Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Verse: My First Poem and Mona Hodgson

Two and a half years ago I joined a writers’ group my friend put together.  The same friend, Robin, half-dragged me to my first writers’ conference a year later.  It was held in Eldridge, Iowa, a three-hour drive away.

One of the faculty speakers there, Mona Hodgson, led a session on getting started. Her talk spoke to my heart. I listened to the mp3 recording of that particular session three more times after the conference. The points I found most encouraging were: 

  •         Consider starting small (submit to both small and large market publications)
  •         It’s okay to be a late-starter

Personally, Mona didn’t begin writing until after age thirty. She started with poetry, short stories and magazine articles. She now has several hundred printed, plus many children’s books and three historical novels. Her novels, Too Rich for a Bride and Two Brides Too Many  deal with the lives of the Sinclair Sisters in 1890's Cripple Creek. My sister, my mom, my aunt and I eagerly await the release of the third book in the series.

Mona Hodgson is the author of 28 children's books, including a rhymed picture book, and three historical novels. Learn more about her at www.monahodgson.com.
(Photo is used here with Mona Hodgson's permission)

Here’s my first poem ever accepted for publication. And they paid me! No one has ever been as excited about 24 words. I got to sign a contract and everything. A ditty of 24 words and two of them are a change the editor made. Humble beginnings, but now I was published in a national magazine.

I held my tongue between my teeth,
And then I bit down harder.
Alas, I said it anyway;
I wish that I’d been smarter.

by Lori Lipsky
Mature Living Magazine April 2011.

Below are two more of my poems that have appeared earlier in the blog, in case you missed them.

The Crocuses That Never Came

You are the crocuses
Longed for ones
First flowers of spring

Snow fell hard
Winds blew strong
Temperatures plummeted
And I dreamt of crocuses

You are my crocuses, dear ones
I yearned for you, waited for you
Watched each month
But you never ever came

Others raised in their gardens the
Short fresh blooms, but
I longed for my own—
Our very own

Crocuses never arrived
Hopes released
But then our social worker said
Here is a perfect little girl

Now here is another
And as daffodils and tulips
Erase the loss
Of crocuses that never grow

So too the beautiful babies from Minnesota
Wiped clear the memory of you
Who like the crocuses
Never ever came

Said the Artist to the Arrogant

I detected the condescension
Heard all your marvelous acronyms
Saw your eyes roll when you thought I wouldn't notice
In the computer store as you tried to help me
Your disdain stung
But on the drive home
The hawk circled
The grasses waved
Pavarotti sang
My dog smiled as I opened the door
I sat at my piano
Studied the print on the wall above, then
Played for Renoir's Lady of the Piano
Some flawless Schumann
And wrote this poem.

The Storyteller, March 2011.

If you read this blog regularly or now and then, I invite you to join and become a follower. Just click on the gadget in the upper right column where it says "Join this Site." The names of followers will be automatically included in the end-of-the-month August drawing. If you like to read, you'll have interest in the free gift drawing. More about the gift in the next post, and no, it is not a book.


Robin J. Steinweg said...

These are three of my favorite poems you've written--though there are many more!

You have four of my favorites here; Mona Hodgson!


Lori said...

Thank you for all your support, Robin. And when there's trouble in writing paradise, I can always blame you for getting me started (sinister-sounding laugh here).

Hurray for Mona!

The Prude said...

Kudos to Mona for getting you started on the poetry path. You have such a good ear for language and such unique and delightful perspectives. Love these poems– oh wait– I love all your poems!
Keep 'em coming!

Susan said...

I love your first published poem! And I love your story about writing.

Lori said...


Thank you for leaving a comment and for your friendly encouragement!


My poems love you, too. You're such a kind reader/editor.

Mona Hodgson said...


What a witty and sweet poet you are. And a blessing. Thanks for the credit and the plug. :)

Hugs and continued blessings, Mona

Lori said...


I know it's a busy day for you in Philadelphia. Thank you for taking time to stop by my blog. I'm honored.