Thursday, September 18, 2014

Crooked Lines by Holly Michael

Last week I finished Holly Michael's fantastic book titled Crooked Lines. This is a wonderful novel that centers on two main characters, one character is a young woman from America who struggles in a tough marriage and with sad memories of the death of a dear sister; and the other main character is a young man from India studying to be a priest. Through several years and many difficult turns in their lives, they end up in happier places within their lives. This is a great book! 

Three Poems Accepted by Eclectica

I will have three poems in the Fall issue of Eclectica online. I am especially thrilled with this acceptance because I believe in the strong lit works of this little mag, and because the poems are some of my favorites! Follow the link in the first sentence above to read the July/August issue of Eclectica.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I am half way through this pulitzer prize-winning novel, Tartt's third novel. Mostly I read poetry and science books. This book is powerful. Not only can I barely put it down, but it has made me take a break for a few hours as I absorb the powerful scene I just read that had me crying. The last novel I read this magnificent was Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Where to Find Poems and Poetry Information

A beginning poet emailed me today and asked where to start reading poetry, so I gave him this brief beginning guide which I want to share.

Two Poets to start with:

Mary Oliver - heartfelt and full of nature

Yusef Komunyakaa - Viet Nam war, different rhythm to his poetic music, very important to American poetry

As for anthologies:

Each year The Best American Poetry. It comes out every September and is very representative of good poems. Seventy poems are included in each collection.

Each year the Pushcart Prize anthology. Not as many poems are included.

If you study these two poets and two collections, it will lead you down a solid road to discovering good poems.

Here are some great websites:

Poetry Foundation at This is the standard in world poetry. Enjoy!

The Academy of American poets at  Another excellent resource.

and another wonderful site, Poetry Daily, at

Monday, August 25, 2014

Planet Hunter and how to find an exoplanet

Wobble is the key to finding an exoplanet. See a quick video here:

Here's my poem about finding exoplanets.

Planet Hunter

Wiggle wiggle remote star.
Show astronomers where you are.
Point the way red, yellow, white.
Which strange atmospheres hold life?

Astronomer GM-44 nods near sleep,
shifts in and out of consciousness,
divines an outmost system’s planet. 
On his desk an open catalogue of stars.
He blinks and drifts, recalls star notes:
‘I search one hundred billion stars …
for the precise conditions that reveal
new planets every month.’
Orbs pull, stagger, ripple,
give away their secret,
teetering stars own real estate.

Oh Milky Way
flash your spiral breast,
expose your tottering suns
so planet hunters may detect
new worlds by gravitation.
Newton's principle spins.
The star that wobbles wins.

GM-44 finds new planets
around two new stars, promises
countless more in alien worlds.
A perfect planet circles Star 70 Virginus,
promise of life in abysmal oceans.
Her moons blossom as large as Mars,
she tempers her seas to a tepid nursery.
Electric nights seed protoplasts.

Charmed errors point the way.
Earth’s sun waggles for her planets.
Our solar system is unique and rare.
Where else to search for exotic life?

Patricia L. Johnson