Archives for posts with tag: France

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L’amour s’en va
(for Françoise Hardy)
by Françoise Harvey

Disappointment is a flavour I carry with me;
it’s salt cast behind me against men of a certain age and disposition.
Eyesight marred by music, they read V as D and hope they’ll see
you, smouldering behind your fringe in a mouldy flat in Peckham;
you, behind the lines they thought sang from that story.
We neither of us ask to be stalked or talked to or misread
but I have to shield myself against the wince that is my lack of your glory.
No beauty, it’s enough to bathe in the afterglow of the light shed
by you, and smile, and nod, and sprinkle salt on their tongues
by being older than the you they cling to, by not knowing your songs.

PHOTO: French singer/actress Françoise Hardy, 1960s.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I jumped at the chance to take part in this call for submissions. My parents occasionally tell me I was named after Françoise Hardy, but I’m not sure how true this is. As well as writing poetry/prose, I also sing and play a number of instruments –- with no results that go beyond soundcloud –-  and the name comparison tends to come up with middle-aged and older men either before they meet me in person or if music comes up in conversation (it’s never been mentioned by women). I have been accused, when submitting writing, of making up a pen name, and someone has turned up on my doorstep with an Ebay parcel (a cheap Asda dehumidifier –-  très glamorous) they could have posted, just to see if I looked like her. I don’t, and the utter disappointment was awkward and palpable. Basically, Françoise Hardy has haunted me in my interests and beyond for most of my life. As far as I’m aware, I have never heard one of her songs. I sort of resent the comparisons, because she’s not someone I could ever live up to –- and actually this resentment made me pick a form to work with for this poem, to keep me focused and stop me just having a bit of a rant.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Françoise Harvey lives in the North East of England. She writes short stories and poems, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications including Bare Fiction, Synaesthesia Magazine, Litro, Agenda, Envoi, The Gingerbread House and anthologies Furies and The Casual Electrocution of Strangers. She is one of the founders of Literary Salmon (literarysalmon.wordpress.com) and works at Mslexia magazine.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Getting in touch with my French side, playing in a park in Paris, 2010.

The Author about 1970
Michel
by Lynn White

Traveling through northern France
with Michel driving.
The Beatles singing on the radio,
“Michelle, ma belle.”
A sky of uniform grey,
dark, dark grey.
And then,
a surprise rainbow.
And then,
to one side,
a helicopter
outlined black.
Mosquito-like.
Black.
And then,
I bottled it.
I can still remember.

PHOTO: The author, around 1970.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was returning home, heading for a Channel port in the late 1960s. It seemed like a magic moment, captured.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places, and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. Her poem “A Rose For Gaza” was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition in October 2014 and is published in Poetry For Changeanthology by Vending Machine Press. Poems have also recently been included in Harbinger Asylum’s Literary Journal and A Moment To Live By anthology, Stacey Savage’s We Are Poetry: An Anthology of Love Poems, the Weasel Press anthology Degenerates, Voices For Peace, Community Arts Ink’s Reclaiming Our Voices and a number of on line and print journals. Visit her on facebook.

ABOUT THE MUSIC: Listen to “Michelle” by the Beatles here.

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Ten Days in Paris
by Susan Mahan

I fell in love with a frenchman.

We dined in a bistro
…at separate tables.
Pink lighting glowed softly
on white linen,
and I savored him between morsels
of warm goat cheese.
He was handsome and cordial,
soft-spoken and kind.
He sat with a woman,
but I was sure
they were business associates;
he did not tutoie*her.

His gaze held hers
as they talked of their jobs,
their interests,
their families.
His eyes were expressive
and the color of the Seine on a cloudy day.
His eyebrows moved in concert
with her every remark.

I wanted his rapt attention
and longed to bring him back to my flat.

© Susan Mahan, June 2000

*the verb tutoyer means to address familiarly (tu)

PHOTOGRAPH: “Sidewalk Cafe, Boulevard Diderot, Paris” by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1969).

outside d'orsay

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
My husband died in 1997. I had been married 26 years and had never really been alone in all that time. Two years after he died, I decided to travel alone to Paris. I thought I needed to prove somethingto myself. I brought a journal along to write my impressions of the trip. “Ten Days in Paris”was one of the poems that emerged. When I think of the initial fear I had on that trip — not being ableto read maps that well, only knowing a little French, being entirely alone in a foreign country,how can I submit a poem on “My Perfect Vacation,”you may be asking? It turned out that my time spent in Paris gave me great confidence in myself. I’ve traveled back two more timesby myself since the first trip.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Mahan has been writing poetry since her husband died in 1997. She is a frequent reader at poetry venues and has written four chapbooks. She served as an editor of The South Boston Literary Gazette from 2002-2012. She has been published in a number of journals and anthologies, including Silver Birch Press.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Susan Mahan outside The Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Giverny
by Elaine Mintzer

Monet in his garden pressed his cataract vision against the blues and greens, broke each leaf and lily pad, each flower and petal into components to reveal their cellular designs, to render by paint and brush lattice and ladder, macro and micro in the same lens, general and specific, so when a woman came to visit, and passed other nameless visitors, and saw the shape of the place with the clarity of her own eyes, she was at once apart and part of the landscape, a mote of dust on the water’s surface.

IMAGE: “Water Lilies” by Claude Monet (1915).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’d always thought of Monet’s paintings as examples of nature run rampant. In reality, he had his crews dust foliage as well as the surface of the water. It is that sense of wildness I think we attempt in poetry, all the while controlling for the “dust” we edit away.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elaine Mintzer has a BA from UCLA in Creative Writing and an MS in Education from USC. She has written poetry for Ballet Randolph in Miami Beach, has been published in print journals and online, and was anthologized in 13 Los Angeles Poets. Elaine’s first collection, Natural Selections, was published by Bombshelter Press in 2005.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author in Giverny, France (June 2010).

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Attached to
By Patrick T. Reardon

A piece of land like a fable in paradise

SOURCE: Isabelle Huppert interview, timeout.com.

IMAGE: Isabelle Huppert at 2009 Venice Film Festival by Nicolas Genin.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love watching Isabelle Huppert, the great French actress. So I grabbed a recent interview of her — only to find it filled with a lot of facts and very little oomph. Nonetheless, there were a few phrases that fell together and gave also gave me a title.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon, a Chicagoan born and bred, is a former scholar-in-residence at the Newberry Library.

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Salutations à nos amis de France!

After the English-speaking countries (U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia), the Silver Birch Press blog receives most of its visits each day from people in France. Merci pour vos visites!

IMAGE: “La Rue Montorgueil” by Claude Monet (1878).

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HALVED SANITY
by Sheikha A.

It is France in my head;

I hear the madman by the bridge
percolating the stillness of night
with a quivering on his enfeebled lips,
a language puerile as he sings
his chanson of the departed ages,
a day not too old, a week nubile,
as the months roll on like weeds
in a sprightly pond of lotus-greens.

I hear the echoes cradling the bridge,
the lost anchors of a time ill spent,
the madman’s voice a lust for life,
like a nightbird that sings her story
to the moon – he sings for flight.

Harmony is settled deep in the lungs
of the night’s coquetry, clouds release
their scents across the sleeping river
resting into the charms of an unknown
prophecy;

it is France in all of my senses,

the music of the madman consummates
the transience surrounding me, I know
by the letters I write on walls, there is
a gondola to take me across, two hundred
days closer to the edge of the river’s bend.

Without tarrying, I rush to the moon
before the days treble ahead further,
the madman’s voice strong, I write
about the ravines of voids I’ve hiked,
across terrains of solitude I’ve traipsed,
before the days expire on my untold story;

halved of the time bold in its fleeing,
I write about the madman – robbed
of death, deserted by life.

IMAGE: “Ile de France, Paris” by Pont Neuf Paris Art. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Everyone goes through a midlife-crisis moment once in their lives at least. In my case, I feel I may have already visited the syndrome quite a few times. Sometimes there is no reasoning to writing poetry, just a whimsy muse that must release in the form of ink on paper. My creative processes are likewise – no reasoning, just writing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sheikha A. currently lives in Karachi, Pakistan, after moving from the United Arab Emirates — and she believes the transition has definitely stimulated a different tunnel of thought. With publication credits in magazines such as Red Fez, American Diversity Report, Open Road Review, Mad Swirl, Danse Macabre du Jour, Rose Red Review, The Penmen Review, among many others, as well as several anthologies, she has also authored a poetry collection entitled Spaced, published by Hammer and Anvil Books. She edits poetry for eFiction India.

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In the above photo, authors Joan Jobe Smith (left) and Tamara Madison pose with LADYLAND, a 496-page anthology of writing by American women — issued by French publisher 13e Note Éditions — that features their work.  Congrats to Joan and Tamara, whose writing has appeared in several Silver Birch Press anthologies, including our latest release the Silver Birch Press May Poetry Anthology. Learn more about LADYLAND at 13enote.com. The book is available (in French) at Amazon.fr.

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Très cool! The esteemed 13e Note Éditions in Paris recently released (in French) LADYLAND, a 496-page anthology of writing by American women, including frequent contributors to Silver Birch Press anthologies — Rene Diedrich, Linda KIng, Tamara Madison, and Joan Jobe Smith. Learn more at 13enote.com. Find the book at Amazon.fr.

Congrats to all the women who contributed to the collection: Lisa Carver, Antonia Crane, Rene Diedrich, Gina Frangello, Kat George, Veronica Ghostwriter, Fiona Helmsley, Dana Johnson, Linda King, Chris Kraus, Lydia Lunch, Tamara Madison, Cris Mazza, Hulga McSwine, Reverend Jen Miller, Cookie Mueller, Sigrid Nunez, BC Petrakos, Joan Jobe Smith, Mende Smith, Sin Soracco, Michelle Tea, Nichelle Tramble, Sabine Walser, Ann Wood.

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Flavours of May
by Brinda Buljore

blending textures of
seasoning sunshine
together with winter hues
 
tall filaments become
seeds of luck and
petals of fate
 
kneading the dough
of fright and faith
into malleable stars
 
substance thin
like muslin yet
resistant as silk
 
May morning brings
stamina and vigour
rolling down the stairs
 
bridging the taste
within the flavours of life
to the pestle of destiny

ABOUT THE POET/PHOTOGRAPHER: Brinda Buljore is a writer and artist who lives in Paris.

PHOTO: “Muguet, French Moments” by Brinda Buljore, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

NOTE: King Charles IX of France received lily of the valley (muguet) flowers as a lucky charm on May 1, 1561. He liked the gift and decided to present the flowers — known for their delightful scent — to the ladies of his court each year on May 1. Around 1900, men started to bring their sweethearts bouquets of lily of the valley flowers as a symbol of springtime. On April 23, 1919, the eight-hour working day was officially introduced in France, and May 1 became a public holiday. May Day was not observed during World War II, but again became a public holiday in 1947. May 1 officially became known as La Fête du Travail (Labor Day) on April 29, 1948. In France, May 1st remains an occasion to present lily of the valley flowers to loved ones.