quick to show when they see a photo of themselves, someone they know, or just a photo they like in general...it's awesome.  It's possible to say the Artist in me likes that part.

The technician in me likes the fact that successful photography is an equation.  A puzzle that is laid out in front of you, and you have the power to put those pieces together in whatever way you want.  There is a level of set rules that you have to follow, but the more you know about those rules and regulations the more you can achieve efficiently and potentially bend and distort to your needs.

Do you have a personal philosophy about photography? 
TC: Some basic ones.... Shoot 85~90% of your photo in camera.  I have absolutely nothing against post production, but after years of shooting thousands of photos I rather spend time with my daughter than editing photos.  So using technical knowledge and experience, mixed with general photography experience such as people interaction, it's a personal goal to pretty much shoot the shot in the camera, not in the computer.

A major personal philosophy about photography of mine is "Remember the root" of photography.  The root being Light.  My father was an engineer and he once told me "Son, always learn to the foundation level why something works.".  Photography at its most basic level is dictated by light and how it interacts with your subject.  So I believe that the continuous path of understanding light, manipulating it, and capturing is my personal goal with photography.  (I'm beginning to sound like Ryu from Street Fighter, but instead of kicking Ken's ass, I'm clicking shutters instead).

I note a great deal of your photography has to do with people – what would you say is the most challenging aspect of portraiture photography, as opposed to say, landscape shots?
TC: The most immediate challenge is handling someone's expectation along with your own.  What are they thinking? What do they want? Do they think I know what I'm doing? When those questions intermingle with other doubts it can become suffocating.  Those feelings do dwindle a little bit, but occasionally those doubts just explode back even after years of shooting.  Oddly enough those questions are mostly trivial though.  People will love the photos, you will give them what they want.

Where are some of the places you’ve shot photographs? Do you have any favorite locations/spots/setups?
TC: I've had the privileged of shooting many different places, and also self educated myself on shooting in various different situations by learning studio lighting from one light to ten.  As mentioned above lighting is the foundation of photography, and can help lead to amazing results.  I enjoy a lot of places to shoot that range from natural locations, to more urban locations.  A belief I have though is for portraiture you just have to suggest a location in your photography, not actually capture it in full detail.  As such I use a lot of faster lenses ranging from F1.2 to F2.8.  These allow you to capture your subject in detail, while beginning to blur around the subject.  You still capture an idea of the surroundings of the subject, but you aren't spoon feeding your audience the exact minute crisp details of the surroundings.

Saying such, I do tend to favor natural locations that show a state of being lived in our decay for any natural shot.  For studio shots white or black roll paper, some kicking trance music, and fan and it's a good day.

What has been your experience with the internet as a medium for sharing your art and experiences with photography?
TC: The internet is bad ass.  I love it...it's fun, the people are fun, and if they aren't well it's easy to ignore than because there are so many cool people why would you waste time on the annoying ones?  I have to pitch one of my favorite groups of all time. The Atlanta Photographers Guild (http://www.flickr.com/groups/atlantaguild/) in Atlanta was a internet group on flickr started by Marc Turnley.  Marc loved my stuff, and had open arms for me to join up to the guild and participate at the meetings and in the online discussions.  I joined when there was about 200 people in the group.  Now several years later we are topping 2000.  The internet is the reason why something like this works.  The cool part is that it's a fusion of traditional hand shaking face-to-face meetings mixed with internet discussion that makes it work so well.

On the other hand web presence items such as Websites and Blogs have been a good experience for me.  Websites are a little archaic now but still provide an audience a glimpse into my work.  Blogs have been a great part of the internet experience and it's been great.  Heck this interview is done now because my blog was found by you guys so that has to mean something.  The blog experience is awesome.

Do you find any common ground between photography and other creative pursuits like writing or poetry?  TC: At its most basic level yes, and that is pure unadulterated joy.  The internal joy we have as individual pursuing something we find pleasing.  The self acknowledgement of progression as we move forward in our work.  The conquering of self doubt as we explore new techniques or beliefs and apply it what we create.  The only major difference I see in writing/poetry (which I used to do) is that in photography the audience  is more expansive since there isn't multiple languages along with cultural differences to work around.  A picture of a flower is a picture of a flower, while a poem about a flower can be translated so much differently between languages.

What sort of education/experiences have you gone through to get where you are today with your photography?
TC: I was self taught until 2009.  That's when I enrolled into Gwinnett Technical College's photography program just to have a degree (hey the little daughter shouldn't see her pops without a degree).  It was lots of reading the internet, lots of messing with lights and lenses, and most importantly going out there into the world and just plain screwing up and having the balls (or ovaries) to ask yourself why you screwed up and how can you fix it.  Experimenting was a key factor in improvement, and also getting multiple different opinions from people but in the end forming your own by actually trying out everything you can.  Never ever saying "I believe in this because this what so and so believes", but saying "I believe in this because I did it".
What’s your take on the debate between traditional “purist” photographers and what’s viewed as the more modern crowd advocating digital editing/post-processing, etc?
TC: I've got no beef about major post production, I personally try to avoid it myself.  Bringing back dad's belief in the matter, as long as you know "Why it works on the foundation level" is what's most important to me.  Purist photographers bring up a great point when they ask people if they know aperture, shutter speed, iso, white balance, and all the other aspects that control photography.  It is very good to be able to consistently be able to get results because all the technical aspects are controlled by the photographer. Yet digital editing and post processing is not a crutch that holds photographers up, it's a catalyst and it can bring even the best "Pure" photographers work to the next level.  To ignore the benefits of digital editing would be very short sighted and arguably idiotic.  Something to ask though is if the digital manipulation is to fix a problem or to make something better, if it's consistently for fixing a problem than that's something that should be remedied by just good old traditional "Learnin."

Where do you hope to go from here? Are there more aspects of photography you would like to learn, or different things you would like to do with your photography in the future you don’t do now? Do you plan on joining or making a studio?
TC:  I would like to teach photography, actually would LOVE to teach photography or marketing in the collegiate level.  I've been blessed with amazing and wonderful teachers throughout life, and it would be a pleasure to return the favor.  Along with teaching it would be nice to moonlight as a photographer for small gigs such as weddings, commercial work, and potential a book of sorts.  I had a studio and loved it, but money is difficult to come by as a student so it was one of the first things on the chopping block.  Potentially in the future another studio would be nice, but having more money in the account is paramount right now.

What would you suggest to people just beginning with photography? 
TC: Buy Lightroom, it's the smartest thing you can do.  Seriously.  Learn it just so you can import your photos from your card, and organize it.  It will save your photos by date, so even if they do look like snap shots, at least they are organized snap shots.  Go do it now..I'll wait for you to come back from the store and install it.

Okay it's installed?  Cool!  Now go shoot.  Shoot everything.  Shoot leaves on a tree, take a photograph of a person, take pictures of cats.  Now bring it into Lightroom and get it organized, look at it on your screen (which is hopefully bigger than your cameras lcd).  Now take more photos of something different....rinse, repeat, and enjoy!  Photography is you going to it, not it coming to you so go out and have fun, and shoot shoot shoot.

What kind of lenses, filters, editing programs do you use? What f-stop/settings do you prefer? And, being a Nikon man myself, I have to ask: why Canon? What about their cameras appeals to you?
TC:  I'm a huge fan of L series lenses from Canon, and pretty much shoot exclusively with them.  They were purchased when I was working corporate though so it's rarer these days to own them since they are pretty darn expensive.  My favorite lenses is the Canon 35 1.4L, the Canon 24-70 2.8L, The Canon 85 1.2L II, and lastly the Canon 50 1.2L.  A majority of my shooting ranges from an F range of 1.2 to 3.5, using iso 50~800.  I avoid high Iso personally, and will introduce my own lights if the scene becomes dark.  Since I favor primes it's not uncommon to use 2 cameras at the same time with one prime lens each.  This leads into editing and image maintenance, and that's were Lightroom shines.  With it you can import and tag all the photos, and also easily apply universal fixes if required.  This saves time and makes editing a pleasure.

Concerning why Canon.  My father gave me a Canon camera, and it's been that way since.  When I got the first Digital SLR the Canon 20D had just come out and it absolutely destroyed the Nikon D100 in all aspects (but most importantly the use of a CMOS over CCD).  Overtime I found the lenses that Canon had were better for my style of shooting over Nikons.  Lenses such as the 35 1.4 and 135 f2 were awesome Canon lenses that Nikon either didn't have or were a little too expensive.  Canon's always have been a little cheaper in comparison to Nikon and that was a major factor.  If you took the kit that I amassed over several years and go the Nikon equivalent, you could easily purchase a D3x with some lenses when equating the cost difference.   Something else that really sealed the deal was the Canon 5D, it really was revolutionary and amazing with its full frame sensor.  I still drool at the photos that come from it today.  Nikon did respond several years later with the D700 but Canon released video capability with the 5D Mark II and I haven't looked back.  Nikon is great and should always be considered by someone when looking at cameras, but for me Canon is the number 1 option.

Are there any photography resources you would recommend for individuals who wish to know more about the art form?
TC: There are so many great places online to get information.  Something really cool though is to check your local school system.  In Georgia its free to go to school if you don't have a degree, and that could really help one get educated.  Education is not what people hand you, it's what you are willing to go out and get yourself so do the hard work and time and you will be rewarded.

Online as mentioned there are many wonderful resources.  I've always been a fan of photography forums such as Photocamel (www.photocamel.com), Canon Digital Photography Forum (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/), and one of my personal favorites Fredmiranda.com (Fredmiranda.com).  These forums educate via interaction with other photographers and provide excellent feedback.

One of the greatest websites as a photographer to go see is Strobist.com run by David Hobby.  David Hobby knows it's about light, and he delivers education about light in a way that challenges you and makes you so much smarter.  His website should be favorited by everyone who wants to do photography on a high level. 

*Trent would like to thank his Multimedia II class, as well as his teacher Mr. Jones, without whom we might never have gotten to see his wonderful blog.

*To learn more about Trent Chau and his excellent photography visit his Flickr pages:


And now for the Picture Prompt Challenge!

Write a poem (or Flash Fiction 55). Post it on your site.
Then sign up using Mr. Linky so people can find your work.
Please let us know what you are sharing by leaving a comment below.
Finally, visit other participants, comment, & give credit to Trent in your post. 

Thank you,

Accept the picture prompt challenge! :)