Sunday, April 16, 2017

Listen to RetroLove Interview and a Prize-Winning Poem

In a cool convergence of my writing and performing lives, it is now National Poetry Month and Philadelphia Jazz Month which is a perfect time for an interview by PhillyCAM with a sneak preview of the soon-to-be-released RetroLove album.

PhillyCAM is people powered media including a community media center, TV station and   FM Radio Statio. Listen here to my interview (which starts around 10 minutes in) and hear some smokin' hot tunes with Monnette Sudler, Joilet Harris and the RetroLove band.

In other exceptional news, my poem Fire was chosen as the winner of the  Philadelphia Writers' Conference Spring Forward poetry contest!  This garners me a partial scholarship to the conference, a slot as a featured reader and some much needed inspiration for some new poetry after RetroLove.  You can read more about the award and the conference here.  All of which goes to prove that sometimes you can master something really writing about it.


Only a small fire but not where fire should be—
            the wick of a candle, hearth, heart—
                        a fire uncontained, unattended.

I was reading.  Of course, I was reading,
            and making tea which I had forgotten.
                        It was a good book.

No doubt I put the sound of the fire crackling
            into the story I was reading, the way
                        you put a ringing phone into a dream.

Crackling—sometimes the cliché, a crackling fire,
            is true—fire sounds like snapped branches
                        or crumpled drafts of a bad poem.

Curious at the sound, now loud enough
            to pull me from my book in which
                        I carefully marked my place.

Fire on the stove.
How to douse it? A word I use now but then
            only out or just the desire for the fire to be out
                        because I am sure I had no words

when the fire inhaled, doubled,
            spilled toward me, skimmed across
                        the inside of my arms

as I lifted the thing that burned.
Then it was out. Extinguished.           
            Sodden in the kitchen sink.

I wonder now when I would have chosen
            to abandon the kitchen.  The house.
The book with the dog-eared page.

How high would the flames have needed to be?
            How intense the heat, angry and consuming?
                        Or a child I needed to save?

Fire. Slur. Scuffle. 
            One small thing.
                        Fueled.  Repeated. Escalated.

Fight the fire or flee.
            And no time to take anything
                        with us.

© Beth Feldman Brandt, 2017