(and Daughters!) Everywhere
She Wore Emerald Then:
Co-authored by award-winning poets
Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson
with photography by May Lattanzio
Moods of Motherhood:
Thirty poems by
award-winning poets Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, with
original photography by May Lattanzio.
A beautifully presented, tender
and strikingly original gift book, ideal for Mother's Day or any day
when you want to celebrate the notion of motherhood in its broadest
sense. Share this collection with someone you love.
Also named to MyShelf.com's 10
by Jennifer Akers.
For media enquiries or review copies, please
contact Carolyn Howard-Johnson at
or Magdalena Ball at
Magdalena Ball runs
Compulsive Reader. Her short stories, editorials, poetry, reviews
and articles have appeared in a wide number of printed anthologies and
journals, and have won local and international awards for poetry
(including the Roland Robinson literary award), and
fiction. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel
Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book
The Art of Assessment: How to Review Anything and two other poetry
Quark Soup, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson,
Cherished Pulse and the other books in the Celebration
Series. She runs a monthly radio program podcast
Carolyn Howard-Johnson's first novel,
This is the Place, and
Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered
award-winners. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems appear in national
magazines, anthologies and review journals. She speaks on culture,
tolerance, writing and promotion and has appeared on TV and hundreds of
radio stations nationwide. She is an instructor for
UCLA Extension's Writers' Program
and has shared her expertise at venues like
San Diego State's world
renowned Writers' Conference, Dayton University's
Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop and SPAN's (Small Publishers
Association of North America) annual conference. Carolyn was recently
awarded Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by the California
Legislature; her home town's Character and Ethics Commission honored her
for her work on promoting tolerance and the Pasadena Weekly named her to
their list of "San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen" for
literary activism. Her nitty-gritty how-to book,
The Frugal Book Promoter won USA Book News' Best Professional Book
2004 and her chapbook of poetry,
Tracings, was honored by the
Military Writers' Society of
America for excellence. Published by Finishing Line Press it is
's new and used feature.
|May Lattanzio is not a stereotypical grandmother. She is a freelance
writer, a poet, author, an animal and nature lover. When she first went
digital ('cause she couldn't use a viewfinder anymore), she took her
camera out onto her acres in NW Florida, concentrating on the many
Sample Poems from
She Wore Emerald Then
mortality lurks in every shadow
blanket won’t cover your fear
morning is a half-forgotten dream
into my bed
pillow holds a mother’s secret
sink your head into.
no demons here;
whirlwind of memory and anticipation clouding
a shared space
free from the ticking illusion
of time, motion, and change.
Here, where you are always welcome
except this peace
containing every possible now.
At eighty-eight, she (tired
of the twenty first century
before it has become school
age) pleads, weary
before dinner, eyes
too weak to read.
I turn on the TV,
grab a VCR to cheer
her. I'm too slow, way
too slow. Instead of
she is treated
streets aflame, backlash,
ghetto or banlieues
in new millennium.
She Wore Emerald Then
by L. B. Sedlacek for
This poetry book is split into two sections: "The
Genetic Code" (Ball) and "Dandelions in Autumn"
(Howard-Johnson) with each section title page perfectly
accompanied by one
of Lattanzio's pictures.
In "Coil of Life," Ball punctuates her "The Genetic
Code" section with a jolting look at creation. "Take a
single cell/tinier than the tip of a pencil/in its
nucleus the DNA blueprint/ six billion pairs of
nucleotides." The poem continues further on with "Binary
fission/mitosis and cytokinesis/the cervix thins and
dilates/the dreaming and waking cerebral cortex/already
perfect signals uterine contractions/the Big Bang." Each
poem weaves vivid
layers (somewhat of a verbal voltage) of life and
existence. From "The Fading": "eyelids closed tightly
against life/you create your own shadow/the steel
bars/of your deviant past/shatter the illusion of
freedom." Ball writes with a punch -- you won't fast
forget her words.
The "Dandelions in Autumn" section(Howard-Johnson) is
more focused on the later years of motherhood and/or
mothers themselves. In "Mother and Daughter, The Thing I
Learned from Depends and Other Events," Howard-Johnson's
poem deals with a daughter taking care of an elderly
mother "... she cannot find/her words, or the beans/on
her plate. Now merely a leafhusk,/I cannot find the
strength/to place her head upon a pillow.//I pre-order
stew with chunks/chopped to the size of peas." Each poem
seems to pull from days gone by capturing a daughter's
journey from child to caretaker of one's mother. The
visuals - "offers us her favorite dish, whipped/cream,
crusted Heath bars, melted/Marshmallows (without
the rum Mother/would have added)" from "Across the Hall
from Mother" - are stunning and leverage accordingly
within each line.
Lattanzio's pictures add a blast of scenic flavor to the
book. They are chosen and placed at just the right
"She Wore Emerald Then" is a tribute to mothers
Sedlacek's poems have most recently appeared in "Ginosko,"
"Pure Francis," and "Testing the Waters" poetry
anthology. L.B.'s latest chapbook is "I Am My
This review first appeared in The Poetry Market Ezine:
Each monthly issue features poetry markets and poetry
contests plus news and a review of a poetry book or
chapbook. Free to subscribe. at
Reviewed by Kristin Johnson, founder of
"What relationship is more complex or more elemental
than the mother-child bond? Abraham Lincoln said, 'All that I am or
hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.' Toni Morrison wrote, 'Grown
don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get
bigger, older, but grown?What's that suppose to mean? In my heart
it don't mean a thing.'
Both of those quotes, as well as one by Honore de Balzac at the
beginning of SHE WORE EMERALD THEN, perfectly describe this
collection of poems by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena
Ball---poetry that catches at your soul. Both of them reprise their
poems from Ball's QUARK SOUP, Howard-Johnson's TRACINGS, and their
joint collection, CHERISHED PULSE. Fans of CHERISHED PULSE will be
pleased to learn that the poets continue to write poems that don't
sound either like banal Hallmark cards or the
bitter-at-dysfunctional-family jeremiads that habitually torture MFA
writing workshop participants.
The two poets complement each other (with words accompanied by
stunning photography by May Lattanzio). The opus covers both the
grand sweep of the birth of all universal life and the private
universe populated by only an adult daughter watching her mother
struggle to eat dinner and remembering how her mother washed her
one slip. While Ball explores the cosmic continuum and traces us all
back to the mother spark that set the stars burning, Howard-Johnson
concentrates her portraiture on the deeply personal. But Ball also
talks about the oxytocin haze of giving birth and her
mother vomiting from cancer drugs. To quote the last poem in the
collection, 'Hallmark Couldn't Possibly Get This Right.' When you
read about the tough love of the universe or Ball's sienna childhood
photograph or Howard-Johnson's mother forgetting her name, you want
to cry and hug your mother (and your children, if you have them),
because they capture the eternal tug of war between joy and sorrow
in the mother-child bond."
~ Kristin Johnson, poet, author, screenwriter and founder of the
Poet Warrior Project.
Reflections on Mothers and Motherhood
Reviewed by Helena Harper
This is a
collection of poetry that movingly illustrates many aspects of
motherhood and, if you are a poetry lover, there is much that
you will find appealing and thought-provoking. In the first half
of the book, the poems by Magdalena Ball have a cosmic quality
to them and some wonderful imagery. In the poem 'Coil of Life',
for example, giving birth is described as the 'Big Bang' and in
'Assault by a Black Hole', the reader is taken on a journey from
the sublime to the commonplace and you can't help but smile:
A powerful jet from a black hole
is blasting nearby galaxy 3C321
with outrageous galactic violence
x-rays, gamma rays
particles traveling the speed of light
tearing ozone layers
destroying alien life forms
and breeding new star systems
a million primordial sons
in the lethal pummelling.
Talk about tough love.
In the face of that million year
(a fraction of the system’s lifetime)
I suppose I have no right
about one smart, sharp smack
sent my way
to facilitate a few manners.
Howard-Johnson's poems have, by contrast, a homely down-to-earthness
which also appeals. I loved her description of dandelion petals
in the poem 'Dandelions in Autumn':
Yellow petals, pollen-soft
like monarchs' wings.
Little lions' manes
like illustrations in childrens'
books, not like roaring
or the MGM logo lion, harmless
these. I pick them, bunch them,
hold them under Mama's chin
to see if they light her throat
yellow, and if they do, delight!
In the poem
'Musing Over a New Calendar', the author reflects on the passage
of time - how there is still so much she wants to do and see,
yet her ageing mother is 'alone, rejecting all but her home'. I
felt the author's pain in these lines as I did in the poem
'Mother and Daughter' where she describes her job of 'mothering
again', but this time it is not her children who need her help
but her own elderly mother:
...I take over seatbelt
duties, step ahead of her then stop,
reluctant for her to know she's slow.
We all forget names,
I say as numb
moves from hand to heart
because it is my name she has forgotten.
such painful memories and associations, perhaps the strongest is
the 'eternal warmth' of our mother's bed – as Ms. Ball puts it –
'a shared space/ free from the ticking illusion/ of time, motion
and change./ Here, where you are always welcome/ nothing
matters/ except this peace/ this place/ containing every
Helena Harper, poet and author of "It's a Teacher's Life...!"
Read Willie Elliott's review of
She Wore Emerald Then for MyShelf:
Podcast Readings and Broadcasts
Magdalena Ball often read selections from her portions
of the Celebration series in her dreamy voice with a slight Aussie accent
and she and Carolyn have been guests on dozens of online broadcasts and
radio talking about the mystique of poetry, promoting poetry, and other
Listen to me read poems from She
Wore Emerald Then in my gravelly voice on an
AuthorsRead podcast with Lillian Brummet.
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Carolyn's Poetry Books and Chapbooks at a Glance
Cover art by Vicki
Thomas, Poetry by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Pulse is full of poems that describe love from the eyes and
hearts of young and old. We see love in its youthful stage, stirring the
hearts of man and woman alike and tying a bond that even death cannot
break. As we continue reading, we understand that love deepens into an
awesome, but quiet joy as the couple grows older. These poems renew our
faith in love as they remind us of our own experience with this most
sought after emotion."
Lucille P Robinson for
Third in the Celebration
of Chapbooks with Magdalena Ball,
Imagining the Future is written expressly for fathers "and
other masculine apparitions."
She Wore Emerald Then is a book of Moods of Motherhood:
thirty poems by award-winning poets Magdalena Ball and Carolyn
Howard-Johnson, with original photography by May Lattanzio. A
beautifully presented, tender and strikingly original gift book, ideal
for Mother's Day or any day when you want to celebrate the notion of
motherhood in its broadest sense. Share this collection with someone
Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational on this Web site.
is an e-chapbook and paperback
published in the time-honored
of poets everywhere.
This collection of
ecologically oriented poems traverses a wide terrain, moving
from the loss of species to the beauty of the natural world,
from drought to the exploration of alternative planets. It's
an exhilarating collection that breaks boundaries and leads
the reader deep into the personal heart of perception.
Released by award winning poets Carolyn Howard-Johnson and
Magdalena Ball to celebrate Earth Day, this is a collection
of poetry that weaves the personal with the universal.
Photograpy by Ann Howley.
“Whatever your age these
poems celebrating women will
speak to you of times to look forward to or to remember. These are not
poems to be read once. They will stay with you forever.”
~ Nancy Famolari, author.
Tracings is winner of the Military Society of
America's Award of Excellence and named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten
Best Reads of 2005
Imperfect Echoes is
Carolyn's newest poetry book. Writing Truth and Justice with Capital
Letters, lie and oppression with Small.
Cover and interior
art by Richard Conway Jackson
All proceeds go to Amnesty International
If you like poetry with an
edge, please research poetry by Suzanne Lummis, my UCLA
instructor and mentor. Her
In Danger is a delight.
Find at least one tip on writing, promotion or
tech on every page of this Web site.
Awards for Carolyn's Books, Blogs and More
The New Book Review
Master's in English.org Online Universities'
101 Essential Sites for Voracious
Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites
for Sharing with Writers blog.
Best Book Award for The Frugal Book Promoter (2004) and The Frugal Editor (2008)
and the Second Edition of The Frugal Book Promoter
Reader Views Literary Award for The Frugal Editor
New Generation Award for Marketing and Finalist for The Frugal Editor
Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award
Military Writers Award of Excellence for
Tracings, A Chapbook of Poetry.
A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion wins author Military
Writers Society of America's Author of the Month award for March, 2010
Award from Military Writers Society of America, 2010.
MWSA also gave a nod to
She Wore Emerald Then,
a chapbook of poetry honoring mothers.
Named #! on Top Ten
Editing Books list.
New Generation Book Awards 2012,
The Frugal Book
Promoter; Finalist 2010
The Frugal Editor;
Winner 2010 Marketing Campaign for the Frugal Editor
The Oxford Award
alumna who exemplifies the Delta Gamma precept of
service to her community and who, through the years,
devotes her talents to improve the quality of life
Book Promoter is runner-up in the how-to category for
Los Angeles Book Festival 2012
Winner Diamond Award
for Achievement in the Arts
California's Arts and Culture Commission and the City of
And more than a dozen other awards for Carolyn's novel, short story collection and poetry.
See the awards page on this site.
Proud to Support
World Wild Life
book of poetry
Pasadena Weekly Arts and Entertainment Section
All Proceeds to be donated to the World Wildlife Fund