Please Join the U. L. S. in honor of National Banned Books Week

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In honor of National Banned Books Week, I am again asking for those who would like to join the U.L.S., the Underground Library Society, to join and write a guest post. I put this request out several times over the course of a year, because I hope to have more people join in the cause.

In an earlier First Year Class at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, The U.L.S. — The Underground Library Society — was created. It is in the spirit of the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. In that novel, all books have been banned, and a few people “become” books by memorizing them, in the hope that, one day, books will be permitted to exist again.

In that spirit, I am putting out the call once more for like-minded people to join The U.L.S. All that is needed is to choose a book you would memorize if the need ever arose. The type or genre of the chosen piece does not matter.  There is no restriction on what you would become. You do not, however, actually have to memorize  the book now. If you wish to join, simply write a guest post in which you say what book you would “become” and why.

I have had several other bloggers join the U. L. S. Join the movement!

I hope many of you choose to join.

If you are a member and wish to add another book that you might become, you are welcome to do another post!

In the past, I have mentioned that I would become one of the following books: The Lord Of The Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

If you do wish to do a post, please email me at frenchc1955@yahoo.com  and write a guest post as a Word doc. Thank you.

Charles F. French

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I am looking forward to hearing from new members!

Please, come and join in the fun!

Banned Books Week September 26-October 2, 2021

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This week, from September 26 through October 2 of 2021 is National Banned Books Week. Book banning and censorship is a crucial issue that should unite readers and writers. Throughout the world and humanity’s history, governments, churches, and other institutions have banned or attempted to ban and censor books.

Most of us are familiar with the images from Nazi Germany in which thousands of books were burned by the Fascists. All banning, however, is not so explicit. Sometimes in the United States of America, books are challenged, especially in the context of not being allowed to be taught in the classroom.

I oppose all such censorship. As a writer, it is an obscenity; as a teacher, it is an imposition of chosen ignorance; as a reader, it is an intolerable abomination. We must unite and oppose book banning, in all of its forms.

Fight for your freedom to choose what to read.

Here are several important links about this issue:

Banned Books Week

American Library Association

I will later, this week, in honor of this important cause put out another call for readers to become part of my unofficial group that opposes censorship–The Underground Library Society, The U. L. S.

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In the meantime, I ask all of you this question: what is a book that has been banned or challenged that you love?

I choose To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

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Robbie Cheadle Reads Her Poetry from Behind Closed Doors a collection of unusual poems. 

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Please view Robbie Cheadle reading her poem “Do you want it enough” from her book of poetry Behind Closed Doors a collection of unusual poems

I give Robbie Cheadle’s book of poetry Behind Closed Doors a collection of unusual poems my highest recommendation. Robbie Cheadle is an excellent writer of both fiction and poetry, and her work continues to be of the highest quality.

In this collection of poems, Robbie Cheadle deals with a wide variety of issues and uses a variety of forms of poetry, among them Tanka, limericks, and haiku, and she does this with great passion and control of her art. The poetry in her book is powerful, compelling, and evocative.

Several of the poems resonated with me in particular, including “Opportunity”, “Hope”, “Making a splash”, “Perspective”, “Lockdown in poverty”, and “I saw a fish a-swimming”.

Choosing these poems to highlight was difficult, because Robbie’s work is excellent throughout the book. 

If you enjoy poetry, you need to get and read this book!

Please visit Robbie Cheadle’s wonderful sites:

Roberta Writes

Robbie’s Inspiration

Robbie Cheadle–Books/Poems/Reviews

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Copy of Roberta Writes - independent pub 2 theme.

Thank You To Writers!

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To all the writers out there who are working hard, who are drafting and revising, submitting and self-publishing, thank you! You are the conscience of society, the teller of tales, and the creators of myth.

So, from one writer to other writers: thanks!

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May Self-Promotion Party!

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Hello everyone! It’s past mid-May, the weather is turning warmer, and it’s time for a self-promotion party!

Be proud of your writing!

Share your book(s) with the world!

Be your own best publicist!

To help as many as possible see your work, reblog, like, and follow others.

Available on Amazon

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Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

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Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

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Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

Update on Robert Fillman’s Poetry Reading

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Hello to all! There was a mistake on  the date of Robert Fillman’s Poetry reading.

The corrected date and the flyer appears next:

Join Robert Fillman on Zoom—Thursday, June 3rd, 2021, at 6 pm EST.

Robert Fillman June 2021 poetry reading flyer - corrected date

Here is a link to another of Robert Fillman’s poems: The Batter

See his chapbook November Weather Spell via Main Street Rag

Please check out this opportunity to hear Robert Fillman reading his excellent poetry!

A Virtual Poetry Reading by Robert Fillman

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I am excited to announce that my friend, Robert Fillman, is going to do a virtual poetry reading on Thursday, June 4th, 2021, at 6 pm EST on Zoom. Robert Fillman is a brilliant poet, and I hope you take the opportunity to attend and hear him delivering his work!

Here is a sample of his poetry:

THERE SHOULD ALWAYS BE TWO

ripe grapefruits in a glass
bowl in the fridge beside

a small note: Darling, you
can always count on me.


Scribble that to yourself
if you have to. Then spend

the morning in the tub
holding yourself beneath

the water. Listen for  
the cello’s womb bleeding

into your wrinkled skin.
Eyes half-opened, like rough

moss lining a clay pot.
Don’t get up to answer

any calls. When you fly
downstairs, there will be bags

of groceries already
unpacked, a bright kitchen

that you won’t remember
tidying and a fresh

pie warm on the counter.
Eat it naked and wet.

This poem was first published in Kestrel, Issue 37.

See his chapbook November Weather Spell via Main Street Rag

To attend, please use this link.

Here’s how to join us and Robert Fillman online on Thursday, June 4th:

RFillmanpoetryreading

Open a new door: a collection of poems by Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle–A Review

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Open a New Door

I am delighted to offer a review of this excellent book of poetry!

This book is a lovely collection of poetry from two talented writers-Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle! Their poetry is interwoven, as they explore important thematic issues in life in South Africa. The structure of the book is extremely effective: the poets use this format–“The Good”, “The Bad”, and “The Ugly” as they explore various aspects of life in their land: “God bless Africa”, “God bless my family and friends”, “God bless me”, and “God bless corporates and work.”

Both poets use a variety of poetic forms and show great observations about their world, their people, and themselves. This is a deeply compelling collection of poems.

While both poets offer a large variety of excellent pieces, I will highlight two that particularly stood out to me: “The boys under the bridge” by Robbie Cheadle, in which the poet’s concern for others and her deeply felt humanity is clear, and “Lessons learned in a rural African village” by Kim Blades, in which the poet speaks of the love of nature and humanity that she learned from her mother and her world.

If you love poetry, then please buy and read this book!

I give this wonderful collection of poetry 5 stars!

You can find the book here: Amazon 

Robbie Cheadle Books/poems/Reviews

Robbie’s inspiration

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Please be sure to visit their sites!

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New Poems by Robert Fillman

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I am honored to announce the publications of new poetry by the extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman!

“Witness” which appears in Split Rock Review

Witness

Probably by now, my friend
has recovered from the shock
of finding his pet rooster
headless and strung to the fence.
He has no doubt untangled
the thing, his bare hands perhaps
sticky with feathers and stained
with blood, the knees of his pants
maybe cool, wet from kneeling
on damp earth, having buried
the bird, taking care to smooth
the mound with a shovel, still
not realizing what transpired,
how he had hunted it down
before dawn and drunk with rage
bent over its body, choked
last crows from its throat and stole
the morning light from its eyes
before returning to his
home and probably crawling
into bed, without knowing
what he was capable of,
how late he’d sleep, what silence
would follow his every step
when he finally started
his long list of daily chores.

Three poems in hamiltonstone
 

Promises

My father didn’t talk

much to me as a kid.

So each sentence glimmered

 

as if it reflected

his eyes and not the mug

of beer lifted beneath

 

the yellow kitchen light

those nights on Union Street.

My son’s hesitant Yes

 

I would like that brings me

back to words my father

never said but guided

 

into me with his hands,

the even syllables

of a saw pulled across

 

a two-by-four, the rasp

of a taping knife scraped

over spackle, the smack

 

of an old baseball trapped

in the web of his glove.

Each act translated back

 

to a promise of love,

the only way he knew

how to cure the silence.

Omen

The mountain as severe

as my grandfather’s brow

in that small airless room

during his final hours,

I see a barn owl soar

out of the ridge’s mouth,

its big head, terrible

eyes cursing all color,

as if it were hell-bent

on draining the season

 

of red maple, black gum—

every leaf a target.

It doesn’t seem to know

the difference between

misery and mercy,

the living and the dead,

that my grandfather warned

Go easy on your kids

before he closed his eyes

and slipped away his hand.

 

My body suddenly

tight, bracing for a blow,

as if I am the prey,

a small, soft animal,

yet I’m surprised to feel 

a fluff of brown feathers

then a rush of wings that

beats on, flooding my ears

with what could only be 

the sound of a last breath.

 

The Vanity of It All

Two months into quarantine

and I’m still shaving my head,

scraping a razor across

the curve of my skull every

single night, the edge of each

blade sounding like my mother’s

cheerful voice those mornings she

greeted me at the breakfast

table with pink lips, bluish

black mascara, two eyebrows

perfectly penciled on. Her

uniform for a long day

of chores in an empty house,

the sagging clotheslines, the hours

of stirring sauce on the stove,

all the dirty dishes stacked

in the sink, my father’s shirts

piled for ironing, shower

and toilet always needing

to be scrubbed. In the bathroom

steam I’m staring at myself

in the mirror as I rub

a palm over scalp to feel

some small comfort. I lean in,

clicking my tongue if I spot

even one errant hair I

might have missed, those wisps I am

desperately hiding from

whom? My wife and kids? Maybe

a delivery man or

that nice neighbor who brings us

our groceries? All the while

my mind tries to smooth away

this human need of keeping

up appearances, this strange

compulsion to polish things,

with every swipe of the blade

memories of my mother’s

painted face reflecting bright

in the shine of a brass pot.

And two poems in Innessfree Journal

On date night my wife must choose

 

between love and food because
her body will not allow
her both, so I ask her to
starve herself in one way so

I can be satisfied in
another. Last night I grew
frustrated by her illness,
selfishly imagining

how every spoonful to her
lips was a cold betrayal,
willingness to twist with pain
on the couch and not with me,

heating pad strapped to her gut,
the nausea setting in,
all color drained from her face,
as if each little swallow

were another nail punching
through the white skin of her breast.
Now I’m left wondering if
my depravity caused this

crucifixion, how all she
craved was a scoop of ice cream
from the cafe down the street,
how I will writhe in hell,

be made to atone for these
wicked thoughts, no saint to save
me, no matter how badly
I hunger for forgiveness. 

 
 
Learning to Listen

I remind both kids to be
extra good today, insist
their mother doesn’t feel well,
that she has to stay in bed—
and hate myself for it.

            Kids
should be able to be kids.
But when my son suddenly
leaps onto the couch and makes
the springs cheep and squeak I snap,
ask why he never listens,
threaten to send him to his
room alone if he doesn’t
stop, my voice breaking apart
when I notice the redness
of his cheeks, the tears that will 
follow.

             Then I consider  
how only moments before
the three of us were huddled
by the window watching four
goldfinches peck at feeders
on our porch, how my daughter
said they were a family
flitting about, their frank chirps
a break from the hard silence. 

Robert Fillman is the author of the chapbook November Weather Spell (Main Street Rag, 2019). His poems have appeared in The Hollins Critic, Poetry East, Sugar House Review, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and others. Fillman earned a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University and is an Assistant Professor at Kutztown University.   

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Available for purchase at:

The Main Street Rag Online Bookstore

May Poetry Retreat 2020 With Poet Robert Fillman Leading A Workshop

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Hello everyone: My good friend and extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman will lead a workshop in an online Poetry Retreat. This will be a wonderful opportunity to work on your poetry.
This is being called “May Poetry Retreat” which is rescheduled from an earlier planned retreat.
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Here’s the info: 
May Poetry Retreat 2020 is a single-day retreat through Zoom.  Poets can spend the day generating new material, sharing their work, and talking with other poets.  Opt for any (or all) of three creative writing workshops, sign up for a spot at one of our two Zoom readings, or spend some quiet time writing.  We’ll also provide Zoom breakout rooms throughout the day for small group discussion on the side as preferred. Poets of all experience levels welcome.

 
When: Saturday, Aug 1, 9am – 3pm
Cost: $15

Hope to see you there!
Please remember to check out Robert Fillman’s excellent book of poetry:
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