Friday, October 4, 2013

Hear me read poems from Biting the Apple on Dave Congalton's show, Oct 3, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Biting The Apple

As part of the Next Big Thing Interview Project, I answer their questions about my book.

What is the working title of your book of poems?

Biting The Apple

Where did the idea come from for the book?

In preparing childhood poems for a chapbook, I saw the arc of my life, a self becoming a self. The poem "Twelve Years Old, 1952" ends with my biting an apple. All of us leave the garden of innocence and I wanted to share my journey.

 What actors would you choose to play the part of your character in a movie rendition?

I'd love Quvenzhané Wallis to play me as a child and Diane Keaton to portray me as an adult.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Biting The Apple is a poetry memoir, spanning 70 years of one woman's journey,
that speaks with humor and pathos to the universal loss of innocence.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The poems emerged randomly over several years.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I've written fiction and essays, and became passionate about writing poems because they keep me present and alert to my life and satisfy me. I was delighted when they came together as a book I didn't realize I was writing. 
Who published your book?
Penciled In published my book in December 2012. It's available at and at Amazon.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I'll let a reader, Ivon B. Blum say it for me: Jeanie's poems may start in her bright, nimble mind but all are gently filtered through her loving, caring heart. These poems are a joy to read and screen through one's own emotional core. Not just a one-time read. A lifetime keeper.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Segue to Segway

A surprising wiggle, waggle tilt,
then balance and launch,
leaning forward to go
and backward to slow.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Creating and Letting Go Ganesh, Hindu God


Friends study
the god Ganesh,
an elephant man,
deity for everyman,
providing protection
and prosperity.

The friends take clay,
shape the Hindu idol--
torso, trunk and tusks--
hoping worries,
into wingèd ears,
will fly with the wind.



Speaking to my elephant,
dropping troubles in his ear,
made me feel lighter, better.

No way I’d follow the Hindu
tradition-- after ten days
clay idols must be dissolved
so Ganesh can be formless again.

I talked it over with Ganesh, but
when his trunk shook No, I knew
I’d have to imagine my guide,
allow my biodegradable guy
to slip his way into the sea.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010



year-old roots
uprooted a
so a regal
got trimmed
into a tall
then logged
to leave it
and onlookers

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


(Flowers once offered as coins to the Virgin)

Driving down the highway
an orange line on the horizon
becomes a field of marigolds,
rows and rows of blooms
planted to parent blossoms
around the world.

And now in June they create
a California gold rush.

Saturday, June 26, 2010



On a promenade in downtown Dublin
a sorcerer stirs sticks and string in suds--
bubbles wobble forth, but burst.
A girl chases one after another,
giggles, jumps, reaches—
rapt in wonder.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

St. Louis Visit, May 2010

At the new downtown sculpture garden my daughter demonstrated the wonders of the sideways head.

                                                                 I visit inside the head.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nurturing Your Muse

(Printed in the Women's Press, March/April 2010)

 It’s spring! Time to nurture energy and imagination for new projects. Get acquainted with your Muse. When I first learned of Muses, the nine Greek sister goddesses who inspire creativity, I wanted one and thought they only visited brilliant people.

We can cultivate and access our Muse. Isabelle Allende has rituals that she follows. Annually, she starts a new book on the day she began a letter to her dying grandfather because that letter turned into her first novel, House of Spirits.

Each January 8 she provides flowers and lights candles for her Muses, and meditates. At a computer she writes her first line in a kind of trance as if someone else where writing it through her. Using that line as an opening to explore new worlds, she lets a story unfold and delights in the surprises that arrive. She waits until her first draft is complete before switching to left brain editing.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Love and Pray discusses the history of muses and genies at  In order to access her muse Gilbert shows up and, like a mule, works. By doing her part the creative spirit is more likely to arrive.

Gilbert described the poet Ruth Stone who would be working in the field when a poem barreled in from above. Stone’s job was to run into the house and write it down before the poem gave up on her and went to find another poet.

The Moors chanted Allah and praised God when they observed a transcendent performance. In Spain the name Allah morphed to Olé, a shout for an outstanding moment during a flamenco dance, a bullfight or other achievement.

Now Gilbert shouts Olé after she and her Muse have a successful collaboration. She also believes we deserve Olé for just showing up and working.

To nurture your muse, you might ask her name, get to know what she likes: flowers, candles, silence, music or a bustling café atmosphere. Try a meditative conversation with her, describe what you need. Once she’s activated on a venture, new ideas could pop into your brain day or night. Carry pencil and paper. Inviting and writing dreams can be very productive.

Muses enjoy being invoked and appreciated. They also like to a-muse, so have fun!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Musing on Morro Bay, a Fishing Village

We're so lucky to have an active fishing village as exotic as many peculiar boats. One man lives on one with a cat and dog. Three local boats are manned by Chinese who can be seen with chop sticks eating their prepared rice and hot wok dish. Other days they bait hooks for line fishing and then are gone overnight bringing back thousands of rockfish.

On the other hand the dark side of over-fishing to satisfy our need to eat is evident. Since salmon are in short supply and have been restricted, hagfish, known as slime eels, are now caught en masse. One boat brought in 900 pounds of these bottom feeders that have no appeal to Americans. They are shipped live to Korea, considered a delicacy there. I'm both fascinated and appalled to watch close up.

A seagull prepares to snatch an eel.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

First Flight of Pigeon Guillemot

Pigeon Guillemot galore nestle
in cliffs along the central coast.
Chicks chatter, call for more food.  
Parents cackle, Come and get it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Bloodhound, then a quail cross my path


He sat at the wheel of a parked truck 
charming me, calling me close.
He looked me over, took me in--
while he whiffed I stroked 
his bloodhound ears.

A quail preens.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Puppets made from kelp balls found on the beach

Amuse and Muse on creativity with kelp.

Green Growth from the Cone

Near the Diablo Nuclear Reactor, life insists on itself, despite the PG&E cone covering the ground. 3/15/10

Census--Person Number One!

Last night I asked my husband to fill in the form, but, of course, I wanted to see it...

He became Person Number 1,
placed me as Person Number 2,
thinks we should answer the phone
using our new identities.

In ten years I'll become
Person Number 1,
put him in his place.

PG&E Trail at Montana De Oro

PG&E Trail at Montana De Oro 3/15/10 Today there were cows on the trails. There had been a birth.

Sometimes there are goats on the hills, but they were clearing near the nuclear plant. They are guarded from mountain lions by Akbash dogs, huge white animals with strong mouths. They don't herd the goats, just protect them. Only the goatherd can handle them, take them to vet visits.

California poppies and cows dot the ocean trail,
They are calving, a bit edgy, a man told me.
Ahead a nursing female stares, dares me to near.
Apologetic, I pause, my Pamplona moment.
Two women talking, pass, barrel right through,
don’t even drag their capes behind them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010