Fun Times at the Florida Loquat Festival

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The Florida Loquat Festival is a celebration of the loquat in all forms, from cultivar to fruit, set in the neighborhood open space of Frances Park. But unlike most such community celebrations, the Florida Loquat Festival includes a literary component.

This year’s Loquat Literary Festival, which I first posted about  here, included a poetry contest with cash prizes. Two of the judges, Ryan Cheng and Annalise Mabe, met my travel companion, the third-prize winner, and me at the festival for a photo op and some poetry chat, and then the reading began, with a song and some enjoyable verse tributes to the loquat from community members. Ryan read the winning poem, by Jan Ball, and introduced first my new acquaintance (who may prefer me not to mention her name) the third-place contestant, who read her poem, and then me, who read mine.

The whole occasion was relaxed. Though unorthodox, the poetry reading seemed a natural and perfect ending to the loquat celebration. Everyone was friendly and congratulatory, and the weather, in accord with the pathetic fallacy, was sunny and pleasantly warm. Thanks to everyone who made it possible, especially Annalise, Ryan, and Dell De Chant. Special thanks to Dell for getting us t-shirts, last year’s Leaves of Loquat chapbook, and a little extra money in light of how far we’d traveled. 

I look forward to the release of this year’s chapbook, so I can see the poems that weren’t read and peruse the winning poems at more leisure. Maybe I will also be able to return to New Port Richey for the occasion. But even if I can’t, I will at least have fond memories of this welcoming, friendly community.

 

Photo credit: Oldie~commonswiki, Eriobotrya japonica. Wikimedia Commons. GDSL 1.2 or later.

  

Second Prize in the Loquat Literary Festival Contest!

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I have just been notified that I have won second prize in this year’s Literary Loquat Festival for my poem, “Loquats in Vienna”! The literary festival is part of the larger Florida Loquat Festival, which you can read about here. In addition to being read at the festival, my poem will be published in the chapbook, Leaves of Loquat IV, this fall. Many thanks to Ryan Cheng, who is in charge of the contest and chapbook, for his work.

The call for submissions for this festival asked for poems in which the loquat was a central image. This spoke to me because, although my sole encounter with the loquat was at a restaurant, Steirereck, in Vienna’s Stadtpark, and although the loquat was merely one small part of my husband’s dessert, the meal was unforgettable, and so was the trip.  So I researched loquats and used them as a central metaphor for us and our relationship in Vienna.

It will be hectic getting to the festival and back between violin lessons and my Palm Sunday gig, but I am looking forward to reading the poem there and will let you know how it went. If you are in the Port Richey, Florida, area on March 24th, please stop by, experience loquats, and say hello. 

 

Photo credit: Oldie~commonswiki, Eriobotrya japonica. Wikimedia Commons. GDSL 1.2 or later.

 

“Can #8 . . .” Up On Five:2:One’s #thesideshow

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Screen shot from Creature from the Haunted Sea. PD.

The poem I wrote about here is up here, at Five:2:One, #thesideshow, complete with my reading, to a weird slideshow with sound effects. I had fun doing it, and I hope you have fun devoting thirty-one seconds of your life to it.

While you’re there, poke around among the other oddities and brevities. You will experience frequent and salutary jolts of the unexpected.

Cheers. 

“Etheree for Heather Heyer” Accepted by Poetry South

In this week when news organizations have been falling over themselves to report on the death of wealthy, antifeminist, homophobic, antisemitic Vietnam War supporter and North Korean cheerleader Billy Graham, it is fitting to recall the sacrifice made by Heather Heyer.

A short, simple etheree seemed a suitable vehicle for a tribute to someone whose life was brief because she simply did what was right and knew no other way to be. I know my poem can’t do her justice, but then no poem could. I am happy that Poetry South will be printing it this December.