Kendall Driscoll Shares Her Thoughts on her Poetic Journey

“I speak of the masks I hide behind.” These are the words which began my literary journey about five years ago. With these words, I made a speech which took form as a poem which changed my life in ways I had never imagined.

Late in the summer of 2009, I wrote a poem titled “Speech of the Masquerade.” The poem was a bold revelation uncovering the true feelings and the true selves that people mask from the world. At the time, I was a freshman in high school. I used writing as an escape. Writing was a way I could freely express myself. Through words, I was able to communicate all which I was afraid to speak aloud.
But sometimes, even writing was difficult, especially when I wrote of myself.
The speaker of “Speech of the Masquerade” is conscious of the masquerade which is reality. She sees the masks that people wear in order to fit in and be accepted. And then she admits this is true of herself. The speaker is a shy, unknown writer who fears rejection above all else.
When I wrote the poem, I was my speaker. As a shy, high school introvert, I struggled expressing myself in front of people. My fear of criticism was debilitating. Like the speaker of my poem, I kept my thoughts locked up in a notebook and shuddered at the thought of letting anyone read my work. Then somehow, my words gave me the courage to share my work.
In the spring of 2010, I submitted this poem to Poetry Matters Contest, telling myself that I had nothing to lose. A month or so later, I received an email congratulating me for winning first place in the high school category for poetry. Before I knew what was happening, I was at the Poetry Matters awards ceremony reading my poem aloud. In that moment, I was reminded that the narrator of my poem takes a stand. My narrator has the power to command speech and is unafraid to speak and reveal her true self. In reality, I was the narrator, and I had the power to speak my mind.
Reading my poem aloud to an audience meant I was vulnerable, but this openness was the start of change. Who knew that this change would lead to future publication? Lucinda Clark, the founder of Poetry Matters and the publisher of P.R.A. Publishing, spoke to me after the ceremony about my writing. This was the first time I had ever considered publishing my work. “Speech of the Masquerade” gave me my poetic voice and offered me the courage to continue writing.
Throughout high school and college, I continued to write. I filled notebooks with poetry. I embarked on the national writing challenge called “National Novel Writing Month” (“NaNoWriMo”). I attended open mics, entered various poetry competitions, and submitted work to literary magazines. In the fall of my freshman year of college, I took a leap of bravery and submitted a query letter to P.R.A Publishing to publish a collection of my poetry. My poetry manuscript titled Speech of the Masquerade is about unmasking the rawness of human emotions. It is about voicing our personal stories, unveiling our beautiful souls, and unmasking ourselves so that the world can see who we are and how we feel.
As I worked with P.R.A on the details going into the publication of my chapbook, I balanced college coursework and continued work on my novel manuscript. For me, I knew my “normal college experience” differed from everyone else’s. Where many of friends relaxed with video games and TV after classes finished for the day, I returned to my dorm room to novel write.
Writing is still an escape for me, and poetry is still my first love. For me, “Speech of the Masquerade” is more than just a poem. “Speech of the Masquerade” is my voice.

Speech of Masquerade will release December 5, 2014
ISBN:978-098401425-5 print

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Gregory Corso Thoughts on Songwriters and Poetry

Found an interesting post on Linked In regarding songwriters and why some big names like Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison should not be considered poets. The post was written by David Seckinger. Wonder what songwriters/poets think about this.

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Jane C. Elkin: Poet, ESL Instructor, Poetry Matters Lit Prize Winner





J.C. Elkin is a graduate of Bates College, Southern Connecticut state University, and the Defense Language Institute. Founder of the Broadneck Writer’s Workshop, she is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has been recognized by Poetry  Matters, The Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Maryland Writers’ Association. An E.S.L. instructor at Anne Arundel Community College, she also works as a theater critic and singer, and makes her home on the Chesapeake Bay.

Her new book World Class puts a different spin on  both  immigration and what  readers think they know about immigrants.  Jane describes the book in her own words: IMG_1840

There are 325 languages spoken in the United States and over a million immigrants enrolled in federally funded English classes. Most are beginners. In this collection of poems, an ESL teacher and former expat illustrates her students’ struggles and triumphs by addressing their linguistic challenges and culture shock alongside broader social issues such as poverty, spousal abuse, religious traditions, illegal immigration, education, the role of  women in other cultures, and the mental scars of war. Their stories are heart-breaking, uplifting, and tinged with unexpected humor that shines a new light on their place in America.

The book has received rave reviews  from Sue Ellen Thompson and Newt Gingrich just to name a few, who found this work to be important. Below are more links on World Class:

WYPR interview with Lisa Morgan on “The Signal”

Bay Weekly


 Interview for Author Amok

 Literarily Speaking Book Blog

 Book Dragon @ Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

 Whimsical Words

 Published by  ISBN: 978-1-62720-002-8

  Sold at fine book stores everywhere.

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This video was shared on our group Face Book page by 2014 Poetry Matters Lit Prize  Winner Leah Smith.  Share your thoughts on this blog or on Patrick’s Facebook page. Thank you Leah for sharing it.

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Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day!

Oh my,with all that is going on with us for Poetry Month  we almost forgot to acknowledge    this most important day. As always when I am short on time I refer to American Academy of Poets.

By the way, my favorite poem of all time is If by Rudyard Kipling, I alway change the end to woman, my daughter. I think she, my daughter, needs to have it shared with her today. To JCC


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)


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Learn About Georgia’s Poetry History

Ever wonder which Poets The great state of Georgia claims?  Check out the history provided by Academy of American Poets.

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We have posted our Poetry Month News letter! Want to thank Daphne Tredore for all her help  with layout and editing! Newsletter 4-2-14

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