February 1999 Valentine's Issue Café Society's Poetry News Update
Do you have any poetry news? Do you have any comments for the Readers' Letters section? If so, mail me on the email link at the bottom of this page. This is a non-commercial site - competitions and calls for submissions can be announced here free, because they are of interest to poets.

AN INTERVIEW WITH
SHARON McELROY


Sharon McElroy

For this issue of Poetry Life & Times, as February is the month of Valentine's Day, I decided there could be no-one more appropriate to interview than award-winning romance poet Sharon McElroy. She has written a great many love poems over the years, inspired, she claims, by her ruling muse Erato. She very kindly agreed to do the interview.

Sharon's love poetry book, "Quiet Dreams From The Heart" was recently published on cassette and CD Rom. Incidentally, Sharon is the first copyrighted poet to have produced a book on CD-ROM with full recitals.

She recently organized and judged a love poetry competition on alt.art.poetry.comments, which had some interesting entries and was won by Stephan Antsey with his poem, "Seduced".

Click here to visit Sharon's "A Land of Love and Romance" website and to hear an audio/wav of one of her poems from her CD-ROM.

Poetry L & T:Was there a particularly attractive young man, perhaps at school, who first inspired you to write love poetry, Sharon?
Sharon McElroy:I must chuckle on this question Sara because it brings to mind a very funny incident about the first time I was kissed. In sixth grade, eleven years old and in walking home from school with a boy classmate who carried my books, said to me, "Would you like to see the fort I made over the weekend?" In still being a tomboy of sorts and from enjoying the magnificent beauty of the Tucson, Arizona desert, quickly I replied with yes. So we walked together Mike Sadono and I, made a quick detour from our regular path home and arrived at his impressive fort made out of Tumbleweeds! Carefully, he moved a large one aside which served as a door and I went inside and sat down on the sticker-free dirt he had obviously spent much time in raking. He followed after he rolled the Tumbleweed closing the door of the fort and put our books down and then sat beside me. I commented on his cool fort and then he turned his head to look at me and to my great surprise, he kissed me, on the lips! Oh my, I was shocked. I was horrified. I was scared. I couldn't believe he had done that so in my shock and fear immediately I jumped up, hit my head on some Tumbleweeds, knocked the roof of the fort down, didn't say a word, kicked the Tumbleweed door aside and ran all the way home with bits and pieces of thorny Tumbleweeds in my hair. Needless to say, I didn't even think to get my books until the next day when uncomfortably I had to face him. I never walked home from school with him anymore. So you ask, "was there a particularly attractive young man, at school who first inspired me to write love poetry?" From this incident you can see that my answer is no. Mike Sadono was handsome but not my inspiration.

It is, as many who know me have said, that I was just born a romantic person with poetic passion that runs thick through my Russian blood. Also I was blessed with parents who gifted me with seeing their romantic love. My father at times for no reason at all would go out of his way to do something loving and special for his five girls and for my mother. For example, I remember a time when father being in the Air Force, we were living in Misawa, Japan. It was winter, a very cold and snowy one at that. My father had returned home from work, my mother was sitting on the couch, he knelt down before her, took his gloves off and handed one to her saying emphatically, "It's so cold outside, it's even cold inside my gloves - feel!" So my mother reached her hand inside the glove to feel the cold and out of it she pulled an emerald and diamond necklace. No special occasion except that dad wanted to show her his love. But it was very special because a man in the military in those days, did not get paid enough to support a wife and five daughters, much less afford an emerald and diamond necklace. It had taken him over a year to scrimp and save the money to do this. These are the kind of loving incidences that inspired me and still continue to do so.

Poetry L & T:Do you ever cringe at love poems from your teenage years?
Sharon McElroy:Believe it or not, I never wrote poetry as a young child or teenager. Whoops, I take that back. There were two poems I wrote with one of my sisters when I was fifteen, but that's it. Short creative stories I seemed to enjoy writing as early as eight years of age. Right before my mother passed away, after saving one of my notebooks for many years from third grade, which contained short stories, she returned it to me. I had no idea she had saved these works of mine so it was a very special moment when in her last few breaths of life, she returned them to me with a reminder to keep on writing. She had always encouraged me, so she was also a big inspiration. She was famous for raising us girls using poetic proverbs. I have written and dedicated a book of thoughts and proverbs to her which one day I hope to have published in her memory.

It was in my early twenties when I started dabbling in poetry. Into my thirties is when I didn't necessarily start writing, IT started writing me! Many poets understand the overwhelming emotional process which seems to take us over without any control on our parts. There was a strong creative time for me as recent as 1991, where I was overwhelmed by a force to write solidly, non-stop for four days and four nights. Poem after poem seemed to flow from my spirit, to my pen, and to my paper. I rarely felt the need to eat and didn't even stop to sleep, and yet felt much energy (and no, I don't drink or take drugs). Most of the poems from my book on CD-ROM, "Quiet Dreams From the Heart" came from this bless-ed creative time.

Poetry L & T:Your love poems usually have a gentle, loving tone. Have you ever written a vengeful poem to a lover who misbehaved?
Sharon McElroy:I am constantly accused of being too soft, gentle or loving, which seems to be the genetic character of my personality. However, I have my sad, angry, and lonely moments and have written a few vengeful poems but I don't prefer writing about or sharing negative moods. Nor do I live my life for very long with feelings of sadness, anger, or vengence. I was raised with this philosophy and practice it faithfully... "Many can say I'm sorry, but a wiser person says I forgive". Life truly is healthier and happier when we choose positive, gentle, loving emotions instead of destructive, sad, angry, or vengeful feelings and moods.
Poetry L & T:Do you feel that modern love is lacking in romance?
Sharon McElroy:No Sara, I feel that modern love is ruining romance and relationships. In modern love today there seems to be too much independance and distance, which is the enemy of love. Like the Viet Nam war, no one wins. I definitely see in many relationships today, especially in the young, a strong lack of togetherness and romance, necessary ingredients in bonding and in keeping love alive and living long-term. Just look at the astronomical divorce rates. So many seem to think that love is the physical act of sex or the do your own thing attitude. But in long-term successful relationships, the involved parties will tell you that togetherness and romance leads the way to a friendship and sexship that provides a beautifully rewarding long-term loveship. I feel that people should forget about this modern love nonsense and start applying some good old fashioned romance. It might help to decrease the divorce rates.
Poetry L & T:Who is your favourite famous poet?
Sharon McElroy:For all who know me in my life and on the net, know that my favorite famous poet is the very talented and gifted writer/singer/songwriter/ composer/loving man, Rod McKuen.
Poetry L & T:What is your all-time favourite love poem by a famous poet?
Sharon McElroy:My all-time favorite love poem by a famous poet is of course by Rod McKuen. It is a song/poem from his book "Beautiful Strangers", passionately written and simply titled, "To You". Incidentally, other than the usual poetry forced upon us in school, "To You" was the very first poem/song I ever read. It captivated me and still does each time I read it to this very day many years later.
Poetry L & T:How did you first become interested in Rod McKuen?
Sharon McElroy:I first became interested in Rod McKuen in 1974 after the painful, unexplainable death of one of my younger sisters. She was only seventeen and she died from internal bleeding from a gunshot wound to her stomach. They never found her murderer or an answer as to why. A week after the funeral I went to a friend's house and while visiting, they had some music on. In my emotional turmoil, the tone and voice immediately captured my attention. A song by the name of "Seasons In The Sun" was playing; about a man who was dying and only had three friends. I walked toward the stereo, asked my friend who the artist was, and she replied with, "Poet, Rod McKuen". I turned the stereo up and tears and pain that hadn't been properly shed for my little sister yet, started gushing out of me, forcefully. I must have played that song over at least twenty times while discovering soothing comfort through a very rough time from the precious words and music of Rod McKuen. He is my comfort still. And has been a mentor and a muse, and much inspiration in teaching me the soothing power of poetry.
Poetry L & T:The actress Jane Seymour once said that she moulds her life around "Romantic Living". For her this means wearing femminine clothes, living in the countryside, having beautiful objects in her house, etc. Do you extend the romance of your poetry to your lifestyle?
Sharon McElroy:Interesting that you mention Jane Seymour because my all-time favorite movie is an incredible love story her and Christopher Reeves did called, "Somewhere In Time". And yes, I suppose I do mould my life around "Romantic Living". I purposely decorate my home with furniture, accessories and serene colors of ocean blues and whites to envelope me in moods and feelings of soothing, calm peace. I love rock 'n roll to dance to but while at home I listen to serene, romantic music. I read a lot at night so near my bed I have stacks of books of poetry by various authors. Don't read anything but poetry. And like Jane Seymour I wear feminine clothes and dress up every day even if I'm not going anywhere. Although, I have learned in the last five years how to dress down. Heck, I was thirty years old before I owned my first pair of tennis shoes. And you won't catch me in those too often.

A girlfriend of mine for eighteen years has accused me of no matter what I do, whether it is house cleaning, decorating, yard work, conversing, performing, or writing in my real world as she calls it - of rose-colored romance and fantasy, she says that I am passionate, romantic, dramatic and make everything beautiful in reality like poetry.

A forceful critic in the age of neoclassicism, Samuel Johnson wrote that "it is always the writer's duty to make the world better". I agree and try to do this always. Wordsworth claimed that "poetry is passion: it is the history or science of feelings. My girlfriend says that "some are blessed with a mind of intelligence, while some are blessed with emotional intelligence". She claims that I fall into the latter and I am always sharing my passion for romance and my science for feelings. But what else is there in this life that is more important or more fulfilling than romantic love and loving?

Poetry L & T:You recently won a publisher's award. Was this for "Quiet Dreams From the Heart" or for one poem in particular?
Sharon McElroy:The publishers award was for the following poem I entered in Artist Profile Press/Kedco Studios poetry contest...
         MY WORDS and ME
         © *Sharon McElroy*

        I honestly love
             my precious words
        that I gently lay at night
        on satin sheets of paper
        between my legs of life
        they flicker under candlelight.

        They know what I want.
        They know what I need.
        They know what I love ~
          Sensual Compatibility.
        My words and me.

I entered their contest this past March and was very elated when it took first place. I had dabbled in submitting to various publishers previously with some good results and also like other poets, received my share of rejection letters. Although in seven months of serious commitment to my writing and in submitting, I have made much more progress using the net in getting published, than I did in eight years using the traditional mailing out method of manuscripts. The net is a very valuable tool in finding immediate communication and connections. Anyone serious about their writing, I highly recommend that they start by entering contests including the ones offered by Artist Profile Press/Kedco Studios.

Posting in newsgroups was the best thing for my career. Publishers do read and scout for new talent on the groups. Those posting should take this into serious consideration and conduct themselves professionally and courteously. I know of many great writers who are passed by due to their own rude behavior in their posts. A publisher views this as a person with problems, one who is not serious about what they do, so therefore a publisher does not want to risk losing time and money investing in publishing people like this.

Anyhow, Artist Profile Press/Kedco Studios spotted my work and my website and followed it for a few months and then they presented me with a publishing contract to produce my book, "Quiet Dreams From the Heart". Five weeks later it was completed and released for sale. Additionally, nine of my poems were selected and published in Artist Profile Press/Kedco Studios newly released annual book, "The Award Winner's Anthology". I must say that it is a fabulous experience working with the publishing staff of Artist Profile Press/Kedco Studios. They are professional, kind, caring, hard working, honest, and more than fair in all their dealings. I would suggest that if anyone is serious about becoming published to feel free and contact them, at...
http://kedco-ap.ml.org/~kedco/page1.htm

Poetry L & T:What was your first publishing success in love poetry?
Sharon McElroy:The very first poem I ever submitted was in 1990 and it was of course a love poem. It was accepted and published in "The World of Poetry" in 1991 by editor/publisher John Campbell. It is also published in "Quiet Dreams From the Heart"...

            CONSUMPTION
            © *Sharon McElroy*

        My love for you
          did not end
        with my new beginnings.

        My search for you
          continues internally,
        and for eternity.
        Of this, I am certain.

        The constant memory of you
          intrudes and protrudes
        into many moments of my days
          without any warnings.

        I am consumed by thoughts of
          what your were,
            what you are,
              what you will be,

        and why?

        Why your love for me ended
          with your new beginnings.
        Or, if it began at all,
          before it ended.
Poetry L & T:Finally, Sharon, do you have any advice for anyone trying to think of the right words to say to a loved one?
Sharon McElroy:The right words to say to a loved one are quite simply, "I love you, I love you, I love you." These words can never be said or heard enough, for what human or even animal for that matter, can live happily without the powerful magic of love and being loved?
Poetry L & T:Thank you for the interview, Sharon. Have a wonderful Valentine's Day.


EDITOR'S LETTER, FEBRUARY 1999

Dear Poets,

This Valentine's issue is mainly about love poetry. The interview is with romantic poet Sharon McElroy and the love poetry is by poets from two newsgroups - alt.arts.poetry.comments and the Aylad group, which is run via email by Diana Diaz, on aylad@sprintmail.com

There are brief bios on each of the poets. Any comments on this issue or back issues can be emailed to me on the link at the bottom of the page. Let me know if you wish these comments to appear on the letters page, in the next issue.

Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

Best Regards,

                        


LOVE POETRY

,JULIE DAMERELL has been published in various internet journals:
Café Society Guest Poets,
the June '98 Pigs 'n' Poets,
Michael Stephen's Avalon,
and the Nov~Dec '98
Wired Art From Wired Hearts.
Her column for
Ellavon: An Ezine of Basic Culture,
is titled Rural Route Two.
Two of her essays are included in
Mother Voices, an anthology published by
Rose Communications in March 1998.
jdamerell@worldnet.att.net

GILDED
© Julie Damerell

You look down and see more skin
on your frame than when you were thirty.
I look up and see one who makes me laugh,
takes my breath away then returns it, warmer.

In the mirror you see grey hairs and wrinkles.
Age staring back.
In your face I see our lives wrinkled together,
bound in silvery strands, light and dark.
Desire staring back.

Your back aches and you tell me you are falling to pieces.
I would rather have these pieces of you,
each one gold,
than none of you at all.

Your frame, decorated by our journey here,
houses the man who set me on this star
with a view of earth unmatched.


BOB CHILDS, whose current publisher is Shhh, No Talking! Publications, found that his writing changed dramatically after an injury he sustained in 1994. His poems illustrate the struggles and truimphs of one man's journey through life and love.

To read more of Bob's poetry, go to...
http://members.aol.com/doomwheels/home.html
Contact him on: doomwheels@aol.com

I WILL NEVER FORGET HER
© Bob Childs 8/4/97

She smiled with the full of her lips
She laughed from the bottom of her breath
She touched with the whole of her hands
She danced on the tips of her toes
And she loved me in a way that has
Never been equalled

We believed in true love
We believed it only came once
We thought that with it we could live forever
We knew that without it we would surely die
And we loved in a way that has
Seldom been realized

She was the blood in my veins
She was the air in my lungs
She was the first thing I saw when
I opened my eyes
She was the last thing I thought of as
I lay myself down
And I miss her in a way that
Can not be imagined.

JUST ONE HOUR
© Bob Childs / Shhh, No Talking! 11-1988

If I had just one hour left on earth
I would spend it with you

We could walk hand in hand through the park
Sit on a bridge and toss rocks into the stream
We could lie on the grass with
Your head in my lap and
Watch the clouds roll by
Gaze into each others eyes and
Dream for a moment

Then I could braid your hair
And touch your smile
And remember this love
And this hour
Forever.

Here is one of mine. There are more dotted around on my main website. To investigate go to CAFE SOCIETY - main index
and click link 4.
AFTERPLAY
Copyright Sara Russell/ aka /Pinky Andrexa 1997

Day melts to night and the deepest of sighs
escapes familiar parted lips.
He looks, with warm, long-lidded eyes;
runs his long fingers over my hips

And words I always meant to say
and words I shudder to recall -
none of it matters now, anyway:
the grateful silence says it all.

pinky@redcity.demon.co.uk

JOHN HOLT writes and recites in local poetry groups and has had his work published in several of their journals. He has also had his work published on various websites including link 5 of this one, Café Society's Guest Poets.

http://www.angelfire.com/yt/smallisland/index1.html

            L&H
            © John Holt 13/4/98
                                
            Love and Hate.
            Eternal twins,
            fraternal enemies.
            Born together,
                    
                       Two sides
                       on the 
                       same coin.
                      
            Separate
            but inseparable.
                      
                       Yet soluble,
                       the one
                       dissolving into
                       the other
                      
            Through
            circumstance
            or changed
            perception.
                      
                       Love and Hate,
                       tickets
                       to Heaven
                       or Hell.
                   
                       Choose carefully......
                              
    john@jaygee.demon.co.uk
    

CLICK HERE FOR PAGE TWO OF LOVE POETRY



Hi,

Just like to say how much I enjoyed Januarys women only edition. I understand you're looking for love poetry for your valentines edition so I'd like to submit the following poem.

TAKE MINE

Cheryl

cheryl@walkerc.freeserve.co.uk
http://www.walkerc.freeserve.co.uk

Click here for page two, with part two of Love Poetry and scroll down to Cheryl's poem.


Back Issues of POETRY LIFE & TIMES:

September 1998

October 1998

November 1998

December 1998

Mail me on: pinky@redcity.demon.co.uk

Click here to return to main index


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