Best Austin Poetry

Cicada Emerging and Some Poetry Updates

Greetings, friends!

Today I’d like to share a few poetry updates, and a poem.

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Poetry Updates

First, I’m proud to announce that my poem “Night Walk” was published in the most recent issue of Dreams & Nightmares. If you’re interested in obtaining your own copy, here’s how to do it, per the publisher’s blog:

Try out a pdf of any issue for $1 or a print copy for $5 (paypal to jopnquog at gmail dot com). Lifetime PDF subscription for $39 includes all back issues; $90 gets you a lifetime subscription to both print and PDF editions, including all available back issues. Search the archives of this blog for “contents” of recent issues. And right now, get pdfs of the last TWO issues for a buck. You can pay by check to David Kopaska-Merkel, 1300 Kicker Rd., Tuscaloosa, AL 35404, if you don’t use paypal.

My poem is in issue #106.

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Next, Best Austin Poetry 2015-2016 is now available at Lulu.com for only $5.32. This lovely little volume of winning verses from the Austin Poetry Society includes two poems by me: “Rooster with a Guitar” and “I Hate Those Poems.” The prizes for this year’s Austin Poetry Society Annual Awards will be announced this Saturday at the Yarborough Branch Library in Austin at 1:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public, so if you’d like to hear some award-winning poems, come join us!

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And finally, I’m happy to share that my poem “The Morning After” will be reprinted in the 2018 Texas Poetry Calendar, which is available for pre-order from Dos Gatos Press. If you order by Monday, May 22nd, you get 20% off!

And now, as promised, a poem

This poem won third place in a National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) contest in 2016, and was published in their anthology, Encore. It seems fitting to share at this time of year, when the school year is drawing to a close and students everywhere are shedding their old shells for new, more mature forms. I wish them the best of luck in their transformations.

Cicada Emerging

You perch atop your former self—
a crisp brown casing
with a family resemblance.
(It has your eyes and legs.)

Not yet ready to say goodbye,
the new you pauses—
glistening, green,
still holding on to your shell.

I get it. Change is hard.

For seventeen years you lived underground
putting one stiff leg in front of the other,
unaware that your future awaited
in the treetops.

Now, you’ve journeyed through the earth,
climbed into the open air,
broken free from your restraints,
emerged into a world abuzz with life.

As soon as your wings harden, you’ll fly.

But lurking within rebirth
is a memory
of shadowy spaces
and struggling steps.

Even when you take to the sky,
some part of you
will always remember
what it was like to crawl.

© Carie Juettner, 2016

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Wildflower Season

Spring has sprung here in Austin, and the roads are decorated with our state flower. In honor of these brilliant blooms, I’d like to share my poem, “Wildflower Season.” This poem won first place in the Austin Poetry Society’s Mary Oliver Award in 2015 and is published in Best Austin Poetry 2014-2015.

Wildflower Season

Highways are bridges across red seas,
oceans of blue—
bodies of color that wave
when the wind blows.

Tourists in our own land, we wade
through ankle-high blooms, then venture deeper—
trying to capture something
that can’t be caught in a photo.

What we want to remember
is our moment of awe
when we crested that hill
and gasped at the painted landscape.

One bluebonnet looks just like the next
up close.
They are not zebra stripes, nor snowflakes.
Their power lies in the collective,
beauty in numbers.

Let’s put down our cameras,
keep our kids in the car,
stop stopping on the side of the road
to see the blanket turn to threads,
the ocean of blue become a dried up lake
of bald spots and litter.

Let’s just drive, look,
enjoy with our windows down.

Make a U-turn if we must.

© Carie Juettner

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Bluebonnets at dusk, photo by Carie Juettner, March 15, 2016

Things That Could One Day Find Their Way Into a Poem

BestAustinPoetry

This week I’d like to share a poem with you. It holds the record for the longest title of any piece I’ve written so far.

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Things That Could One Day Find Their Way Into a Poem
(in no particular order)

the way I hold my hot tea by the cup instead of the handle
after it has cooled to the perfect temperature;

the little glass coasters with the photos in the center—
a sunset, a statue, you when you still had long hair;

the spot of green paint on the windowpane;

the smell of the dog’s blanket (not a nice smell
but not a terrible one either—sharp, earthy, a hint of salt);

the postcard lying on the desk, corners bent, ink smeared;

the look on your face when you’ve just said something clever
and you’re wondering if I noticed;

the person who walked by the house while I was writing this,
not the one the dog barked at, but the other one
with the backpack and shaggy hair,
who the dog sensed was not a threat;

the sound of the space heater dulling the season’s chill;

the itch in the corner of my eye that would not go away;

and the photo of the bird, taken on our honeymoon
at the Chinese tea gardens in Portland, Oregon,
just after you read a poem to a group of strangers
because the guide asked you to, delighting your new wife
who didn’t know that might be the only time
she’d ever hear you do that

© Carie Juettner

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This poem won the Austin Poetry Society’s Elzy Marathon Thompson Memorial Award last May, and was published in their anthology, Best Austin Poetry 2014-2015, which just came out last week. If you’re interested in reading the rest of the winning poems, including a second one by me, you can order your own copy of the book from Lulu.com.

Have a very merry holiday!

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[Don’t forget– if you comment on my blog posts between now and December 31, 2015, you’ll be entered to win my book giveaway!]