Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Garden of Verse: Floral Visions Afloat on "Houseboat"

          As of Friday, March 18, I've had the happy experience of being "Featured Poet No. 58" on Houseboat, an online journal that sees itself as an "amalgam" of the arts. 
          I've been happily floating on this metaphor (and on the host website ( ever since. Six of my garden poems have been paired with luscious photos for my tenure as "feature poet." (All the photos are by Rose Mary Boehm.) Five of these poems were originally published by, the online  journal for which I've been writing on a monthly basis.
        In my mind, at least, the poems hang together well as a group. Putting them in the same 'boat' with some lovely flowerful photos accomplishes, in my opinion, just what the editors are trying to do -- putting the two arts "in the same boat" in a mutually beneficial way.
         "A houseboat is an amalgam," the Houseboat Team states. "Not just a place to live, not just a water vessel. It is both—stable, yet allowing movement. The arts are often viewed in separate boxes...There aren't enough artistic outlets that truly cross boundaries." This site does.

           And as you can tell from the above, many other Houseboat combos of words and pictures are there to be explored on this innovative site. After all I may be the presently featured passenger, but I'm only number 58. All those other happy poet-passengers are still available for a cruise. 

        Here's my direct link:

         I'm also happy to report that the March 15 issues of Scarlet Leaf Review has published three of my poems, including a poem ("Sidewalk Madonnas") about Syrian refugees trying to make ends meet by begging on the streets of Beirut. (
You can't fault Lebanon, a very small country that by now is sheltering an estimated 1.5 million displaced Syrians. While European countries are freaking out over taking in a few thousand, and in the US politicians aren't even willing to discuss the possibility of accepting Syrian refugees here. 
           Worldwide, everybody else decided not to get involved -- except for Russia, perfectly content to kill more civilians, and create more refugees, by bombing rebel districts in behalf of blood-thirsty tyrant Bashar al-Assad -- with the result that an entire nation has been torn apart, with millions running for cover. 
            And I am not happy to report that the Scarlet Leaf Review is ceasing publication after the current issue. It's a well put-together, diverse, free-wheeling journal that was certainly good to me. And editor Roxana Natase was more than typically responsive to questions and comments by contributors. She also volunteered frequent updates on traffic by readers: the journal was typically receiving more than 3,000 visits per day. 
            But it's spring. We'll miss the "Scarlet Leaf," but new growth will take its place