Publications,Updated

 

typewriter-vintage-old-vintage-typewriter-163116     Some of my poems, short stories, and nonfiction articles are included in books and magazines published in the UK, Greece, New Zealand, and the United States

“Moving Gravel,” a short story, to be published in Crack the Spine’s forthcoming themed “Routine” print anthology. 

*Coffin Bell Journal,2018
“Herstory,” a poem, to be published October 1, 2018

*Spillwords Press, 2018
Stopped by Laura Lee at Spillwords Press

*Tuck Magazine, June 2018
Tuck Magazine

*Tuck Magazine,  May 2018
Tuck

* Southernmost Point Guest House (UK)
Poetry

* Journal of Modern Poetry 21 (Volume 21)
JOMP Volume 21 Dear Mr. President

* Journal of Modern Poetry 20 (Volume 20)
JOMP Volume 20 Poetry Writer’s Guide to the Galaxy

* Journal of Modern Poetry 17 (Volume 17)
JOMP Volume 17

* Magazine (New Zealand) , Raewyn Alexander, Publisher
Raewyn Alexander NZ

* Fiction in: http://staxtes.com/2003/
“Between the Sunlight and the Skipping” in English Wednesdays

*Poetry in: https://poetsagainstthewar.org/ Archives

* Illinois English Bulletin, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English, nonfiction article about teaching in an alternative education program.

* Poetry in Marginalia, Elmhurst, IL

Publications, Updated

 

typewriter-vintage-old-vintage-typewriter-163116     Some of my poems, short stories, and nonfiction articles are included in books and magazines published in the UK, Greece, New Zealand, and the United States.

*Coffin Bell Journal,2018
“Herstory,” a poem, to be published October 1, 2018

*Spillwords Press, 2018
Stopped by Laura Lee at Spillwords Press

*Tuck Magazine, June 2018
Tuck Magazine

*Tuck Magazine,  May 2018
Tuck

* Southernmost Point Guest House (UK)
Poetry

* Journal of Modern Poetry 21 (Volume 21)
JOMP Volume 21 Dear Mr. President

* Journal of Modern Poetry 20 (Volume 20)
JOMP Volume 20 Poetry Writer’s Guide to the Galaxy

* Journal of Modern Poetry 17 (Volume 17)
JOMP Volume 17

* Magazine (New Zealand) , Raewyn Alexander, Publisher
Raewyn Alexander NZ

* Fiction in: http://staxtes.com/2003/
“Between the Sunlight and the Skipping” in English Wednesdays

*Poetry in: https://poetsagainstthewar.org/ Archives

* Illinois English Bulletin, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English, nonfiction article about teaching in an alternative education program.

* Poetry in Marginalia, Elmhurst, IL

Poetry is making a comeback? NPR discusses the NEA study

 

gray scale photography of typewriter        As I wrote earlier and as this article declares, “In half a decade, the number of U.S. adults who are reading poetry has nearly doubled.” Read all about it on the NPR (National Public Radio) site, where they quote from the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) study here: Poetry is making a comeback

If a comeback, not even 12% of Americans reading poetry is a paltry figure to me.  How can poetry not be a part of so many lives? And do we even have 12% of Americans buying/ supporting poets and poetry?

I’m not sure about that.  I’d love to see America support its poets and truly embrace poetry, but we have a long way to go.

 

Poetry-reading rate is up in America per NEA study

find joy          Poets! According to this NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) study, poetry-reading rate is up, to about 12% in American, up from 6.7% in 2012. Alas, this means that MOST Americans–88%–do not read poetry at all.  Hmm… from my own acquaintances, I thought more than that percentage WRITE poetry.   And if you write poetry?  You do need to be reading poetry.

Come on, American–we can do better.

Find the article here : NEA Study on Poetry-reading rates in USA

From the study: The 2017 poetry-reading rate is five percentage points up from the 2012 survey period (when the rate was 6.7 percent) and three points up from the 2008 survey period (when the rate was 8.3 percent). This boost puts the total rate on par with 2002 levels, with 12.1 percent of adults estimated to have read poetry that year.

Growth in poetry reading is seen across most demographic sub-groups (e.g., gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education level), but here are highlights:

• Young adults have increased their lead, among all age groups, as poetry readers. Among 18-24-year-olds, the poetry-reading rate more than doubled, to 17.5 percent in 2017, up from 8.2 percent in 2012. Among all age groups, 25-34-year-olds had the next highest rate of poetry-reading: 12.3 percent, up from 6.7 percent in 2012.

Women also showed notable gains (14.5 percent in 2017, up from 8.0 percent in 2012). As in prior years, women accounted for more than 60 percent of all poetry-readers. Men’s poetry-reading rate grew from 5.2 percent in 2012 to 8.7 percent in 2017.

Among racial/ethnic subgroups, African Americans (15.3 percent in 2017 up from 6.9 percent in 2012), Asian Americans (12.6 percent, up from 4.8 percent), and other non-white, non-Hispanic groups (13.5 percent, up from 4.7 percent) now read poetry at the highest rates. Furthermore, poetry-reading increased among Hispanics (9.7 percent, up from 4.9 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (11.4 percent, up from 7.2 percent).

Adults with only some college education showed sharp increases in their poetry-reading rates.  Of those who attended but did not graduate from college, 13.0 percent read poetry in 2017, up from 6.6 percent in 2012. College graduates (15.2 percent, up from 8.7 percent) and adults with graduate or professional degrees (19.7 percent, up from 12.5 percent) also saw sizeable increases.

Urban and rural residents read poetry at a comparable rate (11.8 percent of urban/metro and 11.2 percent of rural/non-metro residents).

Part 2: Literacy Can Be the Bridge–The Power of Reading and Writing

cropped-be-creative-creative-creativity-256514           How do you get there from here?  I had no idea; I wanted to have a life that contained more reading, writing, poetry, nature.  I’d always wanted to be a teacher, but could not afford to take any more time with college.  I graduated with my teaching certificate, but there were only aide positions or sub positions, neither of which paid enough to pay the rent and neither of which carried insurance benefits.

Yet the rent wanted to be paid, the electric bill wanted to be paid and so on.  Not having a family to turn to for any help, I knew I was on my own.

I found what should have been a great job in business, but it was killing me.  I’d lay awake at night grinding my teeth, willing the hours not to pass.  I just didn’t want to do it anymore, and yet I had no idea how to get there from my present life.

# #  #  #

For a number of years, I commuted by train to the loop.  (That was my favorite part of the day, the commute!) I discovered I could read again, books I wanted to read.

One year, I decided to read only female writers or novels with strong female characters.  There was no method to this plan, just the knowledge that I spent most of college reading male writers or about male characters.

I found books at the library and read them voraciously. I discovered Willa Cather, and my life changed forever. Why hadn’t I heard about her or read her books in college?  Her characters’ longing for culture and education plus their longing for the beauty of nature resonated with me.  I discovered Edith Wharton and the plight of the urban female. I discovered Theodore Dreiser and the plight of the female as he expressed it.  I discovered Anne Tyler, Anne Frank, Jane Austen, The Bronte sisters, Virginia Woolf, Amy Tan.  I discovered the lovingly drawn character of Helen and her search for education in Bernard Malamud’s The Assistant.

I was unsophisticated in how I chose the books to read, often choosing by the cover, by what was available, by what was on sale, by what I had heard about.  This was before the internet, I had no literary types in my life at that point to help me make decisions.  I got lucky in that I read many great books and “met” many great characters.

In these books, the longing for a more meaningful life as expressed by strong characters spoke to me: I was not alone.

But what was next, I wondered, even as my home made after college education continued?

Part 1: Literacy Can be the Bridge–The Power of Reading and Writing

be-creative-creative-creativity-256514   One great thing about getting older (but that’s another story!) is that I can remember things that took a lot of time to accomplish; young people know this: one step at a time in the right direction can truly help lead you to where you want to be in life. Literacy was a very important bridge for me to go from a life I did not want to a life I wanted to live.

As I am older now, I am thinking about how to recreate and re-energize myself, and I turn to my old friends reading and writing.  For there are many reasons to believe reading and writing can help me now in my older years–but that is another story.

# #  #  #

Decades ago, as a young adult, I found myself working in a field that was unhealthy for me. But like most, I had bills to pay and didn’t know how I would ever be able to make a change from a business career to a life filled with teaching and writing.  What is the bridge?

Day after day I commuted to the office, feeling like I would literally scream outwardly what I was thinking all day: Get me out of here!  I remember writing, in pencil and very small: GMTHOOH on some of my files, perhaps hoping I would get caught, get fired, and be forced to make positive changes in my life.

But I was careful, and I was an excellent employee.  How can one be really good at something that kills the soul?

But I was, and I was not fired.  Nor was I laid off during those harsh 80s when so many good people got let go of jobs they needed.

But back to the topic–how did reading help?

Some people laugh when I say literacy saved me, but it did. Reading and writing have always been important to me, but when I was working in a field I hated, I pushed reading and writing away from me.  It just hurt too much to be around what I could not have as part of my daily life, so I pushed away that which would have helped nourish.

It would take a return to reading and then writing to see me out of a time and place and life I didn’t know how to leave without becoming poor–and I had been poor.

(But that’s another story.  So many stories!)

This story is about how literacy, reading and writing, can be a bridge to an improved life.  They sure were to me.

Part 2 to follow.

 

On sharing poetry and losing ownership of your poems

SMALL HEART BOOKS POETRY        I write mostly poetry, although this blog has gotten me to write more nonfiction.  That’s a good thing.  I do share many poems in their rough draft stages on my Facebook page, but I have a closed site and limit the views even there.  However, I don’t post my poetry here on my website/ blog just yet.

Why? I’ve submitted poetry many places, and editors/ publishers don’t want work that has been “published” elsewhere usually.  Mind you, only a few people are “reading” the poems there at all, but some will even claim a closed locked down Facebook site means
you’ve published your poem.

We poets are not writing Pulitzer Prize winning novels and posting them on Facebook!  It seems a bit silly and excessive to me to not be able to share and get my close friends’ critiques; however, with the poetry publication market as competitive as it is, I don’t want to ruin any chances I might have of publishing.

I admit to liking an audience for my writing.  Is that shallow? Probably.

Two good sites that are open to accepting poetry already posted on social media and personal blog posts and two I greatly respect are Rattle Magazine and Tuck Magazine.  (Links here: Rattle Magazine and Tuck Magazine.)

In fact, Tuck Magazine just published a poem I’d placed here; they simply asked me to take it down for three weeks and to link to them.  Sounds fair! Their goal is to INCREASE readership of writing about social issues.  I posted this poem here on the first day I created this blog, and now it is published here: Refuge Laura Lee Poem in Tuck Magazine.

Rattle Magazine is a top notch magazine of modern poetry, and its poems knock me out.  I can only dream of being published there.(I need to read and write more! Much more. I come away renewed with the power of poetry when I read their published poetry!)

Yet they don’t consider social media published for the sake of accepting work for competitions and possible publication.

Having said all that, I admit I am not a great poet.  I can write good poetry of a particular style, narrative poetry and dramatic monologues, the latter of which is out of style.  I have sometimes written good lyrical poetry.  I am not an academic but a caring reader and writer, so to me it’s okay I’m not making a living as a poet.

As if. DECADES ago I did research and found that only 9 people in American admit to making their living as a poet. NINE out of what–1/3 of a billion Americans?

So I continue to read and write. I should spend more time reading and writing, and now that I am a part-time worker, I will.

I’m fighting the impulse to return to full time work; I don’t want that heavy workload anymore.  Been there.  Done that! For DECADES.

So here’s to the talented poets and fiction writers and nonfiction writers–I admire you! I’m looking for more great writers to read, new or old writers, poet or fiction, for good literature really inspires me.

And I’ve only got so many poems in me–I don’t want to lose the right to publish them unless they are actually PUBLISHED elsewhere. I send out the ones I can stand to lose!  Since poetry doesn’t pay, I have many poems I just don’t want to lose.  I know. As if!

Keep reading and writing!

If you have any writers you would recommend or novels, I’d love to hear about them!

Laura Lee

Two Great American writers: Alcott and Cather

 

Yesterday I images once upon a timewrote about Willa  Cather, a  great American writer. Links to her most popular novel can be found here: Full Text My Antonia Willa Cather.

And more information about this novel’s 100 year anniversary can be found here: My Antonia 100 year anniversary.

I believe I should re-read My Antonia next in tribute! It’s a precious novel to me, with characters I understand, from the plucky Antonia to the depressed and ultimately suicidal father who laments the harshness of the prairie life, missing his urban life back in Europe.

But we also have to have a look at Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women.  Full text of the novel can be found here: Full text of Little Women.

Like Cather, Alcott felt her life was limited by being born female. Alcott saw her mother working day and night while her father was speaking to Emerson, Thoreau, and at times even Nathaniel Hawthorne; imagine those three greats as your neighbors.

I underestimated Alcott until I read more about her and saw PBS’s biopic, which may be found here: Alcott on American Masters PBS.

I regret I underestimated Alcott as a writer, being influenced by the rather young adult/ juvenile novels she wrote. She wrote so much more!  She supported her family of four sisters AND her parents (mom and all the sisters worked at whatever “respectable” women could do, while it seems the father was educated but not particularly inclined to work after his school failed)  with her writing of dark gothic stories and then these wildly popular “little women” type novels.  Of the latter, she disliked writing them but to quote Fantine from Les Miserables?  “It pays a bill.”

I would encourage watching this program and getting to know more about Alcott.

Of the three female writers I have written about so far, Anne Frank, Louisa May Alcott, and Willa Cather, both Alcott and Cather did feel constrained by being female.  Anne Frank did not live long enough to learn what the world would do with her, a female writer, after World War II.  I don’t want to limit them by saying they are “just” women writers–they were good writers, period. Their gender, for Alcott and Cather, did limit their careers they felt.

Worth looking into further, this idea of how gender can partially become destiny.  All three were good writers, however, and I cannot help but wonder what they could have written if they were born male.

I believe the Bronte sisters in England, (Bronte sisters) published using male names, and I believe they also supported an intellectual father who, if I remember correctly, didn’t bring in much money to support the family. I will look into this further.

I am not a literary scholar not an academic; I am a caring writer myself who is in awe of anyone talented in writing.  I like to spotlight and give tribute to the greats as I can in my own small way.  In a way, it’s good I’m not a scholar but just an interested reader and writer myself, since that way I can be wrong and admit it if I am.

***Another issue to consider later on is social class; Cather, Alcott, and even Anne Frank came from families that might be considered middle class today.  I wonder if that is whey they could even dream of being WRITERS.

Anyone else have a favorite female writer? I’d love to hear about her!