|In honor of the anniversary of D-day on June 6, 1944, I wrote a storoem (see my portfolio, if interested) about the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France where the American soldiers who were killed or missing in action on the beaches at Normandy and shortly thereafter in the push inland are buried or memorialized. If you are unfamiliar with this cemetery, check out this link and be sure to look at the pictures there:
We owe these gallant soldiers homage forever for their actions back then.
Published 2008: "Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man". A collection of my poetry. Lulu Press.
2008 Reader Views Literary Award winner - Honorable Mention in Fiction, Poetry category. 2009 Readers Favorite Award winner - Honorable Mention in Poetry category
|I recently received a rating of 2.5 stars for my poem "Gunshots In The Night". This low rating saying my poem was below the average quality for a poem available on this site came anonymously, of course, without accompanying review. Perhaps this reviewer truly and honestly believed my poem warranted a 2.5 rating. It is his/her right to think what they will. However, this person should have had the integrity to send me a signed review telling me where my poem is deficient in his/her eyes. He/She lacked the courage to do so, I guess. Since the poem has received only that one rating to date, it is at present the lowest-rated item in my portfolio of 372 items. Whether it deserves to be so lowly rated, time will tell when/if it receives additional ratings. However, this brings me to the topic of the anonymous hate-ratings (and I am NOT claiming this particular rating was a hate-rating itself).
In my past life before retirement, I was a scientist who analyzed data for his living. I decided to do some analysis of the items in my portfolio rated as 4.0 stars. (Out of 372 items in my portfolio, all are rated as over 4-star except for the one 2.5-star item mentioned above and 21 poems rated as 4-star.) Of the 21 4-star poems, 16 appear from the ratings received to be a weak writing effort on my part, i.e. the ratings all appear to be genuine ratings scattered over the scale from 5 to 2.5 stars. However, five (24% of the 21 or nearly one-quarter) of the poems are rated as being 4-star merely because they received an anonymous rating without review of 1.5 or 1.0 star. To overcome a rating of 1-star so that the average for the item reaches the 4.5 rating level requires more than a dozen ratings of 4.5. In other words, a single hate-rater can singlehandedly drop an item's rating permanently for all practical purposes. Why does this site allow ratings of 2.0 and below (certainly of 1.5 or 1.0) to be given anonymously? Such low ratings should require a signed review accompanying it, in my opinion. There would be no hate-ratings on site if the person knew he/she must identify himself/herself to give a 1.0 rating.
An example of what I mean above: One of my poems has received three 5-star ratings, one 4.5-star rating, plus one 1.5 star rating, giving an average of 4-star, even though 80% of its raters rated it 4.5 or higher. Why allow one anonymous rater the power to influence an item's rating to this extent?
I am fortunate, I think, since I have been victim of what I consider hate-rating only five or six times in my eight years here. Still, hate-rating -- I wonder why do we allow it?
|A few days ago I received an email from Monty asking members of the Traditional Poetry Group to please submit an entry into this month's Traditional Poetry Contest since he had received only a few entries thus far. To be supportive I entered "Traversing The Sea Of Life", a recent storoem I had written. Tonight I received the following anonymous public review:
This meter is all over the place and too rocky to garner any serious reviews.
Google "traditional verse" and educate yourself about meter; as a blue case I would have thought you to be cognizant of this vital component of rhyming poetry, but alas some people 's promotions defy explanations.
I would give my name but you would desecrate it.
I'm going to your port right this second to see other works of yours. Maybe you are a better storyteller than a poet, huh?
P.S. Keep your Gps for this review, you really don't want my opinion."
Wow! My entry is a storoem in which end rhyming is used but not strict meter. Monty specifies in his rules for the contest "TRADITIONAL (RHYMING STYLE) POETRY ONLY". He does not specify any requirement for meter, just that the entry has rhyme. I have entered storoems before and placed well in the contests.
To give such a strongly worded public review with comments such as this reviewer gave and to lack the courage to attach your name to it is totally cowardly to me. I have given some harsh reviews in my day with low ratings, but I never have stooped to hiding behind doing it anonymously. I am not that craven.
This person ascribes attributes to me that are unwarranted: "I would give my name(,) but you would desecrate it." Desecrate it? His/her name is sacred?
"Keep your Gps for this review[,](;) you really don't want my opinion." I welcome any opinions that are not personal attacks delivered anonymously.
I really do not approve of this site's allowing anonymous reviews. If you have comments to make, I believe you should be willing to make them openly, not in this cowardly manner.
The past few days have seen simply gorgeous weather here in Shreveport. Spring has sprung! Temperatures in the mid-70s with blue, blue skies. The grass is starting to green - which also meant yard work to get rid of all the leaves, mow down the weeds, and spread weed killer & grass feed. Fortunately for me, my wife does the yard work. (Hey, I'm terribly allergic to all kinds of weeds and grass or I would be doing it.) The yard looks much nicer after we got through. Yes, we...I spread the weed & feed.
The Bradford pear trees are all in full bloom with their springtime-only white blossoms, while the tulip trees are displaying their tulips in full force by the hundreds. The squirrels are chasing each other around wanting sex. Birds are building their nest for their soon-to-be-here eggs. Yes, spring has definitely sprung!
Being a poet, the past few days of wonderful weather naturally inspired me to pen a new poem for the occasion. Here it is:
I hope you all are experiencing springtime weather as well. If not, hang on because it won't be too much longer.
|I had a good experience this week. I reconnected with one of closest friends from high school. I attended Lanier Senior High School (appropriately named after the poet Sidney Lanier) in Macon, Ga, graduating in the Class of 1962. Five of us "brains" (or "nerds" or "bookworms" or whatever they called us straight A students) were a close group, maybe originally thrown together for protection but later being good friends throughout high school. After graduation, we all scattered to the winds. I went to the U of Ga-Athens and my closest friend went to U of Va. I majored in science (microbiology); he majored in philosophy. After getting his Ph.D. in Philosophy, he went to medical school a few years later. Then he published a book about "near-death experiences" (a phrase he coined) in 1975. I knew the book did well and made him into somewhat of a celebrity -- Oprah, speaking engagements, that sort of thing. Then I guess I got busy with my life events and lost track of him for years.
A few weeks ago I saw his name mentioned in a blog I was reading, and I got to wondering how he was doing today. At age 65, who knew what he might be capable of doing, if even alive. So, I Googled him. Wow! Is he ever successful! He has now published over a dozen books after "Life After Life" (his groundbreaking 1975 book) and has sold more than 20 million books. I emailed his website email address, not sure what response to expect. Happily, I received an email shortly from his wife saying I should call him. I tried and ended up talking stiffly into an answering machine. I left my number and waited. That same afternoon Raymond called, and we chatted a long time catching up on old times. We agreed to swap books. I mailed him copies of my latest two poetry books, and he is mailing me a copy of his newest book about to be released. All around, it was a great experience. So, I guess you CAN travel back home sometimes and reconnect with a distant past.
Check out Dr. Raymond Moody on Google and examine his books on Amazon.com. His "Life After Life" still sells well every year. Raymond is healthy, walks 3 to 6 miles daily, and travels the world as invited speaker. He is a busy man. And an extremely successful author!
Raymond has done a much better job than I did keeping informed about the careers of our Lanier group. (Curt McM had a career with the government in San Francisco; Walter P works with computers in SC; and John O is a psychiatrist in SC) Each of the group has done well in life. Each left Macon to pursue his career. Go nerds of the world! I tell you, ladies, if you want a successful man as your husband, marry a nerd.
|The official, full results for the 2009 Tom Howard Poetry Contest have now been posted.
My storoem, The Nature Trail, won a $100 prize as one of seven poems in the "Most Highly Commended Award" category. Two other of my poems were "Highly Commended" (My Mother's Rodent Phobia) and "Commended" (Dog Pack Attack).
The complete listing of cash prize winners for the 2009 Winners may be seen by going to the home page of http://www.winningwriters.com and clicking on the contests at the left of the screen down at the bottom of list.
This is the second year in a row that at least one of my storoems/poems has won a cash prize in this contest. I really enjoy this contest and urge other poets to enter the 2010 Tom Howard Poetry Contest.
|I received word today that my poetry book "Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man" won an award in the 2009 Readers Favorite Book Reviews and Award Contest. In the Poetry Category, PMOFM received an Honorable Mention Award. (This book also won an Honorable Mention Award in the Readers Views' Readers Choice Awards in 2008.) This makes two awards for my latest poetry book. Nice!
|Greetings, All ~
I enjoy entering poetry contests. Whether my poems place well or not, it is fun to anticipate the judging. Last year I won two cash awards (2nd place / $1,000 prize and High Distinction / $200 prize) in the 2008 Tom Howard Poetry Contest. Nice! Money plus the ego boost of being an award-winning poet. This last year (2009) I entered the War Poetry Contest with two excellent entries...but did not make the final cut. Oh well...I tried. I also entered the 2009 Tom Howard Poetry Contest. The results will be announced 15 February; one more month of waiting to hear official results.
Here is one of my entries:
The Nature Trail
When I am a lad about the age of ten,
my mother takes my older sister and me
to visit a park to which we’ve never been.
“It’ll be fun. You’ll love it. Just wait and see.”
The place is fantastic! It has a lake, a swimming pool,
even horseback riding, and, for old folks, a nature trail.
After lunch, Mom insists we do the trail. Like a fool,
I argue that I don’t want to waste my time...to no avail.
We join a tour, guided by an older girl of college
age. There is this flower, that flower, and look...a tree.
So boring! I should be swimming. Then we come to a ledge,
a place where the path narrows to five feet across maybe,
with a sheer wall of rock on the left. The ground steeply drops
down about eight feet to a shallow, rocky creek on the right.
The guide is leading, until beside some old bush she stops,
lifting a branch to show something or other. The sight
of a seven-foot-long coachwhip snake lying at her feet
causes her to scream and run. She must be a track star!
The poor, harmless snake is startled out of its sleep
and takes off “running” also, catching up before very far.
Looking down, seeing the snake along side, she accelerates.
So does the snake. Still neck and neck upon their coming
to a fork at the end of the narrow ledge, neither hesitates,
the snake going left, the guide right, with both continuing
to run until clear out of sight. Our small group still stands
in shocked surprise. Then laughter erupts. As we start to
continue along the path, another park guide, this one a man,
comes galloping over from the horseback-riding trail to do
what he can to assist. When he asks what has happened here,
my sister lifts the bush’s branch to explain. Out comes
a second coachwhip, startling the horse to see a snake so near.
He rears. The guide falls over backward, begins doing some
somersaults down the incline, before splashing face down
in the creek, letting out some curse words I had thought only
old sailors knew. It was great! Thus went the day that I found
out Mother was right about how much fun nature trails could be.
Wish me luck with my contests entries this year. I encourage other poets out there to enter contests. It's fun, and you just might win recognition for your work and even a little money.
|Greetings, All ~
My wife & I just now returned home tonight from a holiday trip to my father's in Macon, Ga, to my sister-in-law's & her family in Clemmons, NC, to my oldest son's (Geoffrey) & his family (3 of my 5 grandkids)in Rock Hill, SC, back to Pop's in Macon, & finally the 675 miles home to Shreveport today...a long 12-hour drive in the rain. Arriving home exhausted, I was delighted to find "The Spirit of the Season Catalog" has now been released on-line. I have five books in this catalog: three in the Poetry book section, one in Fantasy, and one in Romance. Check it out at:
This on-line catalog offers a life-enriching shopping experience and features bestselling books, unusual and personally empowering, self enriching products and services in a varied collection from amazing authors, coaches, gurus and mentors...and ME.
You’ll find gifts in the Spirit of the Season Catalog in the following categories: art, inspirational, motivational, business opps, success & wealth building, health and energy healing, Law of Attraction workshops, intuitive healing, all genres of fiction and a variety of non-fiction to empowering products that will light anyone’s life and .... MY BOOKS!
Please check out this catalog ... And MY BOOKS. Then please share the catalog with your friends, family and contacts! Thanks so much.
Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season.
Cheers to all and to all a good night!
|My Yahoo VBT Writers on the Move is having its first anniversary blog tour this month. Each day a different group member hosts a writer and promotes her/his book. For this tour, each day we are selecting from among the non-member people who leave a comment one person to be that day's winner. The prize can be a book from the list of books donated by the VBT group or one day's promotion of you and your book(s) on the VBT group blog (= free advertising). There are not many people who are not group members who have commented on my blog today. I am "it" today. So, please come to my blog, read about Karen Cioffi and her new e-book, The Self-Publisher’s Guide. This is a book you will want to read if you have any interest in self-publishing now or in the future. Then, leave a comment and you have a great chance of being today's winner. You have from now until midnight to comment. Much better odds than you'd have in most contests.
I hope to see a lot of non-member's comments. Come be a winner!