Publication News: “Stoned Soul Picnic”

Nancy Flynn Apostrophe Blog Archive, Arts & Culture, Music, Publication News, Writing

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Musings on Writing and Life.

My cento, “Stoned-Soul Picnic,” has been published in Thriving An Anthology from Exolutas Press. The publisher, Rhonda Rosenheck, chose the topic and has collected poems that explore thriving in all its glory and forms, often in the aftermath of grave challenges. She writes: “From global events to microscopic movements, change happens around us, to us and within us. We are challenged to adapt, plan, grow, rethink, relax, endeavor, risk, feel and act. How do we live robustly when plans are disrupted and well-being is threatened? How do we find purpose? Feel joy? Be creative? Achieve? Connect? How do we thrive?”

This poem takes its title from the 1968 song written by Laura Nyro and popularized by The Fifth Dimension.

Stoned Soul Picnic

It was a moment (1965 to 1967) when bands came to L.A. […]
and Laurel Canyon emerged as a hotbed of creativity and collaboration
for a new generation of musicians who would soon put an indelible
stamp on the history of American popular music.
Wikipedia entry for the 2018 film, Echo in the Canyon

We separate the fragments from the whole,
just sitting around smoking, drinking, and telling stories
in the starry gloom of the canyon.
Laughter and song.
All afternoon cutting bramble blackberries off a tottering brown fence.
Perhaps these thoughts of ours
between the earth and silence
climbed high to gaze upon the sea
with such radiance that everyone looked up and wondered
under a sky studded with stars.
God is older than the sun and moon
and haze and vista and the far horizon fading away
as the rock and ocean that we were made from.
There are endless white clouds on the mountain
out beyond the idea of wrongdoing and rightdoing.
A night of love,
bunches of carnations in a tin pitcher.
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

A cento created from a random combination of first and last lines from poems in A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry, edited by Czeslaw Miłosz. These eighteen lines are by the following poets, many in translation: Al Zolynas; Joanne Kyger; John Haines; Ch’in Kuan; Allen Ginsberg; Shu Ting; W.S. Merwin; Li Po; Edward Field; Jean Follain; D.H. Lawrence; Walt Whitman; Robinson Jeffers; Wang Wei; Jelaluddin Rumi; Anna Swir; Aleksander Wat; and Seamus Heaney.

The public domain image above is of the painting, “Picnic,” by Maurice Prendergast, 1913-1916.

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