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 2012 – January 2013
Poetry Review
1st Place Winner 2nd Place Winner
3rd Place Winner Honorable Mention

First Place Winner
Louise Kantro

Louise Kantro
Author Bio:

Louise Kantro, a newly-retired high school English teacher, has published both poetry and prose, and her chapbook,Dwellingplaces, came out in 2010. For fun, she plays bridge, goes to movies and plays, reads, and enjoys "games days" with her family and weekend breakfasts out with her husband.


"Snapshot of Janis, Winter of 1967"

Hands raised, palms out,
she dances, warmed
by her fur hat and coat,
bell-bottoms swinging,
one foot a booted pedestal
for her

her grin as natural
as her frizzy brown hair.

Surely she had not spent
all her time at the Chelsea Hotel
shooting heroin and taking slugs
from a bottle of Southern Comfort.
Surely there had been moments
during and between concerts
when her voice

and that was enough.


Second Place Winner
Salvatore Parascandolo

Salvatore Parascandolo

Author Bio:

At age 10, I moved from Italy to the US with my parents. I fell in love with the English language, and learned it quickly. I remember the moment that I decided to start thinking in English, which became the soil for poetry to emerge from me as if I were taking dictation. I still work that way today.

I wrote, edited, illustrated and photographed for the in-house publications of all the schools and colleges I ever attended, and still not realizing then that Writing was my natural career. Alas, I fell in love with computers (way before videogames existed) and worked in Information Technology for thirty years. Combining IT and Writing, I wrote, then became a senior editor for a national computer magazine, and contributed to several other IT magazines. I co-wrote two books on digital graphics.

Throughout my life, I have gotten inspirations for poetry that stuns me as I’m writing it, and gifts me insights and advice about the life I have lived, and will live. I now have hundreds of finished poems that I will be publishing as collections, starting in June 2013. My first collection is titled “The Far-Away Man”.

I have just finished writing a book that finally reveals a workable, durable strategy to hydrate your body and nourish it with key nutrients to achieve digestive freedom, and prevent or cure many “diseases” that put us into an early grave.Its title (which may change a bit before publication) is:

Younger Than Young
The Secret Liberating Strategy for Youth, Energy, Longevity,
And Success with any Diet



“Birthday Presence”

On your birthday,
your imaginary feet
     will rest on my lap,
        like endless times before,

And we will sip
   imaginary coffee
from each other's
   imaginary mugs.

And we will make our plans,
   and joke to hopeless laughter
   as the perfect evening falls;
We’ll spin far better worlds than this one,
   late into the morning.

We sit now,
   three thousand miles apart.

And you may not know now,
   or let yourself know,
   how much,
   and how long
   I have loved you;

And how through that love for you,
   while breathing in your love for me,
      I finally understood
          what timelessness is.

Third Place Winner
Judith R. Robinson

Judith R. Robinson

Author Bio:

Judith R. Robinson is author of these poetry collections:

The Blue Heart, 2013, Finishing Line Press
Orange Fire, 2102, Main Street Rag
Dinner Date, July, 2009, Finishing Line Press

She is author of the fiction collection:

The Beautiful Wife and other stories, 1996, Aegina Press

She is editor of:

Signatures 1,2 3,4, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2012, Osher, Carnegie Mellon University

The Poetry of Margaret Menamin, vols. 1,2,3, 2010, 2011, 2012, Main Street Rag Publishing

Living Inland, 1989, Bennington Press

She is co-editor of:

Along These Rivers, Quadrant Publishing, 2008

Only the Sea Keeps: Poetry of the Tsunami,2005, Rupa, Inc. and Bayeux Arts

Ms. Robinson’s literary Awards include:
2011: Poetica Chapbook Competiton, runner-up
2011: Rueben Rose International Poetry Award
2010: The Poetry Ark Award
2006: Jane’s Stories Drabble Competiton 1st place
2005: Benjamin Franklin Award, runner-up for Only the Sea Keeps
2005: Skipping Stones Multicultural Award for Only the Sea Keeps

Judith R. Robinson’s anthology, magazine and newspaper publications on request.

She teaches poetry for Osher at Carnegie Mellon University.



How to tolerate crowds

of human strangers

all those bodies that sweat

and push and displace

space and air and seats

on buses or clog the roadways

I don’t mean robbers

rapists or molesters

or anything like that

I mean the strangers who

load up on wine in restaurants

and scream their shrill

heads off when you are trying to eat

the ones who smell lousy

that you have to wait behindin long lines at the store

the ones who run red lights

and cut you off in traffic

and what about all the pretending

that goes on? One honest curmudgeon

said hell is other people but few

will admit that is the truth

nor will most admit a reasonable

preference for dogs.


Honorable Mention
Alex Hamilton-Brown

Alex Hamilton-Brown

Author Bio:

As an award-winning filmmaker, Alex Hamilton-Brown has produced documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the U.S. Discovery Channel, U.K. Television networks and the National Film Board of Canada.

Originally from Kilsyth, Scotland, he now lives in the small town of Bancroft just north of Toronto, where he devotes much of his time to writing poetry and short stories. Over the last three years, Alex has won eight awards for his poetry, and is currently creating a collection of poems entitled: “Animal Voices.” It is about the communications and emotional lives of animals, and is written in a variety of poetic styles.


“ Lakeside Morning”

there he is
standing by the lakeside
a boy, playing his part
in the symphony of
early morning

on the brink
of the dawning day
glissanding rays
kiss feathered pines
and the hair
of his head

and there
in consummate harmony
the boy and the morning are one
in another turn of time
around the sun


Honorable Mention
John J. McGuire

Alex Hamilton-Brown

Author Bio:

Ex – paratrooper. Jack McGuire, author of the poem The Miner, an honorable mention at the Writers Place, is a screenwriter, Civil War Novelist, currently prospects for gold in the desert.


“The Miner”

I was lost out in the desert searching for a spot of shade

When I saw this flop eared burro walking briskly up a grade

Looking further up the hill I spied his tawny mate

A healthy looking critter who too was swift of gate

So I dropped in behind them as the sun begin to set

They were all the hope I had, a dying man’s last breath

The road was a rocky one, winding up and out of sight

But I kept a on after them well into the night

By now my feet were dragging, my lips parched and dry

Those critters a step or two ahead of me on that road to the sky

Then I heard the sound a digging that was music to my ears

If men were up there mining they’re sure to have some beer

It wasn’t too much further when I stumbled to the top

Out of breath and weary now, a sorry looking sot

The suddenly as a shadow or as lightning in a dream

Right there on that mountain top was a deep wide stream

My needs were downright simple, to drink and then be cool

Without a moment’s hesitation I dove right in that pool

I guzzled down a gallon when a brilliant flash of light

Showed a dozen grizzled miners moving into sight

There was something about them I didn’t really understand

But I stepped on out a dripping and offered them my hand

They all shouted and laughed and made me feel at home

But from out of that crowd appeared a man with features cut from stone

He looked like grandpa, who was mountain of a man

Or another old miner, my favorite Uncle Dan

That’s when I come to realize I had found that pot of gold

I had made it up to Jericho and to the Mother Lode.


Honorable Mention
Marian Kaplun Shapiro

Marian Kaplun Shapiro

Author Bio:

Marian Kaplun Shapiro is the author of a professional book, Second Childhood (Norton, 1988), a poetry book, Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play (Plain View Press, 2007) and two chapbooks: Your Third Wish, (Finishing Line, 2007); and The End Of The World, Announced On Wednesday (Pudding House, 2007). A Quaker and a psychologist, her poetry often embeds the topics of peace and violence by addressing one within the context of the other. A resident of Lexington, she was named Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts in 2006, in 2008, in 2010, and 2011. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2012.


“ Wish List”

Rainbow arching the highway after a thunderstorm.

Sunset seen through stained glass. SteChapelle.

moonrise over our house

your hand

               (holding mine)