Regular Features Pages
Sentimental Poetry with Anthony Watkins
ModPo & Experimental Poetry with Anthony Watkins
Featured Poem of the month
Formal & Rhyming Poetry
The sand is of doeskin, the mizzle is bright
for the sun is a lamp above sleepwalking mist,
and the land intermingles with dimness—the night
still lingers, asleep on the rainforest’s chest,
but is slipping away
in a luminous gray
from the hills and the headlands that hammock the bay
as its forehead is kissed
by the light.
Each wave is an indigo ripple on slate
which advances, glissando, a wraith from a wall
of nothingness, makes the expanse undulate
like the wandering remnant of some perfect squall,
then swells to a ledge
which is stropped to an edge
by the whet of the wind, and collapses to sledge
up the foreshore with all
of its freight.
In frothing white crescents they scallop the strand
with dazzling magnesium fire in the haar
and flare through the sea fog until they have fanned
themselves out, then they ebb away leaving no scar
as the veils of gray clear
and the capes reappear
and, a ghost in the background, the form of a deer
manifests on the far
John Beaton writes metrical poetry and his work has been widely published in media as diverse as Able Muse and Gray’s Sporting Journal. He writes a monthly poetry page for the magazine Eyes on BC and served for four years as moderator of one of the internet's most reputable poetry workshops. He is a spoken word performer and a poet member of the band Celtic Chaos. His poetry has won numerous awards, including the 2015 String Poet Prize and the 2012 Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry. He was raised in the Scottish Highlands and lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.
On Soft Georgia Paper
I write my name
beneath words poured out
from my pencil
where I tried to tell you
everything I know and feel
about Jesus, railroads and rain
all because I'm trying so hard
to tell you I love you
but boy's aren't supposed to say
mushy things like that
so I write verses that rhyme
about trees and their leaves
and how the robins sing
in Autumn when they've eaten
too many berries to fly.
on soft Georgia paper
I tell you everything.
Anthony Uplandpoet Watkins
by Kevin McLaughlin
I conducted my interview with long-time friend and Better Than Starbucks publisher Anthony Watkins in the Osceola Street Café in downtown Stuart, Florida, about midway between the statue of Lady Abundance and the historic Lyric Theatre where for years we conducted our Night Heron Open Mic sessions. We are comfortable in each other’s presence. This was to be a free-wheeling interview, but I did mean to ask some very difficult questions. -Kevin McLaughlin
Kevin: You have spent a good portion of your life dedicated to writing, publishing, and promoting poetry. What initially drew you to this art form?
ALW: Well, I was five, so my memories have been tossed about a bit since then but, I think I was amazed that I could order words in a way of my own choosing, that it was impossible for me to “do it wrong.” Of course, at the time, a poem had to be a couple of verses four lines each and about 5-7 words per line and they had to rhyme. I know at some point, I began to use poetry to war against the conformity, not of poetry, but of the English language. This picked up steam about a decade ago, when my then 2-3 year old began to use my laptop and destroyed my shift key. So I began to leave out capitalization and any punctuation that required a shift.
I can’t say what drew me to it. I have been writing poetry for exactly as long as I have been able to write. There were a couple of times in my life where I went a year or two without writing, but they were both extreme circumstances. If what I write is poetry, which I still consider a big if, I think and write in poetry, almost exclusively.
I enjoy bringing poets and readers together. I especially being the agent of the spark. You know, where a reader thinks they are big haiku or free verse or formal of whatever form, and they stumble over and ten little words on your page blows them away, or an image in translation or an Asian or African voice hits them between the stomach and the heart.
Kevin: You have spent many years publishing arts newspapers, poetry anthologies, and poetry magazines. Few would take on this burden. What are some of publishing's rewards? And There must be many of these: what difficulties and aggravations ensue when you undertake to publish works of literature.
ALW: Our mutual friend, and now your brother-in-law, Jerry Warmuskerken was part of a publishing a tiny hand printed local literary monthly journal in 1994, called Erosion. I think the distribution must have been a hundred or two copies. He published couple of my poems and about two issues later his partners moved out of state and it ceased publication. I LOVED that paper! I still have every copy I ever got.
My second wife and I were still married, and her uncle published a free Spanish language paper. I spoke to Jerry a few times, and he was excited for us to try it, but didn’t want to be part of the next round. We met with her uncle, we met with the uncle’s printer, a daily newspaper in Winter Haven.
I thought I would sell ads and she would layout the paper. Except, as soon as we had published the first issue, she left me and the paper. As anyone whoever read the next several issues can attest, I was not only overloaded, working a full time job, selling the adds, getting the stories, and then writing the stories, and editing and laying out the paper, but I was woefully underprepred to be a copy editor. It was a nightmare. But I loved being THE editor! And eventually I got a little better and then some folks, including two girl friends (one at a time), the latter becoming my wife, and our current free verse editor, came along and made it a better paper. I added columns, like your old Poetry column, so I wrote less and focused more on "vision."
I wrote a poem about the rewards. The reward was never money, and it still isn’t, but after working all week, I would work doing the final layout from about 5 pm until 5 am Thursday night and drive to Winter Haven and wait a few hours while the paper was printed, then drive back delivering a few hundred copies to select locations on my way home. After a few hours sleep, I would spend the rest of the weekend delivering the paper to 100+ venues where it was read by thousands. It is hard to overstate the reward that was. I also loved going to art and literary events and being treated like a peer.