Monthly Archives: March 2013

Coffee With Gloria (McGowan) Wimberley

Wimberley PhotoHaving lived in Miami, Washington, DC, and other cosmopolitan locales for decades, Gloria (McGowan) Wimberley, M.A., a Pushcart Prize nominee (2013), now lives in the woodsy warmth of her West Virginia hometown in serene Appalachia. Published in BlazeVOX of New York and Red Fez magazine of Los Angeles, Gloria’s poetry also appears in various other print and online publications in the U.S. as well as abroad in England, New Zealand, Scotland, and Canada. A college professor for many years, she is also a freelance book-editor, and contributor to several works including the Amazon BestSeller, In The Company of Women: An Anthology of Sass & Class, Wit & Wisdom (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House, Los Angeles), Mistletoe Madness anthology (Kind of a Hurricane Press), and Potters Wheel Anthology–Vol.1. Her forthcoming publications include The Digital Dulcimer anthology (Raven Publishing) , Potters Wheel Anthology–Vol. 2 (J. Benson Publishing, Canada), Mapping Me: A Landscape of Women’s Stories (New Zealand), Poems From The Panty Drawer (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House), and Return to Rural America: A West Virginia Anthology (S. Ferrell Productions). An unabashed chocoholic and passionate fan of David Lynch movies, she is the author of the Amazon BestSeller, Dialect of Dahlias, a darkly delicious 102-page poetry collection published by Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House of California.


(“Coffee With the Poets” interviews
are conducted by Christina.)

Greetings, Gloria! I am gratified to enter spring of 2013 in the company of one of West Virginia’s brightest poetic gems. You know I like to begin by asking, “How do you take your coffee?”

Christina, thank you for having me; it’s a genuine thrill to be here… I take my coffee with organic half & half and TruVia. When at Starbuck’s, I’m a sucker for Caramel Macchiato or Mocha Cappuccino, being that I’m an unapologetic chocoholic with Godiva, Lindt, or Andes Candies chocolate brands on the brain…during the merrymaking holidays–or any time of year, really.

[smiling broadly, understandingly…] Christina is going to assume that you’ve plopped a Lindor truffle or two into your coffee! Truffle?

Yum! You know me too well. 🙂

…Now there is poetry that falls flat to the ear, and there is poetry that is music to the ear, and I hear the music of words when I read your poetry. Do you have experience rhapsodizing, and have you considered audio recordings?

I’m glad that you hear musicality in my verse; I strive to eschew tin-ear clunkiness in my writing as much as possible. Being an uber-nerd, I often will rhapsodize in the [college] classroom during the Poetry component of the English courses I teach. My students seem to enjoy the passion and soul-bearing sincerity that goes into rhapsodizing for an audience, and then to feel more comfortable to openly rhapsodize their own poetic creations during PeerShare…Hearing my students’ confidence when rhapsodizing their own poetry is truly gratifying for me as an educator.

How wonderful.

Positive exposure via audio recordings is a brilliant idea; thank you for suggesting it a while ago to me…In the interest of sharing my poetry with a vast global audience, I now have poetry readings on YouTube…hopefully my accent, (which has been pegged by others as originating from Georgia or Tennessee, is actually an accent rooted in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and nearby Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), isn’t distracting or (eek!) irritating to viewers/listeners.

“Sequoias” (dedicated to my friend Sheenagh) is my first YT video, in fact. All Likes and Comments by viewers are sincerely appreciated. 🙂 Make sure to press “Show More” to read all of the pertinent information listed there.

I didn’t notice your accent (I wonder why that is?) 😉 but what I did notice alongside the gorgeous setting is how pleasant your voice is for reading. Very nice, both video readings!

My YouTube poetry readings are pure Nature–in all seasons, even the dead of winter. In fact, I do much of my writing while sitting in my “woodland office” in the woods. As my rustic “desk” and “chair” are fashioned from sturdy Maple logs, and a herd of deer is literally 20 feet away from me in a spacious meadow, I’m thankful to be able to pen poetry, musings, etc. in my humble cornflower-blue leather-bound journal, all in the midst of this peaceful sylvan setting.

It does sound like a blissful melange of creature comforts: decadent chocolates, woody surrounds, deer-watching…let’s daydream for a minute. Tell us what your ideal vacation setting would be if you were to go with the expectation of feeling inspired to write. What one poetry book would you take along?

My ideal vacation setting would be the sublimely ethereal Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. …Two poetry books are better than one, so…I’d bring along Georg Trakl’s Autumn Sonata poetry collection and the collected poems of Emily Dickinson for inspiration.

Many poets and readers – women in particular – can relate to Emily Dickinson, but I am assuming that most people are unfamiliar with Georg Trakl. What is it about him and/or his work that you find so engaging?

Trakl’s use of vibrant visuals, surrealist imagery, and brooding tone as a poet resonate with me…also, his keen introspection and most-commonly explored themes seem very contemporary. Secondly, Trakl in his personal life is believed to have suffered from schizophrenia, and a cherished life-long friend of mine, now-deceased, suffered from the inexpressible horrors of schizophrenia. Some of Trakl’s most disconcerting, eerie, and haunting imagery remind me of my friend’s daily trials of the mind, that she courageously shared with me.

That’s a beautiful testament of how personal each reader’s preferences can be, how poetry isn’t about what’s fashionable. Just curious, so back to your poetry, I witness careful crafting beyond rules but with alliteration, assonance, all major qualities applied. Share with us your thoughts/feelings on the importance of expressing yourself freely without restrictions of formal structure.

I genuinely love this question because conscious wordplay is one my strengths as a writer. For me, looking through a narrative or surrealistic lens, is a challenge that compels me to respect the unfettered brain-space afforded by Free Verse, as well as the reverberating and resonant power of literary devices. Creating neo-logisms like “wordwhip”, “greenswanic”, wombwalls”, “slugslump”, “roseruddy”, “rootright”, “pearlsticky” et al. is my favorite because they marry two worlds of disparate associations for different readers with equally-different filtering processes.

I see your analytical process at play here!

Engaging readers in the satiating act of multiplicitous interpretation is the hope and goal of my poetic efforts. And careful crafting through important writerly tools such as assonance, alliteration, neo-logism, metaphor, enjambment, slant rhyme, pregnant pauses via ellipses, etc. is a huge part of my creative process. If a poem I’ve written doesn’t contain at least one literary device, then I’ve not succeeded as a capable wordsmith.

It’s good that you realize your responsibility in what you do – and that you take it to a professional level!

As a poet, I feel that it’s my responsibility to infuse my content with a vibrant soi-disant style marked by what my editor Apryl Skies of Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House of Los Angeles, and I refer to as “intentional idiosyncratic sway.” It’s my job to be as fresh and electrifyingly original as I can be in the ever-widening sea of poetic voices extant in the world today.

Good! Some time back, I read a review of your Dialect of Dahlias. I found the “sure-footed” description to be most fitting (no pun intended). How did such a level of confidence come about in your poetry?

Truth be told, I am surefooted in writing poetry because I am so woefully untalented at everything else. I discovered and accepted early on in life when I was diagnosed with learning disabilities (dyscalculia and dysgraphia) that due to these limitations, I probably would not be suited to most professions. So I focused/focus my energy and dedication onto two things that I’d been told by others that I do well–write poetry and teach English.

Excellent! The mind finds ways to express its brilliance.

Also, I am forever inspired by the long-held idea that who I am as an artist is my truest self; Who-I-Am on paper via my distinctly different love & light “Lily” poems and dark & gritty “Leper” poems is really Who I Am. As an albeit-proud eccentric who is decidedly more interesting on paper than in person, I figuratively open a proverbial vein and bleed my best onto the page and hope that my Personal will be someone else’s universal…universal life-experiences that readers can identify with and make their own, hearts-&-minds-wise. My poetry must be of some value to readers or it does not succeed, in my opinion.

You do set high standards, and I love that you can admit to both light and dark aspects of yourself. Which (“Lily” or “Leper”) do you find your readership most drawn to, most responsive to, and why do you think that is?

Readers who are drawn to the figuratively-termed “lilies” seek cut & dried, love & light, life-affirming, family-themed poems with a narrative hook. Due to these aspects, fans of the lilies have told me that these poems are quite accessible. Many non-artists favor the lily poems. In contrast, readers–artists, especially—seek ambiguity, ambivalence, and explorations of dark, gritty life-experiences written in a surrealistic poetic style typified by enigma and intensity; they are the biggest fans of my Leper poems. Lily poems have the effect of lighting a candle of hope in the face of Chaos, whereas Leper poems have the effect of snuffing out that metaphorical candle with one monstrous exhalation.

Would you care to share one of each from your book?

Wimberley - Dialect of Dahlias Cover

“Sepia & Song” (Lily poem)

Sepia seeping
into the Perfect Picture
but there’s no camera around
to capture
our gentle swaying
in the kitchen
or her baby head lying
warmly on my shoulder
or my arms enveloping her lovingly
as I mint
in my weary mind
this mother-daughter moment
(Plaintive Scottish fiddle-song on the radio)
hugs us parenthetically
as we continue swaying
silently as one
her tears long since dried,
her eyes long since closed;
her long, dark eyelashes are doll perfection…
as the song lilts to an end,
my own eyes are moist;
I’m wishing
with a mother’s wistfulness
that the permanence of sepia
could seep in…
seal us
bond us
in wordless bliss
for a lifetime
of refrains,
not bridges

“Cotillion Eye Glinting Down” (Leper poem)

The scythe of earth
hangs like a hammock
between cenicitas (“little ashes”)
to shimmy like a shark
lithe phallic symbol: Breathing
inside the tapestry-rose
lining of the executioner’s mask
he filled the guillotine
with bloodblisters of stars
until a Spanish galleon
of “Blue Gato Delong”
ghostly lit
the spectral trail
of Packard-Mustang-Chevy

Singing trees
like rain
dredge the air
with leaf-lyrics
and unchidden children
like parrots:
Where are their piratical parents
to Jolly Roger
them into a sirensong
of silence?
To chatter, nay,
like a Fauvist parrot,
but to float sirenly and serenely
on a patina-pond
as a Monet waterlily
sprouting from Gala’s
unsevered, unbloodied
eye socket
of Emporda

Remarkable contrast with equally exquisite signature craftsmanship! Who or what inspired you to achieve the level of accomplishment that you have arrived at?

It would be remiss of me not to credit an early influence in my life, an inspirational middle school teacher in West Virginia, James Brandolino, for believing in my writing abilities and encouraging me to pursue Writing as a life-goal. His generosity of spirit and keen guidance helped me to believe that I could actually succeed at writing, and his steadfast support helped me to overcome debilitating shyness at that angsty adolescent time of life.

How fortunate you are that you accepted Mr. Brandolino’s influence. A little side-step here: Because of your shyness (I can relate to that), did you find yourself realizing that a pen can impart a certain social grace and give you an advantage in the world?

Yes…Writing always has helped me to spiritually soar above an earth-bound reality painfully punctuated by shyness and social awkwardness…People in general, are friendlier and kinder to me in various social situations when they learn that I’m a writer; it’s a boon, definitely. 🙂

Everyone loves artists, literary and otherwise! Back to your influences…

…Among other influences, the work of the Modernists, Symbolists, Imagists, the Beats to an extent, and Confessional poets galvanize me to create. Specifically, I am inspired by eminent Georg Trakl, Emily Dickinson, Pete Winslow, Sylvia Plath, Rita Dove, Gertrude Stein, Cathy Song, e.e. cummings, Judith Ortiz-Cofer, Joy Harjo, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Taylor Mali, and talented poet-contemporaries Apryl Skies, R. L. Jones, Juliet Wilson, D. M. Aderibigbe, Aliciia Winski, Alice Shapiro, Gillian Prew, and Petra Whitely, etc. Like all scribes, an eclectic collection of artists and ideas have shaped my worldview. The following spring to mind: The Plathian “private blitzkrieg”, Lynn Truss–with respect to respecting the 21st century relevance and sublimity of punctuation in prose–and poetry. “Poetry is language at its most distilled and powerful”–Rita Dove; “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash”–Leonard Cohen; “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant”–Emily Dickinson; and most viscerally for daily inspiration: “Get black on white” –Guy de Maupassant.

That’s a great note to conclude on, an illustrious flash of your learning that has earned you the title of professor in this literary realm, and of course your full-length book, Dialect of Dahlias, is the icing, the cream of your experience and influence. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to get to know you, and I look forward to reading more of your poetry.

~~Happy Spring to you, Christina!

Likewise, Gloria.

Visit Gloria’s Edgar Allen Poet page.
Check out Dialect of Dahlias at


Posted by on March 29, 2013 in News & Reviews


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MIP Release: The Soundness of Broken Pieces by Lucie M. Winborne

Winborne - The Soundness Cover 5The Soundness of Broken Pieces is a subjectively feminine collection of free verse from the heart and mind of Florida poet Lucie M. Winborne. Newly released through Middle Island Press, it is 57 pages of life observations and experiences, lucid, fluid, thoughtful, deeply resonant…

“It’s Not Really About the Tea”

This is how I’ll think of you, and when:
in the kitchen with an unchipped cup of green or red
or blue, depending on my mood. With a fragrant
brown river emptied from a spout, hot, though I don’t
see the steam. With a purring Siamese that nudges my pen and smudges
my page. But first there will be tea, too cool to steam
and too warm to drink, so I’ll study its pinhead bubbles instead,
like a crowd of tiny faces. I’ll think then of the first man
with that first cup of tea, the emperor in China who sat beneath
a tree while the winds of Heaven blew leaves into his cup.
Then I’ll taste, and close my eyes, and think,
This was worth a revolution.

It is only when the cup is empty, free,
and I stroke its naked symmetry,
recall the color of the brew was the earth-hue of your eyes,

only then that I will think of you, only then
that I will write.

Copies of The Soundness of Broken Pieces may be purchased through the Middle Island Press website.

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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in News & Reviews


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Poet Stephen Godfrey: Forthcoming Reading and Book-Signing

Our congratulations to West Virginia poet Stephen Godfrey who had remarkable success with his recent book-signing. He reports that he sold several copies and talked with a lot of great people. This success is to be followed by another reading and book-signing event at the Craft Memorial Library on Federal Street in Bluefield, West Virginia, in conjunction with National Library Month. It is scheduled for April l8th from 5:30 to 6:30, so pen it in and show your support for Appalachian poets!

Middle Island Press is proud to have represented Steve time and time again; he’s quite prolific and inspired, and I am sure that he will have several titles on hand.

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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in News & Reviews


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The Tao of Old Dan of Walking Green Mountain

For anyone who longs to feel a sense of place in the world, to embrace the possibility that love effects positive change and that simplicity is the ultimate pathway to contentment in life and with life in general, I highly recommend the Walking Green Mountain series by Robert Smith.

Smith - The Tao of Dan Cover 2 JPEGMiddle Island Press will be simultaneously releasing his first two chapbooks within the next few weeks: Old Dan of Walking Green Mountain, and The Tao of Old Dan of Walking Green Mountain.Smith - Walking Green Mountain Cover 1 JPEG

Visit Robert Smith’s page on the MIP website for more information.
See also his personal website.

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Posted by on March 23, 2013 in News & Reviews


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Self-Publishing Is On the Rise

According to statistics at, self-publishing (as tracked by the Internet) has a year to year twelve percent increase (contrary to many endeavors that are lucky if they hang in at zero).

What does this twelve percent increase say?

To me specifically, it tells me that I can count my blessings for having established Middle Island Press when I did, and for having established a more convincing type of “testimonial” known as repeat clients.

To poets, it says that we are not alone in our writing, in our desire to be published, and in our consideration of publishing service resources. Go for it!

I believe in seizing the moment, and I want to say that between two micro-presses, I, personally, have published over fifty chapbooks in the past few years. I am very confident in my skills and talents this point, and I extend them to poets.

Check out the “Get Published” page of Middle Island Press and you will understand why we, together, continue to grow.

(Middle Island Press is proud to be one of the best chapbook publishers west of the Atlantic.)

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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in News & Reviews


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MIP Release: Bog Light by Rodney Nelson

I have had the privilege of working with bright and experienced clients via Middle Island Press over the past few years. I love working with poets who are or have been professional editors such as Rodney Nelson whose Bog Light was just approved for printing.

From the Middle Island Press website:

The poems of Bog Light start with late summer, its heat and overgrowth, moving on through fall and into the severe religiosity of northern winter. On occasion Nelson takes the name of a holiday or saint’s day, for example, in “Saint Scholastica’s,” as title. “There is counterpoint here,” he says. “Title and poem are not at one, and I don’t try to make them seem so. It’s enough to leave human reality where it is—and nature’s—and only watch and listen. They join somewhere.”

Nelson - Bog Light Cover 1 JPEGA browse upon page 11 of Bog Light


trail not the tug of it
no known or imagined
beckoning at the crook

one time you would have hiked
alone or not on this
and any afternoon

high bright clouding and a
turkey vulture lazing
in one time or any

hardwood shade and deerflies’
the only jingo but
not enough to goad you

a too-heroic theme
of mind to be whistled
only within your own

maybe the pull again
an other waiting at
the lot or where beyond

Pick up a copy of Bog Light, a thoughtful collection for intellectual minds that need a poetic respite with their coffee.

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Posted by on March 16, 2013 in News & Reviews


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The Healing Power of Poetry

Just a little aside…

I just paused to read my copy of one of my current projects, Old Dan of Walking Green Mountain by Robert Smith, and it was just what this self-healer needed.

Smith - Walking Green Mountain Cover 1 JPEGI tend to drink a lot of coffee to work quickly (yet accurately!) when I have several projects going at once, and we know that coffee can raise one’s blood pressure, particularly if one is prone to such. This, having been a problem all day, is now gone after reading Old Dan of Walking Green Mountain, a tranquil respite of love and light.

The healing power of poetry!

Robert’s collection is now available for pre-order as we will begin printing within the next week or so.

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Posted by on March 16, 2013 in News & Reviews


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