New in paperback: Tiernay West, Professional Adventurer

Tiernay West, Professional Adventurer coverTiernay West, Professional Adventurer is now in paperback!

Order a copy your favorite young adventurer online or from your favorite bricks-and mortar bookstore (ISBN 978-1719955553).

Originally published as Secret of the Three Treasures, this classic book about a would-be adventurer who isn’t about to let anything stop her has a new look and has been updated for a new generation of young readers.

Get one for the kid in your life today—and for yourself, too. For a limited time, when kindle users order the print book, they can add their own e-copy at no additional charge.

Do share with anyone in your life who might enjoy a bit of adventure this winter holiday season.

Ice Melts in the Wind

The most excellent Larry Hammer released Ice Melts in the Wind this week, a gorgeous translation of seasonal Japanese poetry.

[Ice Melts in the Wind cover]The water I cupped
in my hands, drenching my sleeves,
has long been frozen—
today, with the start of spring,
will it melt in the wind?

Find out more about Ice Melts in the Wind, and about where you can buy a copy, here. Do share with others who might enjoy it!

Split Borders (a found poem)

Split Borders

Parents are property,
Children an immediate danger.
Mean, this humanitarian crisis.
The democratic republic
Separating parents from children—
Families fractured by policy.

Unconstitutional,
Cruel,
Unlawful,
A violation
Of due process and
Equal protection.
Vexing.

The administration appeared
Unprepared for the fallout
“The child has rights,” a spokesman conceded.
“This is a complex situation.”

Amid the chaos,
The president continued to rail against
Those fleeing danger and persecution,
Asylum claims,
Our land,
Judges,
Laws.

An unmistakable message:
“You can’t come in.
“Don’t come at all.”

Respond, lawmakers.
Shift focus,
Keep families together,
Lean into that vote,
Cross that bridge.

Take action.


Poem found in “Federal Judge in California Halts Splitting of Migrant Families at Border,” The New York Times, June 26, 2018.

Unprecedented (a found poem)

Unprecedented

A choreographed
Freewheeling wager.
Flattery,
Cajolery,
And a slickly produced video.

A bulletproof confrontation.

Diplomatic language,
Recycled statements,
Verifiable missiles.

Sleep well tonight!

A showdown with diplomacy:
Three hours of meetings
Plus a lunch of prawns and crispy pork.

Provocative vague details,
A thumping soundtrack
Of benevolent peacemakers:
An inspirational view.

Aides fidgeted.
Reality TV?
Science fiction?
A buddy movie.

At ease with each other,
They walked on a balcony,
Smiled occasionally,
Heaped praise.

Human-rights abuses?
Hardly a priority.
It is a rough situation over there.

It’s rough in a lot of places.


Poem found in “The Trump-Kim Summit Was Unprecedented, but the Statement Was Vague,” The New York Times, June 12, 2018

Surprise Performance (a found poem)

Surprise Performance

Melody
Drama
Teacher
Students
Classroom
Stone

A massacred education
A defining moment

The goodness and tragedy
Will never be erased

Tears
Light
Life
Hurt
Rage
Sorrow
Art

Every day
In every class
Students shine
Get up
Take action
Through passionate honesty


Poem found in “Parkland Students Give Surprise Tonys Performance After Teacher Gets Award,” The New York Times, June 10, 2018.

War Crimes Honored: A found poem

War Crimes Honored

The camp,
Holding 32,000 Union soldiers—
The fifth largest city in the Confederacy—
Was dire.

The prisoners,
Never issued clothing,
Wore their uniforms until the pieces fell off,
Lived in holes they dug in the ground.
One reportedly used a pocket knife
To amputate his own gangrenous feet.
The death toll reached 13,000.

The man who presided over their deaths,
Captain Henry Wirz,
Was put on trial for war crimes.

Stories began flooding the Northern newspapers:
Photographs of survivors starved into living skeletons,
Like nothing the world had seen before,
And would not see again
Until the end of World War II.

Wirz was found guilty of
Cruelty,
Shooting,
Beating,
Turning dogs loose on prisoners,
Such nameless blasphemy and ribald jest,
As to exhibit him rather as a demon than a man.

So why erect a monument to a demon?

To recast him as a martyr.
To rescue his name from the stigma attached to it

By embittered prejudice.


Poem found in “Weekend Read: Executed for committing war crimes—then honored with a Confederate monument,” Southern Poverty Law Center, June 8, 2018

Newly Minted: A found poem

Newly Minted

It was simple, pure, and sweeping,
It was haute couture,
It was everything people had hoped.

It was not Cinderella,
Not fantasy or old-fashioned fairy tales.
Independence
While respecting tradition
And keeping her covered up.

It celebrated strength in the substance of its silk.
It had an edge of Hollywood, a Hepburn feel.

Wintersweet,
Held in place by a flexible band
And rigid creativity—
Such smart symbolism.

Yellow and new grass green,
Optimism, happiness, and a new dawn,
Let them shine.

Poem found in “Meghan Markle’s Wedding Dress Was Made for a Person, Not a Princess,” The New York Times, May 19, 2018.

Asylum: A found poem

Asylum

In a bare compound off a dirt road:
Bureaucrats
Borders
Migrants.

They want to escape:
Dust
Joblessness
Poverty
Persecution.

If the answer is yes,
They are spared the risky journey
Through the desert
And on the deadly boats.

“We’re here to stop people from dying,“
Said the deputy,
But few are actually approved.
The message:
“Stay home.
Do not risk a perilous journey
For a claim that would be denied.”

Humanitarian ideals
Striking out:
New methods,
Questionable results.
Something has shifted.

The bus stations are empty.
The police check identity documents.
A sign outside bears the flag
And warns passengers not to travel without papers.

“Those with legitimate claims have a chance.”
But it is very low.
“We can’t welcome everybody.”
It is a policy without heart.

The smugglers herd together:
Beat them,
Rape them,
Extort money.
Some are sold into slavery
Before being loaded onto rickety boats.

Officials look for cases
Whose persecution might qualify.
In a day of interviews
At the sweltering center
Candidates waited pensively
Looking resigned as they sat on benches.

A refugee
Showed scars on her body
And on her 2-year-old child.

A woman
Asked whether she ever phoned her family:
“I never tell them where I am”

A girl
Who spent time in a camp:
“If I return, they will put me underground.”

After nearly two hours a verdict finally came:
“You will have the right to enter legally,
You will be granted a residence permit,
You will be given accommodations
You will have the right to work.”

Barely.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Poem found in French Outpost in African Migrant Hub, Asylum for a Select Few, The New York Times, February 25, 2018

Because found poetry is one way of interacting with the news

Malware

Hoping to thwart a sophisticated system
The F.B.I. made an urgent request:
Turn it off.
The malware is capable of
Blocking, collecting, disabling
A global network.
Hundreds are already under control.

To reboot
The Department received permission
To seize the domain,
Command the domain,
Steal sensitive information,
And carry out disruptive Justice.

Stolen circumstances,
Global reach—
The potential for thousands of victims worldwide.

Found poetry from “F.B.I.’s Urgent Request: Reboot Your Router to Stop Russia-Linked Malware,” The New York Times, May 27, 2018

Doing What You Love: Practical inspiration for writers

doingwhatyoulovecover-medium Doing What You Love: Practical Strategies for Living a Creative Life is now out in paperback! This chapbook draws on my quarter-century of writing experience to share insights and inspiration previously only available by attending one of my talks or, more recently, downloading an ebook.

It makes a great gift for any writer in your life who could use a bit of a pep talk. (Including you!)

['Taking risks, rather than being an impractical and foolhardy act, might be  one of the most practical and business-savvy things we can do.']

Available wherever books are sold:
Amazon (bundle with the ebook for 99 cents more)
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble
Or visit your favorite local bookstore and ask them to order you a copy!