Imagine it Different

I wrote this under the section “i love you because there is no other way” but I don’t know how many people check that section and I really want to share this!

I went to a bookstore on Bathurst today called A Different Book List (GO!) and fell in loooove. It’s a bookstore focusing on Africa, Caribbean, Asian, and Native American literature – poetry, fiction, non-fiction, everything! I bought a book of haiku (one of my favourite kinds of poetry) called morning haiku by Sonia Sanchez. It is full of beautiful, abstract haiku that stirs emotions and ignites rich images. Here are four of my favourites:

the morning sky
so lovely imitates
your laughter

your fast beat
riding the air settles
in our bones

your sound
sweet perfume
on my thighs.

An avalanche
of reds and pinks exploding
into jazz

“…she pays homage to peace workers and civil rights activists … Sometimes deceptively simple, her lyrics hold a very powerful load of emotion and meaning.”* I’m excited to read alll of these haiku poems and even more excited to head back to A Different Book List and buy more books and support the independent bookstore world, something I haven’t done in a while, unfortunately!

What’s your favourite bookstore?!

*Sanchez, S. morning haiku. Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press. 2010.



“Children’s poetry requires precision tools, a childlike ear, a capacity for spirited irreverence, and a scrupulous lack of pretension”

I love word play. It’s fun and creative and explored imagination, an important part to poetry and life. Who has more imagination than children! You voted, so here is your blog on American poetry! (Ok, so after I wrote this, I realized it’s not so much at all American … my apologies.) There could be a lot of info under this category, so I’m going to trim it down and focus on American poetry by children and poetry aimed at children to put a neat spin on things! This should be interesting! One of the reasons I love writing this blog is because I, through research, learn just as much as (hopefully) my readers are through the one-stop at my blog! So enjoy!

It’s absolutely stunning to read up on these children (I’m talking about 3-15 age group) and see how motivated, optimistic, and strong they are! There’s so much hope and no room for self-doubt and negative vibes. It’s so uplifting to read their poetry and see how they envision their future. For example, a young girl of 12 has all this going on: she has written three short stories, 30+ poems, and working on two novels! There aren’t many adult poets who have all that going on with the enthusiasm of a child! With the mind frame of a child, innocent, fresh-eyed, and hopeful, poetry is in one of its purest forms. Pure thought, no hold-backs, imagination, wonder, insight, truth.

Writing poetry for children is a little different, I find. It is “better,” for lack of a better term, in that it’s well constructed, witty, and direct, but it is created for children by adults, and a lot of us adults have lost that hopeful spirit and inner child. But perhaps those who write poetry for children do so because they are the ones who still have that sense of wonder and can still connect to the child they once were enabling them to make the connection with children through poetry. I find one of the main differences between poetry written by kids and poetry written for kids, is that poetry written by kids is more real and down-to-earth, discussing the little things of life that really make children wonder and ask questions and learn:

Sparkling rays of golden cheer
Fill the air throughout the year.
When you find it, you will hear
The sound of laughing somewhere near.

Sunshine (I’m not going to paste names of children poets)

Poetry written by adults for children often take on a silly tone and topic to please and entertain as in this example by Kenn Nesbitt:

Shorty Small
was very tall
despite his humble name.
In fact, his height
was quite a sight,
and Shorty’s claim to fame.

Yes, Shorty Small
was so, so tall,
to reach to comb his hair,
he’d have to climb,
for quite some time,
a ladder way up there.

To tie his shoes,
he had to use
a rope or knotted sheet
to clamber down
toward the ground
to even reach his feet.

And that is all
of Shorty Small
that’s worthy to report.
For, overall,
although he’s tall,
his tale is rather short.

The Tall Tale of Shorty Small

While that poem is fantastic (a new favourite of mine, I think!), its goal is to make children laugh and picture funny situations. It still allows children to use their imagination, but lacks that purity and innocence Sunshine throws out there. Poetry written by adults for children can be a fantastic way to introduce children to things in life that will soon be more prominent in their starry-eyed worlds and more difficult to digest. This poem by (American) poet Mary Ann Hoberman is an example as she discusses mortality in a way children might be able to relate to and understand:

Think how fast a year flies by
A month flies by
A week flies by
Think how fast a day flies by
A Mayfly’s life lasts but a day
A single day
To live and die
A single day
How fast it goes
The day
The Mayfly
Both of those.
A Mayfly flies a single day
The daylight dies and darkness grows
A single day
How fast it flies
A Mayfly’s life
How fast it goes.


I just remembered a poem I wrote as a kid in Grade 2. I called it Days of the Week and it went like this: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. The ones I write today aren’t much better, I can tell you that! I feel I lost my inner child along the way, which just inspires me to find her again and write about bugs, the sky, my mom, and the days of the week. Take a page out of the book of children all over America, all over the WORLD (I just had to include America somehow as I said this blog would be focused on American poets haha), and embrace your inner child and fine your imagination and sense of wonder again! Have fun!

Life’s Too Short for Memories

The poet is “a part of paradise,” though “caught … in a cage of earth.”
The Poet I
Isaac Rosenberg 

Hello, all! I apologize for my lack of presence in the blogging world. School, interviews, On the Danforth … it adds up!

I have decided to talk this week of an English poet who died in WW1, Isaac Rosenberg. Rosenberg lived until he was 28 and during his short life, he managed to produce something that left its readers feeling thankful and gives us a sense of how lucky we are to be alive. He did not glorify war as other poets (Tennyson, Rupert Brooke), but treated it with respect and horror. Rosenberg created poetry that relayed his thoughts on how some of us live in a dead world, a world we create as we shut ourselves in and can’t shed light on the events that occur around us. Even surrounded by war, death, and rot, Rosenberg still managed to find a way to enjoy being alive. What’s more, is how he found a way to relay this to us through writing, art, and poetry.

Rosenberg had an economically unfriendly upbringing and although he was against the war, he enlisted to make some money for his mother as a soldier and was killed in the Battle of Arras in 1918.  Rosenberg wrote in a variety of styles, sometimes with a strong rhythm and rhyme scheme (The Mirror) and sometimes with no rhyme scheme and short lines (Break of Day in the Trenches) and sometimes his poems have more a prose feel to them (Returning, We Hear the Larks). I find Rosenberg’s poetry when he is not writing about war has more rhythm and rhyme than those he writes about his detest for it. Perhaps this is because when writing about war he uses his passion against it to structure his poem and the passion and anger and sadness makes form and rhyme obsolete. Who cares if a poem rhymes, when there are people dying all around? Or perhaps his life felt more structured before the war and his poems echo this.

The Mirror

It glimmers like a wakeful lake in the dusk narrowing room.
Like drowning vague branches in its depth floats the gloom,
The night shall shudder at its face by gleams of pallid light
Whose hands build the broader day to break the husk of night.

No shade shall waver there when your shadowless soul shall pass,
The green shakes not the air when your spirit drinks the grass,
So in its plashless water falls, so dumbly lies therein
A fervid rose whose fragrance sweet lies hidden and shut within.

 Only in these bruised words the glass dim-showing my spirit’s face,
Only a little colour from a fire I could not race,
To glimmer through eternal days like an enchanted rose,
The potent dreamings of whose scent are wizard-locked beneath its glows.  

Rosenberg looked up to Keats and loved “splendid phrasing” as Keats did and wrote with fierce and sensual imagery. “It seems you inwardly grin as you pass/ Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes,/ Less chanced than you for life,/ Bonds to the whims of murder,/Sprawled in the bowels of the earth,/ The torn fields of France” (Break of Day in the Trenches). 

You Can’t Smell the Roses, But You Can See They’re There

“In Slow-Moving Target, Sue Wheeler continues to delve into her past as well as to wrestle with the chaos of the present. Here is a poet who keenly observes the world and its people with humour and love. I will return to these pages again and again for their verbal surprises and unflinching honesty.  While highly intelligent, these poems are not intellectual; they speak to us in a language that packs a passionate wallop.”

Patricia Young

This post will just be a small discussion on Canadian poet Sue Wheeler. I recently went to BMV (my favourite book store) on Bloor and while looking through the Canadian poetry (a rather small section check out my Oh, Canada page for Canadian poems! Make suggestions if you please!) I came across Slow-Moving Target, Wheeler’s second compilation. I hadn’t read anything by Wheeler, but after taking a quick glimpse through her poems, I decided to buy the book and blog about her and her works!

Just by reading the back of this book and looking at the table of contents and the titles of these works, one can see how her  poems reflect on real, basic, life experiences — her experiences. After reading the poems throughout the book, it can be even more seen how Wheeler uses her poems as an outlet for frustrations, sorrows, joys, and anger that can be found in every family, home, and life.

The mostly enjambment lines of her poetry and the shortness of them speeds the readers eye along. This could be a way of showing how life speeds along no matter what happens throughout, whether good or bad. Wheeler’s choices for topics depict home life as a constant. Family, relationships, money, kids, life in general is always a constant. However, Wheeler also shows how once in a while it’s nice to focus on the good things, regardless of her mainly sad and melancholy tone and voice. She does make sure to have the reader understand that the joyful and momentous moments don’t slow life down, perhaps to get the point across that these moments should be cherished even more and focused on more than the negative. Even though the negative can outweigh the positive in life when it comes to the occurrence rate, the effect the positive moments have on our lives can greatly outweigh the negative if we let them!

Wheeler’s use of imagery is prominent, bringing the reader into the poem. Where there is a lack of imagery, her descriptions of emotion and state are so vivid, they work just as well as imagery, as seen in the poem below, Snow Diary.

Snow Diary

1. The Thing About Snow

It’s like we’re hung over.
Where are we?
Who said those crazy things?
It snows, and the air
is a skein of twister words.
The third day we manage a longish walk.

One thing about snow,
it testifies who’s been there: child
in gumboots, deer, otter, mouse.
When we slip
into loops of resentment
it’s too cold or too hot everywhere.
How do the little creatures get by?
We even see a spider letting herself down
on a thread of her own device.
I’ll tell you something:
Once, and for a long time, I thought

I was a slow-moving target for love.
Today I’d settle for a truce
with that is fixed and repetitive
in myself. lines and circles of footprints
plod past the bare-armed cherry.

Where are you?

2. Otherwise

It was a fine snow, as snow goes,
and it’s going summoned all kinds of evidence:
crocus and iris, laundry on the line.
Summoned me eight feet in the air
to clip and saw, helping the apple tree
find green reminders of her best self.
Why do I bank the hurts and careless words?
(Nero, is that 50s epic,
saying “Septimus, bring me my tear vial.’)
Thank god you take stock otherwise:
good times, dependabilities, gifts.
It’s all how you count.One,
one, the whiter-than-white buffleheads
slip beneath the water.
Clean-as-they’ll-get shirts are pegged
in place, blind as busts of emperors.
Their arms reach. A breezy faith
rises and passes through them.
I am the one who carries tools
up a ladder. Who decides how to shape
this tree.

Wheeler, Sue. Slow-Moving Target. Brick Books:London, Ontario. 2000.

And the winner is …

We are all so foolish … we have become beautiful without even knowing it.
Billy Collins

From the votes of the poll I posted last week, William “Billy” Collins is the next poet I’m going to research and discuss. From what I’ve read so far, I’m loving this guy! He seems to talk about real things and real thoughts in a down-to-earth manner with hints of humour now and then. Born in 1941 in New York, Collins is a professor, a poet, and the writer of several books, the latest published in 2008. Collins has a Ph.D in English from University of California and is currently a professor at Lehman College and the City University of New York. He also teaches seminars and poetry workshops. Although sometimes called “the most popular poet in America,” I feel there isn’t enough seen or known by the general public about this talented, funny, respectful poet, hence this post!

Collins’ Poetry
I find Collins’ poetry to be stable and fun. He discusses things in a philosophical manner, but does so in a way that is easy to follow and enlightening, rather than frustrating and confusing, as I find philosophy to be! Collins is known for his inviting tone and has said his poems might unfold logically but “the progress is usually toward something that is beyond my sense of logic,” (Collins), which can be seen in his poem “I Go Back to the House for a Book” (which I have posted on my other page “hello, nice to meet you” under “J’adore”). Collins was the first to win the Mark Twain award for Humour in Poetry and although some of poems have a seemingly destitute and melancholy feel, there is always a little bit of light that shines through. Otherwise, his dry humour and anecdotal poems make every line worth reading!

The Influence
After winning the Mark Twain award for Humour in Poetry, how could we not feel compelled to write with a little more wit and creativity! It takes a lot of talent to write about a serious or philosophical matter and make it entertaining and unforgettable with occasional witticisms and a joke every now and then, and this is something Collins does so well. Even through this humous, some of his poetry seems to be charged with inquisition into a serious matter. This can also be seen in poetry by Robert Service and other poets (who are still alive) such as Rob Padgett, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and Heather McHugh. It’s wonderful when one writes seriously about serious matters and humorously about funny matters, but when you can join the two together to create this world of witty observations and questions that leave the reader with a smile and a desire to think, then that is illuminating.

Candle Hat

In most self-portraits it is the face that dominates:
Cezanne is a pair of eyes swimming in brushstrokes,
Van Gogh stares out of a halo of swirling darkness,
Rembrant looks relieved as if he were taking a breather
from painting The Blinding of Sampson.

But in this one Goya stands well back from the mirror
and is seen posed in the clutter of his studio
addressing a canvas tilted back on a tall easel.

He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew
we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head
which is fitted around the brim with candle holders,
a device that allowed him to work into the night.

You can only wonder what it would be like
to be wearing such a chandelier on your head
as if you were a walking dining room or concert hall.

But once you see this hat there is no need to read
any biography of Goya or to memorize his dates.

To understand Goya you only have to imagine him
lighting the candles one by one, then placing
the hat on his head, ready for a night of work.

Imagine him surprising his wife with his new invention,
the laughing like a birthday cake when she saw the glow.

Imagine him flickering through the rooms of his house
with all the shadows flying across the walls.

Imagine a lost traveler knocking on his door
one dark night in the hill country of Spain.
“Come in, ” he would say, “I was just painting myself,”
as he stood in the doorway holding up the wand of a brush,
illuminated in the blaze of his famous candle hat.


This is just a practice blog

Hello all! This is just a blog I was using to practice HTML codes. Just ignore it and it’ll be gone in a week or so! I’m writing a new blog today, so stay posted!

Natural headache remedies

Take proactive steps toward headache management and reduce dependence on painkillers.

By Dr. Joey Shulman

The Facts

Everyone has experienced a headache at some point. Yet for some, chronic headaches or migraines are a fact of life. In Canada alone it is estimated that over 5 million people suffer from chronic headaches. Instead of struggling through your day with a headache or feeling foggy due to medication side effects, identifying your headache triggers and implementing natural approaches can provide great relief.

3 Kinds of Headaches

There are three major categories of headaches, according to the American Medical Journal:

    Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Symptoms typically include a dull, nonthrobbing pain in the back of the neck or in a “headband” distribution.
    Migraine headaches, which can be quite debilitating, often begin on one side of the head and can worsen due to exposure to bright lights, sounds or smell. Symptoms may also include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting or changes in vision.
    Cluster headaches are extremely painful one-sided headaches that occur in small clusters of several headaches in a short period of time, followed by a period of remission where headaches do not occur for weeks or months.

Some Causes

Some common headache triggers include:

    high levels of stress
    poor eating and sleeping patterns
    dietary triggers such as food additives or preservatives
    environmental factors
    food triggers

Food For Thought

There is a variety of chemicals and preservatives found in food that have been shown to be headache triggers. These include foods that contain a member of the amine group of organic chemical compounds, called tyramine. These foods include:

    aged cheese
    sour cream
    soy sauce

Meat products that contain nitrates. Nitrates are put into meats to keep their color pink. However, in addition to being carcinogenic (potentially cancer causing), one of the other possible side effects of meats containing nitrates is headaches. Meat products that commonly contain nitrates include hot dogs, bacon, corned beef, bologna and pastrami. Nitrate-free meats are now available in most stores wherever meat is sold.

The flavor-enhancing chemical monosodium glutamate (MSG) has also been documented to be a headache trigger for some people. Ingestion of the artificial sweetener aspartame has been shown to trigger migraines in a small proportion of people.

Relief Suggestions

The conventional medical approach to treating headaches often involves a variety of medications. However, there are numerous natural approaches that have been shown to be extremely effective and without side effects. These approaches include:

    Research has shown acupuncture to have significant benefits on all types of headaches. In a preliminary trial, 18 of 26 people suffering from migraine headaches demonstrated an improvement in symptoms following therapy with acupuncture; they also had a 50 per cent reduction in the use of pain medication.
    Relax and relieve.
    Emotional stress and muscle tension can be the underlying cause of a number of health problems, including headaches. Practising muscle-relaxing and stress-relieving therapies such as massage, yoga and meditation can have an enormous positive effect.
    Eat right.
    Eliminate potential food triggers from the diet on a one-by-one basis for a two- to three-week period and monitor the frequency and intensity of headaches.
    Write it out.
    Start a daily headache journal to be able to properly monitor any improvement.
    Stock up on vitamins.
    Various mineral and vitamin therapies that have been shown to be beneficial for headaches include supplementing with magnesium, calcium or fish oils. For example, preliminary research in a group of women showed that supplementing with magnesium (usually 200 mg per day) reduced the frequency of migraines in approximately 80 per cent of those treated.

The Close

Instead of letting your next headache take the fun out of your day, start by doing a little investigation into your potential underlying triggers. In addition, take active, natural steps to ensure you keep muscular tension and emotional stress at bay.

Quick Fixes

When you have a dull pain, get some rest. This pain shouldn’t last any longer than three days. For a sharp pain, drink lots of water and get your headache checked out if the pain persists after 24 hours. If you feel a throbbing pain in your head, a massage is a great way to feel better. But if you still feel this pain after a week, get to a doctor.

Kind Of Pain What To Do When To Worry
Dull Pain Get Rest After Three Days
Sharp Pain Drink Water After 24 Hours
Throbbing Pain Get a Massage After a week

Running Back Again

Not too long ago, I was writing my own poetry in mostly free verse, sometimes with rhyme. I took a class at Brock where the small group of us learned about different forms of poetry, which was definitely eye-opening! ( After taking this course, I tried writing in all the new styles I was learning … not very successfully, but at least it was fun to try.

One of my favourite poetic styles is called a palindrome. This word is derived from the Greek word palindromia, which means running back again. Generally referring to a word or phrase that can be read the same backward and forward (hannah, race car, able was I ere I saw Elba), when talking about the poetic form, a palindrome refers to lots of lines or stanzas, where the first half of the poem is repeated in reverse in the second half of the poem. (This is difficult to explain! I got this info from the book I will list below.)

The palindrome is a fairly new and unknown style, so I thought I’d bring some attention to it! It’s incredibly creative and takes a lot of effort. So far, I haven’t even been able to write an entire poem like this! “What lends the palindrome its power is the shift in emphasis or meaning when the lines are repeated, which allows the poet to give a different perspective in each half of the poem,” (Braid, K. & Shreve, S. 2005*). When writing the repeated lines in the second half of the poem, tenses can be altered, words slightly adjusted, and phrases switched. Rules are just a guideline after all!

Palindromes can be found in so many instances in the world around us — music, science, and dates. It’s surprising that something that surround us as much as palindromes can has not been a more popular concept in poetry, especially since it can be so powerful and inspiring. When writing a palindrome, there are many ways the poem can go when rules are bent and creativity is used. Palindromes, that happen so naturally in life, demand creativity. They also read so beautifully and the repetition creates charge and urgency and forces the reader to look at what has already been said in a different light.

Here are some wonderful examples of palindrome’s. Why not use them as inspiration and try to write one yourself!


the women is falling
from a mountain.
She leans
into a bed of wind.
Her eyes close —
a moment of deep rest.
A backdrop of clouds
tenderfly pulls away.
She sink so softly.
Her body still yearns to float
although it know
the air isn’t water. It ripples
through her hair and clue shirt
intimate and charged.
Second by second
the wind’s hands releasing.
She comes through its muscle
in a world that tilts,
the forst a freen smear,
her colours melting into landscape.
ambiguous and beautiful.

Ambiguous and beautiful,
her colours melting into landscape,
the forest, a green smear
in a wold that tilts.
She comes through its muscle,
the wind’s hands releasing
second by second
intimate and charged
through her hair and blue shirt.
The air isn’t water — it ripples,
although it knows.
Her body still yearns to float.
She sinks so softly,
tenderly pulls away
a backdrop of clouds.
A moment of deep rest —
her eyes close
into a bed of wind.
She leans
from a mountain.
The woman is falling

Fiona Tinwei Lam


Her husband is a gentleman and, despite all, she loves him. His image
stays in her mind even when he is away in another country. She knows
he is important and that is why she doesn’t pry into his affairs,
whether at home or away. There is no changing him, and besides
he is a good father. They are comfortable. never have to confess their truth
to anyone other than themselves. They do as they like and
she likes it that way. She spends her days in her garden, no scrutiny there.
She dislikes scrutiny, being laid bare. her family revealed only in photographs
arranged on the mantle at home, Christmas 1981, her youngest a baby then,
pink-cheeked and fussing for a nipple. So much has changed.
Far away in a country where her husband is a giant, still
broad as a table top, he shuffles into a glass booth, inserts a card into a slit
that spits bills into his palm. He is calm. He knows what he is.
What he has split apart he knows is forgiven.

What he has split apart he knows is forgiven.
he is calm. Spits bills into his palm. He knows what he is.
Broad as a table top, he shuffles into a glass booth, inserts a card into a slit
far away in a country where is is a giant, yet still
pink-cheeked and fussing for a nipple. So much has changed,
arranged on the mantle at home. Christmas 1981, his youngest a baby then.
His wife dislikes scrutiny, being laid bare. Her family revealed only in photographs.
She likes it that way. Spends her days in her garden, no scrutiny there
from anyone other than themselves. They do as they like and
he is a good father. They are comfortable. Never have to confess their truth
whether at home or away. There is no changing her, and besides
he is important and that is why she doesn’t pry. Though his affairs
stay in her mind even when he is away in another country, she knows
her husband is a gentleman. Despite all, she loves him. His image.

Elizabeth Bachinsky

*Braid, K. & Shreve, S. In Fine Form: The Canadian Book of Form Poetry. Vancouver, B.C.:Raincoast Books. 2005.