I’m pleased to welcome a fellow poet, Selma Martin, here today to share her beautiful debut collection with us. I’ve included my review.
Here’s Selma’s insight into one of her poems:
In writing, I attempt to add value to the finished work that comes straight from the place from where poems arise. Most come when I sit alone with my thoughts; I prefer quiet, like the kind one finds out in nature. Others come after reading something that lingers or makes me give a double take. In the case of this poem, it came about after reading a lovely book titled The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The book is set in Germany and is based on the time of that terrible war.
The Heilto her Pa expression is supposed to mark that awful time in history for the reader—that is all. In this poem, I hoped to showcase this young ‘adopted’ girl’s exuberance for learning to read and reaching the end of her very first book.
Her Pa had everything to do with her first win! In Zusak’s novel, the girl’s adopted Ma had a penchant for using mean and dirty words and called her husband pigheaded. But the girl knew better. Her Pa was nothing of the sort.
I’m so happy this poem came about, and now I have one poem of my own that reminds me of the novel. If you ever get a chance, please read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I was swooned by it. xoxo
Page 82 —In The Shadow of Rainbows
Hopeful one morn
would bring them much closer
She, barely eight
and he forty-three
Dawn after dawn
they braved nightly slumber
Tasting ‘n writing,
chewing words, hungry.
The dim of the lamp
paled with new morning light
Sent them upstairs
to bowls of warm porridge
Then holding hands
to streets wet with sunlight
She to midge class went,
he to seek courage.
Until one dawn
at the turn of the lights
They reached the end
—one book defeated!
She grinned ear to ear,
and soared like a kite
Heil to her Pa,
who Ma called pigheaded.
In this dazzling debut poetry collection of over 60 carefully selected poems, author Selma Martin points the way to the beauty in the everyday, the shadow of the rainbow, and the silver lining at the edge of every cloud.
Favouring lyrical forms, and revelling in rhymes and musical language, the individual poems in this collection harmonise together in symphonic splendour to form an enlightening and delightful whole.
“In The Shadow of Rainbows,” is Ms. Martin’s debut poetry book that I thoroughly enjoyed. There is a nice blend of nature with the emotional side of poems. The words flowed through the pages with vivid images and insights. I enjoyed them all but here are a few lines and poems that
caught my eye: “nurtured under the illimitable/distant sun, fulfilling stories/among the starlight…”—Give Back, “Light illuminates/all who wander/in darkness and delusion…”—Let Go. “When death comes/I want to be led into eternity/curious, full of joy…”—When Death Comes, “The green outside is winking at me/it arose merely moments ago,/like a well-rested
child rising from sleep,…”—Nature’s Tender Doings, and “I almost died of
exuberance/snorkeling around the unspoiled/coral reef/ when, in the dull hum of silence…”—I Almost Died. A wonderful collection to savor more than once that I can easily recommend for poetry lovers.
“Selma Martin’s debut poetry collection transmutes misery into mesmerizing beauty. Not only is each poem masterful in form, it is lined with spiritual truth much like a golden-lined cloud shimmering in the brilliance of a rainbow after a storm.”— Barbara Harris Leonhard, editor, MasticadoresUSA
“I encourage you to enjoy In the Shadow of Rainbows as it weaves its lyrical prose and skillful imagery and invites you to search for your one poem within its pages time and time again.”— Layla Todd, Nin Chronicles
“A wonderful debut collection of Soul-felt poetry.”— Harmony Kent, Goodreads
“If you enjoy surrounding yourself with powerful imagery, glimpses of life and nature, and slices of everyday life, then do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this collection of poetry. It’s wonderful!” — Yvette M Calleiro
Selma Martin is a retired English teacher with 20 years of teaching children ESL. She believes in people’s goodness and in finding balance in simple living. She lives in Japan with her husband. In 2017, after retiring from her ESL position, Selma enrolled in her first short story writing competition with The Write Practice (TWP), an welcoming online community of writers. She practiced earnestly there and had the honor of mingling with seasoned Writers and newcomers like herself.
In 2018, Selma participated in a TWP networking course whose final lesson was to publish a story on Amazon. After many failed attempts, she completed the course and self-published her short story, “Wanted: Husband/Handyman,” in 2019.
Later, collaborating with peers from that course, she published “Wanted:
Husband/Handyman” in Once Upon A Story: A Short Fiction Anthology. Selma has published articles and poems on Medium since 2017; she has the story from that first competition published in Short Fiction Break, 2017, and poetry in The Poetorium At Starlight, 2022, MasticadoresUSA, and Spillwords. After her first NaPoWriMo 2021, Selma writes poetry on her website, selmamartin.com, and struggled with her introversion to garner the courage to publish this—her first collection of poems.
I had an enjoyable week off and stayed close to home. My husband took an eight-hour trip on the Harley to get in some quality father-and-son time. There is no way I could sit for that long in the heat he drove through. So, while he was watching our son’s band play and exploring Oregon, I did some home projects I wanted to do. I painted my third room this summer or the living room. We had already tackled the main bathroom and a spare bedroom.
The living had a sponged wall of green and light green, one dark green and one light green. It sounded good in my mind, but not so much in the final product. So finally got the room all one color. It is what I call the forest room, so it’s a nice forest green. Next on my to-do list is the kitchen, then I’ll head outside to touch up that paint. Seems to be my summer of painting, which is fine, I’m a fan of a colorful environment.
After my husband returned, we did some final touchups on the room and I managed to take a few books off my shelf to find a new home. My birthday was very nice, we went to the movies and enjoyed a delicious BBQ. Celebrated with family a couple days later 🙂
When not taking vacation breaks, I’ve been working hard on editing my upcoming poetry collection “Deep in the Forest Where the Poetry Blooms.” Since it’s summer I’ll share one of the summer poems from the book.
My peaceful moment on a hot summer afternoon
Shared only with the bees and a single black-headed bird.
No kids asking questions…
No adults wondering what’s the next event…
No chores fill my hands and head.
I sit on the lounge surrounded by my imagination,
A blank canvas waiting to be painted with nature’s brush stroke.
By the pines and cedars who splatter their green upon me…
By the yellow sun splashing onto the greens…
By the red strawberries bursting sweetness into this mix…
While the blue sky offers a base,
To the pink, purple, and orange flowers,
Who grace our world with their beauty.
My panorama is quickly filling.
As the browns and greys,
Add the final dimensions and shadows.
In this blissful moment,
My soul’s painting has been covered completely,
By nature’s healing paintbrush.
NOTE: Watch for a special edition blog tomorrow. If you are subcribed to my newsletter check your email. I know the newsletter is late but I decided to wait until after vacation.
Embrace your inner child under the summer sun. D. L. Finn
“Flights of Fancy” is a wonderful collection of short stories and a novella. Each tale was heartfelt and layered in settings that drew me into the stories. There was romance, paranormal, revenge, and justice in this mix. I loved all the well-written stories for different reasons, but a few stood out to me. “The Other Side of Heaven,” and “Curtains” were beautifully told tales that included a glimpse into the afterlife and a few well-shed tears on my part. I adored ”Henry’s Story” which was told through a cat’s eyes, but I think my favorite was the novella, “Sewing Circle.” When an older woman is murdered, her close-knit group of senior friends does not allow themselves to play the victim role. I loved their strength and determination to right the wrongs in their unique way. This is a fantastic group of stories that I can easily recommend!
“One Shot at Love” is the seventh book in the series, but I had no problem jumping into this without reading the past stories. Mariah is a nineteen-year-old girl who has become the head of her household after losing both parents in the early 1900s. She is responsible for her siblings, works at the local general store, and carries a shotgun because of the absence of law in their small town and a family of criminals out of control. When Dax, the cowboy, arrives in town to search for his sister who was abducted, he and Mariah feel an immediate attraction. However, Mariah has no trust in men. Someone finds a box containing a pink pistol and gives it to Mariah along with an interesting legend. This makes her begin to question who and what to trust. I love not only the attraction between Mariah and Dax but the friendship and kindness that also develop. Mariah is a strong character and willing to sacrifice for her siblings. I couldn’t help but root for her happiness and safety. The setting and era were so richly described that I was drawn even deeper into the story. A quick but satisfying read that I can easily recommend.
“Happiness Is A Warm Cat” is a fun collection that bounces between Zoe, the cat’s point of view, and Emily, the author. Zoe provides a cat’s-eye view of the world. Zoe’s caretaker, Ms. Gmitter, provides short stories, poetry, and interactions with Kris Kristofferson. There is a little something for everyone, especially cat lovers and fans of romance, but many other subjects drew me in. Because it was unique, it is hard to narrow down my favorites. I enjoyed Zoe’s perspective throughout the collection and the short stories and poetry, all for different reasons. There was also Ms. Gmitter’s artwork added to the mix, which captivated me. Although Zoe is the star of this book, it is a fun collection for not only animal lovers but those who enjoy a nice variety.
“The Rat in the Python” is a fun look into the past or the 50s and 60s in the UK. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Craigie’s fictional books and wasn’t disappointed in her dive into nonfiction. It is still well written with a touch of humor weaved into it. “Book 1 The Home” takes us back to times before not only cell phones and computers but a lot of the modern house conveniences we are used to. People in the UK were still recovering from WWll and if they wanted a meal, the women cooked it with what was available. There were no microwaves, freezers full of food, or delivery takeout to depend on. I was born during this time and remember some of it, like the rolling pictures on the small black and white televisions. This issue could usually be resolved by adjusting a knob or moving the rabbit ears, but if none of that worked, there was always the sharp pound on the side of the TV. There was a magazine article that made me cringe. It had a housewife’s itinerary that was not only a twelve-hour day, but every minute filled with cleaning, cooking, laundry, ironing, food prep, child and husband care, and all the other things expected from a 50s woman. I believe I would have been a terrible 50s housewife. This is a fascinating peek into our past that shows not only how times have changed, but how we have changed. I enjoyed this, and look forward to reading more in this series.
Sofia has spent the last year in Venice to finish her education before going back to Boston and the job of her dreams. At the very end of her time in Italy, she comically meets Eduardo and they both end up in the mud. Although she immediately finds him attractive, Sophia is also very put out about their encounter. Later that evening, they find themselves at the same dinner party, and, even with her hesitation, a friendship blooms. I love the banter between Eduardo and Sophia and all the “help” that attempts to bring these two together. The Venice setting was so lush and detailed that it brought me back to when I visited several years ago. Plus, the food and people Ms. Penrose so eloquently describes were just as inviting and tasty as I remember for the characters too. The couple who lives outside of Venice hear the word fate a lot, but one of them always sidetracks that. The infusion of magic through meetings and later plants captured something way beyond just two people meeting. “Venetian Rhapsody” is not only a beautiful love story, but it has a soundtrack that I want to listen to after reading about Sophie and Eduardo. This is a romantic tale I can highly recommend!
“When Did We Lose Sylvia” is a fun debut by Ms. Day. Betty is a middle-aged poet who volunteers to teach a summer class at the local high school. As she maneuvers teaching the class and gaining the upper hand, she notices a talented young goth girl, Sylvia. When Betty and her best friend, Flora, drop by Sylvia’s house, they find more than they expected. Now they have a dead body and missing people. Betty, who doesn’t drive, is determined to find out what happened. Betty’s relationships were enjoyable, especially with her husband and Flora, her comical chauffeur. A lot of humor is sprinkled into this whodunit with a couple of twists that kept me engaged. The infusion of poetry into the story was one of my favorite parts. If you enjoy small-town Christian cozy mysteries, you won’t want to miss this one.
Hester lives in a hidden supernatural community with her coven of witches. She is a long-lived and powerful witch, who lives alone with her familiar. When a coven of young witches dies suddenly, the town enforcer, a demon named Raven, investigates their deaths. Raven pulls Hester into the probe to help him because it involves magic. They are interesting characters that seem to be drawn to each other even though they are so different. Besides magic and mystery, these two characters focus on the simple things in life, like cooking a meal together. I really liked the ocelot familiar who was always there for Hester. I developed an empathy for whoever the killer ended up being. This is a clean, romantic paranormal mystery that was an enjoyable read.
I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews here! If I don’t like the book, I won’t finish it. It wouldn’t be fair to leave a review for an unfinished story, and life is too short not to enjoy my reading journey!
NOTE: There will be no post next week. I will be off celebrating my birthday. Be back July 24th!
Embrace that inner child this summer by reading a good book by the lake, pool, or under the stars. D. L. Finn