The Problem with Poetry

Problem_with_poetryPoets gets me in trouble.

First, it was all because of Poe. At thirteen, I obsessed over his gorgeous, grand lines. Safely ensconced in my playhouse with the door firmly closed against eavesdropping sisters, I recited his poems aloud over and over again. The imprint of some of these remain forever etched on my soul,trapped behind my teeth for instant recital.

I dwelt alone in a world of moan and my soul was a stagnant tide.

How deep! How dark! How profound!

Determined to be as great a writer as Poe, I labored to add such depth to my adolescent writings. When my language arts teacher projected an image of a girl looking out her bedroom window at a crow and told us to write about the picture, I felt the gods had smiled upon me. I knew exactly what to do. I was prepared. I was going to deliver the most profound piece that would win my teacher's adoring awe.

Instead, I won myself a trip to the school counselor's office. I remember I wrote something about how the crow was all there was, and all else in the universe was dingy, depressed death. (Oh, alliteration, how I love thee!)

My trouble deepened in college, when we would sit in seminar dissecting some famed poet's piece on gender identity, or privilege, or patriarchal pandering. Twenty students in the circle, twenty interpretations, yet one professor with the "truth" of the meaning. I read too many bad poems. I heard too much theorizing complex meaning out of trite sentiment. I didn't understand.

I scribbled a trite poem capitalizing on all the clichés I'd heard all quarter and received highest praise for my work. Screw that. Poetry is a sham. I'm done.

How grateful I am for the poets that brought me back to the light, or the darkness, depending on the piece. How grateful I am for Kay Kinghammer.

Kay Kinghammer writes with me every Friday morning at my Daylight Writers group. She started showing up a year ago, a friendly grandmother type with tight white curls and appliqué sweaters. Sweet enough, but easily dismissed, like so many poems of my past.

Oh, but Kay could write! When she chose to read her work at group, I would snap to attention. Here were lines that purred, that prowled, that crept up my spine, that occasionally rhymed! Here were lines I wanted to say again, with my own voice.

Down by the river in the dark,

I drifted with the water’s soft splashes,

I quivered with the rustling of bushes.

Hidden in the warm summer night

All the uncles, kids, and cousins,

Like so many peas in a pod.

Kay began her writer's journey late in life, the part where she put the words down on paper anyway. She was busy, go-go dancing, falling in love with questionable men, attempting a Gypsy life of travel, raising a son. Years pass so quickly. Now she lives in Seattle with her Grandson. She takes the bus wherever she wants to go. She doesn't own a laptop. She wears silly sweaters and comes to writing groups in coffee shops where she reads lines pulled from her past and captivates a room of caffeinated strangers.

Kay needs our help.

She was invited to debut her book of poetry (The Wenatchee River Anthology) at the Fermoy International Poetry Festival in Ireland. You may imagine, this is a very big deal for an emerging poet from Wenatchee. Living on a fixed income, there is no possible way Kay can afford a plane ticket to Ireland. This is where we come in.

Writers are wonderful people. I have received a great deal of support from my community. Now I ask that we direct some of that support in monetary fashion towards Kay. I've helped her launch a Kickstarter to raise the funds she needs to publish her book and get to Ireland. Please become a backer now.

I think of the dreams I have, how deep inside me some creature calls out her aching desires, how I would fly if that creature were freed. I think of your dreams. I think how incredible it is that we can have so much impact on one another's lives.

We can make this happen for Kay. Please join me as a backer of The Wenatchee River Anthology.

Become a backer now.


Lush Perk - the Sexiest Smart Shoes I've Ever Seen

Meet friend of Book Lush: Street Slips

What do you wear while reading your classic novels and sipping your custom cocktails? Street Slips! Australian designer HeavyTaste has launched a new line of incredibly gorgeous loafers that mold like a glove to your feet. The shoes are smart and sexy - just like Book Lush backers.

Street Slips reached out as a fan of Book Lush and will be introducing our book to their community. We thought we'd return the favor. Plus, these shoes are seriously killer. I personally backed their Kickstarter at a level that gets me a pair of shoes. Now the question is simply will I get a pair for myself, or for my love? Tough call!

If you like what you see in this update, please give them a look on Kickstarter. They are 95% funded! You may be the lucky backer that makes their project a reality!

Onward! XO, Kelsye

All or Nothing: A First Time

Just a couple days ago, I took the leap and launched my first ever Kickstarter campaign. I'm raising money to publish Book Lush, a guide of what to drink with what to read.

The inspiration:

A while back during my Japan years, I was sitting alone on my apartment balcony, reading a copy of Haruki Murakami's The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. It was late, but warm. I had Miles Davis Kind of Blue on the CD player and was drinking Cutty Sark (a whiskey) on the rocks. A perfect moment. Imagine my shock when I read as the character Toru played a record of Kind of Blue and poured himself a glass of Cutty Sark. After a moderate freak-out over the coincidence, I greatly enjoyed the blending of the drink and the book. As it was the character's drink, I was able to enter the author's world even deeper and experience the book in a multi-sensory way. Groovy, yes?
After that moment with the whiskey and the Murakami, I began to look for drink references, or even wonder what is the best drink to match with each of my favorite books. My writing friends shared their favorite pairings as well. Sometimes the match was pulled from a direct literary reference, sometime the match was made more on mood and general meaning. All these great conversations let to the Book Lush book idea.

There must be a perfect drink to pair with every great book.


Why Kickstarter?

I thought long and hard about how I wanted to bring Book Lush into the world. I have attended incredible workshops by Jen and Kerry at Business of Books that gave me the information and confidence I need to pitch to publishers. However, I have never attempted crowd-funding and I believe Book Lush is a good choice for the medium. I have many more ideas I can send to publishers later down the road. As I made my career in publishing, this is a great opportunity to learn more about this particular path.

I also took a long hard look at Pubslush. I am a huge fan of the Pubslush team and the platform they have created for authors to fund their book projects. In fact, my company recently started a Pubslush community page.


I finally decided to go with Kickstarter as I was looking for more organic traffic and campaign templates I could easily follow.


Oh dear Lord, it's live.

After much clever procrastination and delay, I finally launched my kickstarter. A couple days in I have 16 backers and $660 pledged. I have a long way to go to meet my $8,000 pledge minimum. I'll keep you updated as I go with my experience and what I learn along the way. If you would like to join the Book Lush kickstarter, you can become a backer. Of course, shares and encouragement are also very much appreciated!