Featured Art: Bette Miller at the Keyboard

Bette Miller painting by Patricia Lipe

“Bette Miller at the Keyboard” by Patricia Lipe, Jacksonville Branch (Florida)

Oil (20×16)

 

From the artist:

“We lost Bette Miller last January. She was a beloved and talented member of the La Jolla Branch. An avid pianist and composer, Bette participated in many NLAPW activities. I painted her portrait and gave it to her as a tribute to her participation and in respect for her accomplishments.”

Read Bette Miller’s in-memoriam here.

Pen Women Press Is Recruiting for Talent Pool

— From Lucy Arnold, Publications Chair

Pen Women Press (PWP) is the publishing imprint of the National League of American Pen Women, Inc. PWP differs from a vanity press in that we carefully select which books to publish, and from traditional publishers in that authors retain all net profit and royalties from book sales after paying an upfront publishing fee.

At Pen Women Press, we want to nurture talented, promising writers. Talent, however, might not equal professional experience. We believe the growth and development of authors is facilitated by providing excellent services and guidance, all with the goal of producing the best possible writers and the highest-quality books. PWP may be a business, but it also supports the values of the League to “encourage, recognize, and promote the production of creative work of professional standard in art, letters, and music.”

Pen Women Press publishes works by NLAPW members in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and memoir, but no technical writing.

PWP plans to reopen after a two-year hiatus. But before PWP can accept submissions, we must form a talent pool of expert Pen Women to fill all the necessary roles in producing our books. These positions will be paid on a per/project basis. A book coordinator will match an author with the most appropriate editors, designers, etc. for each project.

  • Please consider applying if you have any of the following skills:
  • Editing, all levels
  • Book interior (formatting, layout, design)
  • Cover design
  • Illustration
  • Book project management
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Book coaching
  • Voice-over for audiobooks
  • Ghostwriting

To be considered for the talent pool, please download the application (MS Word) and follow the instructions.

 

Mission Statement

The mission of Pen Women Press is to shepherd writers poised to influence the world in a positive way, to create books at the highest standards of excellence, and to support the core values of the National League of American Pen Women, Inc.

History of Pen Women Press

The League of American Pen Women (renamed the National League of American Pen Women, Inc. in 1926) entered the publishing business in January 1916 with the inaugural issue of the LAPW Bulletin. This 15-page leaflet held notes of interest about the League and the achievements of its members, including the celebration of LAPW Day at the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco on Nov. 18, 1915.

In 1920, the League published the first The Pen Woman magazine. The Pen Woman has been published at least quarterly ever since to bring poetry, professional development, fiction, artwork, and music profiles to NLAPW members and subscribers.

At the October 2007 National Executive Board meeting, Jean Holmes, then third vice president, announced that the NLAPW had been accepted as an official organization of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. An editorial committee was formed to solicit, collect, and evaluate submissions for the publication of literary, artistic, and musical works about the Lincoln legacy, titled Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln: A Commemorative Collage. To publish the anthology, the January 2008 National Executive Board meeting established Pen Women Press.

The NLAPW has donated copies of the book to every school in the District of Columbia and to many school libraries, public libraries, and educational foundations across the country. The NLAPW continues to publish the work of its talented members.

Featured art: Plum Blossom

 

Marcy-Von-Kohorn-Plum-Blossom

“Plum Blossom” by Marcy Von Kohorn, Vero Beach Branch (Florida)
Watercolor on rice paper (22×30)

 

Artist’s Statement

Because I have to stay at home to avoid the coronavirus, I spend every day painting. I do Chinese watercolor, which makes the days pass quickly and happily. When I paint, I am lifted to another planet!

My art embodies traditional Eastern with contemporary styles of the Western world. I never use a pencil or plan my work. I work on a flat surface and warm up by doing Chinese calligraphy in ink. There is a discipline in Chinese brushwork. The brush is held like chopsticks and the artist stands while painting. The varying pressure on the brush gives the strokes the value and form. I paint on rice paper, silk, and gold leaf.

I have been a member of Pen Women for over 40 years and will be 95 years old this September.

 

Featured poem and musical composition: Daunting is the Woman

Greenwich Branch member Ida Angland has created this original poem and musical composition, titled “Daunting is the Woman,” to honor the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the unveiling of the first statue of real women in Central Park by the group Monumental Women today, August 26.

Originally invited to perform the piece at the unveiling of the monument, due to COVID-19, Angland will now present it virtually by Gateway Classical Music Society. A Zoom sing-along will be offered to the Greenwich Pen Women as well.

Inspired by a lecture given to the Greenwich Pen Women in December 2019 by Coline Jenkins — the great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a Greenwich resident, and Monumental Women vice president — Angland was deeply moved by the “absurd reality” that there were no monuments to real women in Central Park, only fictional ones like Mother Goose. “Women’s Rights Pioneers,” by sculptor Meredith Bergmann, features Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth.

Angland wrote, “I thought about the powerful feelings that reality stirred in me, and I decided to use the poem’s message as the lyrics to a marching hymn, which I have dedicated to the movement.”

 

Daunting is the Woman - music and lyrics by Ida Angland-page-001

 

Daunting is the Woman

By Ida Angland
Greenwich Branch

 

Daunting is the woman

Whose statue stands divine

A monument to eternity

Her bearing proud sublime

Standing tall and beautiful

Belies her suff’ring and tears

For living seen tho invisible

In time to marching years

Truth revealed her compromised

Dismissed, forgotten and small

But now the trends are turning

As gallant she stands tall

A change is now approaching

Remembered times unfold

In monuments to woman

Preserve her story told

Rising far revealing

So high above the stone

Her light forever glist’ning

Immortal strides are sewnPo

Daunting is the woman

Her worth at last be known

Her light forever glist’ning

So high above the stone

 

Featured Poem: The Grand Dames

 

By Donna Puglisi
Cape Canaveral Branch

 

Towering ladies with withered arms stretch toward the sky,

wearing tattered remnants of summer and fall.

 

Long outstretched fingers dangle feathered moss, like boas

adorning old veined necks.

 

These are the old ones,

  the regal ladies,

Grand Dames, revered trees of the South.

 

Bending to reach each other in windy conversations,

embracing across dusty roads,

they ache with weariness of ages, still dressed in mossy glory,

flaunting feathered hats of leaves;

proudly standing for show,

speaking to those who will look and listen

to stories of years past,

 

Our beautiful Grand Dames of the South!

 

                                                                                                           

 

Featured Poem: The Waltz, the Hammer

 

By Sarah Collins Honenberger 
Chesapeake Bay Branch, Virginia

 

It should be easy. Concede, comply,

and still the enemy

advances without concern

for anyone or anything, a killer on an Easter egg hunt.

Like a scout with orders,

it creeps ahead,

surveys the field,

infects the front line,

and retreats to wait it out.

It knows the odds, counts on the unwary,

embraces the outliers and insiders alike.

We wallflowers, blithely eager, batting eyelids at the cadets,

have never been so bold.

We rush forward, refusing to believe

the reputation that precedes.

When the waltz begins, we step three and three,

sway and dip awkwardly

as if instruction comes at a price

we aren’t willing to pay, and yet

we pay.

In the end we hold back,

No momentary kiss of gratitude on cheek.

Our fingertips held loosely in the air

to let the poison drift on a breeze

of danger, unrecognizable

from the receding days of teeming elbow to elbow

and high fives

and southern hugs,

drawled out in exaggerated welcome.

Truth arrives without shame,

and announces itself in bold outline,

no cautionary tales of warning,

just unvarnished and painful.

Days and days

and still the human heart

hopes.

The miracle, at last.

 

 

Featured Art: Seeding

 

 

Debra-Collins,-Seeding

“Seeding” by Debra Collins, Diablo-Alameda Branch (California)
Cut charcoal paper, 16 x 20

 

“Seeding” is a piece that was shown on the Sierra Club’s national website early in 2020 for the organization’s online art show “Green New Deal.”

“I hope the piece conveys that the simple act of planting a tree seed has a great effect on our climate crisis,” artist Debra Collins says. “One seed becomes a tree that reproduces again and again to create a forest. A single tree is a habitat to so many creatures and cleans the air as well. Maybe my piece will encourage our Pen Women to plant a tree.”

 

Featured Poem: Duffy and Me

 

By Ellen Morritt
Sarasota Branch, Florida

 

I walk my dog on naked feet,
The sidewalk still retains the heat.
We walk along, my Duff and I
While fluffy clouds float over the sky,
The smell of jasmine always there
With you alongside, I won’t despair.

 

We stroll the pathway, just we two
Showed up here to start anew.
We walk and walk and breathe the night,
Moonlight makes it feel all right.
You sniff the ground, I sniff the air,
Whoever said that life was fair?

 

My best friend, you’re loved a lot,
You are faithful, he was not.
We’re here alone, just me and you
So we can start a life that’s new.
Things will brighten, you will see
Because you came along with me.

 

Featured Poem: Pandemic 2020 (with apologies to T. S. Eliot)   

 

By Barbara Sillery 
Cape Cod Branch, Massachusetts

 

Masks
eyes
  peer
    warily.

Space
scan
  circumference
    six feet.

 

Caution
fever,
  cough,
    labored breath.

 

Outcome
ventilator,
  isolation,
    fear.

 

Reports 
hundreds,
  thousands,
    millions—dead.

 

Survivors
Hollow Men
  Hollow Women
   circle round the prickly pear.

 

Days Ahead
Let neither bang
  or whimper be
    the end game.

 

 

Featured Poem: Living Fossil

 

By Carol Anne Dunn
Cape Canaveral Branch, Florida

 

From the safe harbor of my lanai

I see the opportunistic crocodilian lying in the sun,

Soaking up the rays before the day is done.

An ectothermic cousin to the dinosaurs of old,

Dark and grey, wet and slimy, and covered with duckweed mold.

Beware, my reptilian brain scolds,

This monolithic beast is dangerous and bold,

Soon before the murky waters, he will dive,

Perfect environmental adaptation, this living fossil thrives.

 

The moonbeams dance upon the pond,

Illuminating the sinister waters with a silvery song.

Where ancient crocodilian sleeps,

Within his hollow nice and deep.

But come the morning, he will rise,

To surface on the bank, his monolithic size.

In the ancient rhythm of existence,

His ancestors call with increasing and relentless persistence

He starts his calls to tempt a mate,

By sucking air, his lungs inflate

He bellows loudly to warn off male intruders,

His mating call could not be cruder.

 

He moves across the pond with stealth-like glide,

His body submerged; he moves with ease to the other side.

His awesome power contained in torpedo design,

He likes freshwater, not so much brine.

A cunning, resourceful stalker, he hunts,

And doesn’t have to eat for a month!

An Apex hunter, adaptable and on the prowl,

An ancient killer, you do not want to run afoul!