Thursday, August 06, 2009

Chatting With Joycey

Joyce Odam

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

He wants to be rescued from his own
bitterness. He wants to love without regret.
He wants someone to save him.

He will wear his darkest countenance
to prove how impossible this is—
fold his arms against embrace—

mask his face with cynicism—
narrow his eyes, and watch your eyes
for what he needs.

He will fight you to prove him right,
dare you to prove him wrong.
Though pierced with Cupid's arrows,

he will not bleed—
he has blood of stone. Dare to love him
and you will love alone.


Thanks, Joycey! Joyce Odam has had poetry published in hundreds of publications, including Christian Science Monitor, Rattle, Seattle Review, The Lyric, and Bellingham Review. Her numerous awards include being Grand Prize winner of Artists Embassy International’s Dancing Poetry Contest (‘99), the 1997 Voices International Bernie Babcock Memorial Award, and the only two-time winner of the California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc. Golden Pegasus award. She is past editor of many publications, including Poetry Depth Quarterly. She currently edits her own monthly, the wee Brevities, and is co-editor (with Laverne Frith) of “Poet’s Corner” for Sacramento’s Senior Magazine. She also serves as Formalist-in-Residence for Rattlesnake Review, has led numerous workshops over the years, and has done two previous chapbooks for Rattlesnake Press: A Sense of Melancholy (2004) and Caught Against the Years (2005) with her daughter, Charlotte Vincent, illustrating.

For years, Joyce has wanted to release a chapbook of one of her favorite forms, the prose poem, so I told her the Snake would do that if she would also put together a Rattlesnake LittleBook for us. So join us Weds., August 12 to celebrate Joyce Odam’s birthday month with two new books from her: Peripherals: Prose Poems by Joyce Odam (illustrated by Charlotte Vincent) and Rattlesnake LittleBook #2 (Noir Love). That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Free!


—Joyce Odam

As if stone
can come alive . . .
as if paint can weep . . .
as if bliss can challenge sorrow . . .

Come out of stone.
Come out of paint's
personification. Give in
to this moment of epiphany:

As if
for lament—
for lack—for want,
for need to resist denial's power . . .

Shadows on the
wall—dancing apart—
dancing with all their longing.
Watch, and recognize each other.


(based on The Reading by Bethe Morisot)
—Joyce Odam

The music of time is certain to appear
when listening is lost
to reverie's distant claim:

a dance, a sad romance—not
as real—but as the art of yearning:
a lovesick girl, day-dreaming

while her mother reads, the Bible maybe,
the dark book open in her hand
to some page apropos to her advice.

The nearby flowers have not function
or care. They are just there,

heary in the room,
while the girl, with folded hands,
halfway listens, and thinks of other things.

Joyce, a short while ago...
Photo by Ann Menebroker

Today's LittleNip:

Poetry is an enumeration of birds, bees, babies, butterflies, bugs, bambinos, babayagas, and bipeds, beating their way up bewildering bastions.

—Carl Sandburg



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


Join us Weds., August 12 to celebrate
Joyce Odam
’s birthday month with two new books from her:
Peripherals: Prose Poems by Joyce Odam
(illustrated by Charlotte Vincent)
and Rattlesnake LittleBook #2 (Noir Love).

That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Free!

WTF!: The second issue of WTF, the free quarterly journal from Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe that is edited by frank andrick, is now available at The Book Collector or through, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.
Deadline for Issue #3 (which will be available at Luna's Cafe on
Thursday, August 20
) was July 15; next deadline will be Oct. 15.
Submission guidelines are the same as for the Snake, but send your poems, photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to (attachments preferred) or, if you’re snailing, to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 (clearly marked for WTF).
And be forewarned: this publication is for adults only, so you must be
over 18 years of age to submit. (More info at

RATTLESNAKE REVIEW: Issue #22 is now available (free) at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Or you can order copies of current or past issues through Deadline is August 15 for RR23: send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems) to or
P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. E-mail attachments are preferred, but be sure to add all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of the on-going Medusa are always hungry; keep that poetry comin', rain or shine!
Just let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one, and please—only one submission packet per issue of the quarterly Review.
(More info at

Also available (free): littlesnake broadside #46: Snake Secrets: Getting Your Poetry Published in Rattlesnake Press (and lots of other places, besides!): A compendium of ideas for brushing up on your submissions process so as to make editors everywhere more happy, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting your poetry published. Pick up a copy at The Book Collector or write to me (include snail address) and I'll send you one. Free!


Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their POETRY, PHOTOS and ART, as well as announcements of Northern California poetry events, to (or snail ‘em to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726) for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.) Medusa cannot vouch for the moral fiber of other publications, contests, etc. that she lists, however, so submit to them at your own risk. For more info about the Snake Empire, including guidelines for submitting to or obtaining our publications, click on the link to the right of this column: Rattlesnake Press ( And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.