Volcanoes of Anger*

February 7, 2021

2020 Merit Award
By Stephen Jacob Huxford, Grade 7

With no one to save me
Walking through the depths of my own soul.
Trudging through swamps of misdoubts,
And hiking the volcanoes of my own anger.
Facing tigers and lions of fear
And seeing my happiness in the sun.
But the sun is so far away and is just a dot.
The dot of happiness in everyone’s soul.
Shrouded by darkness, anger and fear,
All this leads to death.
The death of you and me,
The death of others, and the death of the earth.

*Copyright 2020 by Stephen Jacob Huxford. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

keeping your cool

August 2, 2016


We know some terrific poets who won’t read in front of an audience. Of course, they’re not alone. Along with spiders, heights, zombies and other scary stuff, public speaking ranks among our most common fears.

This article from Book Publishers Northwest isn’t new, but it has a few useful tips on taking control of the situation when you have to face the mic. As long as we’re on the subject, here are some open mic tips from Josephine Corcoran, here are a few from Writer’s Relief and a handful from Lauren Zuniga as well.

. . . . .

Be Fearless*

August 24, 2014

Savannah Miller - Be Fearless
Be Fearless
By Savannah Miller, 12th grade
2014 Walk Award

One should always be fearless.
that is all that matters.
A necessity for adventure
so as not to feel Fear’s liquid iron grip
slowly encasing and hardening around your heart.
You must be fearless
But how?
By honesty, by wild ideas and by abandoning
the worries that drag your feet.
Get fearless.
And if, at some time on the endless dirt road
littered with lost hope and despair.
In the hollow silence of a lonely night,
in the piercing cold of the biting wind
at the very edge of a cliff
you are at a loss —
You must be fearless.
Ask the wings, the wind, the knife,
all which live freely.
Ask them what time it is,
and the wings, the wind, the knife will reply:
“It’s time to break the chains”
Be fearless.

*Copyright 2014 by Savannah Miller. Broadside designed by Anita K. Boyle, Egress Studio. Illustration by Angela Boyle, Flying Dodo Publications.

the open mic…8

July 18, 2011

microphoneChristopher J. Jarmick is a writer of poems, plays, short stories, reviews, articles and novels. He curates and hosts two monthly poetry readings and several other readings that almost always include an open mic. His latest book is Ignition: Poem Starters Septolets, Statements and Double Dog Dares. He is a PEN-USA board member and the former Executive Vice President of the Washington Poets Association. Here are some of Chris’s thoughts on why open mics are important:

“Public speaking is often cited as the number one fear people have. It is absolutely terrifying to stand in front of a room of people and speak to them. Many feel completely naked, exposed and utterly vulnerable when they do any form of public speaking. Fear restricts. Fear silences progress, destroys creativity, silences ideas… The fear can become so overpowering it constricts your vocal cords, making it almost physically impossible to speak.

“What better way to overcome this fear than by getting up at an open mic and sharing something you have written? What better way to learn how to be effective with your voice than through practice? And since the audience at an open mic have gathered to listen at least some of the time to others, you know you will not be ignored, that some will hear your words, some will listen. You will learn about your writing and your voice and your style of presentation through trial and error. It is less frightening and scary to learn at a place where others are also learning, where others are also overcoming their own fears and doubts. There is a common bond shared between audience and speaker. Many people in the audience will be getting up to do something similar to what you are doing, they already have an empathy toward your effort.”

We’ll have more thoughts from Chris Jarmick in a future post.

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