Life After Life in Me: Four Poets Check In With Keyboard in Hand

by Lauren Burke

April marks not only National Poetry Month, but also the two-year anniversary of Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems, a collection of poetry by fifty Maryland Writers’ Association members and edited by Laura Shovan. Life in Me explores a host of themes related to love — first love, lost love, and the madness of love, to name just a few. To commemorate the anthology’s second anniversary, we’ve checked in with four contributors for an update on their writing lives since the anthology was published.

Barbara Morrison

Barbara Morrison

Barbara Morrison’s poems “You” and “Christine” appeared in the anthology’s “Love Floods the Senses” and “Friends and Family” sections, respectively. Barbara has been a member of MWA since 2003, when the Baltimore Writers’ Alliance merged with the association, and she is still a regular attendee of Baltimore chapter meetings.

Following the publication of Life in Me, Morrison published a memoir, Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother, which won a bronze medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards (the “IPPY Award”) in the Mid-Atlantic — Best Regional Non-Fiction category, received honorable mention at the New England Book Festival, and was named a finalist for both Autobiography/Memoir categories for the ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year and the USA Book News’s 2012 Best Book Award.

Morrison’s poem “Plight” won first prize in the 2012 Baltimore City Senior Citizens Poetry Contest. She is also the author of a poetry collection titled Here at Least, with a new collection, Terrarium, due out in May 2013.

Jane Cynewski Elkin

Jane Cynewski Elkin

A member of MWA since 2009 and founder of the Broadneck Writers’ Workshop in Annapolis, Jane Cynewski Elkin’s sonnet “Moving Day” appeared in the “Love of Family” section of Life in Me. During the past year, Elkin has had twelve poems accepted for publication including “The Red Umbrella, ” which appeared in The Poet’s Touchstone. She also won first place in the Poetry Society of New Hampshire quarterly contest and took second place in the Poetry Matters Celebration Contest for her poem, “Give and Take.”

Elkin will appear in an anthology forthcoming from PRA publishing and her poems “Mother Nature’s Last Fling” and “Demolition Day For Laura” will appear in the Spring 2013 issue of the literary journal Third Wednesday.

Other award-winning poetry, fiction, and essays by Elkin have appeared in Kansas City Voices, Kestrel, Off the Coast, Empirical, Crucible, Ducts, and the Harvard Book Store anthology Paige Leaves. She attends the MWA’s Annapolis chapter’s monthly meetings.

Dotty Doherty

Dotty Doherty

Dotty Doherty became an MWA member four years ago and she also frequents the Annapolis chapter. Since her poem “Rowing on South River” appeared in the anthology’s “Love of Nature” section, her poem “Trust” has been published in The Delmarva Review and her poem “Afternoons with Mom” appeared in The Healing Muse.

Dotty is currently working on a nonfiction story about a friend with a rare cancer entitled Pine Cones and a Fork: Traveling the Hard Road of Hope.

Vonnie Winslow Crist

Vonnie Winslow Crist

Vonnie Winslow Crist says that having her poems “Venus” and “Harpers Ferry” published in the “Love of Art and Work” and “Friends and Family” sections of Life in Me helped her reconnect with the local writing community and reminded her of her love of poetry.

No matter how many novels and short story collections she has published, poetry will always remain dearest to her heart. Crist attends and has spoken at meetings of several MWA chapters, where she enjoys socializing with other poets as well as writers of many other genres and styles.

To purchase your own copy of Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems for $12.95, visit the MWA website’s Publications page.

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