The Good Parts . . . at the Finishing Line

After all the time, revisions, and yes, rejections, Finishing Line Press and I are pleased to announce the forth-coming publication of my poetry chapbook, The Good Parts.  How apropos that this poetic journey ends at the finishing line.

Pre-Orders help determine the size of the press run. So, please, order now. Thank you.

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Only $13.99.  Now available to pre-order on my Finishing Line Press author page.

Pre-orders will ship on January 3, 2020. Thank you!

Blurbs for The Good Parts (Thanks, guys!)

In these closely observed and wildly imagined poems, Eric Blanchard leans in for the good parts without discarding the not-so-good parts. All points of view are welcome when you open your mind, listen to your neighbors’ complaints, walk the dogs, and maybe drink too much. Eric uses self-deprecating humor touched with a bit of melancholy to bring these down-to-earth portraits to life. Here are the foibles of domesticated manhood, lighthearted conversations with animals, and dreamy romantic fantasies.  As it should be, every good part is shadowed by the longings and failures of characters we feel like we already know.

Risa Denenberg

These poems will knock you over with their quirky insight, intensity, humor, and beauty. In them, Jesus delivers pizza, the Sun rotates around a flat Earth, a lover “holds her beer bottle like a teacup,” and the heart’s replacement parts come with instructions in three languages (but you must supply the love). The good and the bad parts of life are here, and Eric Blanchard’s reflections on them tell you why we go on living.

David Lee Garrison, author of Playing Bach in the DC Metro and Carpeing the Diem: Poems about High School

Anyone who appreciates the efforts of a wordsmith, recognizes the craft that goes into the honing of any one poem, let alone a collection. Offered in three sections, Eric Blanchard has created The Good Parts. It’s like a fine literary tapestry, worthy of display anywhere pilgrimages are made to appreciate the creative efforts of the masters. Each poem stands well on its own, but Eric has woven emotional threads from a broad spectrum of textures, materials, and colors into a work of progressive scenes that reflect the all-encompassing experiences of life.

Using social commentary and self-analysis, selections like “Opening the Mind,” “Sweet Tea,” “Indiana Memories,” “The Little Nun That Could,” “The Honeymoon That Was Not,” “I give myself permission,” and the stunningly poignant “Missing Pieces” reveal his portrayal of relationships, heartache, loss, self-actualization, and ultimately an acceptance that one is not in complete control of the world around him. It brings me much joy to share The Good Parts with you. I cannot recommend it enough.

O.P.W. Fredericks, Former Editor, Touch: The Journal of Healing

 

Author Bio (I should try to blame this on my publicist.)

In many ways, Eric Blanchard is like a collection of his own poems, constantly struggling to find a unifying theme. Growing up in Texas, Eric dreamed of dropping out of high school, but when the haze of adolescence cleared, he found himself in law school instead. After being a trial lawyer for a decade and a half, he ran away to Ohio, where he taught school and lived life for about a minute. Eventually, he returned home to help care for his parents. Eric’s poetry has been included in numerous collections, both online and in hard copy. In 2013, his prose poem “The Meeting Ran Long” was nominated for Sundress PublicationsBest of the Net anthology.

Orders via check or money order ($13.99 + $2.99 shipping) can be sent to:

FINISHING LINE PRESS
Providing a Place for Today’s Poets since 1998

PO BOX 1626
Georgetown, Kentucky 40324
Tel. 502-603-0670 email: FLPbookstore@aol.com
www.finishinglinepress.com

 

So bad Even Introverts are Here

Since November, I have struggled to wrap my head around the results of the presidential election, as have numerous others, with very little success.  It all seems so surreal and frightening. I have experienced many sour moods and flashes of depression as a result.

With the news last week of compromising information that Russia allegedly has on President (then President-Elect) Trump, the sense of impending doom took a turn toward absurdity.

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On Friday, January 20, 2017 . . . yesterday, I wore black. I was in mourning. I was distressed, and I was depressed. Then, I made a decision. I could not just sit around, bitching and moaning on Facebook, commiserating with my cyber-friends.

This morning, after I had breakfast with my parents, as I do every Saturday, I drove into town. Houston is a big city, but I used to work in One Shell Plaza, just across the street from City Hall, where the assembly was going to be taking place. Still, I was a little apprehensive, not knowing what to expect. I get like that when I have to face crowds of any size. Seriously, I’m pretty much a die-hard introvert.

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So . . . I arrived early (because that’s who I am), and I found a parking spot about a half a dozen blocks away at Market Square. That’s really not a very long walk, especially for a city this size, but I have recently been having some ankle and knee problems. There was a chance I was taking a bit of a risk.img_0239

Twenty minutes before the scheduled start time there was already a sizable mass of people milling around, and more kept streaming into Herman Park on either side ofimg_0253-2 the shallow reflecting pond.

The crowd steadily grew, and the organizers started playing music. “At first I was afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking I could never live without you by my side. .  . .” People started to dance. There was energy.

Although many individuals were dressed in black, they were not in mourning. They were not distressed. These people gathered together at City Hall in Houston, Texas, deep in the heart of one of the reddest states in the nation, were not depressed. They were determined.

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Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker

The Houston Chronicle reported  that, “The march was put together roughly 10 days ago . . . but still drew what Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo called the largest public gathering of people in Houston’s history.”

According to the Chronicle, over 20,000 people were in attendance.

As a die-hard introvert, being around people exhausts me, but today I reveled in the diverse community of a large city joined together to face a common threat. I fed off their strength, and like the loaves and fishes from scripture, there was plenty to go around.

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Perhaps it is knowing that I am not alone. Maybe I succumbed to the contagious hope and courage I saw in the faces of the people gathered there and heard in the voices of the representatives of the masses who spoke to the assembly, including Police Chief Acevedo and Mayor Sylvester Turner. Whatever the case, the decision to get out of my comfort zone and take some small affirmative action turned out to be a good one.

Today, we the people did not solve the nation’s most immediate problem, but we did take a stand. Along with similar gatherings across the county and around the world, even in Antarctica (thus literally on every continent), we made our voices heard . . . and it got noticed. That is a good beginning.

And there is certainly no denying that I feel better. It is true that action does make a difference. Now, I need to harness this momentum.

“Then the writers went home to write.” —Tree Swenson

Needle and Spoon – the Touch

I am honored to have my poem, “Needle and Spoon,” included in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue (#19) of Touch: The Journal of Healing This was a difficult poem for me to write. (Sometimes, it’s even more difficult to read.) It means a great deal to me to have found it such wonderful home. Thank you, O.P.W., my friend.

Touch is publish semiannually with a lot of love and care by The Lives You Touch Publications. The strength of the human spirit is the bailiwick of The Lives You Touch Publications. You should treat yourself to the entire issue, but here is a direct link to my poem.

In addition to The Journal of Healing, The Lives You Touch publishes beautiful chapbooks from some very talented writers.  We can help support this extraordinary small press by collecting print copies of its publications.

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Conrad’s Corner on WYSO

Conrad Balliet reads a poem for his radio program Conrad’s Corner on 91.3 FM WYSO every Monday to Friday at 7:59 p.m. and another on Saturdays at 2:20 p.m. He keeps in contact with many poets in the Dayton, Ohio area, and often includes their poems in his on-air readings. On occasion, Conrad records an interview with one of them for the WYSO Weekend shows.

Several of my local poet friends have been featured on Conrad’s corner, and some of them have also been interviewed by Conrad Balliet for airing during 91.3 FM’s Sunday morning shows. I am grateful and flattered to be included among the poets Conrad has chosen to share with his listeners.

Thanks, Conrad! Thank you for giving poetry, especially local poetry, a public voice on WYSO.

Poetry for Change

I am extremely honored to have my poem “Peter Pan Must Die” included in the 2012 issue of Vending Machine: Poetry for Change along side many other talented poets, including Dianne Borsenik, Steve Brightman, T.M. Göttl, Marc Mannheimer, Tina Puckett, Eva Xanthopoulos and more.  

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” That quote was the inspiration for this Poetry for Change project, and it really should be the words by which we all live.

Vending Machine is an anthology published by The Poet’s Haven as part of the annual “Poetic Provisions” food-drive based in Canton, Ohio. It is distributed exclusively in exchange for food donations through November and December, while hard copies last. All donations go toward Canton Sunday Picnic and to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank

The anthology will also be published as a free e-book download from PoetsHaven.com in 2013 during Akron Peace Week. In the mean time, I encourage all of you to give whatever you can to your local food pantry to help feed those in need during the holiday season and throughout the year.

Peter Pan Must Die

They are toys-r-us kids lostPeter_Pan
on an island called Neverland—
lost in Afghanistan—with
pop guns and little plastic
swords and bombs. Lost boys,
lost army men, lost children,
fighting pirates off shore.
Lost war, lost in Iraq—
the never ending fantasy.
Lost fairytale. Where’s the
magic carpet? Where’s the
pixie dust? Tinker Bell was wounded
by snipers during an unmanned
drone fly-by. The croc is on time.
Tic toc, tic toc.

Peter Pan must die. LetPoppies
the pied piper of youth be remembered well.
But before we have peace, the poppies
must lie flat. More widows must cry.
More mothers and brothers, more
girlfriends and fiancées and lovers
must cry. Peter Pan must finally become
Peter the man. R. I. P.

Peter Pan Must Die” was originally published in the Summer 2011 issue of Pudding Magazine, along with “And God . . . ,” and has been featured as one of the Recent Pudding Selections on Pudding‘s website.

Shout-out to Elizabeth

My friend, and fellow Wright Library Poet, Elizabeth Schmidt, won 2nd place in the 2012 Judson Jerome Poetry Contest and a scholarship to attend Antioch Writers’ Workshop this year. Congratulations, Elizabeth!

She is scheduled to have her poem, “Acknowledgment,” read on Conrad’s Corner next Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at 7:59 p.m. (eastern time), 91.3 FM WYSO. (Put it on your calendar now!)

Elizabeth Schmidt has already made several appearances on Conrad Balliet’s radio program.  Julie L. Moore read Elizabeth’s poem, “I Thought,” on July 28, 2011, and Conrad read “Etiquette in Snow” on January 4, 2012. Elizabeth read her own poems, “Florida Boy, 1969” and “Her Dementia,” on the program on February 15, 2012, and March 11, 2012, respectively. In addition, she has been interviewed on Conrad’s Corner as part of Conrad’s local poetry project.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Spring 2012 issue (#5) of Mock Turtle Zine includes Elizabeth’s poem “Love on the Road.” Yes, Elizabeth Schmidt has been a busy little poetess, and it has earned her well-deserved recognition.

Congratulations again, Elizabeth! Nicely done.