Interview w/ Mary Langer Thompson

By Carol Smallwood & Mary Langer Thompson

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Mary Langer Thompson

An award-winning California poet, writer, and public school principal, Dr. Mary Langer Thompson was born in Illinois. She is active in the California Writer’s Club, High Desert Branch, and was California’s Senior Poet Laureate. She has given poetry and writing workshops and has authored poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. Her books can be found on Amazon.

Your recent book, The Gull Who Thought He Was Dull, is a beautifully color-illustrated book for young children about the adventures of Gus on the theme of self-worth. Your engaging word choices echo your background as a poet. How did you come to write it?

Thank you. Back in the ’90s, my husband and I were on a road trip, and we do a lot of word play all the time. We came up with a title, Gull Ibble, the Gullible Gull, and for years I mulled over trouble a seagull could get into.…

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No Place For An Honest Mistake

By Luba Shur

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The night I decided I wanted to make America more dangerous started safely enough.

My mom and I were standing under Restaurant Hoity-Toity’s awnings, hiding from the drizzle, when my late-arriving dad sprang upon the scene.

“Seriously, someone’s going to think you’re the valet! What’re you wearing?” The amused lilt in my mom’s voice cut the legs out from under her scold. My handsome dad, usually a dapper dresser, had donned a puffed-up rain jacket that made him look like a pencil jammed into a large beach ball, with only its tip and eraser protruding.

“Chill, Stink Pot,” he parried back, dipping into their pool of edgy nicknames. “It’s much more embarrassing to spend $3,000 on a thin, plaid, non-functional piece of cloth. If we’re worrying about appearances, people might think you’re superficial!” He was alluding to my mom’s expensive trench, neither warm nor waterproof.…

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Self-Portrait as Both Kong and Captive

By P.J. Dominiski

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I wailed at the cruelty
when the bi-planes felled him.
Learning then that man, malarial man,
buzzing round the wonder of the great ape like mosquitoes,
would kill us all.

I was Faye, entombed in the leathery digits of Kong,
a font of youth and tears and love, and I was also Kong,
the humanity in his gentled placid eyes when he clutches her,
his brackish rage; part righteous part misguided. …

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The Poem Interprets the Reader – Pam Uschuk’s “Who Today Needs Poetry”

By Scott Jones

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Who can guess which poems become yours?  You can be taught to read poetry and you can be taught to analyze – but only some poems place you on the stage of your life, in front of your own footlights.  And what is it? – Aesthetic reaction, emotive creation, a phrase or a word that triggers neural firing across your mind as intense as a lightning storm and as subdued as moth’s wings that brush at the edges of consciousness.  Don’t analyze, don’t read:  listen to the poem, listen deeper into yourself.

Pam Uschuk’s piece “Who Today Needs Poetry” comes dense and roiling in image, chattering with ambiguity, rife with sensory ties to the reader.  She starts …

“Who Today Needs Poetry”
Not the California quail clucking for millet
or gold finches glutting on thistle seed, not
last night’s bats jittering between the end
of desert heat and Cygnus rising … …

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Hitman

By Karen Zlotnick

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When Leslie Bobeck was in fifth grade, a boy everyone called J.B. nicknamed her “Lezbo,”an obvious combination of her first and last names. Now a junior, sixteen years old, she occasionally heard “Lezbo” mumbled nastily in gym class or behind her in the cafeteria’s cashier line, but Leslie was relatively sure that J.B. and his friend, Bodie, were the only ones who used it. Her best friend, Larissa, tried to address it once with Bodie on Leslie’s behalf, but when Larissa approached him, Bodie spit his gum onto her shoe, and she backed away without saying a word. Leslie told the bawling Larissa that she was sorry Bodie had been such an asshole to her, but that the Lezbo thing was old and stupid, not worth their time.…

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