To briefly give you more information about my upcoming poetry collection Woman: Splendor and Sorrow, Vita Brevis Press, release date July 31. 2021, and share with you one of my favorite poems included in this collection.
Random Thoughts on Poetry
In an interview with New York Glamor Magazine, I stated: “Poetry is the magnificence which reflects upon the landscape of our souls.” My intent was neither to offer an exhaustive definition of poetry, nor to dive into the more complex realm of conceptualization, and try to explain of what poetry is composed. How arrogant of me that would have been. For those who did not get the news yet, arrogance is not sexy. It is not a precondition for talent and/or high intelligence.
However, back to my tentative definition of poetry. It suffices to say that, if one pays close attention to my words, the most obvious conclusion is that poetry is “out there” waiting to be recognized, and to reflect itself upon the landscape of our souls. Once recognized, the reflection happens only in the measure to which our souls can create a mirror image, albeit highly distorted and with the degree of distortion predicated on our sensibility.
As Nigel McLoughlin wrote: “Recognition depends not on linguistic criteria or on conscious thought, but on what is physically felt. It does not demand structure or form. It is beyond that.” [McLoughlin, Nigel F ORCID: 0000-0002-0382-6831 (2013) Writing Poetry. In: A Companion to Creative Writing. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 40-55]
Poetry is indeed beyond structure and form and, if I may, is “out there.” All of us are poets when that which we gather with our sense starts having an emotional and physical impact on us.
[draft – Thoughts on Poetry will continue in an interview with me conducted by Brian Geiger, the editor of Vita Brevis Poetry Magazine.]
On Woman: Splendor and Sorrow
Woman is a collection of 63 love poems and 25 pieces of poetic prose. I talked in another post about the feminist and philosophical trends in my poetic prose. However, the main theme of my book is love.
Therefore, in this post I would like to quickly turn to my love poems. Out of the 63 love poems included in Woman, “The Biblical Sense Of To Know” is my favorite. The poem was first published by Spillwords Press under one of my pen names: Gabriela M on March 10, 2020. Below is the original text of the poem as published by Spillwords. In Woman, the text was slightly modified.
the biblical sense of to know born in a summer that never existed nailed to the cross of your poems I’m losing my mind inside the blue night I reach you in dreams you do not understand It hurts when I’m there It hurts when I’m not I ask for the help gravediggers can grant I wrote I love you on a note that I locked It wasn’t a snake, it was an iguana the night the tango nuevo played its guitar on fifteen decades I counted my prayers my fingers were naked my fingers were gloved
Why do I like this poem so much? Because in the moments I wrote it reality deeply reflected in the mirrors of my souls. I was hurting.
I do not believe poets know only that which comes “by observation of themselves.” The observation of ourselves is only one of the preconditions of poetry. The multiple faces of reality is perhaps another one.
I discover myself in my own writings. I dwell in the beliefs stored in my subconscious when I was a child, and in all experiences that followed.
Yet, my work is neither that of a psychologist nor that of an epistemologist. Beyond psychology and epistemology, I try to establish a metaphysics of love. That may make some think of Thomas Aquinas, but that is not what I am talking about. I do not want “to explore the ontological structure of the human person.” My work is not about how I experience love. It is about how I allow love to experience me. That is the very definition of my work.
Passions was a work of the heart. So is Woman: Splendor and Sorrow. Yet, Woman has more dimensions to it. Some pieces are constructed via reconciliation between rationalism and some of its rival thoughts: idealism, and/or surrealism. It depends on the matter at hand.
I like Woman because in it I do not only allow love to experience me. I also give permission to feminism, and to other societal concerns to explore me.
From Woman: Splendor and Sorrow :
The day I understood I can win, I stepped into hell. That day was the day I lost my innocence and with that the paradise.
Oh, femininity! You are the goddess of vines, the mother earth, the chalice, the blood, the fertility of the womb. I mull over these desperate efforts to equalize the feminine with the masculine. There is nothing in these symbols that points to the intellect of a woman.
Early morning. I was in elementary school. A basic arithmetic problem was on the blackboard. The teacher asked M. to solve it. He did not know how. I was shocked. That day my entire life changed.
Late afternoon. Home. After much deliberation Mama asked: Gabriela, again, do you believe that everyone understands everything that you understand, and everyone can do what you can?Do you believe we all think the same?
Highly distraught, I answered:
Yes. Everyone can do what I can, and we all understand the world in the same way. Something wrong happened to M.
Papa was stunned. I could not grasp why. I was trying to make my parents understand a simple truth: we all feel and think the same. They did not want to listen. What was wrong with everyone?
That night in my bedroom I started questioning everything.
These days questioning is my second nature. My first does not exist anymore. Life experienced me.
There are several new posts up at MasticadoresUSA. For me MasticadoresUSA is a labor of love. Thank you to everyone who supports this site.
You can read the work of your fellow poets and follow the site here.
Here are some of my summer reading recommendations. I haven’t ranked-ordered them. They are all excellent choices.
Midnight With Words: Late Night Conversations in Poetry.
An anthology in which you will find poetry of stunning refinement, of beauty, and subtle meanings. An exceptional recital of verses that enchants the mind and the senses. This is one of the most impressive anthologies I’ve ever read.
Author: Lisa Alletson, Joe Barca, Cynthia Capri, Delilah Doe, Mark H. Fitzpatrick, Ty Gardner, Jeffrey Haskey-Valerius, Rebecca Hooper, Andy MacGregor, Jared Mulhair, Antonia Wang, and Wanjiku Wanjiru.
A Ferryman and the Sea Witch by D. Wallace Peach
Enter a world of fantasy, and with that the mesmerizing writing style of D. Wallace Peach. The book has a fascinating plot, passages of powerful imagery, and emblematic characters; in short the real ingredients of a bestseller.
Please do not forget that you can order now The Anthropocene Hymnal anthology. The Anthology is “a poetic response to the joint crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.” (Ingrid Wilson, ed.) Read more on Ingrid Wilson’s site.
Crossroads (Winds of Love) by Jude Itakaly
A dazzling collection of poetry written by a young author. Let’s listen to him:
“I wrote Crossroads for all who have not found romantic love and are on the threshold of giving up on it, for all who have love and may be about to give it up, and for all who have been wounded gravely by love and are scared of ever trying it again. It is a companion that stirs memory in reminiscent and also horrific ways only to finally awaken hope and new life in us, where the best love may come to us.”
Update on my upcoming collection of poetry Woman: Splendor and Sorrow
For those of you who are interested in my upcoming collection of poetry Woman: Splendor and Sorrow my publisher and I decided we will not open it for pre-order. The book will be published on July 31. Both versions e-book and paperback will be available via Amazon. I will post the links on July 31.
There are several new posts up at MasticadoresUSA. For me MasticadoresUSA is a labor of love. Thank you to everyone who supports this site.
You can read the work of your fellow poets and follow the site here.
My favorite poet is Arthur Rimbaud. His work Illuminations left a profound mark in my soul. I recently found a blog in The Guardian written years ago and entitled: “Rimbaud was no genius: The vagabond prodigy promised greatness but never delivered.” I beg to differ...
NY Glam: What three social topics/theme do you care mostly about and why?
Discrimination, abuses of power, and climate change. To some extent they overlap. I despise discrimination with its claim to primordial identities…
NY Glam: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read. Write. Do not compare yourself with others. Stay close to people who inspire and help. Stay true to your heart… Forget about social constraints. Social constraints are put in place by structures of power that fear talent of any kind. They fear progress because…. Greatness always encounters resistance.
I would be very grateful to you if you could read the entire interview HERE.
There is a new poem by Merry Maiden up at MasticadoresUSA. There are other great features coming up this week so please stay tuned.
Thank you to everyone you follows MasticadoresUSA. Building a community is a very difficult endeavor. I deeply appreciate your visits and your likes.
Time to put yourself first? I don’t think so. It is time to put our planet first. If not there will be no you, I, us.
The Anthropocene Hymnal anthology is here.
Ingrid Wilson, who complied and edited The Anthropocene Hymnal, describes it as “a poetic response to the joint crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.” Ingrid worked hard to raise awareness of the dangers our planet faces. I am extremely grateful to her for her efforts and dedication.
However, please keep in mind that Ingrid will sell her own version of the e-book on her site. Payment for downloads purchased in that way will be via donation to WWF. If you want to contribute to WWF [https://www.worldwildlife.org/] please consider buying from Ingrid’s site.
I want to thank Ingrid for including my work in her project and to everyone who supports her efforts.
From my contribution
destiny of this earth you are my destiny too I burn in wildfires and spin in the eyewalls of hurricanes that should never be I sit at the intersection of two bridges that lead nowhere wonder how many days this earth and I have left there is no more laughter in the eyes of the stars there are no more shells on the shore the waves leave behind the deformed plastic of heated summers echoes of drunken voices … destiny of this earth you are my destiny too teach me what saviors do
A few reports on climate change
“Record-breaking temperatures hit the Pacific Northwest at the end of June, with an all-time high in British Columbia of 121 degrees.. An estimated 1 billion small sea creatures – including mussels, clams and snails – died during the heat wave in the Salish Sea, off more than 4,000 miles of linear shore…” [Amanda Coletta, and Sammy Westfall, The Seattle Times, July 8, 2021]. Internet available here.
“Officials in the Florida Keys announced what many coastal governments nationwide have long feared, but few have been willing to admit: As seas rise and flooding gets worse, not everyone can be saved.” [Christopher Flavelle and Patricia Mazzei, The New York Times, December 4, 2019]. Internet available here.
“2020 was one of the three warmest years on record. The past six years, including 2020, have been the six warmest years on record. Temperatures reached 38.0 °C at Verkhoyansk, Russian Federation on 20 June, the highest recorded temperature anywhere north of the Arctic Circle.” [State of the Global Climate 2020, WMO-No. 1264, 2021]. Internet available here.
To increase donations to WWF please consider supporting Ingrid’s efforts and buying The Anthropocene Hymnal from her site when available.
I am thrilled that my new poetry collection Woman: Splendor and Sorrow will be released on July 31. Both formats -e-book and paperback – will be available.
Thank you to everyone who supported me, encouraged me, and inspired me.
From the back cover:
“Woman is a triumphant collection of poetry. Milton explores with sincerity and great craft the many faces of identity and womanhood. This is the sort of poetry collection that will resonate with any reader.”
Brian Geiger, editor of Vita Brevis Press
Please visit MasticadoresUSA here. There is new wonderful poetry by Karima Hoisan, Annette Kalandros, Nancy Elliott, Punam and others that I probably mentioned before. Please support your fellow poets and do not forget to follow the site.
I am my mother’s daughter – short prose by Gabriela Marie Milton
I am not who you think I am. My loves are the result of my interiorities in which meanings lie. “Outside” is an illusion. I do not seek the attention of the cup bearer. I am the cup bearer.
It was evening. I was five years old. Mama wore a beautiful dress, pale lines of fresh green dripping on her body. Curves, rose scents, pearled skin. She looked ravishing.
Phlegmatic look on his face Papa smoked Arturo Fuente cigars. He said: That dress is too short.
Mama did not answer. She entered the house. I followed her. She went in the yellow room. The room had a large French tapestry on the left wall. She took a pair of scissors and cut her dress shorter.
The next morning, she looked even more ravishing.
The thought came to me in the afternoon. A big smile appeared on my face. I ran into my room and took out all my little dresses from the wardrobe. Armed with a scissor, I proceeded to the terrace. One by one I cut all dresses trying to make them shorter. I was ecstatic. I thought of how happy Mama would be. I swear I saw the roses dancing in the garden.
I am my mother’s daughter. My sweet love, should I cut my dress shorter?
Congratulations to my fellow editors of the Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and other editions of Gobblers/Masticadores on their performances.
May I please get some help? There are several new poems up at MasticadoresUSA. Please visit the site here and support your wonderful fellow poets. Do not forget to follow the site.
Summer sunsets with their cruel debaucheries of orange and purple. Concentrated scents of saffron and roses in the hallways. Dates filled with marzipan. I crave sweetness like I crave you.
Nightmares. A sailor drowned a cat at sea. Someone paid him to do it.
I cannot breathe anymore.
Last night in one of the upstairs bedrooms the child’s toys changed places. A candle lit by itself.
I do not wish you were here. I am beyond that. My blood flows in the opposite direction. I am the plenitude of my febrilities. I am incandescent.
Remember that scene from Jane Eyre? Bertha: beautiful, exotic, insane, locked in a room. Bertha whom Rochester married in Jamaica. Every time he tried to open the door she would rush to tear him apart. Why am I thinking Bertha?
I can see you walking in the streets of another continent. I can hear your murmurs by the sea.
I still cannot breathe.
My darling, “will you still be loving me when the summer is gone?”
There are several new poems up at MasticadoresUSA. Please visit the site here and support your fellow poets. Do not forget to follow the site.
My piece Who was he? published in Free Verse Revolution Issue II. You can download the entire issuehere.
Who was he? by Gabriela Marie Milton
I met him in the mist of that unusual summer when mama looked more beautiful than ever, and pears grew as big as squashes. Their golden and juicy fragrance hung on my lips even after the touches of the evening wind were gone.
He stood by the fence in his winged hat and his weird sandals, a tricky smile on his face, and a lyre on his hand. I knew whose symbols those were, so I laughed. I figured out he was trying to drag me into some weird play.
When he spoke, his voice pierced my entire body. I felt like a butterfly, pinned, and labeled, and then fixed with a nail on the bottom of an insect box.
“We are getting married tonight.”
Something in his voice denoted an unmistakable hunger to overcome mortality. Who was he? His pale fingers touched the chords of the lyre. The sky started to rain the fragrance of the pears and white petals on us. One of them fell on my left shoulder. When I tried to touch it, it vanished.
He moved toward me and pressed his lips on mine. My eyes closed. I shivered. I felt dragged into a deceptive rootlessness. I could not remember where I was. When I opened my eyes, he was gone.
Under the olive tree on the wooden table there was a basket filled with pears. I touched one of them. It was made of paper. By the basket someone inscribed the words: “That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one.”
I froze. Those were words attributed to Hermes Trismegistus.
Who was he and where did he go?
Please welcome our first guest from New Zeeland: a marvelous poetess Rachel. Read Rachel’s poem Invitation to inspiration here.
Free Verse Revolution Issue II (hermes) is out. Congratulations to the contributors, and thank you to Kristiana Reed, its wonderful editor, for featuring an interview with me and two pieces of my poetic prose.
Below please find the interview. I will feature my published pieces in future posts.
Free Verse Revolution Issue II Interview with Gabriela Marie Milton
KRISTIANA: We would love for you to introduce yourself and share when you began writing and why you decided to share your work with others?
GABRIELA: I may have scribbled some poetry in high school, but basically, I started writing in the period between my undergraduate studies and my graduate ones. Now, I write poetry and short prose under the name Gabriela Marie Milton. Three or four years ago, I published my first poems under Gabriela M. Today, my standard introduction is: Hello My Dear Readers, I am Gabriela Marie Milton, 2019 Author of the Year at Spillwords Press NYC, author of Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings, editor of MasticadoresUSA, and author of the forthcoming collection of poems and poetic prose entitled Woman: Splendor and Sorrow to be published by Vita Brevis Press this summer. My favorite poet is Arthur Rimbaud. My all-time favorite novelist is Lawrence Durrell. My heart trembles at Salvador Dali’s surrealism, and it is stolen by Chopin every other week. To enchant some readers who may find such an introduction boring, here is a little more about me: I love Italian food, narrow cobbled streets, cats, and oceans. My favorite color is mauve. I was born in Europe, and I live in the USA. Honestly, initially it was not my decision to share my work, as intriguing as it may sound. Yet, things happened. I will leave it at that.
KRISTIANA: How would you describe your collection, Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings, to those new to your work?
GABRIELA: To me the collective unconscious– as conceptualized by Jung – represents another level of existence that we, as humans, share. In Passions I tried to penetrate that level and bring out perhaps its most important element: memories. Passions is a book of vivid and lush images brought to light using symbolist, surrealist, and romantic techniques. It is a book for everyone. It is a call to immortality. It is a journey through the corridors of our collective unconscious. I wrote Passions – like all my other writings – almost in a trance. Passions is that which I feel, not necessarily that which I know. Some pieces included in Passions are influenced by Gnosticism with which I first became acquainted by reading Umberto Eco, Jorge Luis Borges, Lawrence Durrell, and others. To wrap it up, Passions is what Christina Schwarz, the author of the New York Times Bestseller “Drowning Ruth,” described as “a fantastic world ripe with emotion.” I am deeply grateful to her for that description.
KRISTIANA: Your prose pieces often have dominant themes of love and heartache, what draws you to romantic storytelling?
GABRIELA: Mama used to say that I am a romantic story. I, the subject, am the same with the object (i.e. my story). The object does not exist independent from me. Something similar to the concept of endopathy anticipated by Dante: “he who would paint a figure, if he cannot become that figure, cannot portray it.” Yet, when mama said what she said she was not thinking of Dante. She was thinking of Kant’s transcendental idealism. She made me read Kant when I was in high school. I did it with packs of ice on my head. On every page there were about 10 to15 words that I did not understand. It was an interesting experience to say the least.
KRISTIANA: What are your inspirations? Are they musical, literary, ekphrastic, or all three?
GABRIELA: Something more than all three together: the plan of the unconscious. From there my inspiration flows like a river. In there, I find light and darkness, the whole and its parts, sonorous images with their unmistakable language, memories of the future and of the past, the sound of germinating wheat, the entire world.
KRISTIANA: You recently announced your next collection is coming soon, can you give us a synopsis and explain the impact you hope this collection will have on your readers?
GABRIELA: Woman: Splendor and Sorrow, is a collection of love poems and poetic prose. I hope my readers will be interested in this collection. It will be published by Vita Brevis Press at the end of July. Here is part of what I wrote in the dedication in an attempt to describe my own book:
My Dear Readers, My favorite novelist, Lawrence Durrell, once asked:
“Who invented the human heart, I wonder? Tell me, and then show me the place where he was hanged.” If you read this book, you will find that place. Yet make no mistake. It is not a sad place. In the pages you are about to read, I resurrect the one who invented the human heart. The splendors of candlelight and roses and the taste of gingerbread dwell in this book. Partake in them. The core of this book is love. Yet you will also find in it philosophical thoughts on literature, on winning and losing, on hate, on feminism, and on life in general. My dear reader, from wherever you are in this world, walk with me on the beautiful path of the human heart. I promise you will not regret doing so. On this road you will find love and the symbols that define us as humans.
KRISTIANA: Issue II draws upon Hermes from the Olympic pantheon, why do you think we continue to reinvent and rejuvenate myths and stories of old? Do you have a particular myth/story you remember fondly?
GABRIELA: Oh, myths, none of our civilizations have ever survived without them. We all have a mythical part so to speak. Myths express ontological and moral ideas. Their splendid supernaturality reflects our desire to transcend the materiality of the world, to find our beginnings, and to anticipate the future. Codes, symbols. Their faces may change in time, but they never become old.
I have many stories I remember fondly. However, in myths, as well as in most major religions, there is one thing that fascinates me the most: the fall. Something goes wrong with our world because somebody errs. In most cases that somebody is a woman. Certain Gnostics believe that our material world is not the creation of the real God. The world is the creation of the demiurge (a lesser God) who came into being because of Sophia’s fall. I remember when I first visited Santorini. One early morning, caught between its breathtaking views and the blue of the Mediterranean, I realized that nobody could have ever lived in Greece without concocting myths. The beauty of that place refuses itself to rationality. One needs an entire mythology to absorb it.
KRISTIANA: Would you describe yourself as multifaceted like Hermes? Could you use three words to describe yourself?
GABRIELA: Hermes is a fascinating figure. He is the messenger of Gods. Some see him as the Logos itself. However, Hermes is also the god of thieves and liars. The Greeks did not leave one single human trait without a God. You must hand it to them. To answer your question, I do not think of myself as multifaceted. Three words to describe myself: I am mystery. Why? Because I am like anyone else. We all have a sight that we do not understand. Perhaps we are not supposed to.
KRISTIANA: You are a long time, and very appreciated, supporter of FVR and other online platforms, what do you feel the online community has brought to the traditional world of writing and publishing?
GABRIELA: The online community allows people to express their talents without having to go through more cumbersome conventional processes. It gives voice to the poor, and to the misunderstood. It gives voice to those who are unconventional. It allows us to dwell in a multiplicity of talents. It forces us to rediscover ourselves.
Thank you for reading. Please download the entire issue here.
There are two beautiful poems up at MasticadoresUSA.