SMITTEN Poets READ: Willowy Rose And Chrysanthemum by Lynne Burnett


SMITTEN is coming out late October, 2019 via all good book stores. Published by Indie Blu(e) 

Please consider supporting this project of over 120+ talented poets and authors by purchasing a copy of SMITTEN for someone who appreciates beautiful poetry.

SMITTEN Poets READ: Summer 2018 by Teresa Chappell


SMITTEN is coming out late October, 2019 via all good book stores. Published by Indie Blu(e) 

Please consider supporting this project of over 120+ talented poets and authors by purchasing a copy of SMITTEN for someone who appreciates beautiful poetry.

SMITTEN Poets READ: Voce di strega/the witches voice by Vanessa Rowan Whitfield


SMITTEN is coming out late October, 2019 via all good book stores. Published by Indie Blu(e) 

Please consider supporting this project of over 120+ talented poets and authors by purchasing a copy of SMITTEN for someone who appreciates beautiful poetry.

Poets of SMITTEN Speak: Ruth Bowley

Ruth Bowley is just a simple observer of all things unknown.  Of all things worth fighting for.  Being a woman, being a survivor, being.

Poetry/writing has spared me from the scars of growing up gay in a catholic and abusive household. First, I found my voice, in regards to religion. Second, I had been witness to those who were gay in the 80’s and felt a change was needed. Most importantly, I wanted my words to be that change.

Rita Mae Brown wrote books about her affection for cats and her affection for women: A

Short Note for Liberals

I’ve seen your kind before
Forty plus and secure
Settling for a kiss from feeble winds
And calling it a storm.
I have always been political. Why we allow the moral majority contain us…still leaves me in awe. It is far better to go down fighting than to have done nothing at all.

Women are the greatest asset we have. Gay/straight/bi/trans…we have yet to capitalize on that.

I have always loved, endured, enjoyed, Robert Frost. Granted he was not gay…he should have been. He struggled with loss, abuse and mental health issues. He touched on issues that were not bias’d by gender.

After 17 years of loving my wife…erotica tends to play less of a influence than intimacy. Sex is sex. Love making is love making. Making love is far different.

Smitten is needed. A sisterhood needs promotion. If for no other reason than to let the younger generation know…they are not alone.

I work many political campaigns from the grassroots up. I have run for state representative. I have captain’d the Sander’s campaign and Obama campaign. Currently, I am a vocal advocate and volunteer for the Warren campaign.

Women love women. Many have’ this pornographic. That is not what loving a woman is about. We want equal rights in every corner of the heterosexual life…without being over sexual-ized.

My wife has struggled for over 30 years with schizophrenia. Love is what brought us together. Sure, erotica/sensuality is wonderful for us but I know her heart. Her heart means far more to me than whatever happens in the bedroom.

I never, ever thought of my writing as important. However, if I can change one bias opinion…my work is done.

Of course, lesbians/bi are more of a poignant part in media and movies. Men love to see two women together. What sickens me is that after all these years…two women together (pushing aside their love) is used for sexual purposes.

I am getting older. That’s right…an old lesbian. We do not get our due. We have paved the way for projects such as, Smitten, without fanfare.

Of course, my voice is heard. I would not be quiet if it were not. I am loud and proud!

Ruth Bowley is an incredible talent and her work is among other talented poets in SMITTEN coming out at the end of this month. SMITTEN will be available via all good book stores. For up to date information on SMITTEN please follow the FB SMITTEN page.

Poets of SMITTEN Speak: Nayana Nair

I am Nayana Nair, an engineer and a technical writer who moonlights as an amateur poet on my personal blog ( Writing for me is a process of self-realization and an effort to understand what is ever elusive.

Q. How does being a poet inform your views on expressing emotions through writing?
I have been drawn to literature from a very young age, mainly because of it’s ability to show the depth of human experience. Poetry has always been my preferred medium to express myself, as almost everything that I feel strongly about is so gentle and effervescent that it cannot live more than a few lines. My objective when I write is to highlight the commonness of our feelings irrespective of the difference in the reasons and circumstances that surrounds us. I write each and every word with the belief that we are capable of understanding and accepting each other in spite of our differences.

Q. Your poems in SMITTEN were excellent, why did you choose this particular poems and what did you hope they would convey to readers?
“Meet me on a sunless day” and “I keep looking for you”. These two poems to a lot of extent reflects the way I think of love. That love, even though we want it to be simple, it rarely is. Because along with our love comes our fear, our past. Often the struggle is not “us against the world”, but “us against our own love” or “us against our fate”. This struggle I believe is a common human experience, irrespective of the gender or orientation of the person involved.

Q. Why is love a worthier subject than erotica to write on?
Q. Do you think lesbians/bi’s are more objectified and if so, why? What can we do about it?

This could be my own personal view, but I think media portrays hetero love and lesbians/bi love in very different light. They portray lesbians/bi relationships to be based on lust/sex and somewhat shallow. While hetero relationships are made up to be something based on understanding and affection (which eventually lead to sex). This is so often misleading and very inaccurate as well. The popular media often fails to deliver the depth and sincerity of lesbians/bi love (which is also true for every kind of love that is not hetero). But the reality that I have seen is that almost every kind of romantic love is affected by the same factors, we are all humans after all.
Though erotica may be a really bold way to declare our sexuality to the world. But often we forget about talking love in the process.

PS. As a child who was drunk on the concept on soulmates, the movies and the songs always left me puzzled. I always wondered how was it possible that we must necessarily find our soulmate in opposite gender. As I grew up, I realized that it was just a portrayal, a propaganda that was convenient for the society. Not the way love actually works.

Q. What does it mean to you to be part of something like SMITTEN and have your work along side other women who love women?
Frankly, I was a bit afraid. Due to the fact that I am not lesbian/bi, I felt that I am not eligible to contribute to this anthology. I am still not sure if this is fine. But nevertheless, I wanted to give voice to the feelings that some of my friends who identify as lesbian/bi had. I felt they needed to be represented for who they are. These poems are my sincere efforts to lift the stigma that my friends suffered from.
But keeping my own fears apart, I feel honored that my work has been put alongside the poems written by such strong women. Women who accept who they are, who do not give up, who fight for their love and their voice. Through their words I have felt such a strong sense of solidarity, which is comforting and inspiring.

Q. Do you feel your voice is heard? Do you believe anthologies like this can help you be heard?
In my personal life, I find it really difficult to speak my own thoughts for the fear of disrupting harmony. Probably that’s the reason that I write. But since I have started writing, I have got understanding, kindness and appreciation from many people. Though it might not mean much on grander scale of things. But to find a community that encourages you to keep on writing and keep on speaking your own mind is something precious.

Through anthologies like this a similar like-minded community is created where one doesn’t have to edit their thoughts or pretend to be someone else. Here we can speak your mind and talk of our life and experiences as they are. Here we do not have to doubt ourselves. So many women coming forward to give their misrepresented love a voice it deserves and to be part of something like that. To be part of their voice, does make me feel heard.

The wonderful Nayana’s work can be found in SMITTEN coming out by the end of this month. SMITTEN will be available via all good book stores. Please follow the FB SMITTEN page for updates and latest information.

Poets of SMITTEN Speak: Jamie Smith

Jamie L. Smith is an MFA candidate in poetry at Hunter College, where she has been the recipient of the Colie Hoffman Poetry Prize and the 2019 Guggenheimer Award, and was runner up for the Academy of American Poets Prize and the Richter Award. She lives in Yonkers, NY.

When you found our 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?

I feel like poetry is inherently erotic, not necessarily in terms of sex but through its enactment of some type of longing and seeking. The poems selected for this anthology have existed in various poems for years, and I’m grateful they found a home here. I think focusing on love rather than erotica helps demystify the image of same-sex relationships. I’ve loved my partner—there have been passionate moments—but more often than not love is grocery shopping for items you would never buy for yourself or arguing over which Netflix show to binge.

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

The acceptance notice from Indie Blu(e) arrived the day after World Pride NYC ended—I felt very honored to be included in something like this. I don’t think of my sexuality as something that defines me necessarily, it’s an aspect of my life and identity, but it’s far from the full story. That being said, I have the privilege of being able to be who I am and love who I love openly and with minimal fear because of the brave people who came before me and struggled for their rights and for acceptance. I had the privilege and blessing of an accepting family and social circle—I faced much more internal than external adversity in my coming-out process—which is an incredibly privileged an not necessarily common position. My attraction to women comes as naturally to me as having brown eyes, so I’m not necessarily proud of my sexuality per se—but I’m very proud of the people who came before me and those still working to lessen the struggle
of others within the community every day. Publications like this are important because they maintain increase visibility and create a safe space for voices that haven’t always had a platform.

The tag-line This Is What Love Looks Like was important to me—my love isn’t abnormal, I’m not a singular or anomalous phenomenon—we’re here—we’re women who love other women and that’s simple and real.

How does poetry and identifying as lesbian/bi come together for you?
Even my poems that aren’t factually accurate hold truth, and my truth is that I’m a woman who loves women. I loved a man in college (hi, Michael) and I wouldn’t exclude the possibility of that happening again in the future. I’ve fallen for nonbinary people too. I tend to write into emotionally loaded moments, so my relationships and sexuality were always going to be a part of my work.

I’ve known I’m attracted to women for most of my life. The labels I use to identify myself have changed as I’ve gotten to know myself better and as the terminology has evolved. I realized at a certain point that my sexuality is confusing to other people, but it isn’t confusing to me. I know when I get the glimmers—and it isn’t necessarily affixed to gender for me. That attraction is attached to something else, some sort of frequency that comes across in certain individuals. I’m not straight. I’m not entirely gay. I struggle with the term bisexual to some extent because I don’t feel any sense of bifurcation or being in-between in any way—it’s not an either/or—I don’t have a sense of incompleteness or partiality around it.

Maybe I’m more accurately ambisexual—I don’t know—I’m comfortable with my sexuality existing in the space just outside of language. I think labels and words in general strive to capture reality but fail—poetry grapple with this
shortcoming and tries to enact experience through syntax, form, diction—all the tools in our arsenal. It’s the failing that creates Eros—I think we all live in the hope that someone will articulate the one unsayable truth about our lives that makes the whole thing make sense, at least for a moment, in some new way.

How if at all has the experience of being lesbian/bi changed over the years? And how has this influenced you?
I’m more secure in myself than I was when I was younger. I don’t have to be loud to be proud anymore, it’s more quiet. I am astoundingly privileged in that my family never rejected me, very few of my close friends have struggled with my sexuality, and I live in a liberal metropolitan area where protections are in place—most people do not have these advantages. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become increasingly aware of this and have come to feel a greater sense of responsibility. There are still 13 states which do not limit or prohibit employment discrimination against LGBTQ persons—there are foundations unable to meet the needs of the runaway teens and LGBTQ senior citizens they support—there is vast inequality, injustice, and need. Fundraising and letter writing don’t seem like enough, but I try to at least maintain my awareness of and gratitude for the privileges I have, and to help where I can.

I’ve also become more aware of discrimination within certain facets of the community. I’ve been told by publishers and publicists that I don’t “look gay” enough to read at particular events. I haven’t slept with a man in over 10 years, most of my significant relationships have been with women, but I’m femme and apparently give off a very limited “vibe” so my experience gets discounted a lot of times within particular circles.

It’s an experience I’ve heard echoed by a lot of bi women who become involved in hetero-romantic relationships. I’ve probably faced more rejection from within the community than I have from outside of it in recent years. That’s the other reason this anthology was important to me—I felt heard—it gave me a space to share my experience without being questioned or discounted.

Jamie Smith is one of the talented SMITTEN poets whose work is coming out this month. For more up to date information on SMITTEN please go to the FB SMITTEN page. SMITTEN will be available via all good book stores.

SMITTEN poets READ their poems. Lindz McLeod.

SMITTEN is coming out before the end of the month and will be available via all good book stores. Consider supporting a worthy and meaningful project by purchasing a copy. LGBTQ publications struggle to reach equality in the publishing world. If we all lift each other up. inequality can be a thing of the past.