Poet Wendy Carlisle to Read Tuesday
By Ginny Masullo
Wendy Carlisle is author of two poetry books, “Discount Firework” and “ReadingBerryman to the Dog.” When she is not reading poetry to her dog, she is writing it. If she is not writing, she is workshopping poetry or traveling to poetry events. If she is not doing any of the above, she is giving her own reading of poetry, as she will be doing as the featured reader at 7 p.m. Tuesday for Ozark Poets and Writers Collective, which meets the last Tuesday of the month at Hammontree’s inside Nightbird Books on Dickson Street.
When asked what else she does, she said “Cook. Really, that is it. Poetry and cooking.” There are, however, some rather exotic trips she takes alone and with her husband. It is not as if she has always been such a monomaniac as she calls herself.
She graduated from the University of Arkansas with an master’s degree in history. During her studies, she took a few courses with Miller Williams and Jim Whitehead. Once hooked on poetry, she studied with some “greats” like Lucille Clifton, Naomi Shahib Nye and Dorianne Laux.
Now living in the flatlands of Texarkana, Carlisle continues to maintain a mountain home in the hills near Eureka Springs, where at one time she wrote songs, managed several bands and was co-owner of a bar called Captain Don’s.
Publishing both online and in literary journals, Carlisle says she likes the immediate feedback given by editors online and she enjoys the community of poets there.
Among the anthologies that include her work are “Affirming Flame: Writings By Progressive Texas Poets in the Aftermath of September 11th” (ed. Jennifer Margulies with The Poets Grimm, Storyline Press, 2003), “Is This Forever, Or What?: Poems and Paintings from Texas” (ed. Naomi Shihab Nye, HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2004) and “Letters to the World” (ed. Moira Richards, Rosemary Starace, and Lesley Wheeler, Red Hen Press, 2007).
Her chapbook, “After Happily Ever After,” was published as No. 15 in the 2River Chapbook Series. Her poems have appeared online at Fringe Magazine, Ghoti Magazine, Salt River Review, 2River View, The Arkansas Literary Forum, Unlikely Stories, StorySouth and others, and in print in CiderPress Review, Cardinalis, Windhover, Borderlands, Ekphrasis and others.
Carlisle has won The Bernice Blackgrove Award for Excellence, The Lipscomb Award from Centenary College, a Passager Poetry Contest Award. She also has been five times nominated for a Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Web.
If you are tired of poetry or even think you never cared for it in your life, try reading a few of Carlisle’s. After 50 to 100 revisions, her poems shine like river stones. The form is organic to the content. “I don’t choose a sestina or a sonnet. It just happens,” she said.
And you don’t want her poems to happen without you there on Tuesday night. In addition to hearing Carlisle, audience members are encouraged to stick around for the open mic, which will take place both before and after Carlisle reads. There’s also the chance to win a book from the University of Arkansas Press. A hat will be passed to help pay for expenses.