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 2013 – January 2014
Poetry Review
1st Place Winner 2nd Place Winner
3rd Place Winner Honorable Mention #1
Honrable Mention #2

First Place Winner
Katherine R. Freedman

Katherine R. Freedman
Author Bio:

Katherine Rose Freedman is a student at Columbia University Teachers College, where she is pursuing a Master’s degree in English Education, with plans to teach middle or high school English, as well as to focus on her own writing and travel interests. A 2013 Barnard College graduate, she won the Lenore Marshall Barnard Prize for poetry. For further information and more examples of her poetry, visit www.katherinefreedman.com.

"Testing 1, 2, 3"

You grip the fleeting seconds when nothing has happened yet.
The day merely whispers of chalk
and dim bruises of ink.
Soon you will have to let go.
Let the current
pull
tug
change you in little ways that add up
day after day.
But for now
You cocoon under covers, eyes unopened
All you see:
murky shapes of muted sunlight
like pale and dark shadows braided together.
This is the testing 1,2,3
The part of the day with no further pressures than
Inhale, exhale.
No saying how the day will go.
Isn’t that incredible
if you really think about it?
No saying how the day will go!
!
!
!
You may have a vague idea of what will happen
but the colors haven’t dried yet.
They’ll never turn out quite as you expected.
Your go-to blue might come out green today
purple might tinge red
orange might realize it has more in common with pink than it thought.

 

Second Place Winner
Cornelius Jones

Cornelius Jones

Author Bio:

Cornelius Jones Jr., an award winning actor, spoken-word artist, educator, author & entrepreneur has appeared on the Broadway stage and featured on the Logo TV Network. Balancing on one leg like Yogis, high kicking like Radio City Rockettes while harmonizing like students on Glee, he’s ecstatic to be a four-time winner at The Writers Place Poetry Review. An emerging nationally recognized theater/spoken-word artist & HIV/AIDS advocate, Cornelius is a Graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study where he holds a Masters of Arts in Dramatic Writing, Educational Theater, and Performance. His current works of plays, performance, poetry & verse explore documenting the self and oral history of diverse ethnicities and queer culture while exploring the intersections of sexuality, gender, spirituality, and HIV/AIDS. A beaming Yoga Instructor (RYT-200) he currently resides in Los Angeles, CA sharing he(art) and soul through Art, Politics, & everything Yoga. You can find his debut poetic memoir, Shadows & Lights, at www.lulu.com and www.corneliusjonesjr.com. Don’t hesitate to follow him online at www.corneliusjonesjr.com and in the world of social media (i.e. FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin…hmm did we miss a site…oh yeah, Google+), he’d love to hear from you.

 

“BiPolarism Flow”

I watched him as he played wii,
this dancing game.
He said it is what he does all day
when not working for this big
Network exec.
Intrigued.
Not sure why my ass stayed glued to his
couch soaked in dog hairs.
At any other time I would have left before the heart beats.
So much clutter in his space
and he says, “I was once on this reality show
where they come and de-clutter your space.”
He was speaking truth as he reached for his
Macbook underneath a pile of peculiar objects,
some with sharp edges and others plasticity edges,
couldn’t quite make it out. “What is this shit,” uttered to self.
One video clip: the professional cleaner
found a dead bird in his ‘fridge as she screamed and
practically threw up in her own mouth.
I looked at him in bewilderment, probably piercing judgemental
eyes and still questioned myself, “Why am I not leaving?”
He says, “I was going to have a burial for the bird. It had only been there
overnight,” as he closes the computer screen.
He proceeds back to the television,
using hands matrix like to control the start/stop selection of
the remote buttons,
he resumes his jam out session
like young asian boys in skinny jeans
and high top sneakers catching every beat on
Dance Dance Revolution’s arcade game.
His blonde hair begins to drip of sweat,
his tan thermal shirt stains a dark grey,
armpits drenched.
He is focused and he is smiling like baby’s first
Christmas.
Me: just watch
            eyes fixated
                       deciphering his energy
                       like architecture and artwork at the Getty.
He has two adorable dogs, who loves to be rubbed…
           I love dogs.
His pug is old and lazy and fat and lovable.
She plops here belly on top of my sneakers
looks up at me and releases a sneeze, barely missing my eye.
I remove her, look at him.
He laughs, makes a comment “Oh that was a big one,”
and resumes his game.

I arrived thinking we
Were going to make out
Exchange tongues,
Suction lips around
nipples
and shafts.

He played wii, I watched.
rationalized internally and
wrestled with my emotions…
His apartment was a mess
He was a scattered mess
I stayed and flowed with the mania.
I am no different, he could be good for me.

 

Third Place Winner
Jack Kolkmeyer

Jack Kolkmeyer

Author Bio:

Jack Kolkmeyer studied English Literature/ Creative Writing at Ohio University in the 1960's where he developed a special interest in the Romantic, Imagist and Beat poets. He was the Editor of Sphere, the Ohio University literary magazine, from 1967-68. His writings have appeared in numerous publications and have been broadcast on his popular Santa Fe radio programs, The International House of Wax and Brave New World, and presented with his performance group, The Word Quartet.

Jack moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1975 to study filmmaking at The Anthropology Film Center and worked there professionally in education, broadcasting and the performing arts, journalism and urban/regional planning. He currently resides and writes in Delray Beach, Florida. His writing projects include music and city planning subjects and several music related screenplays.

He recently completed Tribal,his first full-length book of poems.

driguana@earthlink.net

“The Corn Dancers”

you wait
for that flicker of light green
to break on through
to the upper side

from the seed
planted with a prayer
to your grandmother
who showed you how
to stick your finger in the ground
and gently plant the maize force
pointy side down

you wait
for that one-time morning
when you a seedling watcher
a cloud enshrouded dawn talker
mark these horizontal risings
on the mountain moorings
so next year you know again
the precise relationship
between your plantings
and the solar almanac
as the seeds become sun spurts
a reminder that springs have not changed
for millennia gone before

you anticipate
the color blind mutations
the herbal maturation
from slender stalking youth
to the laying forth of leaves
that quickly learn their rhythmic rustling
musical patterns
played in soft duets with Aeolian companions
while rooted harmonically
in the ground

you pace
on your rounded garden stones
you water and you pry
you prod the soil
you poke around
watching for invaders
in the air or underground

you celebrate
that youthful graduation
as tessellation heralds change
from growth to obligation

springing forth the need to offspring
and the relentless surge of promulgation
beautifully embellished on the serpent's skin
hiding in your garden of the eaten

you know the feel of those silky golden strands
on their first moist moments
and you stroke them as your lover
as you watch
the mad male pollen
pulsed by summer sirens
into the fertile covens
of the sultry afternoon

you hear
with their ears
the blissful passing of days
the insect songs of night
the wistful bird flights
and the patient rabbit heartbeats

you finally see
a kernel of past oral truth
peering from its husky linen coat
and you know the wait is over
as the amber waves hello

a somber harvest moon
reigns remindingly in the obsidian night sky
and for a moment you are saddened
that these once a year life spans
have fled so fleetingly
so relentlessly
with such growing abandon

and then you hear the ancient corn dancers
the scratching of their sun bleached bones
the shaking of their drying endosperms
the rattle of their rustic rhythms
playing softer duets
still rooted harmonically
in the ground

you kneel

and then you see the ancient corn dancers

as winter steps along

 

 

Honorable Mention
George R. Hopkins

George R. Hopkins

Author Bio:

In teaching I have found a certain “mystical, magical” quality to poetry that speaks to the body, mind, and soul. There is something about a poem that can touch a person in a special way. As Assistant Principal of the Susan E. Wagner High School English Department, I coordinated the New York City High School Poetry Contest. After retiring, I worked at the Community Agency for Senior Citizens on Staten Island and started a Senior Citizen Poetry Contest and Festival. Seniors over the age of sixty submit poems that are published in a yearly anthology and distributed free to each senior. The poems are judged independently, and we celebrate all the poets at an annual poetry festival. In 2003, I was honored by NY 1 (a cable station) as New Yorker of the Week for my work with senior writers and intergenerational poetry programs. I continue to volunteer in coordinating CASC’s Senior Citizen Poetry Contest and Festival which is now in its fifteenth consecutive year and growing each year.

I have taught writing workshops for the Noble Maritime Collection and for Poets and Writers, Inc. I also have written a series of award winning mystery/thrillers/suspense novels. My website is www.george-hopkins.com. My email address is hopkins109@aol.com.

My teaching experiences range from being an exchange teacher in Bayamon, Puerto Rico to teaching in NYC high schools, Middlesex College, St. John’s University, Columbia Teachers College and the Options Program at the College of Staten Island. I was twice honored by the NY Association of Teachers as Teacher of the Year.

 

“Some Other Place”

He could have been the boy I saw
Sitting on the curb
Watching Snoopy and Sponge Bob float by
At the Macy’s Day Parade.

His eyes wide and smiling
His hair flowing in the wind
His little hands clapping
As he sat upon the curb
Flanked by forests of oblivious legs.

He could have been that boy I saw
Sitting with tattered clothes and hopeful eyes
Gazing at massive balloons up in the sky
At the Macy’s Day Parade.

He could have been the quiet one
Who always sat in the back
Drawing in a marbled notebook
Or staring out the classroom window.

He never caused any trouble.
He came to class and picked up
Grains of lessons like a sparrow.
He nibbled knowledge here and there.

He didn’t have a cell phone.
He rarely spoke and never raised his hand.
Yet his dark eyes saw things I knew
That others in the class would never see.

He could have been that boy
Staring at the green board
In Nike shoes and Izod sweater
Wandering in worlds I’d never know.

Amid the acrid smoke and chilling screams
A thousand years from then
Amid the crumbing mortar and the mangled metal
I looked down at him – A man I did not know,

A man with torn and twisted limbs floating in a scarlet sea,
A man whose dark eyes stared up at me, but did not see.
His eyes would never see Macy Day balloons
Dancing down 5th Avenue in gusty winds
Nor dreaded homework scribbled on a board.

I wondered as I cradled my M-16
And bent to close his sightless eyes
What this young man could have been
Had he and I but met some other place.

 

Honorable Mention
Lynn V. Sadler

Lynn V. Sadler

Author Bio:

Former college president Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler has published, in academics, 5+ books and 72 articles and has edited 22 books/proceedings and three national journals and published a newspaper column. In creative writing, she has published 10 poetry chapbooks and 4 full-length collections (another in press), over 100 short stories, 4 novels, a novella, and a short story collection (another in press) and written 41 plays. As the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet 2013-2015, she mentors student and adult poets.

lynnsadler2@gmail.com

 

“Unsaid”

A loud beating on the cabin door.
I instantly roused, shook my husband.
I could not understand, had no English,
only French. What was wrong
my fluently-lovely Haitian husband
did not know or say.
When the man at the door had gone,
he told me, in whispers,
we must wake our daughters,
all of us to dress for warm
and inlifejackets.

I went a little mad, would have gone more,
but he whispered we mustn’t scare the girls.
What was wrong he did not know or say
but bade me gather, quickly, our worldly goods
such as could be carried on his person.

We left the cabin,
now much the sweeter to me.
All was clatter, running,
corridors and corridors,
a maze not to be fathomed.
The people went this way and that,
though my husband seemed to know
how we must go. I thought his confidence
mere show for his family. For me.

We did not speak. Occasionally he looked
back at me. I saw agony, purpose, tried to smile.
He picked up our older daughter then,
reached behind to grab my hand.
I had the younger riding on one hip,
held her in place with but one arm.
She was so light,
floating lightness on the sea.

I don’t remember screams,
only people frantic but quiet.
We reached the place of lifeboats.
Still, what was wrong
my husband did not know or say,
just gently placed our daughters in the boat,
kissed their heads, me upon the lips,
held my hand as I climbed in,
pried his from mine.
I thought he meant to follow,
but, in an instant, he was gone.

I never saw him again.
The death list from the Titanic later
told me what he did not know
or did not wish to say.