Tuesday, February 16, 2016

25 Tracks I Write With

You might ponder that in order to write, or focus, one should not listen to music, watch tv, etc.  And while I agree with the whole TV and ridding yourself of distractions, I first began writing while listening to music (and this was years ago, mind you).

Music stimulates creativity in the same way that reading poetry or prose by your favorite author might trigger a new idea or aid you in drawing abstract parallels you might not have otherwise made connections with.

Personally, music allows me to totally inhabit whatever mood I'm either feeling, or trying to portray through words.  And just as piece of writing  (particularly poetry or prose from another) might inspire you, so can the words and the sounds of music.  

Here are a handful of my favorite songs I write to, depending on the subject matter I'm trying to explore. Musical lyrics have really been a mainstay in my writing since the beginning.   They always allow me to inhabit another plane of thought, especially when I'm suffering from writers block or lack of inspiration.  Oftentimes I've written of characters in songs, or written poetic stories about what I think might have happened in a song, or the events that may have inspired a song.  

If you've never written to music, I suggest you give it a try.  It might be just what you need in order to write your next piece of meaningful verse.  You can try some of the songs below, or go ahead and create your own 'writer's playlist.'  

My Writer's Playlist

1.  “The Trapeze Swinger”  by  Iron and Wine
2.  “32 Flavors”  by Ani DiFranco
3.  “Yellow”  by Coldplay
4.  “Come Undone” by Duran Duran
5.  “Heartbeats”  by The Knife
6.  “Don’t Confess”  by Tegan and Sara
7.  “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths
8.  “Holocene”  by Bon Iver
9.  “Sex Tourists”  by French Kicks
10.  “1979” by Smashing Pumpkins
11.  “Sleepyhead”  by Passion Pit
12.  “Kids”  by MGMT
13.  “Return to Innocence”  by Enigma
14.  “Hello Seattle”  by Owl City
15.  “Paradise”  by Wild Nothing
16.  “Hear Me Out”  by Frou Frou
17.  “Take Me Out”  by Franz Ferdinand
18.  “Heart Songs”  by Weezer
19.  “Sleeping In” by The Postal Service
20.  “Daylight”  Matt and Kim
21.  “Counting Blue Cars”  by Dishwalla
22.  “Starlight”  by Muse
23.  “Cigarettes”  by Sick of Sarah
24.  "Set Fire to the Third Bar"  by Snow Patrol
25.  "Kiss the Rain" by Billie Myers

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Collection of Poetry by Tempest Brew


if there's a spread
of this disease
of knowing
don't look at me as your
kind night nurse
don't expect me
to be the buxom bride
of deathbed care
for your limited whim


I'm the skin
of a lady just so deep
then I become like
Nietzsche's animal
dream inside
and want to claw
for something more

Middle Ages

as I approach forty
I realize the irony
that we know so little
about the middle ages
and I understand
the need for swords
and tales of dragons

Tempest Brew is someone.  She likes coffee, wine, and books.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Gods in the Wilderness" by Caitlin Johnson

Back Cover Blurb

In this, her first full-length poetry collection, Caitlin Johnson seeks to demolish the things that would tear her poetic personae apart and align herself with those that would give them power. Yet Johnson also embraces the pain, hoping to transfigure it into something useful for the reader. Taking her cues from religion, mythology, history, and literature, Johnson delves into her own psyche as well as the inner lives of a cast of characters as disparate as goddesses, non-mothers, and blue-collar workers in attempt to plumb the depths of literary possibility.

Book Excerpt

Leo’s Place

You & me at the yellow counter:
Philly, no onions, no peppers;
tuna salad sandwich with tomatoes;
a skinny bottle of Coke between us
& nothing else—
shoulder to shoulder, my dark brown hair
spilling onto your coat, your kneecaps

knocking into mine.

Weather Patterns

Sylvia, look:
you don’t owe me anything,
& I’m not going to ask why.
Besides, I know why; I’ve looked
into an oven myself, & the depths
of a bottle of pills waiting—just
waiting—to carry me off on a hazy
cloud of dizziness & momentary pleasure.
Sometimes life is like that:
uneven, pitching from creativity
to despair like an indecisive
summer storm. You lost your umbrella
long ago, & the replacement was full
of holes, wires exposed with fabric
flapping away in the wind.
I get it. You couldn’t patch the damned
thing up anymore. So you burned it,
then blew out the pilot light.

Misguided girls, especially precocious ones,
take you as an example, not for your words
but for your tragic life.
You & I know, though, how little glamor
there is in tragedy. & we keep fighting,
making our feeble attempts at recovering
what is washed away in deluges
coming over & over: waves
that won’t abate. Your tries
weren’t enough. I feel lucky
meteorology has advanced so much,
or I could easily be your twin.

The Confessor

You’re looking for a tabula rasa?
Not for sale here, my friend.
I deal in admissions of guilt;
what you want is intercession.
How many candles did you light?
Seems excessive to me, or maybe
I’m just the old-school type
who thinks you shouldn’t do anything
to be sorry for. Yeah, you’re
human. So what? It’s not
a pass, free country or no.
Sure, Jesus died for your sins,
but I’ll tell you the truth:
he was trying to set an example,
you heathen, not set you up
with a cushy life. You believe
in Hell? I think it’s gonna be
Jesus down there giving you
a disappointed look for all eternity
and you realizing what a jackass
you’ve been but never getting
a chance to crucify yourself
in penance. Let me know
how this all works out for you, yeah?


She never asks,
afraid to explore the depths
of the deluge,
the town flooded
to keep her out.
But she wonders
what streets ran through
your heart, what elm-
shaded paths
she might have explored,
how the home fires
scented the air
on chilly evenings.
All she knows
is that she drowned there
on your orders
before she touched bottom.