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Showing posts from December, 2008

The Motive Behind this Blog

The fastest way to build a writing portfolio is to publish online. Paper publications are important also, but it takes much longer to submit and receive either an acceptance or rejection from paper publications.

This is why I started Students Publish Here!

Send me your work. I will critique it and if I think it has value, I will publish it.

If you'd like to know more about the logistics of publishing your work at this site, please contact me. I may be reached at aproeditor-at-gmail-dot-com.

I do not publish any writings that include profanity or erotica.

The purpose of this blog is to help teachers teach good writing and to help writing students develop a portfolio by publishing some of their writing.

I'm willing to work with students to refine a piece so that it is ready for publication here or elsewhere. I do not charge a fee for this service.

If a piece has been published elsewhere, the publication is cited here. All rights are reserved to the writer/author.

Students under the a…

Ed Pacht's Christmas Poem

Murmur of Miracles

Stone-hard frozen winter ground,
stone-hard frozen human hearts,
stone-hard wall of sin before us,
as we bake the bread of misery,
in the oven of rebellion,
in the fires of evil we have made,
and eat that bread of misery
as we stand before that stone-hard wall,
and weep.

A soaring song is sounding in the sparkling sky,
proclaiming there the eight-day dedication
of a blessed Babe in gentle hands,
whose life is light,
as of the lamps before the Ark,
whose candle glow needs no oil,
outshining as it does the bright mist of angels
singing to the trembling shepherds in the field.

A new temple now has come among us.
Behold the shining pillar of hope revealed.
Beyond the night arises our salvation,
and now the veil is torn,
now the stone-hard wall is broken;
now we see the heavens' gates cast wide apart;
and, sin destroyed and stone-hard hearts unfrozen,
we step forth, recite the ancient words
and through the ages enter in
to joy eternal.

- ed pacht

Christmas Poems by George Herbert

George Herbert (1593-1633) was a Welsh poet and Anglican priest. He was born into a wealthy family and received a good education which led him to hold prominent positions at Cambridge University and Parliament. Herbert excelled in languages, music and preaching. His much loved poems are always deeply Christian.

Christmas (I)

After all pleasures as I rid one day,
My horse and I, both tired, body and mind,
With full cry of affections, quite astray;
I took up the next inn I could find.

There when I came, whom found I but my dear,
My dearest Lord, expecting till the grief
Of pleasures brought me to Him, ready there
To be all passengers' most sweet relief?

Oh Thou, whose glorious, yet contracted light,
Wrapt in night's mantle, stole into a manger;
Since my dark soul and brutish is Thy right,
To man of all beasts be not Thou a stranger:

Furnish and deck my soul, that Thou mayst have
A better lodging, than a rack, or grave.

Christmas (II)

The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?
My God, no hymn for …

Reginald Shepherd RIP

Reginald Shepherd died on September 10 after a prolonged struggle with cancer. He was an immensely gifted poet and literary critic.

He had been hospitalized for a month and almost died the first week of that hospitalization. He told his partner, "Sometimes it takes a while to die."

True words. We begin dying the moment we are born. The central task of life is to die daily to self so that before our heart ceases to beat we are already gone to that existence that God intends for us from before time. May such be the case for Reginald.

Dostoevsky's Confession

"It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt."

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Books Endure

John Updike, who I met at the Kent State Writers' Conference some years ago, has written:

"By and large, times move with merciful slowness in the old-fashioned world of writing. The 88-year-old Doris Lessing won the Nobel Prize in Literature, Elmore Leonard and P.D. James continue, into their 80s, to produce bestselling thrillers. Although books circulate ever more swiftly through the bookstores and back to the publisher again, the rhythms of readers are leisurely. They spread recommendations by word of mouth and 'get around' to titles and authors years after making a mental note of them. A movie has a few weeks to find its audience, and television shows flit by in an hour, but books physically endure, in public and private libraries, for generations."

From "The Writer in Winter" by John Updike, published in AARP, Nov.-Dec. 2008, p. 42.

Another Poem by Juana de America

Juana de Ibarbarou was also called Juana de America. Here is another of her poems, with an English translation and comment by the translator.

El afilador

Este dolor heroico de hacerse para cada noche
Un nuevo par de alas…
¡Donde estarán las que ayer puso sobre mis hombres
El insomnio de la primera hora del alba!
Día, afilador de tijeras de oro,
Y puñales de acero, y espadas de hierro.
Anoche yo tenía dos alas
Y estuve cerca del cielo.
Pero esta manaña
Llegaste tú con tu flauta, tu piedra,
Tus doce cuchillos de plata.
Y lentamente me fuiste cortando las alas.

The knife-grinder

This epic pain of making, each night,
a new pair of wings…
Those wings I put on my shoulders yesterday will become
insomnia, at dawn’s first hour!
Day, sharpener of golden scissors,
and steel daggers, and iron swords.
Last night I had two wings
and was nearly in heaven.
But this morning you came with your flute, your whetstone,
your twelve silver knives.
And slowly you started cutting off my wings.

From La rosa de los vientos, 1930

The tra…

Call for Holiday Poems

Holiday Word Selection Writing Project

Student Publish Here! is seeking holiday poems from students around the world. Send your entries to aproeditor-at-gmail-dot-com.

The best poems will be published between Dec. 22 and Jan. 5

By using pre-selected words, students’ imaginations are less restrained by the limits of their vocabulary. The poem is their creation, but they have to work within the boundaries of natural word choice on a given topic.

There is no true randomness to this project. As my friend Ed Pacht has written: "...the very existence of a word is a powerful attack upon randomness. Every word or phrase, even a bit of nonsense like 'slithy tove', is a purposeful ordering of reality to an end."

Using words from the list below, write a poem about Christmas, Chanukah or Epiphany. The poem must be at least 12 lines long. You shouldn’t try to use all the words, unless you want the challenge of trying to do so.

Blessed Babe
candle glow
recite the ancient words
soaring …

Juana de Ibarbourou

Juana Fernandez Morales (1895 - 1979) era poetisa uruguaya, considerada una de las voces más personales de la lírica hispanoamericana de principios del siglo XX.

A los veinte años se casó con el capitán Lucas Ibarbourou, del cual adoptó el apellido con el que firmaría todas sus obras.

Tres años después de casarse, se trasladó a Montevideo, donde vivía hasta su muerte.

Sus primeros poemas aparecieron en periódicos, principalmente en La Razón (periódico principal de la capital).

Comenzó su travesía lírica con los poemarios Lenguas de diamante (1919), El cántaro fresco (1920) y Raíz salvaje (1922), todos ellos marcados por el modernismo, que expresó con abundancia de imágenes sensoriales y cromáticas, alusiones bíblicas y míticas.

El poema que sigue, escrito en 1960 para Nimia Vicens, una amiga puertorriqueña como "pequeño regalo de Pascuas", es representante de su obra.


No sé de donde regresó el anhelo
De volver a cantar como en el tiempo
en que tenía entre mi puño el ciel…

Welcome, Olivia Eastham!

Who I Am
Olivia Eastham, Grade 9

I am from many hours of four wheeling,
Farming and fishing at dark on the lake.
From front porch rocking chairs
And long walks along the creek
Catching crawdads and snakes.

I am from fresh corn on the cob
Green beans with fatback
Juicy watermelon on the back porch
With my Dad.
From running barefoot on gravel without complaining.

I am from huge family reunions with horse shoes,
Corn hole and hanging out.
From a tiny church where everyone knows each other
And no one is too shy to say hello.
From a place where it doesn’t matter what you wear.

I am from trail rides and cantering through fields
On my paint Tarzan.
From weekends spent team roping and barrel racing
And from the smell of dirt and sawdust in the arena.
I am from the country.

I am from a big move to the city with cars and exhaust fumes,
Malls at every turn and eating out at restaurants…
Far from the place of rodeos and family churches.
Here you have to leave home fifteen minutes early
To beat the rush hour.

I am not in th…