Saturday, April 26, 2008


Ibis Parade
Ibis parade in a neighbor's yard

The role of poetry in dynamical systems, the role of the real estate bust in attempts to save the manatee, and upcoming publication and convention doings (continued)....

Thanks to Anna Lovrics, doctoral student at the University of Nottingham, UK, for including my poem "Algebraic Sestina for the Ocean" (originally posted here) in her article, "What is the connection between poetry and maths?" The article appears in the March 2008 issue of STEM Newsletter of the Wolfson Centre for Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering and Modelling at U. Nottingham.

Lovrics reported on the 49th British Applied Mathematics Colloquium, where she first learned about the sestina form in a Dynamical Systems session. I think it's way cool that a math colloquium that included applications in biology and engineering also included poetry -- and a musical performance as well. Anna also included her photograph of the Giant's Causeway in Ireland (similar to this shot from the University of Ulster), whose natural formations tie everything together beautifully.

April is National Poetry Month in the US. I received the newsletter in time to show it to Madelyn Eastlund at the Robert Frost appreciation she conducted at the Central Ridge Library. She also conducted a Walt Whitman appreciation and emceed a poetry awards session for contests geared toward schoolchildren. From the library's announcement:

"Madelyn Eastlund has been a freelance writer and poet for over 50 years. As Madelyn Eastlund Hickey, she was editor of the Beverly Hills Visitor in the 1990s. She was an instructor for 'Creative Writing' and 'Writing Poetry' in her home state of New York as well as here in Citrus County. For the past 24 years she has directed monthly workshops for the Gingerbread Poets Chapter of the Florida State Poets Association. Ms. Eastlund is past president of Florida State Poets Association (1984-1988) and also past president of National Federation Of State Poetry Societies, Inc. (2002-2004). She was the keynote speaker at the 2007 NFSPS Annual Convention, held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She is editor for Poets' Forum Magazine and also for Harp-Strings Poetry Journal (both Verdure Publications) for the past 19 years. Ms. Eastlund has assisted the Citrus County Library System with their youth poetry program for many years."

Robert Frost Appreciation given by Madelyn Eastlund

I am also fortunate to call Madelyn a neighbor and a good friend. Her format for the Frost tribute interspersed a biographical lecture with readings. Each audience member had a chance to read a favorite Frost poem. Madelyn asked us for our preferences ahead of time and then matched the tone of the poems with the events in Frost's life.

My choice was a poem I'd discovered only the night before the tribute and which blew me away. Many people think of Frost as a gentle, avuncular sort who wrote of peaceful New England farm life. But he had his rebellious, cantankerous side. When I found "The Bonfire" I thought its message at the end was as relevant today as when it first appeared in 1920 in his collection Mountain Interval. And it fit a quote of Frost's that I love, "Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat."

I read "Algebraic Sestina..." at Woodview Coffeehouse earlier this month, where I learned about Three Sisters Springs in Chassahowitzka (pronounced "Chaz-uh-WITZ-ka"). The property has been slated for development, but the real estate bust provides the best opportunity yet for it to be purchased for conservation.

Says, "Three Sisters Springs is a complex of three spring areas, with many vents and sand boils that help feed Kings Bay, the headwaters of Crystal River in Citrus County, Florida. These springs also constitute one of the most important natural warm-water refuges for the endangered Florida manatee." The current property owners have plans to develop the property's 57 acres of land into "residences and multi-family residences as well as the potential removal of 'spring water' to be bottled from the borrow pit dug in the 1980s....These same owners have also stated that they would be willing to sell the property for the right price and, in particular, are looking for it to be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge was initially established solely for the protection of the Florida manatee."

Recently the Crystal River City Council unanimously agreed to to take a leadership role to try to save the property from development. The Southwest Florida Water Management District ("Swiftmud") is performing an appraisal to see if the property qualifies for financial assistance from the water district. According to this article by the Citrus County Chronicle editorial board, "This issue of buying Three Sisters Springs has come up about a dozen times in the past 25 years, and it has never been successful. This is truly the last chance Citrus County has to preserve one of the most important assets in our community."

A hint of silver lining amidst economic doldrums.

Next month my story "Hermit Crabs" appears in Electric Velocipede #14. Click here for a sneak preview of Lisa Snellings-Clark's terrific cover.

EV #14 will debut at WisCon, the world's leading feminist science fiction convention. I'll be attending WisCon for the first time and am scheduled for several panels, have signed up for a reading, and will be at the Broad Universe book table. I hadn't been back to a con in almost 20 years until Necronomicon in 2006, so I am very much looking forward to this! (I'll be at Necro this year as well.)

Three days after I arrive home from Madison, WI, I'll get my first look at the Florida panhandle when I drive to The Wrath of Con in Panama City Beach. This is an Aisling Press event, so I'll be with staff and fellow Aisling authors at the sales table(s). More events and travel follow these conventions. You can find schedule updates here.

Covenant, the first volume in the Deviations Series, is available from Aisling Press, and from AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Territory, Borders,,, DEAstore,,,, Powell's Books, and Target. The Deviations page has additional details.


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