"Just the Girls" (The Poetry Box Press) cover is a co-creation by two artists Meredith Balogh and R.E. Anderson (both graduates of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio). This cover shows a strong, resilient, confident, sassy woman. In her eyes you can see that she has "been around the block"--but experiences have not broken her...they have made her even more capable of tackling whatever life throws her direction.
When Finishing Line Press accepted my poetry book WIDOW MAKER for publication, I asked Meredith Balogh and R.E. Anderson to again create a cover, which they did. It is another great piece of art that perfectly represents that book, which deals with my husband's sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, and recovery.
THE GALLOPING GARBAGE TRUCK (Kelsay Books) cover (and inside illustrations) were created by R.E. Anderson.
For my part, I am a traveler...lover of blues music...poet...hiker...wife and mother...yoga practitioner...and former fundraiser for public radio. Now that I have retired from my professional career, the door is wide open for new adventures.
Education: MFA from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program...AA and MA from Kent State University...BA from Hiram College.
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Widow Makerby Pamela Anderson-BartholetPublish: Jul 23, 2021Poetry
Just the Girls: A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies; A Drift of Honeybeesby Pamela R. Anderson-BartholetPublish: Aug 15, 2020Poetry
The Galloping Garbage Truckby Pamela R. Anderson-BartholetPublish: Jun 17, 2021Children's
I always knew I wanted to do something with books or writing, but I never knew exactly what that meant or could mean for me. It was a fuzzy aspiration.Do you remember the first poem you wrote? And what was it about?
I wrote my first poem in 3rd grade—I still recall the last two lines: "Jack Frost is not a feline/nor is he a friend./He creeps along beside you/and starts autumn’s end." I’m not sure the direction I was taking, but I probably liked the rhythm of the words and lines.In what ways do you think holding an MA in English Literature has helped you in your writing career?
When I graduated from high school, I had no clear idea about what I wanted to do. No one in my family had ever gone to college, so I did not initially consider pursuing a higher education. But after working midnight shift for a year in a plastics factory, I knew I had to find a path to something different, and furthering my education seemed like a logical step. Fortunately, Kent State University had a branch campus near my home, so I enrolled as a part-time student while still working at the factory. It took me 15 years to finish my Associate’s Degree in Business (stopping and restarting along the way). By then, I worked at a local bank as the assistant to the president (with responsibilities for writing many different kinds of business correspondences). Post graduation, I immediately enrolled at Hiram College, where it took me just three years to graduate with a BA in communications/writing. Right before I finished that degree, I accepted a job at Kent State University in the Office of Institutional Advancement, where I wrote grants, letters, speeches, white papers, reports, etc. Clearly, I could not get enough of college (LOL) because I quickly enrolled at Kent State to pursue my master’s degree in English Literature (following my heart and natural inclinations). The MA helped me to become a more discerning and thoughtful reader, it made me a better writer, it taught me about translation, and I learned about literary criticism, which I had never before considered. It was a great decision for me.What are some of the top places to see in Ohio?
Ohio is an underappreciated state. Northeast Ohio (where I live) has fabulous parks and trails (Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Metro Parks)—a world-class orchestra (The Cleveland Orchestra) that performs in fantastic venues (Severance Hall and its summer home at Blossom Music Center)—great live theatre (including Porthouse Theatre in Cuyahoga Falls as well as Playhouse Square and Great Lakes Theatre in Cleveland)—3 professional sports teams (The Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Cleveland’s baseball team, which is going through a name change right now)—the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame—a terrific food scene (Russo’s in Cuyahoga Falls and Bistro on Main in Kent are two of my favorites)—wonderful cinemas (especially the Cleveland Cinemas, known for bringing independent films to the region)—great museums (Cleveland Museum of Art and the Akron Art Museum are just a couple)—top-notch universities (Kent State University, University of Akron, CASE Western Reserve University, and John Carroll, to name just a few)—and world-class healthcare. Plus, we have Lake Erie and the house where the popular holiday film “A Christmas Story” was filmed. Travelers who find themselves in Ohio are surprised at the culture, nightlife, music and food scenes, and sports possibilities.What are the challenges involved in writing poetry?
In my work, I always had to write to deadlines, so when I have a workable idea, I can plow forward fairly quickly. That said, I am a much better editor than a writer; I tweak poems dozens of times before I am satisfied. I also miss being in a classroom, where other writers gather and help to “workshop” poems; however, the pandemic has created opportunities to connect with other poets through Zoom readings, so that’s great.How did you come up with the idea of writing the book, Just the Girls: A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies; A Drift of Honeybees?
In January 2019, I decided to write a poem for each of the young women who are most important in my life: my daughter, daughter-in-law, nieces, grandniece, and my sister. I spent most of the year writing and tinkering with these poems. At the same time, I was writing a small group of yoga poems that were inspired by my yoga practices in every state where my husband and I traveled. With my writing largely finished in September, I decided to add older poems to create a mini-collection that became their Christmas gift. I also thought the manuscript was solid enough to submit for publication consideration. It was rejected a couple of times (I made edits after each rejection) before The Poetry Box Press accepted it for publication. The Poetry Box is the perfect press for this collection; it is a small enough press that they take an active interest in personally supporting their authors.What's something you learned about women and female friendship during the process of writing your book, Just the Girls?
One exciting aspect rose to the surface when it came time to select cover art for the book. My publisher—Shawn Aveningo-Sanders—and I could not find a image that adequately captured the theme of strong, capable women who were at the heart of the poems. With Shawn’s support, I asked my daughter (Lysa) and niece-in-law (Meredith)—both artists—if they would consider collaborating on a cover. They were excited by the challenge, rolled up their sleeves, and worked together (remotely, since one lives in Ohio and the other in Illinois) to create the image. Meredith did the drawing, and then she sent it to Lysa to add color and fine details (honeybee, flowers, etc.). Theirs was a perfect collaboration in which they drew on each other’s strengths and my ideas, and then Shawn built the image into a superb cover. Capable women—working together and lifting each other up—that was the result.What was your reaction when your Holocaust poem “My Brother’s Coat” won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Intro Journals Project award?
While I was busy earning my MFA from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program, I also worked fulltime (I spent the last 25 years of my career as a fundraiser for public radio) and also was a single mother much of that time. That being the case, I did not have time to be very active with the robust poetry community in my region. I knew that “My Brother’s Coat”—which speaks to loss and accompanying pain that is triggered by memory—was an anchor to the collection in which is it a part. But—when it won that award—I did not really understand the significance of the honor. When I grasped that it was an incredible honor, I felt humbled and proud.Why is the Holocaust an undeniable fact?
My father was a paratrooper in the 82 nd Airborne in the U.S. Army during WWII. Near the end of the war, he and his troop liberated Wobelin Concentration Camp. I remember my father talking about the prisoners, who initially believed that the troops’ urging them to come forward was another Nazi trick. My father also said that the prisoners were so thin and frail that they resembled bones covered with skin. My father was not a person given to exaggeration, and his wartime stories sparked my lifelong interest in the Holocaust and became the focus of my MFA thesis and poetry manuscript, which required a great deal of research and reading. I have no doubt whatsoever that the Holocaust happened and was/is a tragedy of epic proportions.What are the things hikers should avoid during hiking?
I never hike alone and think that hiking with a friend/buddy is important. It also is important to carry water and some energy snacks. Good hiking boots and layers of clothing in cold weather…bug spray in the summertime. And, as with most things, have a plan and idea of where you are going…how far…how long you will be gone.What have been some of your best experiences while traveling?
My husband is a wonderful traveler whose curiosity and boundless energy make him a perfect companion. We have favorite spots where we return year after year—Savannah, Georgia; New Orleans; Anna Maria Island, Florida; places in California—but we also like to explore new places. Reykjavik, Iceland was his idea, and it was one of our best vacations ever. The people are warm and friendly, the food was terrific, and the landscape seemed almost like a moonscape…very strange and almost surreal. We also love Prague, Czech Republic, which is a beautiful city with an Astronomical Clock (first installed in 1410!) that is glorious. Wherever we go, that seems to be our favorite place!Is it true that yoga practitioners can have the benefit of 8 hours of sleep in a few minutes?
I don’t know! Isn’t that interesting?! I can say that my deep breathing—slow breath in, hold at the top, slow breath out—helps me relax and fall asleep quickly.What is the least common music listened to today, in your opinion?
I don’t know the “least common music listened to today”; however, I am an avid consumer of music, particularly blues, jazz, R&B, classical, and songs from the 1940s.Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
In June 2021, Kelsay Books is publishing my book of poems for children (The Galloping Garbage Truck), and Finishing Line Press is publishing my book of poems based on my husband’s 2015 cardiac arrests and recovery (my Just the Girls cover artists—Lysa and Meredith—are creating that cover, too). I also am writing a collection of poems based around blues music, with my husband collaborating with me by choosing the blues artists featured in the poems and with his own short bios of each. So far…ZZ Top, Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, and others. It’s good work during a pandemic.When were you first introduced to AllAuthor and how?
My publisher—The Poetry Box Press—let me know that they would gladly promote on their website any awards that my book (and others in their “family” of poets) received. I literally Googled poetry book prizes one evening and stumbled on the AllAuthor website. I thought the concept was intriguing and enjoyed voting for my favorite covers in the monthlong contests. I also liked reading about the various authors who were competing. So…I created my profile and decided to jump in. It was a great experience and gave me an opportunity to promote my book and my cover artists, and I was and am delighted to have placed 2nd !
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