This last week of the Big Poetry Giveaway, I have a final add-on that is mostly for my local peeps, though anyone who is interested can post a comment in order to be the drawing. This will make you eligible for the book drawing on May 1st, but ALSO, for a small (8 x 14 inch) poster on heavy stock of one of my local poems, your choice of one of the six, below.

I know, I know, just this morning someone posted yet again on Facebook that sign that says, "Ohio, what the hell are you doing in Ohio?" Me, I just moved back home, though my poetry has always gone there. Here are some of the poems, which you have your choice of, if you win this week's drawing. You can comment below (click on "Comment,") comment on my original announcement (here) , or, if technologically challenged, shoot me an email. The six poems are:

1) Reedurban, Ohio:

This poem is the most recent and is the closest to home, set at Perry High and at my Grandma Young's house on Stewart Avenue, near Perry High and right next door to my classmate Kathryn Culbertson, nee Garnett.

2) "An Elemental Ode to My Writing Students Who Clain Their Chemistry Class Is Killing Them"

I wrote this one to my UF students, but it is dedicated to my high school chem teacher and recalls him, as the previous poem does. This is probably not one Dave Motts or Rick Yutzey wants. It uses the periodic table as its form.

3) "Ohio Rag"

This poem, a litany of place names in Ohio, has rhyme! Like, "Schoenbrun" and "Dry Run," like "Tippicanoe" and "Bellevue," and finally, "Farmersville," "Pemberville," and "Reminderville." "Knockemstiff" makes an appearance, as does "Massillon," (rhyming with "Waseon.")

4) "Ohio Coyote"

For you animal lovers of ALL animals, even this one, which seems to be eating small dogs lately (maybe not Suan (Masalko) Shaffer, who raises Chihuahuas.

5) "Stepping out of Sippo Woods on an Autumn Morning" (here)

This is a very small, almost a haiku, and a recent poem since moving back home.

6) "Sippo Lake" (here)

Clearly, I have a soft spot for this very small spot, where I played during my grade school days and walk to most days these days.

THE NEXT BIG THING: Don Cellini's Upcoming Book

Today, I am hosting poet, Don Cellini about his "next biggest thing," a collection of bilingual poems due out soon. Here is what he had to say:

What is your working title of your book? 

Candidates for Sainthood and Other Sinners / Aprendices de santo y otros pecadores.  The book is in collaboration with Mexican poet Fernando de la Cruz.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I had several new poems and was looking for some way to pull them all together.  I was reading Carlos Monsiv√°is’ work A new catechism for recalcitrant Indians when the idea for the title came to me.  Once that idea was set, I used it to link the new poems that followed.  Loosely linked.

 What genre does your book fall under?


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

One of the poems that has been well received at readings is a poem about Matthew Shephard.  I’d ask him to play himself in that poem.  St. Sebastian makes an appearance too, so there’d need to be someone who looks good with his shirt off and tied to a pillar. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I ask readers to consider the fine line between saint and sinner.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be published late summer/early fall 2013 by Mayapple Press, Woodstock, NY.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft probably took about two years.  And that includes lots of email back and forth with my collaborator.  And another year-and-a-half after it was accepted by the publisher and before it comes out in print this year.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I was inspired by the title of Martha Silano’s book of poems The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception.  The idea of using a very Catholic framework provided lots of room for interpretation.  As might be suspected, my book is a bit irreverent, but not blasphemous.  I think religion is the inspiration behind much poetry, so there are probably many, many comparisons.  Still, I hope this will be seen as an original contribution.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

I published two earlier works of bilingual poems in Spanish and English.  Although I was pleased with the results, the more I worked as a translator, the more it seemed impossible to do justice to the poems in Spanish since that is not my first language.  I sent the complete draft of the poems – in English and Spanish – to my friend Fer de la Cruz and asked him to edit out the gringo accent from the poems.  He did that and more – the Spanish poems are exceptional, in some cases better than their English versions.  I’m pleased to have worked in collaboration with him.

Read more about Don at his website, here.

Week 2 - Win a broadside! 

This week, for the BIG POETRY GIVEAWAY of 2013, I am holding a drawing for two people to win one of two poetry broadsides. To be eligible, post a comment at my original page. Follow this link and go to the bottom of the page, click on "Post Comment."

The fine print

1. Anyone who has posted so far is still eligible for the books. However,  if you already posted to win the book but also want to win a broadside, you MUST post a comment again this week.
2. Anyone who has not yet posted, will be eligible for broadside and book by posting this week.
3. If you have a preference, please state it in your comment. Those who have not yet posted will be eligible for a broadside and a book.
4. If you are technologically challenged and have difficulty with the "Comment" feature, email me at dianekendig (at) yahoo (dot) com.

The Broadsides

W.S. Merwin's 2008 poem, "Grace Notes,"
published as a broadside by Kent State's
Wick Poetry reading October 10, 2011
See my blog on this reading here

Ed Dorn's 1984 poem, "Abhorrences,"
with a drawing by Tom Clark
one of 200 copies of a 1986 Bloody Twin publication.
It is letterpress on gorgeous paper, with Brian Richards' terrific production values. 

THE NEXT BIG THING: Julie Williams' new novel

Today, as part of "The Next Big Thing" project,  I am hosting my friend Julie Williams, who is a poet, visual artist, and author of a Young Adult novel in verse, Escaping Tornado Season, as well as an upcoming novel. I'll let our interview tell you all about it. Julie says:

"The Next Big Thing" or Blog-o-sphere Project is a fun way for writers all over the world to connect and share information about their current writing project or upcoming book. One writer tags another writer who answers a set of interview questions who tags five more writers and so on and so on. I was tagged by my fabulous poet friend, Diane Kendig, who has graciously invited me to post my answers on her blog. Thanks, Diane!

So, here goes . . .

What is your working title of your book?

All the World’s a Jumble

Where did the idea come from for the book? 

I’ve always wanted to write about a crazy theatrical family plagued by relatives who are certain the world is going to end. Originally, I thought it would be set in 1975, but lo! and behold -- 2012 came along and the Mayan predictions and the new version evolved accordingly.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young adult fiction

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The truth is, I’d love to see the whole thing cast with new or previously unknown actors. Probably because the characters are so vivid in my mind and like my friend, Linda says, she’d rather the readers formed their own pictures. That said, it’s also kind of fun to imagine who might be right for the part. So, how about this? When Quvenzhan√© Wallis, the young woman from BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, turns 16, she’s a possibility for Jessie. My daughter suggested Krisin Kruek and I really do like her, too. Abigail Breslin or one of the Fanning girls could play Jessie’s cousin and best friend, Bits. Maybe Brian White or Anthony Mackie for Jessie’s dad, Mark. And I’m thinking Jessica Chastain for her mom, Una. Although she’s a little young for the role, I can see Viola Davis as Grandmama. And I think Alphonso McAuley would be perfect for the wild and wacky Bartle. Now, ask me in a year when the book comes out. I may have an entirely different list.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

More than anything, Jessie wants to find her place in the Jumble Players -- the award-winning theatre company her parents co-direct -- but when family drama threatens both the family and the theatre, Jessie has to use her big brain and her huge heart to help keep it all together.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m represented by Jill Corcoran of the Herman Agency and the book is coming out in March 2014 from Roaring Brook/Macmillan. My editor there is Nancy Mercado.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Depends on which “first draft” we’re talking about! The book has had several different incarnations. The slightly fudged, averaged-out answer is about six months. That said, Nancy and I have been working on it together for nearly two years. I just completed a revision based on her line edits and the book has just been sent to the copy editor.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My own, wildly diverse family, especially my beautiful daughter, inspired me. My early years in the theatre here in Minnesota and many years teaching performance classes inspired me. What I’ve come to believe about the incredibly strong and resilient nature of family made me want to write this book. And then, having my main character Jessie take off with a mind of her own made we want to follow along and find out what was going to happen to her next!

I’m tagging . . .





This week, for the BIG POETRY GIVEAWAY of 2013, I am sending for free a signed postcard of my "Lynn, Lynn" poems to anyone in Lynn, MA  who posts at my Comment page, and you will also be eligible for the book drawing at the end of the month. (One of the books opens with my poem. "Egg Rock," about a famous Lynn place.) Post your comment:
The city of Lynn, MA, where I lived 2000-2011 is plagued by a negative little ditty people repeat over and over. I won't repeat it here. Suffice it to say it begins, "Lynn, Lynn, city of sin." Now I LOVED Lynn, loved our view of the ocean, loved its diversity, loved my neighborhood and its people. And one day I ripped off my own little Lynn poem, a poem much sunnier than I am prone to be in poetry. Recently it's been posted at Mildred's Corner Cafe and Shoppe, my favorite breakfast place, by its sweet and dear owner, Jan. And it's been picked up by Lynn Happens.
Here's the poem (blush)

Lynn, the Sequel 

Lynn, Lynn, a place to begin
a place near the ocean,
a place where you win.
in food, music and kin,
in schools and in clothing--
ah, museums of Lynn!

It’s true you don’t go out
the way you came in:
you’re wiser, you’re tougher,
thinner and buffer,
(Food Project, the boardwalk
The 5 k's-- please don’t balk).
I’ve left and I’m sorry,
I miss it a lot.

For those of you who still live there, I'd be glad to rewrite those last two lines for you:
I live here, I'm glad,
cuz I love it a lot.

If you are technologically challenged and have trouble posting a comment, email and let me know:


My friends love free stuff, and for National Poetry Month, I am participating in a giveaway of my favorite stuff, poetry. For the month of April, you can win one of two books here at my site, just by posting a comment. While I hope that my poet and writer colleagues will post, I'd very much like to hear too from old and new friends who don't much read poetry. And to encourage them, I am having an extra drawing each week to give away a broadside (poster) of an individual poem. (Subscribe** or check back tomorrow to see what this week's broadside is.)

Below is a bit on each of the two books and their authors, one by me, The Places We Find Ourselves, and one by my Wom-po friend, Ann Fisher-Wirth, Dream Cabinet, and a poem from each book.

The Places We Find Ourselves, is my third chapbook of poetry, spread across my 30+ years as a poet. During those years, I worked teaching, with the most years, nearly 20, at The University of Findlay, where I started a creative writing program that included a writers series both on campus and in prison. After that, I taught for a decade at Bentley University in suburban Boston, and currently, I am back in my hometown of Canton, teaching sporadically as I help to care for my father. Some places in my book are on the map, such as first poem set in Ohio, and the last set in Massachusetts. (Also there is a wonderful place just outside of Cleveland in the great cover photo by Steve Cagan.) But the book is more about the places in our heart these places leave, as the Irish poet, Seamus Heaney wrote, standing at his mother's grave:

And we all knew one thing by being there
The place we stood around had been emptied
Into us to keep.

Here is the last poem in the book written after I had moved to the East Coast following the death of my sister after being with her in Minnesota during her two year struggle against cancer.

Lynn, Massachusetts

I came to this point three years ago.
Last winter, early morning on the beach,
I heard dog walkers argue how it looked.
One swore a chunk had moved, or a new one, risen.
The other said no, old outcrop: he’d bet a quarter,
staking his claim on Egg Rock’s being
“stable, solid, everlasting,” the way the poets
saw it in the first one hundred fifty years
of Egg Rock poetry now on the net.

Plath must have stared long at it, too,
from south of here in Winthrop, and she
used this site twice as backdrop for a suicide,
seeing a stony godlessness that doesn’t
give or take the riptide, just sits it out.
I can’t weigh in with her certainty or on the walkers’
wager--or Pascal’s. I’d like to know
I could cash in my chips as gamblers do these days
on “Horizon’s Edge” casino cruises pulling into harbor.

Then I view two centuries of online Egg Rock art,
and from the antique paintings, I’d have to say
the rock still looks the same. Oh, I know
the lighthouse keeper’s dog Milo and the near drowned
toddler in Landsmeer’s famous Saved are gone—
or as my friend Marion, who survived cancer says,
say it: are dead—along with swimmers who didn’t survive,
but the rock, I mean, the rock still looks the same.

Art tends to make me feel more hopeful
than life without art would—in fact, sustains me,
but from my second story window this rock itself
could be a new grave, cairn, or egg. Low rider,
close to this earth, it could go under any moment
in a nor’easter or a blast. Lovely loaf in the Atlantic,
it glitters and streams the light’s uncertainty,
all I had before coming here, too.

Shopping in the Harvard Bookstore during the holidays, I saw that Ann Fisher-Wirth's new book, Dream Cabinet was recommended by the staff. It needed no recommendation for me, though, because I had read and loved Ann's chapbook Carta Marina, about which I had written, "Her line endings and sound patterns belie such well-crafted poems that I keep rereading her book, long after the heart is healed, the spring has come, the map has led us home." This newest book has the same careful craft, coupled with Ann's wide range of subjects, from her direct, heart-breaking and joyful family poems to poems that suggest her concern with our relationship to the earth. Those environmental concerns led her to co-edit the recent
Eco-Poetry Anthology. You can find out more about Ann here. And here is a poem from Dream Cabinet, for us all, but especially for those with grown daughters, or, in my case, grown goddaughters:
For I will praise my daughter's beautiful haunches.
Sprawled on the coach, draped over each other,
my daughters make a nest and their babies
play between them. It is late afternoon,
in California: light from the stained glass panel
that hangs in their living room window
pours red and gold and green across their hair,
around their shoulders. The thick curve of hips
and thighs, the lines that are just beginning
to come around their mouths and eyes will linger
in my mind for all the months I do not see them.
And I? Oh body, body. The power that will cast me
like a wad of leaves in the muddy river
is growing in me now. So many years I seemed
unchanging, so many years I ran through life.
Leave a comment here and you will be automatically entered in the Big Poetry Giveaway. I'll draw two names on May 1st and announce the winners shortly after that. No blog needed to enter, just an email and a note! I will print each out, drop them all into my big Cow Jumping Over the Moon cookie jar, from which I will pull two names on May 1st and announce the winners shortly after that. I will mail the books to the winners, free, no postage, no catch.

Interested in more poetry give aways? Check out the lot of them here:

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