Thursday, March 27, 2014

Poetry Lovers Here: Sign-up Now for the Big Poetry Giveaway 2014 X 3

I'm happy to be participating in this year's creative event which sends poetry into the hands of the people (worldwide). Thanks to my friend, Kelli Russell Agodon for curating this year's Big Poetry Giveaway. I was the curator last year and I know how much time it takes to organize this.

One thing about me (per Poetry Giveaway request) is that I like to record poems. In a parallel life I would be a radio announcer. In this life you can hear me read "Blue Grapes" on Diane Lockward's wonderful feature the Poet on the Poem and "Mr. Saturday Night" about my former student, Khalid, right here in the Seattle Times

Since I have a new book this year I am happy to offer Cloud Pharmacy published by White Pine Press as one of my giveaways. I've just written about the book launch at Open Books (10 Tips on How to Give a Book Launch) and so it only seems right to feature it here.

At times surreal, often leavened with a wry black humor, echoing Elizabeth Bishop, these poems create an "ecstatic theology" in which ambivalence--does this passionate heady speaker want to live "jig-sawed together" or "lonely as brooms"?--is both song and argument. 
---Catherine Barnett, Game of Boxes

Of course the best way for you to see if this is a book that you'd like to own is to read one of the poems. Here is the title poem.

Cloud Pharmacy 

How many apothecary drawers 
could I fill with these deliberations? 

The pharmacist’s paper cone 
parsing out a quarter cup 

of love’s resistant drug, 
spoons measuring new prescriptions 

for my uncertainty, heartsway, gesture. 
Give me cobalt bottles 

leftover from aunt iska’s cures, 
albastrons of ointments, resins to resolve 

the double-helix of desire inside of me. 
Where is the votive, the vessel, 

the slide rule calculation— 
to know how much good love 

alchemically speaking is 
good enough? 

I want spindrift nights on swimmer’s 
thighs. I want an Egyptian 

elevator inlaid in camphor wood and ivory; 
a West African drumbeat, an eggnog, a god. 

I want waves and summer all year long. 
I want you. And I want more.

For a brief interview (5 questions) and to hear me read "Blue Grapes" you can check out Diane Lockward's blog right here. For Amazon reviews check here

Perhaps my favorite part of the Great Poetry Giveway is the project of giving away a book that I read and loved in the last year; a book that I just need to share.

This year I'm offering the new award winning collection by Madison, Wisconsin poet, Susan Elbe. I picked up a copy of A Map of What Happened at this year's AWP Conference and am falling in love poem by poem. 

The Nature of Memory

You must be a child of shadows, but not
rain, which erases everything.

You must be full of flit and vinegar, willing to
pull light from broken splinters in your palm.

You must be young and willing to be ruined,
in search of someone who will leave you.

You must love the green, sexy smell
of water, the wind of it,
blowing night across a city, no stars,

only tiles of light wavering in a black mirror,
and standing next to you someone

who knows hunger and arson, but nothing yet
about distance, heartbreak,
or the stark light which settles in the winter face.

You must be all hurry, sweat and borrowed sleep,
full of time to change your life.

You must grow old, having learned it takes stone
to break the water's dark, finally

realizing you're a northern country, full of forests
and lost ways, the moon so orange and torn
and heavy, you're not sure if it will ever rise,

the shadows with their needles and their sugar
creeping out to offer you themselves again.

                      Susan Elbe

Finally I thought I would offer a third giveaway of The Cartographer's Tongue / Poems of the World published by White Pine Press which won the PEN USA Award and the Peace Corps Writers Award.

Here is a poem from this, my first collection.

Love in the Time of AIDS

You are afraid
of a moist toothbrush, disposable razor,
fearful of the inside
of your lover's mouth.
Too terrified to pose an inquiry in short hand
positive, negative?
You imagine your date's response
I don't know.

Remembering the scent of one man
the finger tips of another
triggers the inevitable moment
when your eyes
search this new body, stop
and check for signs ---
like a pilot before the flight
records temperature and distance
knowing even this cannot ensure a safe journey.

The lovers he's had before
are now your lovers
and yours are his
their health and habits as migratory
as your own blood.

In the morning
you telephone for the test
anonymously. No way to study or plan.
The voice at the end of the line
gives you the number you will use
as your identity, sets a time and place
where you meet a man named Manuel.

No hint of this, no mark
will mar your records.
You bargain with yourself.
You'll give up kissing ---
no more dancing
of tongues. You promise to become
a condom connoisseur. Take six month tests
for HIV as if they were multiple choice.
As if the pilot knows whether or not the plane
will crash or glide across the sky
as if the sky knows what is written underneath its skin.

                                          Susan Rich

National Poetry Month is around the corner and for those of us who love poetry, poets, and their books, it's time for us to share our favorite books (and our own books) with you.
Anyone with a blog can giveaway 2 books of poems. Anyone with an email address can enter any or all of the giveaways. Yes, poetry is that easy! You can give it away and you can also sign-up to receive it! You don't need a blog to participate, you just need to visit different participating blogs.

To enter and win one of these books you just need to leave a comment in the comment box. You don't need to have a blog nor will you get any spam mail. This is one of the ways we can connect poems with poetry lovers or soon-to-be poetry lovers. There may be no such thing as a free lunch but there is such a thing as free poetry~ If you don't do gmail, you can still leave a comment as "anonymous" but you must  put your name and email in the comment box. 


  1. What a wonderful selection of books.

  2. I'm always looking for new poets to fall in love with. :)

  3. wonderful books!

    1. Dear Anonymous -- I need your email if you want to win!

    2. Susan, thanks for the chance to win another wonderful book of poetry. As I already have all of your fabulous work, please enter me for Susan Elbe's book! Love, deb

    3. I've been looking for some new poets to read. Thanks for getting me started!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Nice Bolg..Intresting Books..Thanks for sharing it..
    Kitchen Remodels Davie

  6. Falling in love with poets is like an Alberta peach, quartered, with drizzles of cinnamon cream :-)

  7. I would love the opportunity to check out new poets.

  8. Wow. The Susan Elbe poem absolutely rocked my world! Though I would be happy to win *any* of these three and add them to my library.

    Email is literaryaustin [at] gmail [dot] com

    Hope you have a very happy April!!

  9. Count me in! Excited for all the giveaways!

  10. Yes please yes yes yes please thank you.

  11. Yes, me too, thank you.

  12. Both books look wonderful, please enter me in the draw.
    cfitchett at netaccess dot co dot nz

  13. I love this whole idea, and am so thrilled to be able to participate this year. It's great to see what everyone is reading (and writing!).

  14. I would love to enter your giveaway!

  15. Thanks for the opportunity to enter your giveaway. Andrea Beltran -

  16. What an awesome selection of books! Wow!

    kelli at pfrog dot net

  17. Great selection, Susan! I will be adding Cloud Pharmacy to my collection, one way or another, regardless! ;-)

  18. Please add my name to the hat
    Barbara Young
    briarcat at

  19. i would love to enter the giveaway.
    Kara Swisher


  20. Thanks for doing the giveaway!

  21. Wow! that's a bounty of good books. I want them all. :)

  22. Looks lovely! Please sign me up (

  23. What wonderful books. Please enter me in the giveaway!

    Lexanne at

  24. I'd like to take part in the draw! Thanks Susan!

  25. I'd like to read these books. And I'm very pleased to have discovered your blog.

  26. Sad this disconnect between blogger blogs and wordpress! I'm like to read these two books, and I'm pleased to have discovered your blog.

  27. I'm digging the Big Poetry Giveaway! 2014. What a great way to discover new poets and blogs while possibly scoring some nice additions/editions for the home library.

    Check out my offerings:

    Happy National Poetry Month!

    Chester Hopewell

  28. Marianne MersereauApril 2, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    I would be pleased to receive any of the books you are giving away! Thanks so much,
    Marianne Mersereau

  29. Signing up! Thanks for highlighting these books, Lynn Pedersen

  30. Lovely poems. Hope I win some free verse (pun intended).

  31. I forgot my contact info! D:

    Ian Chandler

  32. Those poems are beautiful. Even if I don't win, I'm definitely adding those to my to-read list.

    1. Faith - trying to find you because you won my giveway, but I have no contact info for

  33. Yay to you for the beautiful new one! xox I'd love any of these gorgeous titles! xo

  34. Wonderful poems. I'd love to win.

  35. Great poems. Really enjoyed them. Would love any of these books.

  36. Thanks so much for doing this! I'd love a chance to win any of these books.

  37. i would love to win! sign me up!
    Renee Emerson
    thisquiethour at gmail dot com

  38. Yes, please!
    LuvBritLit at gmail

  39. Hi Susan Rich. It is a pleasure to discover you and your blog. Thanks for the introduction to these poets and their books.

  40. Those poems were a wonderful sampling, and I'm excited to read more

  41. Enter me please :)

    pretzelsforbreakfast at gmail dot com

  42. Oh, I would love a copy of both these books. I saw them at AWP but ran out of dough. Actually came home with more books then I sold for Blue Lyra Review. I would also leave a review of these books on Amazon and other sites.

  43. I would love any of these books! Karen

  44. Any of these books would be a welcome addition to my shelves. The other books need new friends to play with!

  45. Thank you for participating..

    Happy to join in your list

  46. Thanks for your generosity! Michael
    michael (dot) fitzgeraldclarke (at) gmail (dot) com

  47. Hello I'd love to be entered in the giveaway. I am a poet and writer who also runs a blog about poetry. We share our favorite poems and our thoughts about them. Check us out:

  48. Please count me in, and thank you for doing this!

  49. beautiful selection -- I'll be looking to acquire these this year

  50. Susan - Great Books...

    Please add me to the drawing! Happy Poetry Month!

  51. These look like excellent books. Please sign me up for a copy. My e-mail is wmreger AT gmail DOT com. Thank you!

  52. Please count me in! Thanks, Nandini (

  53. I'm loving the giveaway this year! Hoping to find lots of new poets to love whether I win books, borrow from the library, or buy!

  54. Please sign me up for your giveaway. My name is Robin A. Sams. My e-mail address is Thank you.

  55. I'd love to get any of these!

    Please enter my giveaways at:

  56. I'm late getting around this year. Please add me to the names. The titles are gorgeous!

  57. So exciting and generous. I would love to win Cloud Pharmacy and The Cartographer's Tongue. Thank you so much! Lesa Medley

  58. These look lovely - I'm so glad to connect with you via the Big Giveaway. Thanks for stopping by my own blog!

  59. Hi count me in too :-)

  60. Jumping in at the last possible moment, if that's still okay...!
    Joseph Harker,

  61. Please include me in your great drawing! Thanks.