A directory of our teams

ChildAdultSunWe’re having a lovely time here with Andrea’s Brighter Light challenge. For those of you on a team or who have been following along, we’ve created a directory of all the teams (I’ve added links that teams have suggested that show something about where they’re from; if you’ve given me a link to your team’s blog, I’ve posted that as well). You can search this directory at any time to remind yourself about who is on a given team and where they hail from.

Oh, and challenge participants: if there’s a link I missed or you’d like to add, just let me know. Also, there’s a copy pinned to the Notice Board so you can remind yourself about any of the teams at any time ~ ina

Brighter Light teams

1. The Seasons
Ina and son Kash
San Francisco Area, California, US

2. Sunshine Elves
Amanda and daughter
Queensland, Australia

3. The Yellow Ninjas
Mariya and daughter Silviya
Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria


4. The Brothers Dragonosaurus
Sharon and her two grandsons (J-JAR 1.5 and J-JAR 3.5)
Alberta, Canada

5. The Awesome Earworms.
Linda H and her daughter
the Rems-Murr-Kreis in Germany

6. The Erie Dearies
Marie Elena and her granddaughter Sophie
Lake Erie area, Toledo, OH

7. Icicles
Guðríður and her son Þorlákur
From Akureyri in northern Iceland

8. The Sparkly Snowflakes
Pearl and her grand girls (!) Halle Lynn and Rori Cate
Lido Beach, New York and Newton, Massachusetts, US


9. The Chain Letters
JLynn, her son and many other helper-elves!
Chain O’Lakes area, Illinois, US

10. Alabama Tarheels
Nancy and Alyssea
Hickory, North Carolina and Florence, Alabama; USA

11. The Vikings
Søs and Ingrid
From Denmark


12. Pragon
Claudette and Sidse
Northern Rocky Mountains, US and Sejer Island, Denmark



13. The Northstar Wolves
Michele and her daughters Mikayla and Samantha
Minnesota, US

14. Queen Flower and the Princesses Sugar
Jacqueline and her two daughters
Phoenix, Arizona, USA



15. The Poetry Writers

Barbara and her student Raybert

Stamford, CT, US

Beautiful Stamford (Google Image Search)

Parent and child of elephas namadicus


Connections: a little time with Daniel Ari

Please welcome the co-winner of our first  Poetry Prompt Contest, Daniel Ari. We first encountered Daniel’s vivid and unique poetry on (surprise, surprise) Robert Brewer’s blog, Poetic Asides. I couldn’t wait to get my little paws on Daniel’s chapbook, Monster Poems, and was so glad when I finally did. The stunning black-and-white, evocative illustrations (by Daniel’s talented spouse Lauren) and Daniel’s poetry have created a household favorite – something I read with my six-year-old time and time again, not because it’s a book for children, but because it’s a book that appeals to the Grimm imagination that lurks in all of us. So was I surprised his poem “this glamorous profession” was one of the stand-outs in the contest? No. Was I delighted to get to interview him –  oh, yes! And I know you, as readers, will enjoy his words, as well ![IOB]

IOB [ina]: What was the hardest thing about writing the poem you submitted?

DA: It’s funny because I wrote this in response to a call for submissions of poetry found in the prose of Patrick Sokas, M.D. His daughter decided to create a poetry anthology of found poems, and she posted several essays of his as the finding field for poets. I had never heard of Dr. Sokas before, but it seems that he published articles in The Oakland Tribune, a local paper for me, though his articles were printed long before I moved to the area.

Anyway, that was the score. The hardest thing was staying open to moments of poetry within his prose. I read several essays without sensing the spark. Then I caught a haiku, which was accepted for the anthology. I like “this glamorous profession” more than the haiku, but it may have still been too prosaic for the doctor’s daughter.

Once I found the piece—which also resonated with a poetry prompt at the “Poetic Asides” blog at Writersdigest.com—I had to give myself permission to glean the poem with finer tools than cut and paste. I excised some words from the middle and split some of the dialogue so that the speakers changed. In sum, I took time to tinker this into a poem I enjoyed. That’s not hard for me, though. I like to write poems slowly.

IOB: Who is a poet you admire a great deal, and why?

DA: There are many. On the top of my mind right now is Marna Hauk. She deeply engages her experience of being human on earth. What she writes is astonishingly transcendent, but human—not disengaged at all. She has the insight to write to the heart of experience without getting bogged down in her own emotions. And beyond that, her life’s work is about getting to the healing medicine found in poetry. She is an educator who collaborates in pioneering this kind of poetry-as-world-medicine field.

And that makes me think of Natalie Goldberg, whose poems I have actually never read, but I think of her as one of the writers who has influenced me most. In the same field as Marna, Natalie Goldberg’s take on writing—poetry or prose—or making art of any kind—is about healing and revealing on the larger scale. I think her book “Writing Down the Bones” is required reading for any writer.[note from ina: me, too!]

IOB: Where can people find more of your work?

Monster Poems poster; rights reserved by poster artists

DA: I post poems weekly at IMUNURI. I post other creative things sporadically at Fights With Poems. I’m also placing poems hither and yon. For recent online publications, you can search for me at Poetic Asides, Defenestration Magazine, ShufPoetry, and (I’m very proud of this 2007 publication) McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. In print, Issue 3 of 42 Magazine, issue one of The Wayfarer, and several recent issues of Conscious Dancer include my work.

IOB: Daniel, thank you so much for sharing your poetry and your time with us. We look forward  to hearing about the new places where your poems appear and can be seen, read, heard, and experienced!

Connections: chatting with Jay Sizemore

Jay Sizemore’s poem, “The value of things,” was one of the two winners of our first In Our Books prompt-based poetry contest. IOB took a few moments to chat with Jay about, well, poetry.

IOB: What was the hardest thing about writing the poem you submitted?

JS: I would say it is always a difficult task to write something about a topic larger than one’s self, and yet try and retain the feeling that the poem is coming from that place of genuine emotion. I try to do that with all my work. After I write it, I ask myself, “Is this real, or am I trying too hard to make something work?” Most of the time, I think it is a challenge hard to live up to, because when writers tackle difficult themes, sometimes you have to write outside the scope of your own experiences, and that tends to muddy the waters of the real. Often it is best to, as cliche as it is, “stick to what you know,” and let others attribute themes to your work. But it is fun to try large themes anyway, and as if you couldn’t tell by my piece, I have strong feelings about what the concept of ownership does to society.

IOB: Who is a poet you admire a great deal, and why?

JS: My favorite poet for a long time now has been Bob Hicok. When I was in college, a professor of mine, Dr. Tom Hunley, let me borrow Plus Shipping, because we were writing papers on poets from one of our text books, and I had loved his poem “Absence” so much, I wanted to read more. The paper also had to involve an interview with the poet, and surprisingly he answered my emails, and we actually talked back and forth for a while, when I was going through my borderline-stalker-obsessed-fan phase. Anyway, Hicok’s work has an uncanny sense of realism about it, which I was immediately drawn to. He has a powerful command of language, and image, almost every poem driving that sense of awe into your guts, or twisting words into a kind of hypnosis. It’s the kind of talent you just can’t fake. One can always aspire to reach that level of greatness, but it’s like singing in the shower and thinking you can win American Idol. It’s rare.

[ina notes: just read through Hicok’s Animal Soul on Jay’s recommendation. Really remarkable collection – vivid and vital imagery as well as the rhythm and flow of each work. Great stuff.]

IOB: Where can people find more of your work?

JS: There is very little of my work online anymore, as I have discovered most journals don’t like publishing things that have appeared on even a blog, so I took most of it down. There are several pieces left up on my old blog, The Ghosts of Silence, and I do plan on posting things there that have already been accepted elsewhere. Other than that, what little I have had published you can find at the respective journals, like Red River Review, Wild Goose Poetry, Emerge, Siren, and a few others. I also have gotten some things in a couple poetry anthologies put together from a fairly tight-knit group of poets who met online at Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides blog: Beyond the Dark Room [disclosure: ina is one of the poets whose work appears in this anthology. All proceeds from this volume will go to Medicines Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders] and Prompted: An International Collection of Poetry. I have also had some short fiction accepted here and there, online in Schlock, and Scholars and Rogues, and in the anthologies No Rest for the Wicked and Fantastic Horror Vol. 4. Most of my fiction is genre-based, I feel I must warn you, but it is fun to write that stuff.

IOB: Jay, thanks so much for talking with us, and for entering our contest. We’ll be watching your future writing progress with considerable interest!

IOB will post our interview with our other winner, Daniel Ari, within a week. Stay tuned!

Monday Coffee: money? prompted contest

Have you ever seen a 100 Danish Kroner note? If not, here is your chance. We’re running a poetry contest here on In Our Books, and the winner will receive a 100 Kroner note, as well as having their poem and a short interview featured in a future In Our Books post.

Write a poem in any form, of no more than one page in length. The prompt: Write about money – is money a token of love? Or is it just the opposite? Or something altogether different. You tell us!

Please post your answer in the comments for this post* by Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Savings Time [that’s only three days from now!]

We will post the winning poem and a short interview with the poet in a future post!

Thanks for joining in!

*if you prefer to enter non-publicly please use the contact form available by clicking the “contact us” link at the top of this page. Please note that if yours is the winning poem, the poem will be posted publicly here at In Our Books.