New Poems by Robert Fillman

Standard

I am honored to announce the publications of new poetry by the extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman!

“Witness” which appears in Split Rock Review

Witness

Probably by now, my friend
has recovered from the shock
of finding his pet rooster
headless and strung to the fence.
He has no doubt untangled
the thing, his bare hands perhaps
sticky with feathers and stained
with blood, the knees of his pants
maybe cool, wet from kneeling
on damp earth, having buried
the bird, taking care to smooth
the mound with a shovel, still
not realizing what transpired,
how he had hunted it down
before dawn and drunk with rage
bent over its body, choked
last crows from its throat and stole
the morning light from its eyes
before returning to his
home and probably crawling
into bed, without knowing
what he was capable of,
how late he’d sleep, what silence
would follow his every step
when he finally started
his long list of daily chores.

Three poems in hamiltonstone
 

Promises

My father didn’t talk

much to me as a kid.

So each sentence glimmered

 

as if it reflected

his eyes and not the mug

of beer lifted beneath

 

the yellow kitchen light

those nights on Union Street.

My son’s hesitant Yes

 

I would like that brings me

back to words my father

never said but guided

 

into me with his hands,

the even syllables

of a saw pulled across

 

a two-by-four, the rasp

of a taping knife scraped

over spackle, the smack

 

of an old baseball trapped

in the web of his glove.

Each act translated back

 

to a promise of love,

the only way he knew

how to cure the silence.

Omen

The mountain as severe

as my grandfather’s brow

in that small airless room

during his final hours,

I see a barn owl soar

out of the ridge’s mouth,

its big head, terrible

eyes cursing all color,

as if it were hell-bent

on draining the season

 

of red maple, black gum—

every leaf a target.

It doesn’t seem to know

the difference between

misery and mercy,

the living and the dead,

that my grandfather warned

Go easy on your kids

before he closed his eyes

and slipped away his hand.

 

My body suddenly

tight, bracing for a blow,

as if I am the prey,

a small, soft animal,

yet I’m surprised to feel 

a fluff of brown feathers

then a rush of wings that

beats on, flooding my ears

with what could only be 

the sound of a last breath.

 

The Vanity of It All

Two months into quarantine

and I’m still shaving my head,

scraping a razor across

the curve of my skull every

single night, the edge of each

blade sounding like my mother’s

cheerful voice those mornings she

greeted me at the breakfast

table with pink lips, bluish

black mascara, two eyebrows

perfectly penciled on. Her

uniform for a long day

of chores in an empty house,

the sagging clotheslines, the hours

of stirring sauce on the stove,

all the dirty dishes stacked

in the sink, my father’s shirts

piled for ironing, shower

and toilet always needing

to be scrubbed. In the bathroom

steam I’m staring at myself

in the mirror as I rub

a palm over scalp to feel

some small comfort. I lean in,

clicking my tongue if I spot

even one errant hair I

might have missed, those wisps I am

desperately hiding from

whom? My wife and kids? Maybe

a delivery man or

that nice neighbor who brings us

our groceries? All the while

my mind tries to smooth away

this human need of keeping

up appearances, this strange

compulsion to polish things,

with every swipe of the blade

memories of my mother’s

painted face reflecting bright

in the shine of a brass pot.

And two poems in Innessfree Journal

On date night my wife must choose

 

between love and food because
her body will not allow
her both, so I ask her to
starve herself in one way so

I can be satisfied in
another. Last night I grew
frustrated by her illness,
selfishly imagining

how every spoonful to her
lips was a cold betrayal,
willingness to twist with pain
on the couch and not with me,

heating pad strapped to her gut,
the nausea setting in,
all color drained from her face,
as if each little swallow

were another nail punching
through the white skin of her breast.
Now I’m left wondering if
my depravity caused this

crucifixion, how all she
craved was a scoop of ice cream
from the cafe down the street,
how I will writhe in hell,

be made to atone for these
wicked thoughts, no saint to save
me, no matter how badly
I hunger for forgiveness. 

 
 
Learning to Listen

I remind both kids to be
extra good today, insist
their mother doesn’t feel well,
that she has to stay in bed—
and hate myself for it.

            Kids
should be able to be kids.
But when my son suddenly
leaps onto the couch and makes
the springs cheep and squeak I snap,
ask why he never listens,
threaten to send him to his
room alone if he doesn’t
stop, my voice breaking apart
when I notice the redness
of his cheeks, the tears that will 
follow.

             Then I consider  
how only moments before
the three of us were huddled
by the window watching four
goldfinches peck at feeders
on our porch, how my daughter
said they were a family
flitting about, their frank chirps
a break from the hard silence. 

Robert Fillman is the author of the chapbook November Weather Spell (Main Street Rag, 2019). His poems have appeared in The Hollins Critic, Poetry East, Sugar House Review, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and others. Fillman earned a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University and is an Assistant Professor at Kutztown University.   

DSC_1778-214x300

CvrNovWeather_bookstore

Available for purchase at:

The Main Street Rag Online Bookstore

May Poetry Retreat 2020 With Poet Robert Fillman Leading A Workshop

Standard
Robb Fillman
Hello everyone: My good friend and extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman will lead a workshop in an online Poetry Retreat. This will be a wonderful opportunity to work on your poetry.
This is being called “May Poetry Retreat” which is rescheduled from an earlier planned retreat.
Poetry Retreat flyer for august 2020 rescheduling v2
Here’s the info: 
May Poetry Retreat 2020 is a single-day retreat through Zoom.  Poets can spend the day generating new material, sharing their work, and talking with other poets.  Opt for any (or all) of three creative writing workshops, sign up for a spot at one of our two Zoom readings, or spend some quiet time writing.  We’ll also provide Zoom breakout rooms throughout the day for small group discussion on the side as preferred. Poets of all experience levels welcome.

 
When: Saturday, Aug 1, 9am – 3pm
Cost: $15

Hope to see you there!
Please remember to check out Robert Fillman’s excellent book of poetry:
cvrnovweather_bookstore

A New Poem By Robert Fillman

Standard

I am proud to announce that my friend, Robert Fillman, has published another poem–“Losing The Bed”, and it appears here: Jacar Press — Robert Fillman.  This poem is both deeply personal and powerful. Please take the time to read it.

Robert Fillman is the author of November Weather Spell, a brilliant collection of his poetry. This book can be found here: November Weather Spell

CvrNovWeather_bookstore-200x300

Robb Fillman

You can visit Robert Fillman’s website here: Robert Fillman. Please visit the extraordinary poet’s site, consider buying his book, and enjoy the poetry of one of America’s finest poets.

Please consider reblogging this post, so as many as possible can read  his work.

A Poetry Reading By Robert Fillman

Standard

cvrnovweather_bookstore

I had the great pleasure and honor yesterday of attending a poetry reading at the Emmaus, PA Public Library by an extraordinary poet and a friend, Robert Fillman.

He spoke about poetry and read his excellent poems from his chapbook November Weather Spell with a delivery that make it clear  that poems should be read aloud and heard. It is doable simply to read them silently, but hearing the words brings life to the rhythm and images. Robb’s delivery filled the words with power and meaning.

Robb is a truly excellent poet, and I hope his work continues to be acknowledged. I think, in my not so humble opinion,  that he is, right now, one of our country’s finest poets.

Please consider buying a copy of this book. You will enjoy it, and you will have the pleasure of having an emerging poet’s initial book!

to purchase

reading

Another Poem by Robert Fillman!

Standard

I have the honor of telling all of you that Robert Fillman has had another poem published: “Classic Kindergarten Scene” in Allegro Poetry Magazine, issue 20, March 2019.

Here is a link to the poem: Classic Kindergarten Scene

And his upcoming book of poetry:

cvrnovweather_bookstore

 

Here is a link to the book page: November Weather Spell

and to his homepage: robertfillman.com

Please consider pre-ordering a copy of his book of poetry!

Who Are Some Of Your Favorite American Poets?

Standard

As I continue this series, I realized that with some categories, it is necessary to be more specific than I had been. Poets are one such group; I thought I would begin this discussion with American poets and then move on in later posts to poets from other places.

It is still an enormous task to choose several favorite poets, but since it is my series, I must do so. Here are my choices:

Robert_Frost_NYWTS

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Robert Frost

Without a doubt, Robert Frost is one of the most important American poets. He wrote many poems set in rural America, and his works earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Many who do not read much poetry are familiar with his famous poem: “The Road Not Taken.”

My next choice:

Langston_Hughes_by_Carl_Van_Vechten_1936

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was a poet of the 20th Century, and he was one of the most important of the creative minds who made up the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes wrote about life for African-Americans and about themes that dealt with the entirety of the American experience. One of his best know poems is “Dream Deferred.”

My third choice is a poet whom I have featured in this blog before:

robertfillman

Robert Fillman

Mr. Fillman has a book of his poems being published this spring– November Weather Spell. I completely expect that, in the future, Robert Fillman will be recognized as one of the most important American poets.

Here is a link to the book page: November Weather Spell

and to his homepage: robertfillman.com

cvrnovweather_bookstore

 

My question to all of you is–who are some of your favorite American poets?

Coming Soon–November Weather Spell by Robert Fillman

Standard

CvrNovWeather_bookstore

I am very proud to announce that my friend and office mate at Lehigh University, Robert Fillman, has an important book of poetry published, and it will be out soon!

I have featured Robb’s poetry on this blog before, and I urge all of you to take a look, and if you can, to buy a book at the pre-release price, which is sharply discounted.

Here is a link to the book page: November Weather Spell

and to his homepage: robertfillman.com

robertfillman

 

Congratulations to Robb!

 

A New Poem from Robert Fillman: “The Blue Hour” in Ninth Letter

Standard

My friend Robert Fillman, who is both an excellent poet and a gifted teacher, has a poem out in Ninth Letter‘s Winter 2019 Web Edition.  Please be sure to visit the site, in which there is also an audio version!

Robert Fillman

The Blue Hour

Twenty years since I stood waiting
by the third-floor bedroom window
at dusk, thinking about the ghost
stories my grandfather recycled
those cold Pennsylvania days
just after we set back the clocks,
gained the extra blue hour of light,
that sacred time when the living
and the dead can see each other.

I remember the steam whirling
from chimneys like hundreds of souls
lured by stars, stretching their new wings
beneath the moon’s hollow shiver,
one chance to cross over from this
realm and sail into the flute song
of silver light—caught between worlds
for less than a second, then gone.

Twenty years since I swore I saw
Katie Estan’s older sister,
fourteen, dead of meningitis,
drift past my snow-shackled rooftop,
heard her song on the wind, a voice
no longer torn by fever but pink
and sequined like the gown she wore
to the eighth grade formal just one
month before. Twenty years since she
smoldered past a wobbling Venus,
dancing her way into the dark.

 

The Blue Hour by Robert Fillman in Ninth Letter

Please be sure to visit this site and Robb’s site:

Robert Fillman

 

 

A Published Poem By My Friend Rob Fillman

Standard

I wanted to share the exciting news that my friend and colleague Robert Fillman has a poem in the journal Canary: A Literary Journal Of The Environmental Crisis.

The link is here: Canary A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis

The Science Teacher

by Robert Fillman

Robert lives in the Lehigh River Watershed in eastern Pennsylvania.

When old Mrs. Helmut got sick
Miss Carson was her substitute.
She was young, straight out of college,
voice as soft as the knee-high grass
in the fields behind the playground.
She taught us about recycling,
how to conserve more energy
by swapping incandescent bulbs,
hanging our wet clothes on the line,
unplugging old appliances.
She asked us if we had ever
heated water with a peanut,
forced our nine-year-old minds to think
beyond broken chalk and blackboards.
We made compost in the courtyard
out of our leftovers from lunch,
went on field trips to Cedar Creek,
gathered specimens to study.
She took us to the water works
where we watched sewage get filtered
into vats and sent to landfills.
My dad called her a tree hugger.
My mom thought she was too involved,
too motivated, much too bold
for her own good. Both couldn’t wait
for Mrs. Helmut to return,
for the leaves of enlightenment
to fall. The last time I saw her
she was staring out the window
of our fourth-grade classroom, singing
to herself while she watched a group
of sparrows and nuthatches peck
at the sunflower seed feeders
we made for her going away.

 

Congratulations to Robert Fillman on his publication!