Poem of the Week–A Blazing Glimmering Lake

A Blazing Glimmering Lake

The day dawns still and crisp.
A skin of ice covers the water to the east,
A morning stubble of black saplings outlines the mouth of a stream
Where Beaver skinny dips in the frosty water, pattering mud
Over a lumpy lodge to keep his family snug in the coming months.

Tentative rays peek between land and low-hanging sky. The boldest ones are grey,
Then by turns they all appear: violet, purple, puce
Mauve, cimarron, rose, shocking pink,
Orange, tangerine, peach,
Lavender, amber

And finally, Regent appears
At the end of the opulent procession;
Flashing a blindingly brilliant white-gold grin
Before tucking back under the steel velvet cloud cover
For a few more winks

And I realize
That Beaver and I
Have plenty to be thankful for
Without Anyone
Saying a word.

by Angela Hunt
Minnesota Branch

This is what Pen Women do…

It’s been a long snowy winter in the North, and a frigid, icy one in the South. But that has not deterred the Central New York branch from fulfilling the NLAPW mission to support the Arts in their community (and beyond).

They are currently accepting entries for their 60th annual poetry contest (heads up! Deadline February 27, 2015); they’ve got an art contest coming up as well, and they are sponsoring a “2015 FRIEND OF POETRY/ART/MUSIC AWARD: To honor an individual (or organization) who has creatively, consistently, and collaboratively advanced the cause of art, poetry, or music composition in Central New York, thereby having a significant impact on the quality of life for individuals and groups at organizational, community or regional levels.” Visit their blog site for entry info by clicking here.

From Rachael Ikins, Central New York branch Pen Women, comes this article about a branch activity that, as she puts it, “warmed hearts on a cold night.”

Penwomen Poets Out and About: an Event from CNY that Warmed Hearts on a Cold November Night

by Rachael Z. Ikins, CNY branch 1st vice president

For 13 years, our branch co-president, poet and elementary teacher Janet Fagal has brought poetry alive for her 3rd grade students. Using a positive, no-pressure approach, Janet is leads children to learn and recite poems by heart. And not just nursery rhymes or short little ditties. Her students are as happy reciting fun works such as Mary Ann Hoberman’s “Frog” and Shel Silverstein’s “Sick” as classic poems from Yeats, Frost and Longfellow. Children learn “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”, “The Road Not Taken”, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” and “Jabberwocky” as part of a 30-40 poem repertoire. They learn the poems eagerly with no test, pressure, homework or requirement to participate. Children look forward to saying poems together at various parts of the day: waiting in line, in front of visiting authors or parents, before snack time or during an English lesson. They learn vocabulary, ideas, content-related knowledge, imagery and the language of poetry.

Janet Fagal Central New York Branch co-president with her poetry students

Janet Fagal Central New York Branch co-president with her poetry students

One night a year, the children celebrate Poetry on Parade Night. Janet has found that this approach helps reading and writing, and brings poetry and the language of poems into children’s everyday lives.

“When Janet arrives in the classroom my students act as if a rock star has entered the room. They say, ‘yay we get to do poetry!'” commented teacher Dannie Taylor from Skaneateles, NY. As an adult poet, I have to concur. In my opinion, all poetry readings are equal and should be looked upon as rock star events.

Through this immersion in poetry, students are able to write their own poems at more sophisticated levels. This is a win-win literacy program which Janet calls the “biggest bang for the literacy buck” she has seen in her long teaching career. Each June at Poetry Night Janet hears the same comment at the end of the program, “This is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. How do you do it?” Her response?
“It is easy, the children learn the poems eagerly and effortlessly. It takes little class time to accomplish.” Janet speaks around the country at literacy conventions and is writing a book about her practices.

On a cold Wednesday night last November, Janet led a Poetry Night event with several other Pen Women at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. Surrounded by an exhibit of exquisite quilt art, Mrs. Fagal’s group of students aged 7-13, most of whom had only 15 minutes practice together before the reading were our “opening act.” The passion and joy she shares with her students was evident from the effortless, magical way they recited many of the poems mentioned above with bow ties, purple cowboy boots, finger snapping and proud, smiling faces of the readerr–not to mention all the beaming family members in the audience. The adult category Juror for our 2014 annual branch Poetry Contest, Heidi Nightengale, a children’s author and poet in her own right, was also in the audience.
On a wave of their positive energy Janet shared a few of her poems followed by CNY branch Pen Woman poet, Bobbie Panek who read from her collected works. Next several retired English teachers from her poets’ group share their poems.

I was the last Pen Woman to read. Shortly after we arrived, Janet suggested I introduce our final poet and honored guest. It was my greatest pleasure to present my 8th grade English teacher, Elizabeth Patton and to tell her, in front of the crowd how much she changed my life. Her own passion for poetry, (she has been published multiple times and has at least one chapbook, Late Harvest) had a profound impact on me and I know on several other students who became professional authors in following years. Heidi, too, was a student of Beth’s.

Central New York Branch poet, Vice President Rachael Ikins and her 8th grade English teacher, poet Beth Patton

Central New York Branch poet, Vice President Rachael Ikins and her 8th grade English teacher, poet Beth Patton

Mrs. Patton looked over my 14 year old shoulder one day when it was time to compose our own works as I struggled. She read my words and said, “You are a poet.” That summer, while home alone, I received a phone call from Mrs. Patton’s husband who shared with me the amazing news that at age 14, my first poem ever had been accepted for publication. My chapbook from Foothills Publishing Slide-show in the Woods contains that poem, “9:30 p.m., Sunday”.

People ask me all the time, “Who are the Pen Women and what do they do?” This is one thing we do and part of our mission. We participate in our communities by sharing our own passion for the arts we practice with younger people- students and kids- in the hope and on faith that the love will grow and spread and that one day another child will stand up in front of another crowd to share the fact that their teacher’s love of poetry (or art or music) gave that student a life-altering gift.

Art of the Week–Silent Moves

Click on the image to see it larger:

Silent Moves Michael B. Pearson, Member at Large Watercolor and Acrylic

Silent Moves
Michael B. Pearson, Member at Large
Watercolor and Acrylic

Members are eligible to enter our Vinnie Ream Competition! — see the guidelines by clicking here.

Poem of the Week–A Prompting in Winter (Prince’s Cove)

A Prompting in Winter (Prince’s Cove)

The sand is frozen in the hourglass,
and if this is the day the sailboat is trapped,
moored a hundred yards from shore

and if this is the sign — the ebb tide, ice-bound,
leaning slab by white slab, like dominos,
dry stacked on the boat ramp,

when your dog sniffs a chain
padlocked to the scarred piling, and the
stench of gutted fish clinging to the dock

releases in you a raging sense
of theft         of loss         of the unspent life of a woman —
then this is the time.

The midwives are the blazing sunrise and
the sounds        crack         crack
like a rifle shot, echoing loud in the cove.

Wary of hunters,
you seek your dog, all golden and familiar,
who sits unfazed, intuitive about these things:

it’s the ice that’s causing the commotion,
it’s the ice breaking the rule of winter’s prey
— to lie still, to feign death —

so far out of the realm of possibility
because its essence
is flow.

This is something you aspire to
so you chant your fear
inside a labyrinth of half shells

and before your verve depletes,
before your day is wracked with shoulds
will you emerge out of the frozen —

lit with the dawn and
glinting in silver
when the wild geese call?

Diane McDonough
Cape Cod Branch, MA

Art of the Week–Blue Cain Road Cemetery, Bolivar County, MS

Click on the image to see it larger:

Treanor Wooten Baring, Delta, Photography

Treanor Wooten Baring, Delta, Photography

Visit our website www.nlapw.org for all the latest events, galleries and news.

Poem of the Week–Valentines



The background is not well known…

Love went for a walk one day

and was surprised to be hit by

armfuls of white arrows

that upon touch

exploded into a sky cascading

with ageless red hearts

caught by many then, and…

the word is that the air

is always full of these reds and

whites; we cannot see this, but

the floating likenesses

invisibly aim and,


directly hit our

signaling hearts.
Lois Howard

Palm Springs Branch, CA 


Click here to visit our Bookstore to order Pen Women Press poetry anthologies Spirit, Peace and Joy, and Poems of the Super Moon.

Click here to visit our Pen Women OnLine page to find out about our live and recorded webinars for Arts professionals.

Poem of the Week–No Redemption from Pitch

There’s No Redemption from Pitch

There’s no redemption from pitch.
Sometimes in the sunlight there’s a sheen to it,
a tempting shine in its darkness,
and it seems yielding, aqueous.

The iridescence calls to your eyes–
it’s damnably attractive, this stuff.
Lies there in its patch, preening.
You touch it–ignore the warning signs–
reaching out across the barrier space,
fingers happily anticipating warm smoothness,
wanting to share the touch of the embedded color,
the age-old charm of oil.

No one can tell you.
No one can pull you apart from the pitch,
fingers stuck to the darkness
that went from enticing to something else.

by Jean Hull Herman
Diamond State Branch

Art in the Schools

From the Central New York Branch, NY, comes this story of the NLAPW mission in action:


reported by Ralph Turner

A student converses with Katie Turner about the students art projects

A student converses with Katie Turner about the students art projects

Katie Turner, Newsletter Editor of the Central New York Branch NLAPW isn’t just encouraging art appreciation when she brings a collection of colorful paintings to a local school. She takes students on a journey of artistic expression. Katie shares her artistic passion with students and fuels students’
Students explore Ms. Turner's sketchbooks and paintings

Students explore Ms. Turner’s sketchbooks and paintings

own creativity with her stories of what it means to be a working artist. She brings along materials, such as her favorite Terraskin paper and talks about revenue streams, her own art eduction and her future plans. In the after-school program shown here, which took place shortly before the holidays at Chittenango Middle School, Turner also put on a demonstration of her technique and took the time to answer questions.

Many of Katie’s pieces are brightly colored florals resembling lyrical waves of stems and petals.
This painting was one of many at Turner’s display.

Floral #18: Single & Buds, Watercolor on Terraskin paper.  This painting was one of many at Turner’s display.

Floral #18: Single & Buds, Watercolor on Terraskin paper. This painting was one of many at Turner’s display.

While the main focus of the afternoon is on Turner’s watercolors, she also mentions her sensational handmade art booklets called “zines”. The creator of both fine art and graphic art also writes articles for industry magazines like Somerset Studio, Stampers’ Sampler, Expression, and Scrap and Stamp Arts.

Karen Tashkovski, Visual Artist and Art Teacher at Chittenango Middle School, created this program in order to expose Middle School students to the Central NY professional art community. Her inaugural visiting artist was the late George C. Benedict, a retired art educator from the Onondaga Hill area. Four times a year Tashkovski has professional artists come in to speak to the students. Each artist also displays a two-month show. Katie Turner believes “these children have such tremendous potential and are lucky to have a program like this.”

Turner’s paintings can be seen at www.KTartStudio.com.

Visit www.nlapw.org to learn more about our branch activities, our mission and our art galleries.

Poem of the Week–Before You Were Born

Before You Were Born

My arms caressing my basketball sized stomach
I held you
as I spoke to you
holding long conversations
telling you everything I was doing every day.
You were for that interval detained,
floating dreamlike within your aquarium globe.
I would speak to you whenever the outside volume
became too distracting–
when the threat of impending violence tensed the surrounding air.
He would be ranting about something,
and so I would sit on the edge of the bed
and sing to you,
“Don’t you listen to him; mommy loves you”–
my arms around the you inside of me–
placing my palms just where I thought your budding ears might be,
to keep you, I hoped, from hearing his voice.

Once, before you were born,
I ran from him down the street,
and again my arms desperately held you.
This time they formed a kind of lift, a restraint
against the jostling of juices
as I held my bountiful belly
like a young boy who has just kidnapped a prized ripe watermelon
from the neighbor’s yard.

Before you were born,
as your first endocrinological seas were forming,
establishing their own recipe transmuted from his ocean
and mine,
I did not know then you would always hear those voices
that you would always be running.

D. Marie Fitzgerald
Palm Springs, Ca. Branch

Writers Get Together

From NLAPW Jacksonville Branch, FL, Secretary and Joint PR chair Siggy Buckley comes THIS—>a popular blog accepting submissions from writers on writing, artists on art, composers on the process, fiction, essays, novel excerpts–>a window into the minds of creative professionals–>a boost for a rainy day in front of a blank screen–>a sister Pen Woman at the other end of the submission send button. Siggy’s brainchild is Writers Get Together, a blog with a mission to publish fresh new ideas three times a week! Which means she needs us!! “Write” On, Siggy!


Writers Get Together is a showcase for aspiring authors, bloggers and poets from around the world.

This is a platform where you can feature your work, tell us about your writing, the creative process and experiences with publishing. We also accept excerpts from your latest book. Since Thanksgiving 2011 we’ve been publishing fresh, new ideas for at least three times a week.

As one of our editors aptly describes the purpose of WGT: “a blog that serves the function in the digital world of the old-fashioned coffee house, where writers can share new work, experiment with new ideas and get feedback from colleagues.” What better definition could serve the purpose!

As a writer, you can become part of this popular writers site! We shamelessly blow our own horn: we publish here on the site, post to dozens of Facebook sites, or LinkedIn and Tweet, employing everything social networking sites have to offer. We encourage you to do the same — trumpet away! And if you like what you see, give us a like or join the site!

To keep this exciting project going, we need contributions: YOURS!

We’re now headed towards the 70,000 hits mark and we’ve had well over 5,000 Likes! Check us out at: www.Writersgettogether.blogspot.com/

Hope to see you soon in our digital coffee house WGT!

Siggy Buckley
Corresponding Secretary & Joint PR chair of the Jacksonville branch, FL