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Less is More in '24, The Wild Honey Buzz: Celebrating April National Poetry Month, Solar Eclipse, Earth Day & Arbor Day

Happy National Poetry Month! I am enjoying reliving one of my favorite poetry months which was April 2017. That was the year I was a winner in the Poetry on Buses Contest and my poem, "Soul Swim" was featured on a Seattle city bus for a year. It was great fun attending the awards ceremony held at the Moore Theatre in Seattle and celebrating with all of the other winners. Poetry is a different sort of pursuit and often feels as if it's at the "bottom rung on the ladder" of the literary or other art fields. In many bookstores, even if there is a poetry section, it's located in the very back of the store and has few current books. There are, of course, many bookstores with great collections, but in general, fiction far surpasses poetry in popularity. As long as I've been prowling around in countless Little Libraries in neighborhoods in various states and locations, I've yet to come across a contemporary book of poems, or even a classic one. I have donated some and plan to continue to share in this way. I'm all for anything that will make poetry more fun (more parties and celebrations!) and more accessible.

Below is a photo of my husband thumbing through books in the poetry section of the westernmost bookstore of the United States, Talk Story Bookstore, in Hanapepe, Hawaii on the island of Kauai, and also a photo of a sweet bookstore cat posing beside a book of Easter poems in Nan's Books and Crystals located in Grover Beach, California. When traveling, we always like to browse in the local independently owned bookstores, and we love the resident bookstore kitties!

Bookstores aren't the only places where poetry can be read and heard. In scheduling readings for my new book, "In the Grip of Grace," I'm finding that cafes are really happening places for poetry readings! I have tentative plans to read from my book at open mic during Poetry Night at Soul Food Cafe in Redmond, WA and Easy Speak Open Mic in the banquet room of the Wedgwood Broiler in Seattle, WA. In the fall, I hope to be at the Clapboard House in Wise, VA for my Southern Launch Party and reading. The Clapboard House is a furniture and gift store that also carries books and art by Appalachian authors and is located in the town where I attended college (The University of Virginia at Wise). I will keep this blog updated as I finalize plans for the book launch and readings and hope you'll be able to attend one. For those who purchased a copy of my book and are unable to see me in person, I have some very nice bookplate autograph stickers that I will be happy to sign and mail to you. I also welcome opportunities to visit your book club or classroom either in person or via zoom, so please reach out to me if that is something you might be interested in.

I am so excited about my book's launch date: May 24, 2024! This is the date that "In the Grip of Grace" will be shipped to everyone who preordered. I think it is still available for ordering at the sale price through Finishing Line Press. I will make an "unboxing video" to share on here when I receive my author copies!

And now to the big cosmic news of April: the New Moon in Aries and Total Solar Eclipse occurring today, April 8, the date on which I am sharing this blog post! Since it begins the new astrological year cycle, I consider the Aries New Moon Day as New Year's Day. Instead of making resolutions, I create a vision board collage of images representing things I'd like to see happen in my life from this April through the next Aries New Moon in 2025. It's always so interesting to look at the previous year's vision board and see what tangible things have "jumped off the collage" and into my life. It's truly magical! I think this year's new moon is especially powerful given that it will pass between Earth and the Sun resulting in the eclipse. I've had fun looking at my astrological chart to see exactly what points will be activated. It will be fun to see what transpires for me in those areas! As this photo shows, the "stars" are lined up for us.....well, in this case, the planets:

April is the perfect month for the celebration of Earth Day on the 22nd and National Arbor Day on the last Friday of the month, with all of the trees in bloom here in the Northern Hemisphere. As I've shared before, I'm crazy about trees! I'm a tree hugger and a tree nerd! I will conclude this blog with some photos of me embracing various tree friends at home and in places where I've traveled. Also, below is a poem from "In the Grip of Grace" that I think is fitting for Earth Day.

Buzzard's Roost

In late summer light we hike

high above the tree line

in land of long, slow vowels and blue ridges,

past cow pies and horse flies

Then we see them:

vultures roosting on limestone boulders-

timeless as we are.

Their forefathers and ours

once hunted bison in the valley below.

The bison are gone now,

mountain tops removed and

the old homestead an abandoned coal mine.

We peer down with the winged witnesses,

all of us surviving on what's left over.

(many thanks to Entropy Magazine where this was first published, August 2019).

Some of my tree friends:

Star Magnolia, Dunn Gardens, Seattle, WA

I call this one the big eye tree...not sure of its botanical name but it lives in the Niguel Botanical Preserve in Laguna Niguel, CA

Western Red Cedar, Washington State

Big Leaf Maple, Olympic National Park, WA

General Sherman the Giant Sequoia, largest tree on planet Earth, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, California

Tree Hugger Wild Honey trying to get her arms around a giant sequoia in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, CA

Banyan tree, Hawaii

Forest bathing in the Pacific Northwest Woods

.......And my all time favorite flowering "tree"......"Nothing is more wistful than the scent of LILAC, nor more robust than its woody stalk, for we must remember that it is a TREE as well as a flower, we must try not to forget this." ~Stevie Smith, English Poet

Wishing you less stress and more joy during this most beautiful month of sky magic, poetry and earthly delights,

~Marianne, aka Wild Honey

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