Monday, February 24, 2014

Death as Metaphor 8

Poets have tried to address and respond to death through time.  

According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (1995), Death is defined as:

  • the end of the life of a person or animal
  • a symbol for a creature that looks like a skeleton that may be the sign of death and destruction
  • a word used to heighten feelings of fright, boredom, sadness, sickness, or worry
  • or to not want to do something: “I’d rather die than eat a worm!” 
These definitions are malleable and lend themselves to varied metaphors associated with death. For example, “you can catch your death of cold” or “I am scared to death” or “the rabbit is gone” all play up to the word death.

This has made it easy for writers, artists, and poets alike to utilize death as a metaphor. Sylvia Plath’s poem, “Daddy,”(  presents death as anger toward the parent.

By contrast, Carolyn Forché’s poem, “The Colonel,” ( takes a different look at death as something sanctioned by those in power, turning death to a man-made inevitability in which one must fight.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Books I’m Reading 7

Flawed by Kate Avelynn deals with the disturbing details of life as an abused child and the repercussions that come along with it. It is a story filled with hope and anger. A must read for YA lovers.

Cat Sense by John Bradshaw writes about how understanding the feline mind will help you take care of your household pet better. He uses scientific research and experiences and cat history to make his point.

Dear America: the Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, A Picture of Freedom by Patricia C. McKissack. This is a true story about Clotee, a 12 year old slave, who teaches herself how to read and write and later becomes a conductor for the Underground Railroad in Virginia. It's a MG book.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Why I Write 4: Revision is writing

Poetry needs as much revision and editing as novels, short stories, and articles do.

One thing I’ve learned is that there’s always something in the writing that could be better. That’s why you could find yourself rewriting many drafts before coming to some sort of conclusion that it’s the best it could get before an agent or editor gets their hands on it.

Sometimes, we have to settle for the best instead of the greatest. And you know what? It’s okay. The important thing is to get through the process of polishing the manuscript. It helps make you a better writer, and that’s what readers want: better writing.

A poem I wrote titled “Seasons” is a good example of one I would go back and revise. There are a lot of good images, but I feel it needs tightening in the Autumn section.

I’ve gotten a lot of good responses from a poem I wrote for Valentine’s Day called “Veteran’s Wish.” I hope you enjoy it.


You can check out “Seasons” in the Fall 2013, Issue 60 on

You can also see my latest poem “Veteran’s Wish” in the Free Love, Issue 2 on

Monday, February 3, 2014

Writer’s Workshop 5: Night Prompt

Try the following writing prompt:

                                  In the middle of the night, I heard ___________ outside.

Tell what you heard and what you did to investigate.

My first thought was to do something paranormal, but I was staring at a children’s book and I got another fun idea. Here’s my attempt:

In the middle of the night, I heard a rasping sound outside. I immediately pulled my covers over my head to block it, but it didn’t work. My heart pounded with each terrible beat against the wall. I couldn’t control it. So, I mustered enough courage to check the origin of the rasp.

I threw my covers on the floor and slipped on my shoes. When I had them on, the sound got louder. I was amazed that no member of my family had woken from its clobbering, but there was no time to find out whether they had.

I rolled up the window and crawled out. I stubbed my finger with the rocks beneath and came face to face with IT!