As The World Burns – Out Now!

Indie Blu(e) Publishing are very proud to announce the publication of As The World Burns. Our third socially-aware anthology. As The World Burns is available via all good book stores in Kindle and softback NOW. It is an incredible collection of writers, many of whom are from WordPress and are in our writing groups, writing some of our favorite work. We hope you will support them and our efforts to spread awareness of socially vital subjects. If you have felt frustrated with politics, Covid-19, Black Lives Matter, Homophobia or any of the things happening ‘as the world burns’ this is the collection for you.

We dedicate this anthology to those who have bravely fought the  encroaching darkness in 2020 with their writing and their art,  and who insist that racism, sexism, homophobia, and war are  not inevitable, or acceptable, facets of the human condition.  As The World Burns is a story of survival and an act of  resistance. We speak with many voices, to the damage  wrought in these violent, fevered months. Let us never forget or  turn away, from what is just, what is necessary, to keep light  alive in this world. 

If you are a fan of any of the following authors and artists please consider reading this incredible collection & if you see your name here, link me with your page or LMK and I will hyperlink it. Where I have not found your name on WordPress I have linked to work of yours on WordPress or to your website:

Susi Bocks (poet, SMITTEN), dani bowes (poet SMITTEN), Annette Kalandros (poet WordPress/Facebook/We Will Not Be Silenced), F I Goldhaber (poet We Will Not Be Silenced/WordPress), Kai Coggin (poet SMITTEN/Internationally recognized poet), Dawn McKenzie (poet We Will Not Be Silenced/WordPress/Facebook), Sean McGraw (poet SMITTEN), Rachel Kobin (poet/writer We Will Not Be Silenced), Melita White (poet WordPress), John Leys (poet WordPress), A. Lawler (poet SMITTEN), Irma Do (poet SMITTEN), Kendall Krantz (poet SMITTEN/Actor), Jamie L. Smith (poet SMITTEN), Jimmi Campkin (WordPress/Photographer), Robert Okaji (WordPress/Internationally recognized poet), Maria Gianna Iannucci (poet WordPress), Marisela Brazfield (poet), Aakriti Kuntal (poet WordPress/We Will Not Be Silenced/The Kali Project), Milly Webster (poet SMITTEN), Dierdre Fagan (poet SMITTEN/We Will Not Be Silenced/), Ali Grimshaw (poet We Will Not Be Silenced/WordPress), Dr. Sneha Rooh (poet SMITTEN/WordPress), Marcia Weber (poet, We Will Not Be Silenced), Sarah Ito (poet SMITTEN), Henri Bensussen (poet SMITTEN), Sarah Bigham (poet/writer We Will Not Be Silenced/WordPress), Charu Sharma (poet We Will Not Be Silenced/WordPress), Karissa Whitson (poet SMITTEN), Lindz McLeod (poet SMITTEN), Rachel Finch (poet/writer SMITTEN/We Will Not Be Silenced/Editor Indie Blu(e)), Crystal Kinistino (poet/feminist activist WordPress/SMITTEN/We Will Not Be Silenced/Medium), Dani Bowes (poet SMITTEN), Jaya Avendel (WordPress/We Will Not Be Silenced/The Kali Project), Erik Klingenberg (poet WordPress), Liz DeGregorio (poet SMITTEN), Sammie Payne (photographer/poet/Facebook/Instagram), L Stevens (poet), Jennifer Carr (poet SMITTEN), Matt Eayre (poet WordPress poet/writer/author), Rachel Roth (poet SMITTEN), Tony Single (WordPress/illustrator/graphic novelist/poet), A Shea (poet WordPress, SMITTEN, Facebook/Instagram), Rachel Tijou (poet We Will Not Be Silenced/Photographer), Emje Mccarty (artist/illustrator/poet/WordPress), Lola White (WordPress poet), Sally Zakariya (SMITTEN poet), Carol Jewell (SMITTEN poet), HOKIS (poet/philosopher SMITTEN/WordPress), Patricia Q Bidar (SMITTEN), Sun Hesper Jansen (poet/philisopher/MS campaigner WordPress) Erin Van Vuren (SMITTEN poet/internationally recognized poet on Instagram), Tremaine Loadholt (Medium/SMITTEN/WordPress writer & editor), Marcia Weber (poet/WordPress), Carrie Weis (artist/poet WordPress/We Will Not Be Silenced), Marvlyn Vincent (poet SMITTEN/WordPress), Sarah Ito (SMITTEN poet), Teresa Chappell (SMITTEN poet), Tia Hudson (SMITTEN poet), Aviva Lilith (SMITTEN poet), Anthony Glenn (writer/poet WordPress), Devereaux Frazier (writer/poet Facebook/Instagram/WordPress), Char Trolinder (writer/poet Facebook), Jesica Nodarse (poet SMITTEN/We Will Not Be Silenced/WordPress), Eric Syrdal (writer/poet WordPress/We Will Not Be Silenced), Sarah Doughty (writer/poet WordPress/We Will Not Be Silenced), Eleanor Knight (Singer/Songwriter Facebook/Instagram), Ashley Jane (Poet, WordPress, SMITTEN, We Will Not Be Silenced, Instagram, Facebook), Ruth Bowley (poet, WordPress), Mela Bust (Poet, WordPress, Facebook, Instagram), John Leys (Poet, WordPress), Hoda Esta (Poet, SMITTEN), Nicholas Gagnier (Writer/Poet Instagram/We Will Not Be Silenced/WordPress), John Cochrane (Writer/Poet WordPress), John Biscello (Writer/Poet WordPress), Jane Dougherty (Writer/Poet WordPress), DM Burton (Poet), Melissa Fadul (Writer/Poet WordPress/SMITTEN/We Will Not Be Silenced), Selene Crosier (Poet, SMITTEN), Tamara Madison (Writer/Poet WordPress), Irma Do (poet SMITTEN), Carla Toney (writer/poet SMITTEN), Philip Vernon (Writer/Philosopher WordPress), Linda Crate (poet SMITTEN), Sonja Beauchamp (poet SMITTEN), Elle Arra (writer/poet/WordPress), Merril Smith (Writer/Historian. SMITTEN Foreword/author of The Dictionary of Rape), Hanlie Robbertse (Poet Facebook/Instagram), Petru Vijoen (poet SMITTEN), Maria Gray (poet SMITTEN), Kristiana Reed (poet, WordPress/We Will Not Be Silenced & Editor of Free Verse Revolution), Velma Hamilton (poet SMITTEN), Katherine DeGilio (poet SMITTEN), Christine Ray (Co-Founder of Indie Blu(e) Publishing, Poet SMITTEN, We Will Not Be Silenced/WordPress), Kindra Austin (Co-Founder of Indie Blu(e) Publishing, Poet SMITTEN, We Will Not Be Silenced/WordPress), SA Quinox (poet SMITTEN/WordPress/We Will Not Be Silenced), Leslea Newman (foreword We Will Not Be Silenced/Internationally recognized poet), Amie Campbell (poet SMITTEN), Rob Plath (poet, WordPress), Jessica Jacobs (poet, Internationally recognized poet/SMITTEN), Megha Sood (poet, The Kali Project/SMITTEN), Nayana Nair (poet, WordPress/SMITTEN), Allie Nelson (poet, WordPress), Kim Harvey (Poet, SMITTEN), Cynthia Bryant (poet, SMITTEN), Nadia Garofolo (Musician/Poet), Rachael Ikins (poet/photographer, SMITTEN, We Will Not Be Silenced/WordPress), Devika Mathur (The Kali Project/WordPress poet), Destiny Killian (poet, SMITTEN), Andrew McDowell (poet, WordPress), Dustin Pickering (poet/writer WordPress).

Someone else’s rapist

You

someone else’s rapist

lean back in client chair

shadows of survivors indented behind

it is difficult

not to want to hurl you from that sacred place

screaming; You do not have the right! Haven’t you possessed enough flesh and soul?

I place one hand over the other, as if I am

wearing plastic gloves and submerging them in

hot dish-water, doing some kind of

domestic yoga move

instead of drinking or cursing or rising up with sword.

You are physically attractive, it might make people ask

why do you need to rape? Just like they ask; Why would he rape her?

Why did she wear that short skirt? All sorts of wrong-headed pronouncements

cluttering our throats with ire.

I have seen how women write, to prisoners like you

fascinated by the ‘bad boy,’ even marrying you

you, who would chop them into little red

pieces and eat them, if they only

could find a decent frying pan.

Maybe it is like having a tiger behind a cage

his heaving, ancient, lustrous fur, intoxicating sanity.

I do not pretend to understand

although I know we are strange, muddled creatures

the mechanisms of desire, who is to judge?

The one who wishes to be urinated on, beaten

savagely, tied up and left for dead, or

marry Ted Bundy on a Tuesday?

There are surely, limits, I think, as you

boldly express your hyperbole repentance

and I silently disbelieve your every word.

I am thinking; It’s therapy like this rotten apple, looking shiny on the outside,

that is dismal and false, chewing out the center of our profession

where sociopaths play with

good intentioned rules like

greedy children with plastic building blocks.

I have no doubt, if you were truly

alone with me and not

an emergency button away

hanging loosely from my slender neck

you’d bite me until my skin became

a map of welts and hurt, leaving a necklace of rose blooms, then

drive yourself through me like an

arrow, I will never forget the piercing of

and whilst you feel your pleasure in lies

I am disgusted that I have to bear witness

to your play acting, as surely no woman living

should have to hear anything you have to say

ever again.

There are times, being who I am

isn’t what I want and

I’d rather peal off this weary ‘caring’ suit

wear red tights with a monacle and no bra

drink peach schnapes at mid-day with one olive

my legs flung over afghan sofa

fingers pushing lovers between my legs.

But we become who we are, and I am

the psychotherapist who must at ten am see

rapists

as they abuse the system the way they

butchered women’s bodies

tasting the scars like livid memories

on their ugly thin lips of denial and delight.

I don’t ask you why you did it

I know as well as you, and do not want

to hear your false apologies, you are no more

repentant than the lion, who having eaten his

fill, will sit in the sun sated, licking his thick fur

clean.

I want to apologize to the women

I shall see later on

who inherit this contaminated ghost-world chair

though I clean it after you have left

your stink remains in my mind

as your poisonous choices infiltrate this supposed sanctuary

and I feel your hands on me like glue, as if you were not

slouching in front of me, but pealing

your clothes off and rushing your terror

in my face.

We are after all, only

a thin surface of respectability in a

hidden gleaming jungle of pretense,

if the lights were to dim

if the others forgot I was working late

one day, you’d quietly like a lynx, lock my door

and cut me to pieces with the

hatred in your emptied eyes.

I know, you see, what it feels like to have

a dagger thrust through your body, filled with damage

a mind of repulsion, set on repeat

the disgust creatures like you, leave women like me

to deal with, deep in our Kintsugi psyches.

This is why I sit here, knowing if I

turn you down, I lose my job , yet aware you will not

from me, receive favor or even, compassion

I do not have any.

I would, if I could

turn violence against you

damn you to torment yourself

but, I suspect that will happen one day

when you drop your soap, in the cinder-block showers.

if that makes me Old Testament

I’m okay with that

you see, I never signed up for victimhood

I carry a knife in my loose sleeve

longer than your worst horrors

you are deficient in your belief

you are still a menace, we have

already begun the war, you have already fallen

to our rebuke

if I’m judged for this, I will remind people

choices leave scars, as hunters do

and we who survive

will turn our scars outward

never again

let ourselves be lost

to the predator who thinks

he can outwit the deer

Gandhi said; An eye for an eye leaves

the whole world blind,

I have learned, I can see

in the dark.

National Indie Excellence Awards

If you purchased a copy of Indie Blu(e)’s SMITTEN and you want a gorgeous gold sticker to recognize that SMITTEN won Finalist position in the National Indie Excellence Awards, please PM Candice Louisa Daquin or email her at (indieblucollective@gmail.com) letting her know how many stickers you require and your physical address & she will send them out as soon as possible.

If you already sent your address, expect your sticker in the mail any day unless you live abroad, in which case probably 2 weeks time. If you can kindly take a photo of you with your new FANCY SMITTEN with her sticker – !!! That would be so appreciated! We want to keep the enthusiasm for this amazing, now award winning publication going!

*** If you have not yet purchased a copy of SMITTEN, consider buying a copy of this award winning beautiful Anthology of female poets talking about love between women, it’s available nationwide & internationally & all new copies automatically come with the award sticker on the front cover. A perfect gift. An ideal companion on your shelf. ***

 

Thank you to everyone who supported this successful & meaningful project. I hope to work with you again very soon. #supportindieauthors #supportpoetry #supportequality

 

SMITTEN was a Finalist in the National Indie Excellent Awards

Today I got some very good news I wanted to share with all the SMITTEN crew who made the anthology of women who love women poetry – – SMITTEN so incredible. SMITTEN was a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards! For an LGBTQ anthology of poetry this is a huge achievement and I wanted to thank everyone who was involved in SMITTEN for their incredible work! Indie Blue & Christabelle Ray & Kindra Austin for publishing SMITTEN & featuring their work in it & Mitch Green for its amazing cover. Well done everyone! BE PROUD! SMITTEN AUTHORS GROUP
CONGRATULATIONS!

It is our great pleasure to inform you that you are a Finalist in the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence® Awards. Your book embodies the standards of excellence that this award was created to celebrate. We salute your talents and our jurors truly respect each of the final works that are honored this year.

The lists of Winners and Finalists are proudly showcased on our website, please visit www.indieexcellence.com and click on the 14th Annual Finalists tab to see your book cover, name, and info highlighted for the world to see (click through to your website if provided). Awards are available for both download and purchase on our website including cover stickers, certificates, and medals. The 14th Annual National Indie Excellence® Awards Press Release is distributed to an array of news and media outlets and it is also on our website as a download for your use. Please share it widely–this honor should be used to promote and garner attention for your amazing product!

The entire team at the National Indie Excellence® Awards sincerely hope your participation in our contest will serve you well in your ongoing success. We thank you for your patience during this challenging year as we all deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Sending you and yours our deepest congratulations.

Warmly,

Everyone at the National Indie Excellence Awards

WELL DONE to everyone involved in this project! I am ordering stickers of our achievement, if you want one, let me know and you can put it on your copy of SMITTEN and be proud of how well SMITTEN has done. Typically LGBTQ books do not succeed like this and I always knew, with the incredible writers we had in SMITTEN we’d break that glass ceiling.

 

Thank you to everyone involved in SMITTEN: Christine Ray. (Indie Blu(e)) Kindra Austin. (Indie Blu(e)) Mitch Green. (Designer) Avital Abraham. Didi Artier. Kim D. Bailey. Sonia Beauchamp. Henri Bensussen. Sarah Bigham. Susi Bocks. Elmear Catherine Bourke. Dani Bowes. Ruth Bowley. Cassandra Bumford. Lynne Burnett. Amie Campbell. Tara Caribou. Jennifer Carr. Laura Elizabeth Casey. Olivia Chachinsky. Teresa Chappell. Clementine. Kai Coggin. Carrie Lee Connel. Susan Conway. Selene Crosier. Emily Alica DeCicco. Katherine DeGillo. Liz DeGregorio. Grace Desmarais. Rachel M. McCayhey. Sean Heather K. McGraw. Lindz McLeod. Cristina DeSouza. Hoda Abdulqadir Essa. Melissa Fadul. Kirsten Fedorowicz. Rachel Finch. Susie Fought. Renee Furlow. Nadia G. Wandeka Gayle. Milena M. Gil. Rebecca Ruth Gould. Manda Grathwohl. Maria Gray. Maranda Greenwood. Carrie Groebner. V. Hamilton. Kim Harvey. Sophia Healy. HOKIS. Kelsey Hontz. P. M. Houghton Harjo. Tia M. Hudson. Hallelujuah R. Huston. Rachael Iikins. M. Duckett Ireland. Sarah Ito. Jessica Jacobs. Paula Jellis. Carol Jewel. Kelly Girl Johnson. Emily R. Jones. Sarah Kacala. Sarah Karowski. Nick Kay. Destiny Killan. Erin King. Crystal Kinistino. A. Lawler. Jill Lee. Aviva Lilith. Tre. L. Loadholt. Katherine Love. Carolyn Martin. Jennifer Mathews. Alexandria Moore. Charity M. Muse. Skye Myers. Nayana Nair. Jack Neece. Jesica Nordarse. Michelle Paige. Alison Palmer. Marie Prichard. Georgia Park. S. A. Quinox. Talia Rizzo. Samantha Renee. Dr. Sneha Rooh. Rachel Roth. Maranda Russell. Millie Saint James. Rebecca Sanchez. SATU. T. M. Servin. Kay Shamblin. Tan Shivers. Alexandra Short. Izabell Joraas Skoogh. Jamie L. Smith. Janis Sommers. Megha Sood. Alicia Sophia. A. Staley. Wil Staley. Alison Stone. Tekla Taylor. Shraddhanvita Tiwari. Carla Toney. Piper Michelle Townsend. Charlene Trolinder. Erin Van Vuren. Sarah Vermillion. Marvlyn Vincent. Isabel J. Wallace. Angie Waters. Milly Webster. Vanessa Rowan Whitfield. Karissa R. Whitson. C. E. Wing.

SMITTEN authors share their favorite poems in SMITTEN – Lynne Burnett

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So far, my favourite poem is by Jennifer Mathews: “What He Gave Away” on page 75/77 (depending on your version). It’s an honest narrative with a light touch, grounded in good childhood memories about her grandfather and then the reality of her grownup life and love, apparently at odds with him (‘Four years since I’ve been told not to visit”).

What’s difficult for some families to address or acknowledge tends to erase the person they loved from their minds – until, as in the poem, she shows up unexpectedly and can relate face to face with her grandparents, who actually welcome her back into their lives.

This situation is relatable and Jennifer’s grandfather is entirely believeable (and humourous) and the poem, with just the right amount of earthy detail and voice, ends on such a lovely, redeeming note (“I am back in the family”).

And it’s interesting to me too that the grandfather’s gifts of imperfect fruit, stale bread, wilting flowers suggest he’s able finally to take his granddaughter back into his heart exactly as she is, as we all are—perfect in our imperfections.

By Lynne Burnett.

Lynne Burnett is a SMITTEN author and published Poet and Writer. You can purchase her collection of poetry, IRRESISTIBLE, here. Lynne’s poetry website is https://lynneburnett.ca/

To read more SMITTEN poets purchase a copy in time for the holidays and share this incredible project with someone you love. SMITTEN is available via Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Ingram for any independent bookstore. Consider supporting SMITTEN each purchase COUNTS and lifts up the visibility of 120 incredibly talented poets and artists who created this beautiful collection of poetry and art.

SMITTEN authors share their favorite poems in SMITTEN / Susi Bocks

susie bocks clementineAlthough there were so many great poems in SMITTEN to choose from, “Please like girls” by Clementine, took me back to the early years of discovering my sexuality. Each time I met girls who got my attention, there was this feeling of mystery surrounding our interactions, and it was hard to talk openly about desires.

Same-sex attraction just wasn’t spoken about in those years. This poem highlighted the trepidation and angst I experienced during the teenage years but also my interest in the same sex which remained unspoken until I became a woman.

Remembering those feelings that I dared not speak about is a powerful reminder how important SMITTEN is to the next generation. I’m so glad to be a part of the energy of this sex-positive culture. #LOVEISLOVE

We were very honored to have Susi’s poem in SMITTEN she’s an extremely talented writer. Susi Bocks writes a wonderful blog of her own on WordPress called I Write Her and also is Associate Editor and Barista Author at Fictional Café

Susi’s work can be purchased via Amazon you can also catch her thoughts on Twitter 

To read more SMITTEN poets purchase a copy in time for the holidays and share this incredible project with someone you love. SMITTEN is available via Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Ingram for any independent bookstore. Consider supporting SMITTEN each purchase COUNTS and lifts up the visibility of 120 incredibly talented poets and artists who created this beautiful collection of poetry and art. 

Poets of SMITTEN Interview Series: Hoda Essa

Hoda Abdulqadir Essa is a New Orleans native with roots hailing from East Africa. Hoda is a maker, writer, lover, shapeshifter and soul traveler, searching for heaven or hoping to construct it with her own bare hands.

How does being a poet inform your views on expressing emotions through writing? 

As a poet, I’m consistently working from a place that many people call “emotional intelligence” – in other words, I am dreaming out loud when I open my mouth or put pen to paper. So, for me, being a poet comes with a subtle responsibility to always tell the truth. Poetry is not a soundbite nor is it a news-clip. To me, poetry is the rhythm that lives in each person individually. It’s important to express that and writing is a powerful medium to do so.

When you found out SMITTEN was about women who loved women, without the emphasis on erotica that is usually the case – could you immediately think of ways to express that love through writing? 

Absolutely! My friend and I talk about bringing intimacy to life and to me that is what art is. No one has ever written ballads about an intellectual conversation they’ve had but we pause to capture the gentleness of a lover’s brush against your own skin – to me writing is a way at grasping moments that we ultimately have no language for. The erotic, especially, can be more greatly understood as we wrestle with it on the page.

What does it mean to you to be part of something like SMITTEN and have your work alongside other women who love women? 

To me, this is a declaration of the time’s we are in. Standing together in creativity unity is the most empowered place for many women, myself included. It means to me that I have graduated into a time space reality that is being carved out by the very people writing and experiencing love for and from a woman.

Why is love a worthier subject than erotica to write on? 

To me they’re intermingled. You have to love a moment to be inspired enough to write about it. Erotic writing is being so in love with an intimate moment that you want to recreate it for others. The two are closely related as far as I am concerned.

Have you ever been SMITTEN and if so, do you feel it’s possible to summarize those feelings in poetry? 

I am smitten and often. As often as possible. And I love this word as the title for the anthology (kudos to you all) because that word encompasses how wistful it is allowing oneself to be overtaken by simply being fond of another. I’ve tried my entire life to bottle this feeling and give it to the world so yes! It is absolutely possible to summarize these feels in poetry, until we can market the sensation of course!

Your poem in SMITTEN was excellent, why did you choose this particular poem and what did you hope it would convey to readers?

I chose this poem because I was inspired by a woman who took my breath away. She was beautiful, inspiring, deliciously sad in all the right places and talking to her moved me. We never formally met but my hope in writing “WOMAN” was to zoom in on how explosive this connection was without any physical intimacy. I am not even sure if I felt romantic ideations towards this person up until this day – I just knew that I wanted her inner-flame to be safe. I wrote this poem to honor her fire; to protect it.

SMITTEN is available by ordering it in your Barnes & Noble, purchasing it online at Barnes & Noble or Amazon or asking your independent bookstore to order it via Ingram. SMITTEN is available on Kindle and in print form.

For updates on SMITTEN visit the Facebook SMITTEN page.

This is a huge project of 120 female authors – an anthology that is testimony to the power of love and connection between women. Support SMITTEN by purchasing a copy for someone who supports LGBTQ equality, women or poetry.

 

 

SMITTEN

For the sake of SMITTEN, a project I believe in more than anything I have ever done before, I have asked close friends to take over my social media rather than close it down, so that SMITTEN can continue to flourish and succeed.

In my absence, due to my severe eye-sight-issues, my friends will be running the SMITTEN Facebook page and all SMITTEN related materials. Our goal is to ensure SMITTEN is successful in all ways. Sales are one way of legitimizing a project and ensuring its authors are HEARD.

Obviously LGBTQ projects are harder to sell than others, but it is my hope SMITTEN can continue its success through the rousing support of all those who believe in LGBTQ equality and the rights a woman has to love another woman. Please consider supporting SMITTEN – each sale helps raise visibility and gives SMITTEN authors another opportunity to share their unique and beautiful voices.

SMITTEN news and updates can be found here

SMITTEN is for sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If you support local bookstores please ask them to stock SMITTEN using Ingram. If you cannot afford a Kindle copy or hard copy please ask your local library to get a copy of SMITTEN via Ingram. It doesn’t take much and it means everything to the 120 authors and poets of SMITTEN. Indie publishing doesn’t flourish without our support as a community!

Poets of SMITTEN Interviews: Erin King

Erin King lives in southeastern Pennsylvania. Interests include creating fiber art, jewelry making, and the outdoors.  She lives with her partner of eight years.

What made you interested in submitting for SMITTEN?

It was a incident of timing, really.  Like once a decade I’ll go on a poetry writing binge.  There’s this feeling that something is under my skin, that something needs to be expressed.  That’s when I write.  This coincided nicely with SMITTEN, and it’s such an amazing project.  I feel so fortunate to be included.
Since SMITTEN’s launch what’s your response been from others?
  Feedback has all been positive.  One of my male friends said my work was hot.  I’m not one to say hooray about the male gaze on lesbian objects but I didn’t mind; that’s what I was going for in these two poems.  
When writing were you thinking about the political implications of your work?
  When writing these I wasn’t thinking politically or even socially.  I was a woman lusting after another woman.  It was definitely a micro level thing.  No lofty aspirations here.
Why do you find it important to express yourself through poetry? How does it differ from other mediums? 
When I’m working on designing a piece of jewelry or layering an art journal page, things come a lot more naturally.  It flows more.  Poetry is more deliberate.  My ultimate goal is to introduce poetry to visual media like painting and art. 
Do you think there are many steroetypes of LGBTQ people and if so, do you think as a writer you can dispel them? 
I think there’s a lot of biphobia coming from all sides.  We’re fickle, we can’t pick a side, blah blah blah.  It’s all bullshit.  I’m not sure if I can dispel them, though I am happy to say I’ve been with my Margaret for nine years.
How did you get into writing and what do you get from writing? 
   I started writing when I was 12.  It was pure escapism, a reprieve from an abusive environment.  I would come home from school every day and write.  When my parents started barging into my room, I’d sit with my back against the door, physically creating a boundary when there were none.    It’s not so different when I’m 47.  It’s escapism in a different sense.  It’s sublimation, a channeling of energy.  
Consider purchasing a copy of SMITTEN and supporting this collection of 120 poets who are helping to increase visibility for women who love women. By your support we can do more projects like this and help bring awareness to neglected groups of people who need to be heard.
SMITTEN is for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and you can order SMITTEN as a hard copy or Kindle or if you are unable to support in this way, consider contacting your local library and requesting they carry SMITTEN by letting them know SMITTEN is available through INGRAM.

Growing up I didn’t have a SMITTEN

black lesbianGrowing up in Europe I didn’t have anything like SMITTEN. My ‘sources’ were hard to find and often took me to oblique and obscure bookstores that had tiny ‘feminism/Lesbian’ (as they were once twinned) sections. Within those sections I found little I could personally relate to. I read Radcliffe Hall’s The Well Of Loneliness, now considered the ‘Bible’ of lesbianism and whether right or wrong, it did set a stage for me, and I loved the style and emotions therein, but over all her book is also very sad, it talks of lesbians as ‘inverts’ who are women trapped inside men’s bodies wishing to live the life men live and love women like men do. That was not my feeling. I was a woman happy to be a woman who wanted to love another woman who was most definitely a woman. (It should be noted many lesbians prefer to identify on the masculine end of the scale and yet identify as masculine women and this is a legit form of love too).

Even now, many years hence, there are divides within the LGBTQ and even lesbian/bi worlds. For some, you are just not considered a lesbian unless you subscribe to some of the dress-code/tough-act code and you are objectified for wanting to take on some of the accoutrement considered ‘heterosexual’ by queers. Likewise, you may be typecast as ‘femme’ (or butch) even in today’s society, as much as anything because since legislation has legalized gay marriage and made it easier in some countries for LGBTQ it has been assumed LGBTQ doesn’t need the same resources and so, there are less lesbian clubs/places to meet than ever before, and more is conducted online which as we all know, can be very hit and miss.

I personally knew of four lesbians who were date-raped when they met their ‘lesbian’ date in real life, after meeting online. In all cases, it was a set-up and there were men involved who took advantage of those women and punished them for being lesbians and not attracted to men. You may think that sounds extreme but having worked at two rape crisis centers I can assure you, it’s as common place now as it was in the seventies. The idea that LGBTQ and lesbians don’t need a ‘safe place’ to meet other like minded people, is too optimistic, it assumes it is now ‘safe’ to be a lesbian, but as any lesbian will tell you, we still fear holding a woman’s hand walking down certain streets. That hasn’t and won’t go away.

Let us not forget, in the vast majority of the world it is still illegal, frowned upon, punished or made impossible to be a lesbian and LGBTQ only pertains to a small percentage of this world in terms of population. If you are an African lesbian, good luck, you risk your life admitting that. So our Western ideas do not apply to the majority of lesbians out there.

Little really good literature is lesbian or LGBTQ, indicative of the stereotyping of LGBTQ literature when it is published and the small minority size of each group. You really have to hunt to find excellent, really well written lesbian literature or poetry. It was my dream to put together a group of authors who embodied love between women and showed the variety and depth of that love. SMITTEN accomplished this with over 120 poets and artists contributing some striking, stirring poems, drawings and thoughts of love and attachment.

SMITTEN was created for those people though I am certain we do not reach nearly enough. But it was my dream that even if we reached a few, even if we reached a girl like myself who went in search of ‘real’ lesbian love in a book store, they could find it. Maybe we haven’t done enough but with every act we hope to raise the consciousness of all people not just LGBTQ. People who may assume because gays have the right to vote and marry  and are represented on TV in some countries that they are absolutely free of persecution. This is not the case and while there are many other such minorities who are objectified, ridiculed, stereotyped and minimized, it was my mission to highlight lesbians and women who love women because I am one.

SMITTEN may not have existed when I was really young and had no gay friends, no cohorts who were LGBTQ and no school friends who were even sympathetic or understanding of LGBTQ. I myself didn’t really know enough. I sought refuge in gay bars when old enough but often times found those as judging and uncomfortable as being the only straight. The stereotypes, expectations, reductions and cliches of being a lesbian were as backward among lesbians as among heterosexuals! We had no role-models, nobody to refer to and only a palpable sense of shame emanating from society en mass. Nobody in their right mind wanted their daughter to grow up to be a lesbian, wasn’t that just something that happened like a birth defect or because a mother didn’t do her job right? That was the thinking back then and back then wasn’t ‘that’ long ago!

Consequently I spent more of my youth trying to get by without examining my lesbian identity and enjoying what it could be like to love another woman. I look at photos of very young lesbians now and I envy them their freedom but I am not so naive to assume they are entirely free, as a minute after the photo is taken, they could be beaten up by a mob who didn’t like what they saw. It still happens.

SMITTEN defies the hate, bigotry and misunderstanding of lesbianism. SMITTEN isn’t about women fucking other women for porn. SMITTEN isn’t about stereotypical lesbians created by heterosexual men. SMITTEN isn’t angry and hateful as some feminist backlash can be. SMITTEN is about this: Love IS LOVE.

Please support SMITTEN by gifting it to an LGBTQ person you care about, or buying it for yourself irrespective of your gender and sexual orientation, because love IS love and it transcends everything. If you like poetry, or you support LGBTQ inclusion and visibility then your support of SMITTEN can person by person, change everything. And if you cannot do that, perhaps think of requesting SMITTEN from your local library or purchasing the less expensive Kindle version (although it should be said the print version of SMITTEN is sumptuous!). YOUR support helps little girls growing up today, grow up to have a VERY different outlook in life, one without as much fear and isolation.

SMITTEN is available in print at

SMITTEN is available in KINDLE at

SMITTEN’s authors interviews, poetry readings and photo archive can be found here

With thanks to Indie Blu(e) for taking a chance and publishing this incredible project.