becoming a dragonfly

Here is a poem I wrote two years ago, which should make it just ripe. Shared on Poets United’s Poetry Pantry.

becoming a dragonfly

and this is my life
since becoming a dragonfly i float
in the windows of the nobles to steal
their jewels
which i give to the old priest
who feeds the poor
and gives them rosaries
made with his old bent hands
and Job’s tears

over all of this the emperor
watches and smiles
fearing only the assassination attempts
made by the moon
that is his life
which shines and sparkles
but cannot fly
or find solitude

(c) 2016 Nissa Annakindt

This poem was written from the keywords ‘dragonfly, jewels, emperor, moon’ which I got from the book ‘Writing Poetry from the inside out’ by Sandford Lyne. This is one of the better ‘how to write poetry’ books I have, and I have written several poems from the long lists of keywords in the back of the book.

One expression that younger people may be unfamiliar with in the poem is ‘Job’s tears.’ Job’s tears is a plant with large seeds that are strung on threads to make rosaries. Job, on the other hand, is the main figure in one of the longest and most poetic books of the Old Testament.


I recently bought a book on the Romantic Poets, in the Ignatius Critical Edition series. It was the only book I found in the series that dealt with poetry and not prose. The series is edited by Joseph Pearce, who is not only an ‘acclaimed literary biographer,’ but he did some lectures on Shakespeare on the television channel EWTN.


Teaching Children to hate poetry

One way children are taught to hate poetry in the schools is when teachers put out signals that poetry is far too horrible and difficult for children, and that children’s exposure to the awful stuff must be limited. I had an English teacher in high school that was like that. To save us from the horror of reading an actual poem, he gave us lessons where he handed out sheets with Beatles song lyrics on them, which we were supposed to treat as if they were from the pen of Emily Dickinson.

The teacher thought he was being ‘cool.’ But while he, a rather young teacher, could remember Beatlemania as if it were yesterday, the children in his classroom thought of the Beatles as something that happened in the old days, like Kennedy’s assassination or Johnson lifting up his dog by the ears. I tended to look on Beatles lyrics only for their influence on Charles Manson and his followers— I was already a true crime geek.

So the upshot was we weren’t to read a great poet of the past, or even some contemporary poetry, but just song lyrics. Song lyrics may have poetry in them, but the main thing is song lyrics can be sung, the songs recorded, and sold for money. Lots of money if they make it to the top of the charts. The teacher had taught us that we didn’t have to read poetry, we could just listen to popular song lyrics instead. I think though if he had handed us a sheet with Emily Dickinson’s ‘I’m nobody, who are you? Are you nobody, too,’ we might have coped with the horror of POETRY and even enjoyed it.


Follow me on Twitter or GAB: @nissalovescats  (Same on both services.)

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Promoting your blog’s posts with #Buffer

I started on Twitter as a way to get my blog posts before more readers, so I could build my platform. I built up a list of followers and people I followed, with emphasis on writers. I do a lot of retweets of other people’s stuff, and I weed out the people I follow who don’t follow back, or who are mistakes for other reasons.

But if I only post my blog post links to Twitter when I make the post— WordPress makes that automatic— most of my Twitter followers miss it because they can’t be on Twitter ALL the time. I’ve read it is recommended to Tweet your blog posts 3 times in the week you make it. Plus, I like to retweet my older blog posts that might be of interest.

That would mean going online to Twitter several times a day, which would be a major time sink. So, Buffer. Buffer is a service that lets you schedule a bunch of Tweets for preselected times of day. You write out the Tweet and the link to your blog post, add hash tags, and soon you can have a bunch of Tweets scheduled to go.

This is a big help— whenever I tweet a bunch of posts like that, my blog gets more action, according to the site stats.

NOTE: You don’t have to write out your blog post’s official title every time you Tweet it, whether you tweet it through WordPress when you post, directly on Twitter, or through Buffer. Suppose you wrote a post on how to create a villain. “How to create a villain” might be your official post title. But when you tweet you might use different wording for each time you Tweet: “Building Better Villains”, “Does Your Book Need a Lord Voldemort?” and so on.

Vary your hashtags as well. Check on Twitter to see if your proposed hashtag is in much use. Since the purpose of using hashtags is to find new readers who are NOT your followers but who have clicked on a hashtag to see what others are saying, you want to have popular hashtags. Sometimes your post will fit in with a current trending hashtag: use it! In fact, every time you go to Buffer, have another window open to Twitter to check hashtags. It really helps.

 


I am @nissalovescats on Twitter (and GAB) and I welcome new followers. I usually follow back all accounts that are related to books, reading or writers, just not accounts that are there to sell me services I don’t want. Or bitcoin call girls.

The most important tool of high-selling indie authors

Celebrate blog hopRecently I’ve been reading a few how-to-write books that have sections on how to market the book once you have written it. A topic close to my heart, because my first book, Where the Opium Cactus Grows, didn’t sell many copies, and my short ebook, surly petunia, got downloaded 60 times when it was free but hasn’t done well as a 99 cent ebook.

This is a post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop.

So, what do the high-selling authors regard as the best tool to sell books? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? A pricy-but-static author page with your very own domain? None of the above.

The best tool to sell your books is to have an email list— a list of people who have ‘opted in’ and agreed to receive emails from you. These are the people most likely to buy your books, if you keep on producing them and you let your mailing list know about them.

The recommended tool to manage your email list is MailChimp. It’s free for your first 2000 subscribers. It gives your subscribers an easy way to unsubscribe if they want to. Which makes them more likely to sign up in the first place.

It’s recommended to recruit people to your newsletter through your blog (every author should have one) and through your social media accounts. It’s important to promise (and then deliver) useful and interesting exclusive content through your newsletter, once or twice a month.

The contacts you make with people through your blog/author page and your social media can be fleeting. Your email list makes it easy to stay in touch with your most enthusiastic contacts and make them more enthusiastic through inside information.

My own email newsletter is called ‘Nissa Annakindt’s Antimatter Life. What am I going to send you if you sign up? Well, you will be the first to know when my next poetry book and my zombie book come out. I will also share the book covers in advance and give you some insider details.

But I also want to give my subscribers info they want and can use. For example, I might mention books I’ve read and liked, writing markets I have dealt with, or even share a recipe or a kitten picture. If you sign up for my list (click on http://eepurl.com/FN2hr), let me know that in a comment and feel free to make suggestions on what you would like to read in the newsletter.


Celebrate the Small Things

It’s a little hard to celebrate today. I stayed up late watching news coverage of the murder of police officers at a ‘black lives matter’ rally in Dallas. This morning I woke up to news that the death toll had climbed to five, and that certain politicians were already using the tragedy to promote their political ideas.

But some things are going well. I’ve started my own email newsletter and I’ve learned a little more about how to use Twitter. (I’m @nissalovescats) I’ve just read some great books by authors I know on Facebook. And I’m not too far behind on my Camp NaNoWriMo project (which includes zombies. And Russians. And a dwarf/little person and scary Soviet era experimentation.)

 


What I’m reading:

Blood Song by Robert Mullin (free on Kindle, about a woman gladiator on a strange world.)
On Different Strings: A Musical Romance (99 cents on Kindle, romance)
Shatterworld (Shatterworld Trilogy Book 1) (2.99 on Kindle, story of a space colony, has autistic character.)