Free Verse by Curt Vevang

Verse Yourself in The Art of Wine Tasting

You may soon be a bon vivant. Curt Vevang gives you some pointers on how to be savvy at your next wine tasting. For good measure, it wouldn’t hurt to throw in some Italian words like “ottimo” or “squisito.” Be inspired by his poem below.

GetAttachmentThumbnail-11Photo by RM Yager.


How to Impress at a Wine Tasting

Wine tasting’s a game, you win or you lose,
but it really helps to know how to schmooze.
And don’t be concerned by what you don’t know,
just drop a few terms, they’ll think you’re a pro.

Terms for example, like dry and bouquet.
Some other good words are port and rose.
Try using these words, you’ve nothing to lose,
you’ll even amaze your wine drinking muse.

Foxy and fingers are more terms to know,
they’re sometimes useful, but always great show.
Body and gamey will also impress,
you’ll get nods from snobs, who know even less.

It’s often been said, of the wine called port,
for many poets, it’s their last resort.
A good term to use, a good wine to drink
and for writer’s block, it’s the missing link.

Attitude carries a whole lot of sway,
a little finesse will go a long way.
Hold your glass smartly with flamboyant flair,
make sure your pinky points straight in the air.

When polite folks taste, they sip just a tad,
they sip and they spit, it seems very sad.
I instead swallow a very big taste,
and then when I spit there’s not any waste.

After your tasting, it’s polite to buy
a bottle or two, one sweet and one dry.
If that’s too daunting, I suggest instead,
just grab off the shelf, a white and a red.

But watch what you buy, because every time,
you’ll think you’re smarter with each glass of wine.
On the contrary, I need to explain,
what judgment you had, has gone down the drain.

Before you go home, I’ve one parting tip.
You’ve sipped many wines, some more than a sip.
Bag up your purchase and settle your tab,
put your keys away and call for a cab.

by Curt Vevang (USA)

Curt Vevang is a Chicago native and a product of the Chicago Public Schools. He has an engineering degree from the University of Illinois. He has published three poetry books, “a scant bagatelle,” “ the nature of things,” and earlier this year, “poetry as we like it.” He has also published two rhyming children’s books illustrated by 6th grade students. All five of these books are available through Amazon His poetry has been published in anthologies, poetry magazines, and on various poetry websites. Vevang has won honors from the Illinois State Poetry Society, Poets and Patrons, the Journal of Modern Poetry, the Northbrook Arts Commission, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and the Poetry Society of Tennessee.

Reprinted from Winnetka-Kenilworth Living magazine, “Creatively Versed” column by Charlotte Digregorio, July 2020

Posted in Curt Vevang, Free Verse, Poems, Poetry, wine | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Daily Haiku: July 13, 2020

the Great Pyramids
in the sky
by Susan Farner (USA)
Stardust, Issue 25, January 2019
Posted in Beginning Writers, creative writing, Daily Haiku, Haiku, imagery, Susan Farner | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Daily Haiku: July 12, 2020

dockside a sailor anchors summer’s end
by Roberta Beary (Ireland/USA), Author
Posted in Daily Haiku, Haiku, Ireland, micropoetry, Roberta Beary | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Daily Haiku: July 11, 2020

Friday afternoon
butterfly rests
on the wind


by Ellen Grace Olinger (USA)

Tinywords haiku & other small poems, Oct. 5, 2012

Posted in Beginning Writers, Creativity, Daily Haiku, Ellen Olinger, Haiku, imagery, Short Poems | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Free Verse by Michael Escoubas

About your shoes . . .

I owe you an apology

for calling them land mines

that could kill a person . . .

I might trip over them

scattered in the kitchen

lurking inside doorways

sitting sidewise on stairs

hiding half-out, half-under

the couch, cast askew

in the hall and at the end

of the landing . . .

all of this tells me something

I’ve been missing all along . . .

you are here and nowhere else

you are with me and no one else

your hand still fits in mine

your breath is warm and fresh

so I guess

you may scatter your shoes

from here to Timbuktu . . .

all I care about is you.


by Michael Escoubas (USA)

Posted in Free Verse, love, Michael Escoubas, Poems, Relationships | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Daily Haiku: July 10, 2020

together a current’s
by Susan Diridoni (USA)
Frogpond, Vol. 36:1, 2013
Posted in boating, creative writing, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Short Poems, Susan Diridoni | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Daily Haiku: July 9, 2020

nothing between me
and the night
by Adelaide B. Shaw (USA)
Frogpond, Vol. 36:1, 2013
Posted in Adelaide B. Shaw, Beginning Writers, Daily Haiku, Haiku, micropoetry, Short Poems | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Verse by Padmini Krishnan

A Parched City

Tiny droplets sneak

out of the dark sky,

giving hope to thousands

in the city of drought.

I look out of my balcony,

my parched tongue caressing 

my dry lips.

The trickling drops of water

miss my lips only to tease

the cracked earth below.

The sky changes its intentions,

pushes back dark clouds

and brings forth its white and blue colours.

I catch the gaze of a tiny sparrow

who squeaks faintly and disappears

behind the thirsty branches.


by Padmini Krishnan (Singapore)

Stonecrop Review, Issue 3: Sky, June 2020


Posted in Beginning Writers, creative writing, Free Verse, Padmini Krishnan, Poems | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Daily Haiku: July 8, 2020

summer again . . .
the oars stirring
my boyhood
by Meik Blöttenberger (USA)
Posted in boating, Daily Haiku, Haiku, meik blottenberger, Short Poems | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Haibun by Marilyn Ashbaugh

Luck and Chance

She is sipping her morning coffee when a young woman, bloodied and barefoot comes stumbling up her driveway.  Neither knows the other’s language.   Afraid, she brings the woman inside and quickly ascertains that the young woman’s injuries require medical attention but hospitals are required to call the border police. Instead, she gives her water and what little food she can eat, she cleans and bandages her wounds, and she thinks of what may happen to them, bound together by luck and chance. They may both end up in prison, but for now she puts the woman in her bed and makes her as comfortable as she can.

border shrine

pieces of prayers

hidden in rubble

by Marilyn Ashbaugh (USA)

the haibun journal, issue 2.1 (2020)


Posted in creative writing, Haibun, Haiku, Marilyn Ashbaugh, Prose Poem | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Daily Haiku: July 7, 2020

deep uncharted waters just past the boatman’s smile
by Roberta Beary (Ireland/USA)
Frogpond, Vol. 35:3, 2012
Posted in Beginning Writers, boating, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Roberta Beary, Short Poems | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Haibun by Janice Doppler

Three Treasures

I wander a two-acre Japanese garden.  Raked gravel paths suggest the flow of water.  Pocket gardens focus on a single plant, sculpture, or boulder.  Purple, mauve, pink, and white azaleas in diverse stages of bloom.  A bee with a saffron-splotched thorax sips nectar.  Yellow marsh marigolds and cattails at the edge of a pond.  A turtle on a log.  A large Zen garden . . .  white sand . . . curving lines around lichen-covered rocks lead my eyes throughout and within . . . wind-scattered azalea petals . . . the sound of a stream . . . a single footprint at an apparent entrance . . . I sit.

in the pond —

cloud dragons


by Janice Doppler (USA)

Frogpond, Vol. 42:3, Fall 2019


Posted in Haibun, Haiku, Janice Doppler, Poetry, prose | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Daily Haiku: July 6, 2020

outside the Salvation Army
a man wearing
my winter coat
by Jay Friedenberg (USA)
Full of Moonlight
Haiku Society of America 2016 Members’ Anthology
Posted in Daily Haiku, Haiku, Jay Friedenberg, Senryu, Short Poems | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

New Poetry Collection by Mary Harwell Sayler

Talk to the Wren cover

Don’t miss this one! Talking to the Wren: haiku, short verse, and one long poem
North American poet-writer Mary Harwell Sayler writes on everything from nature poems for children to inspirational romance novels to life-health encyclopedias and how-to books on poetry and writing. Her published works include over 3,000 articles, poems, word games, and other short pieces as well as three-dozen books in all genres. She also blogs about various aspects of writing and has e-books on those subjects too. Recently, she collected actual prayers in the Bible and paraphrased them into contemporary English, then did the same with Bible promises.


  • Paperback: 67 pages
  • Publisher: (June 15, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-9390202140

You may contact Sayler through her website:

Posted in Author, book, Haiku, Mary Harwell Sayler, micropoetry | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Daily Haiku: July 5, 2020

prayer time
the distant chant
of birds
by Eufemia Griffo (Italy)
Failed Haiku, “Back from the Dead,”  Issue 53,  Vol. 5, 2020
Posted in Daily Haiku, Eufemia Griffo, Haiku, Italy, Short Poems, spirituality | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Book Review: New Poetry Collection by Michael Escoubas

In Steve Henderson in Poetry and Paint, by Poet Michael Escoubas, we are offered an exceptional collection of ekphrastic poems complementing the art pieces of Henderson, a nationally-known painter. Escoubas’ poems are inspired by thirty-two of Henderson’s pieces, the latter reproduced in the collection.

Through the flow of Escoubas’ pen, all five of the readers’ senses are stimulated, as we experience nature’s glory through amazing detail, leaving the gloom of everyday life and struggles behind– just as Henderson strives to achieve through his art’s “emotional realism.”

William Wordsworth said that poetry “takes it origin from emotion recollected in tranquility,” and we are reminded of this in reading Escoubas’ stunning collection. He writes with an uncommon facility of language. Alliteration and assonance please the readers’ ear throughout, and the line breaks are skillful.

Even if one doesn’t normally read and write nature poems, they’ll likely change their minds after reading this book. Escoubas leaps into nature scenes from Henderson’s work, writing elegantly. His poems are a celebration of the landscape, seasonal changes, and the natural phenomena around him– sparked by Henderson’s work and the poet’s spiritual and creative soul.

Many of Henderson’s scenes prompt Escoubas to reminisce of childhood experiences. In “Autumn Memories,” the poet writes:

I leave the car by the gate/ to recall again the white-rock path/ I walked as a boy: / I still love the white dust on my shoes, / the ancient maple’s flaming leaves, / its bark brittle with age. / A gaggle of geese compete/ for space as I slow-walk the lane.

On a personal note, I was born and raised in the Northwest, and Escoubas/Henderson take me back to the region in “Along the Salmon River”:

. . . I feel the bubbly rush /of Chinook, Sawtooth and Kokanee/ their opalescent bodies shimmer/ in sunlight. I lose all sense/ of myself. I’m a twig/ among purple mountains/ the mountains wrap themselves/ in chiffon clouds.

Escoubas’ imagistic poems reveal his spiritual side. Often, in his work, we are struck by the beauty found in the ordinary–shapes and colors in nature that we often take for granted.

In “Banking on the Columbia,” we read:

How could I have missed it? / Love, I mean, given that God/ has surrounded me with Himself, / in the way the river kisses the shore, / in the way woodland colors take me/ back to Joseph’s coat. In the sun’s/ dependable rise, like God, always there, / in the clouds, white as swaddling clothes.

Escoubas remembers many of his childhood experiences with his brothers and sister. In “Verdant Banks,” he vividly describes experiencing the spiritual in nature on a Sunday morning before leaving for church.

As we dip our feet in the stream, / dragonflies in purple robes/ sing hymns, a croaking bullfrog/ adds the bass-note, the breeze/ and trees bid us stay for potluck.

Still other artistic pieces by Henderson, allow him to reminisce. This is a scene in the meadow with his sister :

. . . shoes drenched through/ to our socks, washed by/ high grasses–fragrant/ apple blossoms fell/ in clumps after spring’s/ first rain.

Throughout the book, the reader is struck by precise nouns, adjectives, and verbs that make us feel as if we are present. In “Emergence,” we experience:

. . . Colors emerge, / reticent at first: half-green/ grasses yawn as snow recedes/ in splotches down the hill./ Violets/ take a bow, first lilies sport/ saffron gowns. Everything seems/ a little tipsy as the breeze/ teases, Let’s get up some mischief.

Here is a beautiful analogy in “First Light”:

How dawn appears/ without sound/ on tippy-toes, / like a mother checking/ on her sleeping child, /

Further, in “Dreamcatcher,” we share in the poet’s delight:

I catch my dreams/ on the sticky strings of a spider’s web/ I catch my dreams/ mirrored on a raindrop on a lilac’s leaf/ I catch my dreams/ in the emerald shimmerings of wet grass/ I catch my dreams/ in a burst of juice from a fat blackberry/

When I recently asked Escoubas if he first started writing poetry in the ekphrastic form, he replied: “I didn’t begin writing ekphrastic poetry, but worked into it gradually, allowing photos/ especially works of art, to stimulate me in particular ways . . . I try to write in such a way that my reader wouldn’t need the visual to “see” the picture.”

Escoubas has certainly succeeded in his goal.

This book is highly recommended. Readers will learn about the art of writing fine poetry through Escoubas. He is the editor of Quill and Parchment.

Steve Henderson in Poetry and Paint, by Michael Escoubas, Published by Michael Escoubas, 2019. 83 pages. Available through Amazon or through Escoubas at

Copyright 2020 by Charlotte Digregorio.

Posted in Art, Book Review, Ekphrastic Poems, Michael Escoubas, Poetry, Steve Henderson in Poetry and Paint | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Prose Poem for The Holiday

The War News

Dateline: Chicago 1944

Our flat over the tavern wasn’t large. As a four year old I slept on a day bed in the dining room. On the adjacent wall stood our Zenith floor model radio in its massive wooden cabinet.

I remember my dad sitting on a stool in front of the radio, hunched over, his ear inches from the speaker, listening to the war news. My two big brothers were in the Navy in the Pacific. Nothing at our house was more sacred than the war news.

One night as I was falling asleep I stared at the radio and hoped upon hope that it would somehow turn itself on. Turn itself on and announce that the war was over.

by Curt Vevang USA)

Posted in Beginning Writers, Curt Vevang, Poems, prose, Prose Poem | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Daily Haiku: July 4, 2020

with everyone
at the cemetery

by Tom Clausen (USA)

Dec. 5, 2018

Posted in Beginning Writers, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Short Poems, Tom Clausen | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Haibun by Marilyn Fleming

To My Grandson

If one dull summer day you should find yourself in a melancholy mood, go for a walk through the meadow until you spot a green flat blade of tall grass with a sharp edge, and place it taut from the base of your hands between both thumbs, the tip reaching beyond the fingertips with palms touching. Find the gap between the thumbs, pucker your lips and blow with force, slow and steady until the blade quivers and sings.


the wind spoke

and the grass danced—

song of the meadowlark 


by Marilyn Fleming (USA)

Presence, Winter 2020

Posted in Haibun, Haiku, Marilyn Fleming, Poems, prose, Prose Poem | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Daily Haiku: July 3, 2020

rip-tide warnings—

a surfer at the crest

of his wave

by Mary Jo Balistreri (USA)

Presence, Spring, 2019

Posted in Beginning Writers, creative writing, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Mary Jo Balistreri, Short Poems, surfing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Daily Haiku: July 2, 2020

backwater fog

drifting into

the shadow ahead

by Donna Bauerly (USA)

Posted in boating, Daily Haiku, Donna Bauerly, Haiku, Poetry, Short Poems | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Read This Great Review Posted Today!


Many thanks to Michael Escoubas for reviewing my new book, and writing a terrific review at that!

Posted in Author, Book Review, Charlotte Digregorio, Healing, Michael Escoubas, Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Daily Haiku: July 1, 2020

high tide it comes and goes
by Robyn Hood Black  (USA)
Frogpond, Vol. 43:1, Winter 2020
Posted in creative writing, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Robyn Hood Black, Short Poems | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Free Verse by Jennifer Dotson



Those Greeks got it all wrong.

Medusa, a serpent-headed gorgon,

so ugly that men turn to stone?

Lies and misrepresentation.

Medusa said It’s all natural so what’s the big deal?

Her hair, not snakes, flourished

in dark waves from her crown.

Straight strands flowed in windblown

wheatfield formation on her arms and legs.

Longer crinkly ones sprouted from her pits.

Strays surprised her chin and nipples.

Coarser coils marked a sign between her thighs

Here is hidden treasure.

The truth about the persecuting Perseus

is that he turned his shiny shield against

the maid Medusa

as a mirror, a vanity trick

attacking her sense of beauty

seeding insecurity

and offering her a solution to her problem

with tweezers, razors, lasers, and wax.

by Jennifer Dotson (USA) Author

Clever Gretel, Chicago Poetry Press, 2013

Posted in Author, Clever Gretel, Free Verse, Jennifer Dotson, Poems | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 30, 2020

stars I thought I made up
in childhood


by Pris Campbell (USA)

Frogpond, 2012

Posted in Daily Haiku, Haiku, Pris Campbell, Short Poems, stars | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 29, 2020

alpine lake
an artist paints
his melancholy
by Eufemia Griffo (Italy)
Haiku Dialogue, Jan. 30, 2019
Posted in Art, Artists, Daily Haiku, Eufemia Griffo, Haiku, Italy, Short Poems | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

A New Book by Seasoned Author and Editor Robin Stratton!

The measure of evaluating whether autobiographical poems and essays are entertaining and thoughtful is when you feel as if you’ve know the author all your life, despite never having met her. This is how readers will feel after reading Robin Stratton’s latest book, Some Have Gone and Some Remain: Autobiographical poems and essays.

One finds joy in reading Stratton’s relatable book in that she has lived a life of gratitude for all her experiences that have shaped her life, whether profoundly sad or happy ones. Stratton takes us from childhood through adulthood until the age of 60 with honesty, heartfelt insights, and simple wisdom at each juncture, and through skillful imagistic verse and prose. Her detail is simply-worded, yet elegant. Apropos photos grace pages of the book, complementing its nostalgic tone, including ones of her dog and her infancy.

In her poem “Kindergarten,” she recalls:

creamy delicious-smelling paste/blunt-edged scissors to/cut thick manila paper/ I think the teacher/ says “vanilla” paper/ my tongue tastes it/ it tastes like paper/ and is the color of the milk/ left in my bowl after/ Capn’ Crunch cereal is gone

Baby Boomers can surely relate to the poem, “Miss Donna I. Baker”:

Bespectacled tyrant/ head of the PTA/ she used to come into the library/ during reading hour,/ her presence a dense gray woolen-suited cloud/ no one dared laugh or say a word/ or move out of the Indian-style position/ on the library’s worn rug.

Her autobiographical poems are universal and lodge in our hearts, making us feel less alone.

“In 1966 I am 6,” the poem is rich in vivid detail. The author tells of a souvenir her parents bring home for her after vacationing in Florida:

a coconut carved to look like a pirate, with an eye patch/ and a bandana, and clenched between his crooked shell teeth/ is a plastic knife.

She tells of her family’s many moves during her childhood, adjusting to new schools and classmates, and dealing with the embarrassment of poor vision and wearing thick glasses.

In “That Long Drive to Fishkill, NY,” she recalls from her adult perspective: Dad doesn’t seem to understand/ the delicate set of logistics implemented/ to ensure the survival of my tadpole/ who is darting about in a panic/ in my dog’s red plastic water bowl.

At 12, she is smoking cigarettes in the woods behind her friend’s house with other girls. Who doesn’t recall being engaged in verboten activities behind adults’ backs? And at 12, she feels ugly because of her eye problem.

In the essay. “Glasses, Part II,” she tells of being taunted by boys who call her “a dog.”

. . .“This time they close in on me, and this time they’re throwing rocks at me shouting, Hey dog, where’s your leash?

I start to run.

I know I’m ugly, Do they think I don’t know I’m ugly . . . Do they think I chose to be blind in almost one eye, the eye that turns in, so that I have to wear thick glasses? And not just glasses–bifocals. Just the sound of the word makes me sick, makes me think of old, old ladies in a nursing home.

In the collection, we learn about her boyfriends, and her efforts to make a career out of writing. She dreams of writing the Great American Novel, while a starving writer out of college, having moved back into her parents’ home. Stratton is now editor of Boston Literary Magazine, among many writing accomplishments.

Later in life, she’s a caregiver to her mother. In “That Day” she comes to the realization that she must put her mother in hospice care:

The night before that day/ you fell even though/ I was standing right there/ holding your bony waist/

I was horrified, started crying./  . . . I gently pulled you back to your feet/ I knew you had broken ribs.

She reassures her mother she will recover from her illness, even though she knows she won’t. We have all told our parents that, when they were ill.

In “What We Keep,” in going through her mother’s possessions after her death, she realizes:

It’s funny what silly things/ trigger emotions that go with grief/ a sad familiarity/ a connection to happier days/

And that is why I kept your/ stuffed green gingham bunny keychain/ with the stitched-on grin and/ the moveable arms and legs.

Stratton is a world traveler and her insights of Third World countries demonstrate her observational skills and her compassion for those less fortunate.

In her essay, “In Kenya,” we experience her fascination with the land:

As the creatures of the bush wake and begin their day, we hear their calls, grunts, screeches, and songs; the petulant Whehh Whehh of the Go-Away bird, the waltzing Wuh woooo dooo Wuh woooo dooo of the ring-necked doves, and somewhere nearby a pair of hippos is mating.

Stratton is a very thoughtful, astute writer, at peace with herself. She cherishes the experiences that have shaped her. This book is highly recommended for both reading enjoyment and for encouraging others to write about their own lives and experiences, influenced by her insights.

Some Have Gone and Some Remain, by Robin Stratton, Big Table Publishing Company, 2019.

Available through Amazon and through the author. You may visit Stratton’s website,

Copyright 2020 by Charlotte Digregorio.

Posted in Author, book, Book Review, Robin Stratton | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Free Verse by Michael Escoubas

Summer Haircuts
There wasn't much money
for small things in the 1950s.
Dad's welding and repair business
paid the bills, but that's about all.
Come the end of May along
about Memorial Day, my brothers
and I were long overdue. Unshorn,
our curls fell gently on our collars,
like a Breck Hair Spray commercial.
All the girls looked on us with envy.
They would have killed to get our curls.
Our buddies, the lucky ones, already
had their summer cuts—
the West Point look that featured
a burr in back with a small shock
of curl smack in the middle-forehead.
Each West Point cost a quarter,
a lot of money back then—
how refreshing the scented talc felt
when old Gabe soft-brushed our necks,
how clean and cool and new we felt
when May breezes kissed our naked heads.

by Michael Escoubas (USA)
Quill and Parchment, May 2019
Posted in Free Verse, Michael Escoubas, Poetry, youth | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 28, 2020

professor’s lecture
I count his third
‘in conclusion’
by John J. Dunphy (USA)
Frogpond, Vol. 43:1, Winter 2020
Posted in education, Haiku, Humor, John J. Dunphy, Senryu, Short Poems | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Free Verse by Kathy Cotton

On the Loom

The warp of me
is Quaker gray,
a quiet woolen thread—
modest, utilitarian,
looped simply
on my frame.
But, oh, the weft,
the vibrant weft of me,
weaves in and out
those sturdy strands
with shocking shades of
peacock and cockatoo and
shimmery hummingbird.
the whisper
and shout of my life.

by Kathy Cotton (USA), Author
Deluxe Box of Crayons


Posted in creative writing, Free Verse, Kathy Lohrum Cotton, Poems | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 27, 2020

day of rebirth 
among the saints I make room
for the buddha
by Carmela Marino (Italy)
Failed Haiku, Issue 53, May 13, 2020
Posted in Carmela Marino, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Italy, Short Poems, spirituality | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

About Rhymesters

Where Have All the Rhymesters Gone?
by Curt Vevang
Poets were loved in olden days
but now their form has many foes.
And while it's true, a few remain,  
it's only those who can't write prose.
A dying breed, it's such a shame,
their stock-in-trade has had its day.
Especially if their poems contain
some catchy rhymes - they're DOA.
On second thought, as I reflect,
sometimes a rhyme may be the best,
if you're upset and need to rant
because of gripes upon your chest.
Don't write a note in caustic prose
that you'll regret when once it's read.
Just vent your bile in scathing rhymes
and mail it to your foes instead.
You needn't fret that you'll offend
because you wrote those nasty lines
or that they'll be upset with you
'cause no one reads a poem that rhymes.
            - Honorable Mention in the 2013 Poet Laureate of Rhyme Category
Posted in creative writing, Curt Vevang, Poems, Rhyming Poetry | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 26, 2020

hand-washing . . .
the length
of a “Hail Mary”
by Deborah P Kolodji (USA)
Frogpond, Vol. 43: 2, Spring/Summer 2020
Posted in Beginning Writers, creative writing, Daily Haiku, Deborah P Kolodji, Haiku, Short Poems | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Free Verse by Mary Harwell Sayler

In Passing

by Mary Harwell Sayler

Death walks
through my house
in gray chiffon –
sheer and dull as
unpolished pewter.
Sometimes I feel her
brush my arm,
like a large moth wing
against my skin,
or light
in ashen shadows
at my feet.

Interlitq, June 13, 2020

Posted in Beginning Writers, death, Free Verse, imagery, Poems | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Daily Haiku: June 25, 2020

between your autumn
and mine
another cricket song


by Eva Limbach (Germany)

A Hundred Gourds, March 2016

Posted in Daily Haiku, Eva Limbach, Germany, Haiku, short poems | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 24, 2020

postponed season
from row fifty, seat three
the sound of cooing
by Mike Stinson (USA)
Frogpond, Vol. 43:2, Spring/Summer 2020
Posted in creative writers, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Mike Stinson, Short Poems | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Haiku: June 23, 2020

el nino
the boy next door
throwing snowballs at our roses


by Robert Witmer  (Japan)

Failed Haiku, Issue 7, July 2016

Posted in Daily Haiku, Haiku, Japan, Robert Witmer, short poems | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 22, 2020

antiques store
Huck Finn missing
from the Twain collection
by Mary Stevens (USA)
The Heron’s Nest, 21: 3, 2019
Posted in Beginning Writers, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Mary Stevens, Short Poems | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Haiku: June 21, 2020

the fall
of plum blossoms . . .
gun salute

by arvindar kaur (India)
International Sakura award 2015

Posted in arvindar kaur, creative writing, Daily Haiku, Haiku, imagery, India, Short Poems | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 20, 2020

my kids hear it first
the melodic approach
of the ice-cream truck
by Jeffrey Winke (USA)
Modern Haiku, Vol. XXXII, No. 3, Fall, 2001
Posted in children, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Jeffrey Winke, Senryu, Short Poems | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Verse by Sally Hewitt

Cool Summers


Remembering cool summers:


The gooey duck summer when

the long-necked clams shot their

streams of freezing water up our

bare legs. We loved to step on

their breathing holes, but not

the cold shower of salty water.

Our Gravelly Lake summer when

you first started driving the ski

boat for me and I drove for you.

You loved to slow the boat down

just enough so a spray of icy water

engulfed me on my single ski.

Ha, ha — then you sped up again.

Our teenaged summer when we skied

five people behind a friend’s outboard,

you took the outside rope and wanted

me next to you on the inside. I didn’t

know why until you pulled wide and

then came close for a deep cut,

soaking me with cold, cold water.

We preferred cool summers to hot,

didn’t we? Laughing, we said it must

have to do with our ancestral island

in the Shetlands called Fetlar, where

mist and rain shrouded the barren,

northern land of our great-grandfather.


Sally Hewitt (USA)

The Rockford Review, Winter-Spring 2017, Contest Winner

Posted in Free Verse, Poems, Poets, Sally Hewitt, summer | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Haiku: June 19, 2020

long summer day . . .
launching worms into the pond,
a boy with a stick
by Michael McClintock (USA)
Modern Haiku, Vol. XXXII, No. 3, Fall, 2001
Posted in Beginning Writers, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Language Arts, Michael McClintock, Short Poems, summer | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Ekphrastic Poem by Michael Escoubas

Woman with a Parasol

After a creation by Claude Monet painted in 1875
She seems to blend in
with the wind
with the clouds
with the sky
and the swing and sway
of grasses and flowers—
the green underside
of her parasol,
so verdant
so suggestive
of life and love—
do I hear the swish
of her dress caressed by the wind
so much a part of her
so much of who she is
like the delicate
orange flower on her waist.

Michael Escoubas, Author
Monet in Poetry and Paint, 2018


Posted in Art, Ekphrastic Poem, Language Arts, Michael Escoubas | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Haiku: June 18, 2020

at the fountain
leaving to the clouds
my reflection
by Daniela Misso (Italy)
Failed Haiku, Issue 54, May 2020

Posted in Daily Haiku, Daniela Misso, Haiku, Italy, Short Poems | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Racial Barriers Are Broken Down with Music, Art, and Poetry

Spending so much time at home during this pandemic, I’m listening to more music. When I was growing up in the 60s, Motown, a record company with black singers in Detroit, Michigan, took off. It was music that touched the world. It was music for everyone– regardless of race.

It was terrific, and I still listen to it on records with an old turntable. I remember seeing blacks and whites on television, gathering at concerts to listen to The Supremes, The Marvelettes, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, Mary Wells, The Contours, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and so many others.

Listening to this music, you’d weren’t aware of racial division in the 60s. We were all one people, enjoying human achievement.

All these decades later, I can still sing the lyrics of the hits: “Mr. Postman” (The Marvelettes); “My Guy” (Mary Wells); “Stop in the Name of Love” and “You Can’t Hurry Love.” (The Supremes);

“Baby I Need Your loving” (The Four Tops); “Dancing in The Streets” and “Jimmy Mack” (Martha Reeves and The Vandellas); “Do You Love Me” (The Contours); and “I Heard it Through the Grape Vine” (Gladys Knight and The Pips.)

Doesn’t all art unify us? Do you remember pieces of art you saw in a museum long ago and look for them still on the internet?

Re-read your poetry and poems of others. People of other races and other countries, can enjoy it just as they can enjoy the visual arts in a museum, or music at the symphony.

When you begin to look at your poetry in broader terms, you’ll see its significance. Do your part to post your poetry online. The more people who are exposed to poetry, the more people will begin to see its relevance and unifying force.

Copyright 2020 by Charlotte Digregorio.

Posted in Art, Charlotte Digregorio, music, Poetry, Race Relations | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 17, 2020

sickle moon
after the last pass
the harvester’s wide turn home
by Alan S. Bridges (USA)
Kingfisher, 1, June 2020
Posted in Alan S. Bridges, creative writing, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Language Arts, Short Poems | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 16, 2020

cloud-streaked sky
a pebble in my
hiking boot
by Lynne Jambor (Canada)
Honourable Mention
The Betty Drevniok Award, 2020
Posted in Canada, creative writing, Daily Haiku, Haiku, Language Arts, Lynne Jambor, Short Poems | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Verse by Michael Escoubas

Each Moment


In memory of Professor Robert Duncan


by Michael Escoubas



I sit with him

while his wife visits the doctor.

He looks at me blankly and says,

Who are you?



I sit with him,

as he works his paint-worn rocker,

a man once intimate with

Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.



I remember

the highest rated professor on campus

who knew me as friend and protégé.



I treasure my

copy of The Brothers Karamazov

because of his wise

commentary in the margins.



I wrap him warm

in a fringed red shawl, wipe his nose

with a clean tissue, adjust his glasses,

Are you warm enough Bob?

Posted in Free Verse, illness, Michael Escoubas, Poetry, Poets | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 15, 2020

in the same puff

one blooms and the other dies . . .



lo stesso soffio

una sboccia una muore . .  .



by Lucia Cardillo (Italy)

Otata, #31, July 2018

Posted in Daily Haiku, Haiku, Italian, Italy, Lucia Cardillo, Short Poems | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Book Review–Read Jennifer Dotson’s Delightful Classic: Clever Gretel



Poet Jennifer Dotson’s classic, Clever Gretel, is a generous collection of poems of self-realization and reminiscences. Her style throughout is imaginative, elegantly simple, and delightful.

Through her imagination, she transforms the familiar into the unique. The book is reader-friendly, divided into sections, including Clever Gretel and Other Legends, Subconscious Flights, and Domestic Science.

Dotson’s poetry dazzles with originality and humor. The poems’ titles draw the reader into her world, at once grounded and whimsical.

Among the original poems are: Wonder Woman is in My Yoga Class, Superman Won’t Fly to Brooklyn, and Scentsitive or How to Be a Fragrance Model.

Throughout this collection, the reader gets to know herself, nodding in agreement with Dotson.

In Day Job, she writes:

My story is not so grim.

I’m no pouting princess

yet daily my boss locks me

in a room filled with

straw to be spun into gold.

In Wonder Woman is in My Yoga Class, this line makes us chuckle:

I’m happy to see that W.W. has trouble with the full

locust pose.

The poet has a gift for taking an ordinary experience and describing it vividly, so we pause and notice. In Spring Cleaning, she is polishing a piece of furniture, a remnant of her first marriage. We can feel her emotion:

I rub the oil in a soft circular pattern

over and over

rubbing away the memory


Many of her poems are airy and graceful with a juxtaposition of images, such as in the Great Blue Heron:

Heron moves with awkward grace,

a nearsighted nervous ballerina

needing lenses.


Dotson allows us to look at ourselves in the mirror and not feel so alone. Her book is therapeutic, as we revel in the “aha” moment of realizing we have a companion in the poet along our meandering path.

Dotson captures the “suchness” of life. In How to Catch Sleep, she muses:

I prefer to put my worries on a shelf

like tchotchkes or china dolls and

admire their assorted shapes and

sizes and fine details.

Among the fanciful lines, are the last stanza of The Wolf. We enter Dotson’s imagination:

Glowing gold eyes sparked shivers

as he rested his head upon my lap.

No thank you, he smiled toothily,

I’m on a low-carb, high protein diet.


Further, Dotson is attentive to sound, alliteration and assonance, as in

The Pumpkin:

The gardener, no bumbling Jack,

plants the seed in June

with dreams of a magic Jack-o-lantern and

eating Thanksgiving pie.

The catalogue promises a Prize Winner.

Finally, to hear Dotson read in public is an added gift. Dotson, who has an MFA in Drama from the University of Virginia, worked for years in theatre. An award-winning poet and teacher of poetry, Dotson is founder of Highland Park Poetry, a wonderful organization in Highland Park, IL, that inspires poets from everywhere, and showcases their work through a never-ending selection of amazing civic activities.

Dotson’s book is highly recommended, makes a great gift, and will even inspire non-poets to write.

Reviewed by Charlotte Digregorio

Jennifer Dotson, Clever Gretel. Chicago: Chicago Poetry Press. 88 pages, $12.

To Order through Amazon,

Or through the author, contact:

And be sure to check out  Highland Park Poetry’s website:


Posted in Book Review, Clever Gretel, Highland Park Poetry, Jennifer Dotson, Poetry | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment