COLD RIVER PRESS
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Deadline for submitting is June 30, 2019
We prefer previously unpublished work but will accept any previously published items. Please include where it was FIRST published and when.
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TOUGH ENOUGH is a rare collection of poetry from four incredible women; Annie Menebroker, Victoria Dalkey, Kathryn Hohlwein and Viola Weinberg. The collection offers a unique look into the writing of these four formidable voices and offers the reader a chance to experience their "shared" journey as Tough Old Broads while at the same time maintaining their individual journeys through life as poets, mothers, wives, and confidants; their poetry enriching us with beauty, poise, grace and at times, gritty realism. It is a collection of unique voices weaving a storied tapestry of words and images the reader will turn back to again and again. This is a timeless journey of life lived to its fullest. Grand in one moment, heartbreakingly difficult the next, this is as honest a look at four friends and their journey through poetry that you will ever find.
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Reading Tough Enough, I think of Basho—“It is deep autumn/my neighbor/how does he live, I wonder.” I wonder, too, how one lives, survives and even thrives in “deep autumn.” The “how to,” might be found in the work of these four poets who have immersed themselves in poetry, art, music, dance, embracing life’s sorrow as well as its joy. In “Tulare Motel” Annie Menebroker speaks of Wilma who escapes hellish summer heat, “. . . But she blessed/ this strange room, played cards/ with her brother, and called her/ friends to spread the word of survival.” Spreading the word of survival—what act of poetry is more blessed than that—is exactly what the poets of Tough Enough do. That they refer to themselves as Tough Old Broads speaks to an unselfconscious resilience that is the backbone of this collection. There are questions here as well as answers. Kathryn Holwein’s villanelle, “My Acts,” begins “Are my acts like the ash I will become/since everything feels ghostly from this striving.” Victoria Dalkey’s “Elegy In The Old City Cemetery” questions the nature of the mind: “A new paradigm for the mind holds/it is like a cloud, vaporous, amorphous,/ a shape-shifting function of imagination.” Perhaps the ultimate answer to how one might live, given sufficient courage, is found in Viola Weinberg’s “Arthur’s Seat, The Easy Way,” the poem that closes this sterling collection: “I threw myself into the very muscle of desire.”
Four different strains of speculative intelligence. Four
lifetimes sorted. The same years captured by different sensibilities—all with
that certain ache that is poetry. What I like is the rich mix of memory & public
commentary. Annie Menebroker’s lyrics bursts, for example—the cogent
self-questioning that turns to larger issues. Kathryn Hohlwein’s spiritual sense
in poems that are moving & insightful, always emotionally right. It’s not by
chance that the four poets have integrated their gifts & their life-work. From
her practice as an art critic, Victoria Dalkey seems to take her vision & feel
for order, her wit & sense of tonal shift. Viola Weinberg recaptures, exuberant
& expansive, in the know, the challenges of working in the media & being a
mother. Her intense & dramatic poem, “Arthur’s Seat, the Easy Way,” about
climbing Scotland’s almost mythic height, in spite of her health & physical
limits, is about the transcendence that is the task for all four poets.
What a pleasure and delight to find four poets whose work I have loved and admired for many years gathered together here. Sly, witty, passionate, painterly, erudite voices calling out to us--to our hearts--from the heart of the mysterious quotidians. This book, these poems are a great gift.