Tag Archives: poetry

The Wood Thrush Flies to McIntyre’s in Pittsboro!

mcintyre-s-books-in-fearringtoJoin us on Sunday, August 25 at 2 p.m. for a special reading featuring poets from the N.C. Poetry Society at McIntyre’s Fine Books in Pittsboro. I’ll be there too, reading from Waiting for the Wood Thrush, my first poetry collection.

I’ll be reading the title poem, along with several others inspired by my life in the Uwharries, including “Samarcand,” “Old Pine Door,” and “Eulogy of the Northern Red Oak.” Other poems include “Napoleon and Antosia,” the tale of two star-crossed donkeys in love and “How to See a Ghost,” a poem describing a true-life ghostly encounter.

Memory_Ashley_COV_EM Waiting for the Wood Thrush will be available in November, but Finishing Line Press is taking pre-orders right now. You may also order by sending a check for $14.99 (please include $2.99 per copy for shipping) to Finishing Line Press at P.O. Box 1626, Georgetown, KY 40324.

If you’ve ordered a copy already, I sincerely thank you.

In the meantime, please join us for this special event on Sunday!

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Creative Writing Events Near You!

Are you wriwritingting short stories? How about creative nonfiction or true-life essays? And let’s not forget about the third leg of this literary stool — poetry! Are you ready to submit your work?

No matter what you’re writing, revising or preparing to submit, you’re bound to find a local special event that may help you in your creative endeavors, from readings to classes, talks, and more! And some events are free! By attending, you’ll also meet other like-minded writers who can help you in your journey. Writing is by nature a solitary act, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one.

As a special note, in addition to teaching a class at Central Carolina Community College this fall, I’m also honored to be presenting two workshops at Charlotte Center for Literary Arts, Inc. later this fall and in January. I look forward to working with and meeting writers in the Charlotte metro area.

Hope to see you at one of these events. In the meantime, keep writing and delighting!

Click here to view the latest list of Upcoming Events.

Listen for the Wood Thrush!

wood thrushHave you heard the wood thrush this summer? He is an unassuming little bird in terms of appearance, but don’t be deceived! The wood thrush is unique for his Y-shaped voice box! This means that his voice magically splits and harmonizes with itself on the final notes of his trademark song, what humans have anthropomorphized as follows: Come to me. Here I am. Right near you. 

The wood thrush spends his summers in the Eastern U.S., where he sings to attract a mate and together they raise their young in the deep woods, where he is far more likely to be heard than seen. We have a very vocal wood thrush in the woods outside our house and his voice sails through the air like the first notes of a flute, which makes him stand out from the cacophony of the other birds. Click here to hear him sing.

For all of these reasons, I chose to feature the wood thrush in the title poem of my first-ever poetry collection, Waiting for the Wood Thrush, which is being published by Finishing Line Press and has been described by celebrated poet and fiction writer Ruth Moose as “Witty, wise, overflowing with life and color, grace, and the goodness in our lives….”

Waiting for the Wood Thrush is now available for pre-order through September 13 by the publisher, Finishing Line Press. Pre-order sales help the author and publisher because they help determine the quantity of the first press run. As a personal favor, I hope you’ll order my book soon, but I wouldn’t ask you unless I believed you might enjoy it.

Memory_Ashley_COV_EMClick here to order Waiting for the Wood Thrush online. You may also order by sending a check for $14.99 (please include $2.99 per copy for shipping) to Finishing Line Press at P.O. Box 1626, Georgetown, KY 40324.

If you’ve ordered a copy already, I sincerely thank you. Finishing Line Press will be shipping all copies around November 8, which means it will arrive well in time for your holiday shopping.

And who wouldn’t like to get a book of poetry for Christmas? 🙂

 

A Wood Thrush is Waiting for You!

Memory_Ashley_COV_EMA little wood thrush has just taken flight! See the official cover of my new poetry book to your left. Waiting for the Wood Thrush is currently available for presale at Finishing Line Press.

Advance sales help the author and the publisher, and I’d be so very grateful if you ordered early. Click here to order Waiting for the Wood Thrush online. 

Waiting for the Wood Thrush includes 23 poems united by the themes of love and longing, through the lens of nature.

A handful of the poems have been previously published through the years, and they’re happily united under one cover with many new ones, including “Eulogy of the Northern Red Oak,” a long-form poem that was named a finalist for the N.C. Poet Laureate Award by the N.C. Poetry Society earlier in the year, along with “Lost and Found of the Dead,” another long-form poem that offers a surrealistic journey through the intangible things we often leave behind.

“Memory’s poems are fully human, and therefore fully real; they are moral poems, in that they lift the reader to a higher level of appreciation for the human world and the world of nature.”

Joyce S. Brown, author of the poetry collection Vital Signs, Orchard Street Press and former instructor, Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars

“Ashley Memory’s poems take matters of the soul and make them breathable. She does what a poet must—she takes what hurts in life and makes us laugh, sigh, think, then turn the page. The hurting, of course, doesn’t go away, but Waiting for the Wood Thrush reminds us of the whole brilliant spectrum of emotion that poetry brings us.” – Matt Swain, Co-founder and Poetry Editor of Turnpike Magazine

“Witty, wise, overflowing with life and color, grace, and the goodness in our lives.  You go from the natural world, to how to see a ghost to an antiques fair to sin town. What joy! What word pleasure! Read and remember, then read again.” – Ruth Moose, Pushcart Prize-winning author of two novels, four collections of short stories and six collections of poetry, including Tea and The Librarian.

Waiting for the Wood Thrush is available for pre-order through September 13, with publication on November 8, 2019. My pressrun (the number of copies printed) is determined by advance sales, and it would help me tremendously if purchases are made during this time.  Thank you so very much for your support!

Hello July: Berries, Weeds…and a Lunar Eclipse!

blackberrySummer is here. No question. The dog days of August arrived early this year. Trust me. With two canines lying flat on their sides on the cool concrete of the porch, too enervated to even wag their tails at me, I know it’s true.

I can’t complain too much. After all, July is my birthday month (the 6th!) AND our anniversary month (the 7th!) and…. the month of berries and freestone peaches. Hurray! July also brings back that cherished, although awkward, memory of the lunar eclipse of 1982. Anybody else remember that? I boiled down that long-ago experience into an ultrashort flash essay that Mental Papercuts just kindly published in their Issue 1.5, Weird Summer Vibes. If you’re hankering for wildly creative, off-the-wall summer stories that may bring back memories of your own, please check it out.

Three poems of mine also appeared today, more writing inspired by the summer. “What the Weeds in My Yard Taught Me About Social Justice” and “September Raspberry” bloomed in the Summer 2019 issue of Gyroscope Review. And “Pulling Up the Wild Blackberry Bushes” just unfurled in the July issues of the gorgeous O.Henry and Pinestraw magazines, both of which are distributed in locations across the state.

As a reminder to all my writer friends, July also marks the halfway point for what we hope will be a productive year of writing. Now’s the time to start penning, gulp, other seasonal pieces (think: Halloween and Christmas) and most importantly, setting goals to improve.

Chinese fortune cookies are fun, not always prescient, but they can be surprisingly profound. Here’s one just for you. Of all our human resources, the most precious is our desire to improve.

So what are you doing to get better? For me, it means leading two workshops this summer at The Joyful Jewel because I learn as much, if not more, from my fellow workshop participants as they do from me! It also means taking a memoir class led by Dorit Sasson through Women on Writing, my favorite space for online writing classes.

I’m a little nervous because I’m new to the field of memoir (and a beginner in the world of creative nonfiction) but the good news is that I’ve got lots to learn. This means I’ll never be bored!

Stay cool, eat your berries, and set your own improvement goals!

Ashley

 

 

Be a Shape Shifter!

little puss

What do you see in the magical coat of Little Puss? Evil snowman or smiling panda bear? This tricky feline is a shape shifter!

What’s your favorite genre, someone recently asked me. Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, plays? My answer: All of them!

The longer I write, the more I’ve learned that the various writing genres are not mutually exclusive. The same solid idea that sparked a short story could easily morph into an essay or a poem. Especially if you still have curiosity about the topic. So why limit yourself to just one form? Be like Little Puss, a shape shifter!

Case in point. Shirley Jackson. This renowned writer didn’t just pen short stories and novels; she also wrote essays and even drew cartoons! Here’s another:  Vladimir Nabokov. He wrote stories, novels, poetry and his nonfiction memoir, Speak Memory, is a model for any writer in terms of craft. Dorothy Parker: poetry, stories, book reviews. And Tennessee Williams wrote much of the above and even took playwriting to another level by tackling screenplays.

Shakespeare was also a notorious shape shifter, excelling in every form available at the time. If he lived today, in addition to the plays and poetry, he’d probably dash out a sitcom or two, don’t you think?

Shape shifting is also more efficient. In my case, my essay “Eulogy of a Northern Red Oak” eventually turned into a poem. It’s essentially a condensed form of the same essay but with unusual line breaks and intentional omissions, the sadness of the topic–the loss of our natural habitat–is exacerbated. The poem was named a finalist in the 2019 Poet Laureate Competition and will be published in “Waiting for the Wood Thrush,” my first poetry collection by Finishing Line Press in November.

As I plunder through my old writing projects, I’m continuing to “shift shapes.” Or is it “shape shift” ? Maybe I’ll breathe new life into an old essay and turn it into a short story. And I think I have a poem or two that might work as a short story….humm….let the magic begin!

 

A Day of Poetry at Weymouth

Ashley-podiumBefore the deluge today, we enjoyed a wonderful day of poetry at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in lovely Southern Pines. The N.C. Poetry Society held its annual awards day, and I was honored to join both old and new friends to read “Eulogy of a Northern Red Oak,” a finalist for the Poet Laureate Award.

“Eulogy” will be one of the poems in my forthcoming collection to be published by the kind and generous Finishing Line Press in Georgetown, Kentucky. After much deliberation, and a conferral with reviewers and friends, my chapbook of 30 poems is now titled “Waiting for the Wood Thrush.” This title makes the most sense, given the book’s strong focus on nature as well as love.

In addition to hearing my fellow poets read, another highlight of the day was the dedication of Pinesong to my friend and celebrated author Ruth Moose. She was regaled for her unwavering support of the poetry community, her love of stories, and, of all things, the exclamation mark! Here’s extra just for Ruth!!!!!

The exclamation mark is both joy and urgency, delight and a bit of fright, a paradox unto itself.  It underscores the words of W.H. Auden, recently shared by a friend. The revered poet’s definition of poetry? “The clear expression of mixed feelings.”