Writing in the Dark,, an apt metaphor for anyone who has ever tried to tap out words on a  backlit screen.  This book, a collection of essays gathered by Max van Manen, shows how "different kinds of human experience may be explored, the methods for investigating phenomena contributing to human experience…the process of inquiry, reflection and writing…a valuable and rich resource".   That is to say, writing is an attempt to reflect what goes on inside us.  Inside us is where "story" occurs.Scott Popjes maintains a busy schedule, writing, producing and editing major theatrical trailers, promos and EPK's and developing and producing TV series and films, such as "The Remarkably 20th Century" and "The Long Ride Home".  Born and raised in suburban New Jersey, this everyman director/editor loves making movies.Ernest Hemingway - The man who ran with the bulls.  His literary sparseness and compression, well-worn and well-earned, captured the attention of critics and public in a volatile age.  In 1952, he received the Pulitzer for The Old Man and the Sea.   In 1954, he received the Nobel Prize for his "powerful style-making mastery of the modern art of narration."  He wrote from life.  Until his life subdued and rescued him.Will Shakespeare - Aka "The bard".  Arguably the best English writer to ever glide pen to page, populist hero as well as aristocratic raconteur, though we wish he had used all women instead of all men to populate his plays.  (Not a prejudice, just a fact.)   His sonnets remain divine.  Rare is the writer who can scribble successfully in one genre, let alone two.  Some postulate this poet and playwright was, in fact, more than one man…or woman.  What would he have done with film, we wonder?Though he produced fewer than 40 paintings, Dutch painter Jan Vermeer is one of the most respected artists of the European tradition. He is known for his serene, luminous interiors populated by one or two figures. Vermeer grew up in Delft, Holland, joined the painters' guild in 1653, and worked as an art dealer to support his wife and 11 children.  In 1672, war with France ruined Holland’s economy and Vermeer's business failed.  Soon after, he died of a stroke at age 42, leaving his family bankrupt.  Vermeer's paintings were largely forgotten for nearly 200 years, until 1858 when a French critic began to write admiringly about his work.  Interest in Vermeer surged again recently with his work exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Contemporary writers have also been inspired by him, including Tracy Chevalier whose novel Girl with a Pearl Earring imagines the life of the girl in Vermeer's painting of the same name. L.Ron Hubbard - Whatever you may think of his other worldly beliefs, the full body of L. Ron Hubbard's work includes more than 5,000 writings and 3,000 tape-recorded lectures, spanning five, highly productive decades.  A humanitarian and adventurer, he  believes, "There are only two tests of a life well lived: Did one do as one intended? And were people glad one lived?"  We add, "And can one write about it, anyhow?"Johannes Vermeer's "Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid" records a prior chivalrous age where class decorum reigned.  (Oh, well, you can't have everything.)   One of the most talented painters in the Dutch Golden Age, that's the 1600's, Vermeer's work was forgotten for centuries.  The most brilliant artists of any century are probably never discovered, their paintings hidden till ruin, their pages dropping to dust in unfound attics.  We find this oddly comforting.  No martyr of time, this particular masterpiece hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland.  Definitely worth a gaze.Jules Verne - Ode to childhood and the player within us.  Verne was born, aptly, in Nates, France in 1828.  He promptly ran off to become cabin boy on a merchant ship but was caught and sent back to his parents.  Thus constrained, his imagination wandered.  He wrote story after story, became very rich, bought a yacht and resumed his initial intent - to sail around the world.  Or Europe anyhow.   Our favorite remains Twenty Thousand Leagues.
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The Writers Place
February 2008 - January 2009
Poetry Review
1st Place Winner 2nd Place Winner
3rd Place Winner Honorable Mention #1
Honorable Mention #2

First Place Winner
Marian Kaplun Shapiro

Marian Kaplun Shapiro

Author Bio:

Born in 1939 in a housing project in The Bronx, Marian Kaplun Shapiro practices as a psychologist and poet in Lexington, Massachusetts. The author of Second Childhood (Norton, 1988) and many professional articles, in the last few years her poems have appeared in over 130 journals and anthologies, and have won seventeen first prizes and many other prizes. Her book, Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play appeared in April, 2007 from Plain View Press, and her chapbook, Parenthesis, appears on the website of Language And Culture (www.languageandculture.net) Her chapbooks, Your Third Wish, (Finishing Line), and The End Of The World, Announced On Wednesday (Pudding House) also appeared in late 2007. She was named Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts in 2006 and again in 2008.

mkshapiro@rcn.com

“FAURÉ REQUIEM: LES FÊNETRES DE STE CHAPELLE, 18h30”

strawberries

cerises                                                                                       poire caramel

mirabelle                                                           essence de lime                                           

citron                   candied orange                                                          

cherries                                 rouge                                  bleu

et rose                               jaune                                                                                          

(la lumière de la lumière)                               (light

of lights)                                     (perpetual                                     and eternal light unto us)       

green                                                  pommes             et                mangue                                    

sucre                                                                                           vapeur de

meringue nature                                                            l fraîche                              

abricot                                                                                 plums                                                  

                              en vin rouge, en

vin blanc                                                                                           white

peach                                                   arome de                                                                   

pear                               

fraises

 

 

Sing to me in sorbet d’orange

en grand marnier

(lux perpetua, lux aeterna

luceat eis; lumière à nous,

lumen de lumine

lumière née de la lumière)

before the sun sets.

 

 

Second Place Winner
Laura A. Kennedy

Laura A. Kennedy

Author Bio:

Laura Kennedy is a 25-year old writer from Seattle, WA. She attended Loyola Marymount University where in 2006 she graduated with a degree in Communication Studies with a rhetorical emphasis and a minor in Studio Arts. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Upon completion, she plans on continuing her writing career and using it in the field of human rights. Aside from writing, Ms. Kennedy also enjoys traveling, music and the arts, and is an avid sports fan.

lakenned@usc.edu

“The Perfect Murder”

    I came home and she was
    nowhere to be found.

    I went to the living room
    then through the kitchen,
    making my way to the bedroom.
    The dresser was open
    and most of her clothes were gone.

    She left the red shirt
    that she knows I hate.
    It never did her figure justice.
    The suitcases were gone too.

    I knew she had done it.
    Killed my son.
    I only spoke of abortion once.

    Her toothbrush was by the sink,

    where she always left it.

 

Third Place Winner
John F. McMullen

John F. McMullen

Author Bio:
John F. McMullen gets much of his poetical inspiration while riding his motor scooter on his 80 mile round trip between his Jefferson Valley, NY home and Monroe College, Bronx, NY where he serves as Professor of Computer Information. Prior to entering the field of education, McMullen had a career in the corporate world, serving as an executive and officer of leading Wall Street Investment and consulting firms. Subsequent to those positions he was a principle in a consulting firm with clients all through the United States and in Mexico. He holds a BA from Iona College in English Literature and Master’s degrees from Marist College in Information Systems and Public Administration.

While “Cashing A Check” is McMullen’s first published collection of poetry (the award-winning poem is the title one in the collection), he is the co-author of one of the first books on microcomputer telecommunications and over 1,500 news and magazine articles and academic papers . He is the Editor of “Web 2.0 The Magazine”, has been a columnist for Computer Shopper, Computer Living / NY and the Westchester and Fairfield Business Journals; his work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Newsbytes, PC Magazine, InfoWorld, Lear's, PC Magazine, National Review, Popular Computing, Home Office Computing, PC Clones, Computers and Electronics, A+; and he has been a contributor to "Digital Deli" and "The Encyclopedia of Computer Science." He has also authored or co-authored papers on the educational uses of Virtual Worlds for presentation at various educational conferences. He is currently finishing his first novel and, encouraged by this award, continues as a poet.

He is the husband of Barbara E. McMullen, a writer / educator / technologist and the father of Claire McMullen Cleary, a New York City business woman, and Luke J. McMullen, a Hollywood-based screenwriter. John McMullen may be reached at johnmac@acm.org, on Skype, Google Chat, and AIM as “johnmac13” and on Facebook as “John F. McMullen.”

johnmac@acm.org

“Cashing A Check”
     by johnmac

I just saw this wonderful line
in a column in a motorcycle
magazine*:
"The mind writes checks that
the body can't cash";

The vision that many from the
old neighborhood have of me is
short and thin with a Pepsi in
one hand and a cigarette
in the other

Others will remember me as
taller and thin, hitting a jumper
from the corner or throwing
a "no-look pass" to a cutter.

Others will picture me at the
end of the bar in the Broadstone
with an open pack of Pall Malls and
a half-finished beer on the bar;
Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You"
on the jukebox.
"Pat, one more when you get a chance"

Age has taken the jumper
Diabetes has taken the Pepsi
Common Sense has taken the
cigarette and booze.

I am older and wiser and
hopefully more tolerant
I am satisfied with my life

but

to just be able to once more
fake the man guarding me and
go up with a jumper and
get nothing but net

To be able to, once more,
"cash that check"

*”Milestones” by Robert Rasor, American Motorcyclist;
March 2006, Copyright 2006 John F. McMullen

 

Honorable Mention
Cornelius Jones Jr.

Cornelius Jones Jr.

Author Bio:

Cornelius LIFE Jones was born and raised in Richmond, VA, and was a former resident of Washington, DC (his second home). He currently resides in New York City where he is pursuing an M.A. in Dramatic Writing and Theater of The Oppressed at New York University, and serves as an artist educator for Opening Act New York, training high school students in acting, writing, and improvisation. He’s also a professional Broadway and Off-Broadway actor, appearing in shows such as The Lion King, Thou Shalt Not, and Smokey Joe’s Cafe. In 2008, the one-man show, FlagBoy, written and performed by Cornelius LIFE marked his debut as a solo-show artist and playwright. It received an Outstanding Performance in a Solo-Show nomination at the 2008 Ninth Annual Midtown International Theater Festival. As a poet, one of his works “Momma Said…(A Hard Life),” received honorable mention status in The Writer’s Place 2007-2008 Poetry Competition. New works are in development, such as full-length stage play and a book of poems and essays. For the latest information, please visit Cornelius online at
www.corneliusjonesjr.com.

iamlifejones@gmail.com

“Chicken N Shrimp Gumbo”

Hey. How you doing today?
Me? Um..I’m ok.

Just standing in the kitchen
cooking my chicken-n-shrimp gumbo.
Thinking about how so much of you
has passed down through me.

Heard my roommate’s dad say,
“I love you J,” today.
Had me thinking what it would
feel like if I heard you say
I love You.

Just standing in the kitchen
stirring my chicken-n-shrimp gumbo.
Thinking about how so much of you
has passed down through me.

You were of the older generation,
where men had trouble
expressing how they feel.

I know you loved me,
even if I didn’t hear it
with my own two ears.
I know you Loved me
and it was real.

Just wondering
how it would feel
to hear your father say I Love You.

I’m standing in the kitchen
stirring my chicken-n-shrimp gumbo.
Thinking about how so much of you
has passed down through me.

I know you’re smiling at my recipe
that’s how you expressed your love for me,
and to me.

I’m standing here in the kitchen
stirring my chicken-n-shrimp gumbo.

And when I have kids
I will be the best Father I can be
I will express myself,
and my feelings freely.
I will pass down
what you passed down to me,
and He or She will be

Standing in the kitchen
Cooking his or her chicken-n-shrimp gumbo.

Hmm...

I’m standing in the kitchen cooking my chicken-n-shrimp gumbo.

Continue to R.I.P. Dad

 

Honorable Mention
Laura A. Kennedy

Laura A. Kennedy

Author Bio:

Laura Kennedy is a 25-year old writer from Seattle, WA. She attended Loyola Marymount University where in 2006 she graduated with a degree in Communication Studies with a rhetorical emphasis and a minor in Studio Arts. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Upon completion, she plans on continuing her writing career and using it in the field of human rights. Aside from writing, Ms. Kennedy also enjoys traveling, music and the arts, and is an avid sports fan.

lakenned@usc.edu

“Kigali, Rwanda”

I walked into the church
where the Priest assured everyone they would be safe.
He led them in, prayed with them, and locked the door.
Then aimed his rifle
and opened fire.

They are all still there
in every room, piled on top of one another up to my eye level.
I took a photo.
I snapped the shutter,
so I could remember and process it later.

And in an eerie, disgusting way,
a way that makes me sick to my stomach,
I thought they were beautiful.
They had been killed months ago, but their skeletons were still
clothed and they were beautiful.

The human form is beautiful.

And I felt like my work there would mean something.
I spent the first six months in Rwanda stepping over skulls,

just another white person in Africa with a camera.