Happy National Poetry Month from Blue Heron Review!

While everyone is staying safe at home during Covid-19 restrictions, I hope that writers are finding the online resources and communities they need, in order to find solace through the arts. I am sharing some links on our homepage, starting with a writing prompt group on Facebook, which I founded 2 weeks ago.

Connection and Creativity in Challenging Times:
Online Writing Prompts (for adults and teens)
(*On Facebook and Instagram)

 

CC V2 image med

I hope you’ll join us on weekdays (Mon-Fri) for family-friendly writing prompts and inspiration. This is a FREE creative arts offering, which I would like to provide everyone, while they are working from home or doing on-line learning through the schools. This group is open to ALL ages. All genres of writing welcome. This is meant to be fun, therapeutic, healing, and helpful. We’re here to lift each other up through the creative arts! *For those who prefer Instagram, I will be sharing the same, daily writing prompts and visuals there, as well. Feel free to follow me @cristinamrnorcross

The Poets.org site (The Academy of American Poets) has an amazing listing of offerings and links to help everyone celebrate National Poetry Month! (Shelter in Poems, Poem in Your Pocket Day, 2020 National Poetry Month Poster, 30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month in the Virtual Classroom, and many others)

Author, editor, and Blue Heron Review contributor, Robert Lee Brewer, at Writer’s Digest is hosting the 2020 PAD (Poem a Day) challenge (plus many other offerings for National Poetry Month). Need some incentive to write your next chapbook? Visit the Poem a Day page.

Blue Heron Review poet Kai Coggin is hosting a weekly, virtual, poetry open mic on Facebook through the Wednesday Night Poetry series! This is a fantastic group to be a part of and listen to! Community, poetry, and solidarity at a time when we all need nourishment for the soul.  WPN Virtual Open Mic, Poetry Through the Pandemic

Looking for some reading material? Blue Heron Review has over 6 years, 11 issues, and too many featured authors to count, for you to enjoy in the peace and comfort of your home. Every issue has an array of contemporary poetic voices, as well as gorgeous, fine art photography and other art offerings. Have a browse through our archives of issues, and scroll through our Blue Heron Review Featured Author page for some of the most extraordinary voices in poetry today! Just as a teaser, here is a link to one of my favorite, themed issues — The Healing Issue. Have a look, rest awhile, pull up a chair and a cup of tea — and enjoy!  BHR Issue 8 / Summer 2017

Sponsored by Local Gems Press, Bard Con Virtual (March 31-April 7th) is a virtual writing conference experience! Audio recordings of poetry readings (both individual and group readings from anthologies), interviews, audio writing workshops, and so many literary goodies are available to enjoy! A virtual gathering, with resources galore for writers and readers.

One of my audio writing workshops is included on the Bard Con Virtual page (“Coping Strategies Through Creativity: Writing Prompts with author Cristina Norcross” / 15 min.) A BIG thank you to Local Gems Press, and editors James Paul Wagner and Nick Hale, for creating this virtual space of creativity and community!

The online journal Visual Verse provides a new visual prompt on the 1st of every month. The deadline is usually the 15th. Submissions are published on a rolling basis, but you won’t receive an e-mail response. You need to check the site, and scroll to see if your poem is included. Poems are published up until the last day of the month. Word yoga! Try it! 50-500 words / submit your work within 1 hour.  This is such an inspiring practice.

The Globe Theatre in London is streaming a FREE Shakespeare play every fortnight! Need a break from writing, but still want some inspiration? This is just the thing!

Stay safe everyone, and make time to create!
Kind thoughts always,

—Cristina M. R. Norcross, Editor of Blue Heron Review, author of Beauty in the Broken Places (Kelsay Books, 2019) and many other titles

The September 2019 Blue Heron Review Featured Author is Kai Coggin!

Welcome to the September 2019 Blue Heron Review Featured Author spotlight! We are honored and proud to share the luminous work of author, poet, and teacher, Kai Coggin. Kai’s latest poetry book is Incandescent (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019). Kai is a past contributor to issues of Blue Heron Review, and she was one of our featured authors in 2016. Delighted to share her wisdom and healing energy, again, this month.

kai-2 MEDIUM author photo USE THIS

(photo credit: David Yerby)

“Incandescent, Kai’s third and most recent bold collection, shines a blazing FIRE on the injustices of the world, on the darkness of the political sphere, and on the beautiful hearth of the home. It offers the reader a bit of hope through the chaos, a spark of revolution, a call to rise up and stand as warriors against the unraveling of our collective principles of good. It is a spark, a flame, a fire, an ember of truth that will not be silenced. Incandescent is a clarion call that burns like a phoenix rising from the ash.”

Please visit the Blue Heron Speaks Featured Author Page on our site, to read 4 sample poems from Kai’s new book, and to learn more about her inspiring work!

Kai Coggin is a poet, author, and teaching artist living in the valley of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, AR. She holds a B.A. in English, Poetry, and Creative Writing from Texas A&M University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Entropy, Sinister Wisdom, Assaracus, Calamus Journal, Lavender Review, The Rise Up Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Luna Luna, Blue Heron Review, Hoctok, Yes, Poetry and elsewhere.

Coggin is the author of three full-length collections, Periscope Heart (Swimming with Elephants, 2014), Wingspan (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016), and Incandescent (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019), as well as a spoken word album called Silhouette (2017). Her poetry has been nominated three times for The Pushcart Prize, as well as Bettering American Poetry 2015, and Best of the Net 2016 and 2018. Kai teaches an adult creative writing class called Words & Wine, and is also a Teaching Artist with the Arkansas Arts Council and Arkansas Learning Through the Arts, specializing in bringing poetry and creative writing to youth around the state. www.kaicoggin.com

 

 

Blue Heron Review Issue 9 Winter 2018 JUST RELEASED!

Blue Heron Review is proud to announce the online publication of our latest issue: BHR 9 Winter 2018! We have a beautiful collection of poems and visual art for you to enjoy. Although we are still deeply nestled in the winter months, you may spot a few glimmers of spring energy shining through in this issue.

BHR Issue 9 Winter 2018 Cover image

(Cover art by David Seth Smith)

Thank you to all of our contributors for making this issue another spectacular union of words and images! Visit the Blue Heron Review Issue 9 Winter 2018 page of our site to read the full issue, and to learn more about our authors and artists.

CONTRIBUTORS:
Poets:
Richard Greene * Neil David Mitchell * Jessica Moser * Jonel Abellanosa * Erina Booker * Rosalie Sanara Petrouske * Nikolai Sebastian * Jan Bosman * Jenni Gribble * Robert Lee Brewer * Darren C Demaree * Katy Phillips * Alice Mills * Keith MacNider * Prerna Bakshi * Jeannie E Roberts * Nick Hale * Timothy Pettet * Neil Creighton * Steve Bucher * Ethel Mortenson Davis * Karen Warinsky * Faye Adams * Maryann Hurtt * Mary Jo Balistreri * Mary C Rowin * Kristina Mullenix * Victoria Lindsay * Erika Goodrich * Anne Anthony * Eileen Mattmann * Mark Danowsky * Diana Randolph * Nancy Jean Larson * Kai Coggin * Colleen June Glatzel * Paula Schulz * Jacqueline Martindale

Artists:
David Seth Smith (Cover Artist) * Kurt John Huebner * Jeannie E Roberts * Karen A VandenBos (Featured Photographer) * Devi S Laskar * Bobbie Lee Lovell * Kai Coggin * Anna May Shaffer

I hope that you will return to these pages again and again, when you need some respite and food for thought. May these poems nourish your spirit and provide inspiration for your day.

Read on!

Cristina M. R. Norcross
Founding Editor
Blue Heron Review

2016 Blue Heron Review Pushcart Nominations

It is a true pleasure to curate each issue of Blue Heron Review. We celebrate the many gifts of all of our writers. Each year, when the reminder postcard comes in the mail for the Pushcart Prize, I know that I will be faced with some difficult decisions. I am only allowed to choose 6 poems to nominate. I hope that you will join me in congratulating this year’s Blue Heron Review nominees for the Pushcart Prize Anthology! Please enjoy reading a mini issue, published on this page, with all of the poems.

BHR Pushcart Prize Nominations

“We Love Images of Tiny Houses” By Joan Mazza (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #5, Winter 2016)

“A Mother Brushes Her Daughter’s Hair” By Karissa Knox Sorrell (from Blue Heron Review Issue #5, Winter 2016)

“Discovery” By Emily Harel (from Blue Heron Review Issue #5, Winter 2016)

“Homesick” By Hillary Kobernick (from Blue Heron Review Issue #6, Summer 2016)

“Third Person” By Kai Coggin (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #6, Summer 2016)

“Moonlight Bay, 1915” By Erin Slaughter (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #6, Summer 2016)

bhr-pushcart-logo-image

We Love Images of Tiny Houses
By Joan Mazza (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #5, Winter 2016)

Some on wheels, one with a Murphy bed
and a basket on the wall filled with scarves,
mittens, hats by the door, and a hook

with an Anorak. Rag rugs, a crazy quilt,
cast iron pots and pans and a woodstove,
with a handy pile of seasoned logs. Outside:

a stairway to the roof to watch for shooting
stars. To live in one room, without clutter
or glitz of crystal, silver, souvenirs.

Enough space for one to sleep and eat
parked in wilderness with woods wide
enough for thought, where you see deer

at dusk and dawn. To drink from the swirl
of the Milky Way, sleep to the lyrics
of crickets and tree frogs. To thin

out the litter in our minds, let the loops
of obsessive thoughts flatten, drop
silently, like hair—cut and falling

around a chair. No sweeping it up.
Birds know how to weave it into nests.

A Mother Brushes Her Daughter’s Hair
By Karissa Knox Sorrell (from Blue Heron Review Issue #5, Winter 2016)

You cry out.

I don’t want to hurt you,
but you must learn this lesson:

Your hair is your strength.

A woman’s hair is much like a woman’s soul:
pinned back, tugged tight, lest one lock
fall out of line.

You will learn to love the curls nagging
at the nape of your neck, their rebellion
hidden from the world.

And then you will learn to use
your hair to be dangerous. It will
rush from your scalp and shout!

You will learn the many ways
a woman cries, and sometimes
that is by laughing.

You will learn that every 28 days
your skin sloughs off, giving you
new armor to inhabit.

You will learn to drape your hair
across every wound,
cover your body with softness.

You will learn the force
of love, of grief – are they not one?
You will learn that you can bear both.

You will learn to be untangled
without flinching.

Every tug of the brush
will be a tug on your memory
one day,
the weight of remembering me
too hard to bear.

Here is what you will remember:

This was your first lesson
on how to be strong.

Discovery
By Emily Harel (from Blue Heron Review Issue #5, Winter 2016)

midnight.
you place the wet frog in my hand. water drips
off his body, pools in my palm. with a croak,
his white throat a balloon.
a thin rain falls.  thousands of shooting stars.
in the darkness, we stand
face to face, quiet as trees.
we stare at each other, at the silver rain running
down our bodies, at the tiny pale moons cupped in our hands.

Homesick
By Hillary Kobernick (from Blue Heron Review Issue #6, Summer 2016)

I dream of salmon and wake up
with fistfuls of okra, kudzu
wrapped around my bed frame
tying me to the Georgia clay.

When the wind blows and the
rain falls like a torrent of Bibles
assaulting Third World missionfields,
my skin turns salmon swimming

upstream. I miss the ocean’s saltiness
the scent of a world textured with
tears. My scales fall every day
the kudzu becomes pillow and the

cicadas with their nightly bandstands
become lullaby. I grow Georgia fins
and still—my accent does not disappear.
Just puts on new clothes. I always dream

in saltwater.

Third Person
By Kai Coggin (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #6, Summer 2016)

I was born cut out of the abdomen of a star,
dropped from the Heavens into chaos and form,
sky stitched up with lace to lay me down into this body,
undercurrent of becoming fire,
growing up into beacon,
filling out the empty skin of a torch.

I climb the stacked rungs of my spine,
porcelain teacup tower,
hand over hand ladder to firmament,
footsteps to light, testament to breaking free,
I stand outside my skin,
hover over head, a halo of watching,
a ring of empathy circling around my body
waiting for the human soul to step out of the broken and sing,
to pick off the pieces of tattered promises and turn them into wings.

Do you know the silent science of disrobing,
detaching from what has built you from ground?
The moment you unrecognize mirrors,
it begins,
third person self,
omni-unpresent still, but pulling,
pulling up by golden thread,
lifting up out of body into open eyes,
into the cusp of blooming nebulae,
into stardust and atoms,
into that which doesn’t shatter
in the frequencies of knowing,
the vibrations of breakage and becoming whole,
this glowing eternal self from which you fall
all the way down to earth, to rise.

Moonlight Bay, 1915
By Erin Slaughter (from Blue Heron Review, Issue #6, Summer 2016)

Hear the bells, kitten heels
on a dusty mustard carpet,
the muffled joy of bare feet
and sangria-stained mouth. Dance
while we are bodies. Dance while we are heat
and holy flesh. Through the open window,
lavender breeze wraps the room in summer honey.
We do not know the very air is falling in love with us.
We do not know we are all falling in love
with each other, with each revolution
of the record. Dance for the radio static
where our souls go after dirt, after wood and worms,
after afterwards. The voices will be there to welcome us,
huddled in harmony, singing ardently
of moonlight.

The September 2016 Blue Heron Speaks Featured Author is Kai Coggin!

Welcome to the September 2016 edition of Blue Heron Speaks!  After our summer hiatus, it is a great pleasure for me to share with you our featured author this month – the very talented, open-hearted poet, Kai Coggin.  With lush imagery, sleek, musical phrasing, and inventive language, Coggin skillfully awakens a sleeping world for us.  We see Coggin unfold her own wings with an elegant display of tender vulnerability and passionate poetics.

Please visit the Blue Heron Speak page of the BHR site to read 3 sample poems from her latest book, Wingspan (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016).

unnamed-2

Kai Coggin is a former Teacher of the Year, turned poet and author, living on the side of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, AR.  She holds a BA in Poetry and Creative Writing from Texas A & M University, and writes poems on love, spiritual striving, body image, injustice, metaphysics, and beauty.  Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Lavender Review, Broad!, The Tattooed BuddhaSplit This Rock, Yellow Chair Review, SunStruck Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, Snapdragon, Women’s Spiritual Poetry, Elephant Journal, and many other literary journals and anthologies.  Kai is the author of two full-length collections, Periscope Heart (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2014) and Wingspan (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016).  Her poetry has recently been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Bettering American Poetry 2015.  She teaches an adult creative writing class called Words & Wine, and is also a Teaching Artist with the Arkansas Arts Council, specializing in bringing poetry and creative writing to youth.  www.kaicoggin.com

Wingspan (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016)

unnamed