Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Women's Personal Growth Category on Amazon

Previously today I noted on Facebook that Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly was 301,927 as liste by Amazon and, also as listed by Amazon, #94 in the category of "Women's Personal Growth."

Cool, I thought. I love these categories they assign. Some are rather questionable - like "Dystopian novel" for FatLand. Goodness, FatLand is "Utopian" more than anything, but some not-very-fat-accepting person's review branded it a "Dystopia" permanently, it seems.

But this one makes me smile. I approve it tremendously."Women's Personal Growth."  I know they are referring to inner and spiritual growth, not size :P  

The journey from feeling as if you are not worthy as a woman because of your size to feeling that your size is part of you, and you are a person, a woman who has things to do and feelings to feel and her way to go through the universe approving and approved of for what she is and what she gives and how she bestows her special and unique attributes.

The journey from feeling that you are stigmatized, unwelcome at any place, silenced, peculiar, an anomaly to feeling that you are welcomed, sought after, voiced, just fine, a most essential part of your family, street, city, nation, world.

The journey from feeling that your talents are useless to feeling that they are very worthy and even miraculous and super super useful.

The journey from feeling that your build and parts are ugly to feeling that they are lovely and even hot.

The journey from feeling that you are sick by the very nature of your size to feeling that you are healthy when health is defined as how one feels instead of a size and numbers.

The journey from feeling that you are not equal to the slimmer people in the room to feeling that you are mor than their equal.

Yes, that Women's Personal Growth category seems to embrace much of what we have been striving for. For once, Amazon, you got us right, and in the process, affirmed what we are and what we are becoming.

For this, thanks.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Love Buzz, by Durette Hauser

This is a poem from Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly. It is by the lovely Durette Hauser, a New Voice, and is entitled Love Buzz.

Durette Hauser

*Love Buzz

The woman has voluptuous curves.
Her hair flows, glowing over her beautiful bosom.
Her cheeks are healthy, desirable.
Her nose and eyes the real disguise.

Her belly loves to be fat and delicious.
Her hips are enchanting, her vagina dancing.
She smiles at her full thighs and calves and thinks of the fun she has had.

Her knees, they are the “Bee’s”. The buzz is all around.
Her feet are firmly on the ground.
Her lovely fat body is craved by her man.
He loves all of her again
and again.

The ultra remarkable unshakable ineluctable Fat Poets 2 Multiple Choice Test.

It's here! It's now! The ultra remarkable unshakable ineluctable Fat Poets 2 Multiple Choice Test. Can you get all of the questions right?  Dare to try!!  (Prize will be offered to the people who either get all of them right or who come up with the funniest multiple choice question(s) on their own.)

I must purchase a copy of Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly (on Kindle or paperback) because a) I need to read the words of the amazing Fat Poets  b) I collect all interesting volumes of poetry  c) I must have something to read when I eat chocolate  d) the book figures prominently in my newest pasta recipe

The publisher of Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly is:  a) William Morris b) Poetic Times c) Dancing Letters d) Pearlsong Press  e) Eerie Hegemony Press

The poet featured on the cover of Fat Poets Speak 2  is:  a) Frannie Zellman  b) Lesleigh Owen c) Anne S. Kaplan  d) Kathy Barron  e) Eileen Rosensteel

The name of one of the featured poets in Fat Poets Speak 2 is  a) Fa la la the willow  b) Miss Temperier  c) John Doughty d) Eileen Rosensteel

The name of the editor of Fat Poets Speak 2 is  a) Jal Maksit  b) Amber Wooten c) Frannie Zellman  d) Cinder Ernest

One of the poems in Fat Poets Speak 2 is entitled   a) Oh, no   b) Oh, yes  c) Love  d) Hate  e) Sea Change

One of the poems in Fat Poets Speak 2 is entitled   a) I know what you keep under your bed  b) I don't know what you keep under your bed  c) I truly hope you don't keep anything under your bed  d) Socks  e) The Cure

Lesleigh Owen, one of the featured poets in Fat Poets Speak 2, teaches a) Physics b) Sociology c) Kantian Philosophy d) Australian Politics  e) The Tao of Cashew Butter

The Fat Poets will be featured in a calendar entitled Fat Poet Hotties. a) yes  b) no  c) How much is the calendar?  d) What are they wearing?

One of the sections in Fat Poets Speak 2 is entitled  a) We  b) They  c) Who  d) Safe Spaces  e) Interesting Places  f) Cloudy Opaque Spaces

Kathy Barron, one of the poets featured in Fat Poets Speak 2, has a poem in it that is written partly in :  a) Swedish  b) French  c) Mandarin  d) Pashto  e) Spanish  f) Esperanto  g) Fallilian

The name of the New Voice in Fat Poets Speak 2 who writes a nationally known blog on Eating Disorders is:   a) Perry Mason  b) Franklin Morse  c) Loretta Masem Jones  d) Deah Schwartz  e) Vella Cordon

The name of the poet in Fat Poets Speak 2 who writes a nationally known blog about politics is:  a)  Gen Dero  b) Andalusia c) Mary Ray Worley  d) Ray Worlo  d) Antonia Messing

The name of the New Voice in Fat Poets Speak 2 who wrote the poem entitled The Thtree Predators is a) MaryM. Stein b) Alice B. Toklas d) Gertrude Stein e) Lemony G. Simon

The name of the New Voice in Fat Poets Speak 2 who is a Unitarian Minister is :  a) Alice Chalmers  b) Deb Lemire  c) Byron Lord George    d) Willow O. Wills

Lesleigh Owen's favorite color is:   a) yellow b) pink c) red  d) blue d) tannish ocher  e) greenish amber

Frannie Zellman's favorite color is:  a) blushing orange b) salmon truth c) blushing pink d) red red e) bluish greenish

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cat Brain

Cat Brain

They looked at a living cat's brain,
attached electrodes.
The cat saw a human.
Her brain turned it into a cat.

The human I see
turns soft.

I could almost lap
its flesh.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fat Poets Speak 2 available officially in paperback and Kindle

Well, it's official. The paperback and Kindle versions of Fat Poets Speak 2:  Living and Loving Fatly are both available from Amazon.

10 of us. 4 from last time. 2 new poets. 4 new activists who are our New Voices. "Revolution in the air." But there is also quiet acceptance, loud exulting, frenetic fun, dancing, love, hate, sadness, happiness,excitement, determination. We range from our thirties to our sixties. We have many many different concerns and ideas.
We are all fat. We are all women. We are all American and thus caught up at times in the fat-hating culture that rings our lives like barbed wire. Yet sometimes we manage or contrive to escape it.

Perhaps we should have our own song.

We come from the north, we come from the south, we come from the east, we come from the west. We are fat poets, and we are the best.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Passover Turkey

Passover Turkey

My brother
was sure
that turkey unaccompanied
by stuffing
would mount its own protest
in his stomach.
Passover turkey, he growled,
was almost on par
with Chanukah/Khanike ham.
But when he thrust
some of the rich dark meat
into his mouth
and deigned to know
the split-baked potato,
apple sauce squash slice
and green peas,
he stopped grumbling
and calling on subterranean stomach deities
and settled down to calm determined eating
with the courage of his incisors.

And the almond macaroons that greeted him for dessert?
They danced.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Voices in Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly

New Voices

I was pleased that four of the five poets from Fat Poets Speak 1 -Kathy Barron, Anne S. Kaplan, Lesleigh Owen and myself- were able to join in contributing poems to Fat Poets Speak 2. It was thrilling also to have Eileen Rosensteel and Mary Worley, the originator of the Fat Poets' Society, as contributors to Fat Poets Speak 2.

But I wanted some new blood, so to speak, some new voices to open our circle a bit. Lo and behold, it turned out that four of our friends from the Fat Acceptance and Fat Activist Movements were willing and able to contribute poems to Fat Poets Speak 2. They are: Durette Hauser, Deb Lemire,  Dr. Deah Schwartz and Mary M. Stein. Check out their bios at the end of Fat Poets Speak 2. How thrilling it was, to include a poem from each of them in our latest volume. Check out their poems, as well.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Haiku-infused poem in Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly

One of the things you will notice about Fat Poets Speak 2:  Living and Loving Fatly is that there are many haiku.

The haiku is deceptively easy to write, but difficult to write well. The images have to evoke each other and connect in some way so as to form one further reaching image in the mind of the reader.

One of the most haunting and evocative poems in the entire book is made up of haiku by Kathy Barron. She wanted to break them up and present them one by one, as individual haiku. But when I looked at them, I knew that they wanted to be presented together, with some of their words in English and some in Spanish. The total effect of keeping them as one poem made out of haiku is that of a hundred butterflies flinging wide their wings; first you see lavender, then black, then red, then green. Then all the lace wings come together in a kaleidoscopic fervor and symphony of color. "Love", "Love 2," and "Love 3" are the poems in this format.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mary Ray Worley

What shall I say of Mary Ray Worley, who founded the Fat Poets' Society at the 2006 NAAFA Convention in the Boston Area?

If you are at all acquainted with Mary, you know that she writes a blog entitled Worley Dervish, in which she discusses important issues of the day and the century. You know that she is a member of Solidarity Sing Along, and that she was issued a citation, along with other members, when they sang in the Madison, WI Capitol Building.

You know that she is passionate about fighting, writing and singing for what she believes.

By some incredible alchemy, Mary seemingly willed the Fat Poets' Society into being by having us all sign our names and email addresses at the poetry workshop I gave them. I think it was entitled Writing Our Fat Selves.

But do you know that she is a wonderful poet, as well?

Here is one of her poems from Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly (Pearlsong Press, 2014).

Mary Ray Worley

Ancient Dreams

Ancient dreams
awake in the longing
of the night.
Who am I
when I close
my eyes?
I am the 
revered body,
the sanctified
I am the
of tribes.
I am pride
into bright days 
of abundance.
I am the
awakening of 
ancient dreams.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lesleigh Owen

I have interviewed Lesleigh Owen -actually Dr. Lesleigh Owen- before, and hope to do so again.

Besides being one of the best poets around, she is also one of the most amazing paranormal romance writers around, under the name Elle Hill. If you haven't checked out "Hunted Dreams" or any of the books in her "Hunted" series, you are missing a treat.

If you haven't yet figured it out, Lesleigh is one of the most intelligent women in her generation. She is also one of the most cat-happy women in her generation.

Here is one of her poems from Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly (Pearlsong Press, 2014).

Lesleigh Owen

How compelling can a poem without angst be?
I told myself not to lift my fingers from this keyboard
but even fevers need to be fed
and eyes require cleaning.
I don’t operate on batteries anymore,
although when I sleep, I have been known to
make a suspicious buzzing noise.

The press and release of routine;
I crave the resentment and comfort of it all.
Without ritual, how could I free myself
to think thoughts that remain unvoiced
and realizations that I forget within the hour?

How can anyone love grays and browns
when blacks and whites shine and stab and pierce
like teeth through flesh?
Is there a strength in being common,
being pretty,
being accommodating,
being the third smartest person
in the world?
Or maybe it’s the be-ing
that pumps potency into the world
in quiet gasps and blinks.

I used to scatter violence in my poems
up above the page so high,
shards twinkling, twinkling
in the sky.
I don’t miss
or covet that walnut-colored, blocky pain,
checking my hair for genetic hints,
white and springy impulses in an otherwise
soft tangle of
innocuous brown curls.
The illusion of power in abuse,
of control in pain,
of devotion in jealousy:
My strength rumbles up from the ground,
rotund and rich
with triple chins and enough cellulite in the belly
to pad the heads of ten or more cats
and the not-as-innocuous brown curls
of my Prince Charming.
I find inspiration in silence
and songs in sighs.

Did you know?
The strongest substances are also the softest.

And because I can’t tell you any other way,
he hurt me for ten years.
And no, it’s not okay when you interrupt me –
even when I say it is.
And I am not broken.
And all those poems I wrote about raw lips gaping,
screaming and singing and rhyming
into vast, dusty silences?
Learn to take a hint.
And I largely dated men because
I wanted my mom to be proud of me.
And most days I cherish this body --
think it should be memorialized in latex
in some museum
for the masses to rub against and dream –
but some days I’d like to revel and roll,
with a jellied messiness that would horrify the nuns,
inside a thin privilege I will never know. 
And guess what, Mom:
Prince Charming was never a boy.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Eileen Rosensteel

Eileen Rosensteel continues to write. She  gives readings in the Madison, WI area. If my wish is ever granted to go back to visit Madison, I will go to one of her readings (I will schedule my visit so that I am there when she gives one/them.).

There is a place in Madison, WI called Gates of Heaven. It used to be a synagogue. It was the oldest in Madison, probably the oldest in Dane County. It is now rented out for social and spiritual functions and gatherings. I have this vision of Eileen giving a reading there. It is a beautiful old wooden building very close to the shores of Lake Mendota.

Eileen writes shorter poems into which she crafts words and worlds of haunting imagery. Anger and delight, sadness, thoughtful wisdom, rebellion and rebirth fill her poems.

From Fat Poets Speak 2:  Living and Loving Fatly

Eileen Rosensteel


The story is told at your mother’s knee
How wonderful your life will be when you are thin.
Your pretty face will shift into beauty.
Awkward and shy transformed into grace and wit,
belle of the ball is what you will be when you are thin.
The myth is passed along in your doctor’s office
knees and hips move painlessly,
diseases from arthritis to West Nile virus avoided
when you are thin it’s as if you will live forever.
TV and magazines tell us stories of those whose
lives have been made perfect through the magic of thin.
Dream jobs, relationships, no more money worries.
Talents exposed when you are thin.
Worshiping at the altars of Diet, Exercise and Willpower
built our culture out of the Myth of Thinness.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kathy Barron

Kathy Barron writes some of the most sensuous poetry I've ever seen.

Kathy is featured in both Fat Poets Speak: Voices of the Fat Poets' Society and Fat Poets Speak 2:  Living and Loving Fatly. Dr. Deah Schwartz, presentation chair,  read "Fat Bitch," one of Kathy's poems from FPS 1, at a Fat Studies presentation for the Popular Culture Association in Albuquerque about a month ago, and it was a smash hit.

But when you read poems Kathy has written for FPS 2, you become aware of a poet who has learned to express her joy and hotness in images redolent of the Florida sun in which they were created and written. Somehow the images fit their creator. It is more than that, however. Somehow Kathy's images communicate the place, the time and their writer so perfectly that they are indeed a perfect embodiment of Kathy - luscious, joyous, questing, teasing, tasting, wondering, wandering, drinking it all in.

We are so lucky that Kathy graces the pages of both books in poetic form.