An Easter poem

Posted in Poetry, Thoughts and Reflections at 9:30 am by admin

Feeding the Masses
by O.P.W. Fredericks

Little red wagon in tow, crazy Mabel
seeks the safety of shadows.

Teetering on a four high stack of pallets
under the stark white of security lights,
Mabel reaches into the dumpster,
finds a half good bag of pumpernickel,
a lump of bologna, a dented can of yams,
and wiggles a crushed box of Cheerios
from beneath the two rats she greets
as they feast on two spotted brown bananas.
Having served their purpose, pallets
now snap between her gnarled hands,
kindling for the fire.

At the foot of the Grocery’s steel steps
beneath a locked steel door,
a brown bag reads, Happy Easter, Mabel
atop the milk crates marked Expired.
She pulls a jug with yesterday’s date
and does the math; twenty plates at least
from the bagged canned ham.

The spired steeple now in sight, Mabel
climbs a hill and makes her way home.
She bows her head in passing,
mumbles a few words to a prayer
she can’t quite remember,
as she turns the corner. Muffled mews
and yips greet their host as squeaky wheels
cross the threshold.

A pitted pot simmers in the shadows
of St. Francis. Mabel portions her sunrise
supper for the masses on scavenged
pie plates. Finger tips pass from lips
towards the rising steeple
and Mabel thanks the Lord
for their bounty.


Happy Easter to all and please remember those less fortunate and those who care for animals in the name of St. Francis of Assisi.

O.P.W. Fredericks


Medical Poetry Contest

Posted in Poetry at 2:30 pm by admin

Dr Charles, his nom de plume, is sponsoring a poetry contest (link below).

From Dr Charles:

“An award will be given to the writer who submits for consideration the most outstanding poem within the realm of health, science, or medicine.

The contest starts today and ends September 31st, 2011. The winners will be chosen shortly thereafter by an elite group of 8 judges (other doctors, friends with literary training, and select bloggers).

The contest is open to everyone.

1st prize – the prestigious, and still pretentiously named, 2011 Charles Prize for Poetry, $500.00, and a homegrown cherry tomato from my garden.

Runner Up – $100.00, and lots of admiration.

Honorable Mention – a commemorative t-shirt, which will probably be funkier than you can imagine.

Poems should be related to experiencing, practicing, or reflecting upon a medical, scientific, or health-related matter.

Last year’s contest was a great success, with over 125 poems submitted for consideration. I received requests from readers to “publish” all the poems as we went along, and so as an improvement this year I’ve established a separate blog (charlesprize.blogspot.com) to share all these great poems. Some highlights will also be posted here on theexaminingroom.com.

So have fun, find inspiration, and send your entry to:
drcharles.examining *at* gmail.com

Your poem must have a theme of medicine, science, or health.
You may submit up to 2 poems.
You can submit poems that have been published elsewhere, if you’ve retained the rights.
You can write under your own name, a pen name, or anonymous.
After you enter a poem I will ask your permission to repost it on the blog. You can say yes or no, and this will not affect your chances in any way. You can also ask me to take down a poem at any time and I will. I assert no exclusive rights to the poem whatsoever.

I know there are some extraordinary words waiting to be written, so best of luck, and let the contest begin.”

2011 Charles Prize for Poetry Contest

O.P.W. Fredericks


In memory of Zachary Robert Warnock ~ October 6, 1999 – June 18, 2011

Posted in Poetry, Thoughts and Reflections at 11:34 pm by admin

Zachary Robert Warnock, son to my dear friend Larina and her husband Mark, and brother to Deanna, Shyla, and Kurtis, left his life with us this past June 18.

I struggled for the words to say to Larina as she told me that morning on the phone that Zachary had died, but I failed miserably. What words can one speak to someone who has lost her child, over the phone, nearly 3,000 miles away? Simply, there are none.

As the days passed, I remembered the many phone calls Larina and I shared over the past four years. I remembered Daniel’s and my brief, several-hour meeting with Larina in Philadelphia last summer when we met her in person for the first time. We walked the isles of the Farmer’s Market, sipped coffee outside a Starbuck’s, and sat together over dinner in her hotel’s restaurant, talking about everything and nothing in particular. We talked about Zack, and Deanna, and Shyla, and Kurtis, and Mark, like friends do; we talked about our families. In just about every conversation we’ve had, Zack was a part of the conversation, if not the main topic. Over the phone, often I would hear Zack’s soft giggles in the background, and I would comment to Larina how happy he sounded.

During the past four years, Larina has shared many of her writings, both poetry and prose, about Zachary with me, and we published several of her pieces in Touch: The Journal of Healing: “A Little Perspective,” “Hospital Hush,” “The Light at the End,” “They Said,” and “Autumn 2003“.

I have many more of the works she sent to me, either for critique or just to share, saved on my computer and on paper.

For many people who didn’t know Zack and his family, I can imagine they would have found his life to be one that would be dreaded, a life filled with difficulties, hardship, and turmoil because of his disability, but then they wouldn’t have known the Warnocks. I don’t know many families who I can say are as dedicated to each other as the Warnocks, though I know they aren’t unique, as far a families go who have one or more members with disabilities, but in these families, like the Warnocks, who I do know, they are stronger than most because of that dedication.

Above all that Zack faced, his life was filled with love. He not only received it, but he gave it through his smiles, his twinkling eyes, and his soft giggles. Larina often spoke and wrote about these qualities in him so, though I never met him, I felt as if I knew him. After many days of trying to write something about him for his family and failing, I was directed to his obituary, written by Larina, in their local paper from a link on a website the day before his memorial service. In it, I came across the phrase “shades of joy,” and all became clear to me. These three little words are a perfect characterization of Zack’s personality, and I began to write what turned into a poem with that title.

It is a simple poem, purposely written in the tone of a child’s nursery rhyme to honor the innocence of childhood, though the tempo of the poem is meant to be read much slower with longer pauses at the commas and line breaks for emphasis, with reverence and tenderness. It is one of the few poems I’ve written in just a few hours that I’ve ever allowed anyone to see before it has gone through many, many revisions over the course of days or weeks, or longer, and the editor and critic in me sees many places where it would benefit from more work, but it is as it is, and it will remain unchanged from how it was when I sent it to Larina.

I was honored to learn that the minister who presided over Zack’s memorial service opened the sharing segment of it with the poem. Larina wrote to tell me that he did the poem great justice and that he seemed to know exactly how I would have read it.

For me, though not mentioned in my little poem, Zack is always present in my mind whenever I see box elder bugs because they remind me of the twinkle in his eyes, though I’ve only ever seen it in photos, and I will always remain grateful to these little creatures for their gift of a memory. If you read “A Little Perspective,” you’ll understand why.



Shades of Joy
for Zachary
by O.P.W. Fredericks

His colors rose October 6th,
in gleeful shades of joy;
he carried them each day he lived,
this gentle, quiet boy.
Among the instruments of care,
surrounding his abode
began the crafted mirth of one
in life, his bliss, it flowed.

And though he fought for every breath
each one he took would count
to bring great strength to those he loved,
they knew he would surmount.
To overcome adversity
encountered by this child,
he bore each pain with spunk and grit
and with it all, he smiled.

In times of strife and heartache too,
his giggles could be heard
from deep within his soul they rose
as lofty as a bird;
and though his time with us was brief
he made each moment last,
and through the many friends he made
his family grew vast.

So even though our memories fade
he gave to us a gift
his sparkling eyes, his laughter too,
he made our spirits lift.
We carry in our hearts each day
this gentle, quiet boy
to hold him close, his giggles, soft,
his gleeful shades of joy.


O.P.W. Fredericks


Our winners for The Big Poetry Giveaway! 2011!

Posted in Poetry, The Lives You Touch Publications, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 7:36 pm by admin

The Big Poetry Giveaway! 2011!

Our winners for The Big Poetry Giveaway! 2011!

Tawnysha Greene, from the blog, On Writing, will receive How to photograph the heart by Christine Klocek-Lim, Strong Voices: a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing 2010, and Uncommon Refrains by Gregory W. Randall.

Sherry Chandler, from the blog, Weaving a New Eden, will receive Spiraling into Control by Alarie Tennille, Strong Voices: a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing 2010, and Cutting It by Tina Hacker.

Janeen Pergrin Rastall, from the blog, Lessons from the Lakeshore, will receive One Tree Bridge by Dennis Greene, Strong Voices: a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing 2011, and Guitar Without Strings by Larina Warnock.

Donna Vorreyer, from the blog, Put Words Together, will receive A Transit of Venus by Ed Bennett, Strong Voices: a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing 2011, and Preparing to Leave by Stephen Bunch (currently in production).

I wrote down numbers on pieces of paper to coincide with the number of entrants we had in our contest then I drew 4 of those numbers from a bowl. The contest winners were the drawn numbers in the order in which the first of their posts were made.

O.P.W. Fredericks


The Big Poetry Giveaway! 2011

Posted in Poetry, The Lives You Touch Publications, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 9:00 pm by admin

Big Poetry Giveaway 2011
The Big Poetry Giveaway! 2011 Image




Note to The Big Poetry Giveaway! 2011 participants:
Because of the tremendous amount of SPAM posts this blog receives, in order for you to participate in the contest, you must include your name, email address, and website or blog in the required fields above your comment post. You cannot post a comment without these identifiers.


I was alerted to a great effort to promote poetry through the creation of a contest by my good friend and fellow poet, Christine Klocek-Lim who is the editor of Autumn Sky Poetry. It’s called The Big Poetry Giveaway! 2011, and it was started by Kelli Russell Agodon in 2010. You can read about Christine’s participation in her blog post.


Here’s what Kelli wrote about the contest:

The goal is to share our favorite poets with others as well as to visit different blogs and see who others are reading. There is also a benefit for those who participate as it will bring people to your blog and share your work and/or the work of a favorite poet with them.


Daniel and I discussed the contest, and we are enthusiastic about participating because we believe it speaks with great clarity to the missions of both our journal, Touch: The Journal of Healing, and our press, The Lives You Touch Publications. Tremendous comfort and healing can come from the reading of poetry. This is why we publish both our journals and chapbooks.

Here’s an overview of the contest and how our press is going to participate:

After extensive discussion, we have decided that we’re going to give away four prize groups.

Each prize group will consist of three books of poetry; two of these books of poetry will come from the chapbooks we have published by the closing date of the contest and one of these books of poetry will be a copy of Strong Voices – A Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing, two copies of which will come from our 2010 issue and two copies will come from our 2011 issue.

Below you will find an image of the poetry books included in each prize group with links to them or a few words about them.

If you want to participate in our sponsorship of this contest, you must leave a comment by clicking the link below this post.

Be sure to include your name, your email address, and a link back to your own blog in the required fields above your comment post so that we can contact you.

You cannot post a comment without these identifiers.

If we can’t contact you, we can’t send you your poetry books if you win.

Please do not include your email addresses in the comments section when you post.

Personally, I think it’s crazy to post a personal email address in plain view anywhere on the internet.

Remember SPAMMERS can easily get ahold of this information!

Please note all comments are screened for SPAM and must be approved before they will appear on this blog.


Here are the prizes:

The Big Poetry Giveaway 2011 Prize 1
How to photograph the heart ~ Strong Voices: a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing 2010 ~ Uncommon Refrains

How to photograph the heart by Christine Klocek-Lim.

Uncommon Refrains by Gregory W. Randall.

Strong Voices – a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing – 2010:
Each of the pieces in this collection has brought to light a unique voice, and each voice has spoken to a different aspect of touch and of healing. From birth to death, loss to acceptance, and from looking within to searching beyond ourselves; through these works, we have traveled many paths. So how did we choose? The answer began with the choice of the name: Strong Voices.

Strong Voices comes from the authors and poets whose works were represented most often, were showcased as the Editor’s Choice, or followed our Publication Selection Criteria the closest. From the first and second of these groups, you will find two representations of these authors’ works. From the last, we found these authors’ works identified perfectly or near perfectly with what we envisioned when we first conceived Touch: The Journal of Healing, even if they were published only once over the past year. From those in this group you will find one representation of the author’s work. Once the selection was narrowed down to these groups, we chose pieces from each author or poet we believed reflected the unique style we’ve come to appreciate in their work.


The Big Poetry Giveaway 2011 Prize 2
Spiraling into Control ~ Strong Voices: a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing 2010 ~ Cutting It

Spiraling into Control by Alarie Tennille.

Cutting It by Tina Hacker.

Strong Voices – a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing – 2010. (see above)


The Big Poetry Giveaway 2011 Prize 3
One Tree Bridge ~ Strong Voices: a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing 2011 ~ Guitar Without Strings

One Tree Bridge by Dennis Greene.

Guitar Without Strings by Larina Warnock.

Strong Voices – a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing – 2011. (In production)


The Big Poetry Giveaway 2011 Prize 4
A Transit of Venus ~ Strong Voices: a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing 2011 ~ Preparing to Leave

A Transit of Venus by Ed Bennett.

Preparing to Leave by Stephen Bunch is forthcoming.

Strong Voices – a Year of Touch: The Journal of Healing – 2011. (In production)

Here’s some information About me.


BIG POETRY GIVEAWAY! ~ Participating Blogs:
The list will be updated every few days.

Book of Kells: Kelli Russell Agodon

Jessie Carty Blog: Jessie Carty

November Sky Poetry: Christine Klocek-Lim

Being Poetry: Erin Hollowell

WordGathering: Margo Roby

Danka’s World: Danica Grunert

Utopian Fragments: Guy Traiber

Ribbons of Intonation: Jim K

Wait! I Have a Blog?!: Kathleen Kirk

Latoyalikestowrite: LaToya Jordan

Modern Confessional: Collin Kelley

One Poet’s Notes: Edward Byrne

Tribe of Mad Orphans: Ren Powell

Ophelia Unraveling: Carol Berg

The Scrapper Poet: Karen J. Weyant

The Alchemist’s Kitchen: Susan Rich

Matthew Thornburn Blog: Matthew Thornburn

Naming Constellations: Joseph Harker

Drowning the Field: Katie Cappello

Who are “They” & Other Writing Advice: Laura Moe

Red Lion Square: Amy Watkins

Poet 2.0: Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Art Happens 365: Margaret Bednar

Alphabet Soup: Jama Rattigan

The Lizard Meanders: Luisa Igloria

Fredericks’ Reflections: O.P.W. Fredericks

One Man’s Trash: Justin Evans

Joe’s Jacket: Stephen Mills

Myself the only Kangaroo Among the Beauty: Sandy Longhorn

Risa’s Pieces: Risa Denenberg

Ghosts in Parentheses: Barry Napier

Notes fro the Gefilter Review: Jehanne Dubrow

A View from the Potholes: Marie Gauthier

Habit of Poetry: Rita Mae Reese

Desire Seven Small Delicious Fruit: Cati Porter

The Graphic Haibuneer: Cindy Bell

Dear Outer Space: Laura E. Davis

Lorna Dee Cervantes Blog: Lorna Dee Cervantes

Jeannine Blogs: Jeannine Hall Gailey

Kristin Berkey-Abbott Blog: Kristin Berkey-Abbott

Writing With Celia: Celia Lisset Alvarez

Weaving a New Eden: Sherry Chandler

Rachel Dacus: Rocket Kids

Poemeleon: Cati Porter

Brian Spears Blog: Brian Spears

On Writing: Tawnysha Greene

32 Poems: Deborah Ager

Put Words Together. Make Meaning.: DJ Vorreyer

Shiva’s Arms: Cheryl Snell

Proof of Blog: Luke Johnson

The Monster’s Flashlight: Nancy Lili

Frontal Junkyard: Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Feather’s From the Muse’s Wings: Odilia Galván Rodríguez

Pokey Mama: Amy Dryansky

One Hundred Forks: Tess Duncan

Universe of Sound: Mary Virginia Cooley

The Perpetual Bird: Joseph Hutchinson

Battered Hive: Shawnte Orion

Natural Parents Network: Lauren Wayne

Elizabeth Austen Blog: Elizabeth Austen

Life is a Patchwork Quilt: Valerie

Selvage: Linda Dove

Hobo Mama: Lauren Wayne


O.P.W. Fredericks


Immerse Yourselves in the Voice of Poetry ~ Nic Sebastian via Whale Sound

Posted in Poetry, Thoughts and Reflections at 3:58 pm by admin

I don’t remember why I followed a link to Whale Sound yesterday morning, the internet site by Nic Sebastian, and I’ll leave you to explore it for yourself, but I want to share this site with everyone who reads this note.

I don’t know Nic personally, and I do not have any poems of my own on her site (I’ve had so little of my work published that I’m sure it’s been lost to the black hole of the internet), so I have no professional connection to her whatsoever.

I’d like to ask you all to take a moment and visit her web site even if it’s to listen to her read just one poem, I don’t care which poem, just listen to one. Her voice haunts me. There is a lyrical, lilting quality to her softened, British accented voice that adds a degree of reverence and sophistication to each word she reads. She feels the poems she reads, and it’s obvious she believes in them.

If you take a moment to listen, you’ll feel them too.

O.P.W. Fredericks


Christine Klocek-Lim Interview

Posted in Poetry, Thoughts and Reflections at 1:36 am by admin

Our first poet published by The Lives You Touch Publications, Christine Klocek-Lim has an interview with Didi Menendez on WordPress. The reason I wanted to publish Christine’s work was because she is one of the greatest contemporary poets I have ever encountered. I can only hope that the coming years will bring her the recognition and accolades she and her work so justly deserve. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and visit the WordPress site to read her interview. It will me time well spent.

Speaking personally for a moment, I must confess that over the course of the past three years she has also become a trusted and close personal friend in addition to a revered poet and editor to whom I have turned on occasion for advice on poetry, editing, publishing, and life. There is no greater proof of our friendship than the kindness and support she extended to me during the winter and spring of 2008 when my world was turned upside down and ripped apart by forces beyond my control. For days, weeks, and months on end, she was always there to offer an ear or supportive words that helped me to know I was not alone. It was during this time that I realized the poetry she writes comes from the core of her being. If you have read any of Christine’s work, then you know the soul of the poet she has become.

I can only imagine where her journey will lead her, and I can only hope that in the coming years the world will learn to trust her words as I have to learn the importance of relationships and to cherish those we have in our lives.

O.P.W. Fredericks


Our presses are rolling!

Posted in Poetry, The Lives You Touch Publications at 1:51 am by admin

How to photograph the heart by Christine Klocek-Lim is now in print and available for purchase from The Lives You Touch Publications.


Please visit the chapbook web page for information on ordering.

O.P.W. Fredericks, Editor
The Lives You Touch Publications


A review – Inside Bone There’s Always MARROW by Rachel Mallino

Posted in Poetry, Thoughts and Reflections at 11:50 am by admin


For me, a successful poem must tell a story so convincingly that I am transported to within its borders to feel, taste, and experience the events portrayed, as much as I must come to know the characters through the skill of the poet’s pen. Such were my travels into the world of four generations of a matriarchal bloodline created by Rachel Mallino.

The stories reflected in the 27 poems of Inside Bone There’s Always MARROW from Maverick Duck Press, May 2009, could have devolved into a journey of self pity on a road to hell and remained there in lesser hands, but this poet explores a reality of a tormented mother who creates a life of neglect and abuse for her child with absolute clarity as much as she reveals a child who possesses an inner strength of character that states, simply, “I choose to live.” As the child moves through adolescence into adulthood, ultimately to become a mother herself, her journey is filled with tumultuous encounters as she attempts to protect her progeny and her life by encasing her own past in self analysis and restraint.

Mallino explores each moment with a keen eye and brutal honesty, yet she treats each topic and subject with respect while she directly explores the issues that traverse her poetry. She takes us to where it all began: “my body: cell, blood, bone / all fortified in my mother’s / brackish womb” (1-3), and to an ultimate understanding: “when a mother isn’t a mother / at all, but a small vessel unfit to carry / even her own posture” (12-14) in the poem that titles her collection.

In “An Explanation of the Tales We Tell,” she reflects on a child’s attempt to protect her grandmother: “O, to make it all bearable: / the wild pack of dogs that chewed / my grandmother’s face to bits; / the icy stare I learned at seven / for anyone who disclaimed / the animal attack / and called it cancer instead” (1-7), the child’s attempt to comprehend: “… the sound / of the blender grinding like / teeth against bone: teeth / once rooted inside her gums” (20-23), and the child’s fantasies and dreams of a visit from the tooth fairy.

Mallino pulls no punches in “An Open Poem To god,” as she reveals the loss of childhood innocence: “Dear god, there has always been this / marrow inside of bone. Those retarded / cells that drive nonage to adultery …” (1-3), “It all boils down to sex: mother’s / bony knees beneath / motel sheets as I stared off / into the bends / of brush strokes …” (10-14), “The anonymity / of those painters, like my mother’s lovers, / became famous to me.” (15-17). Nor can one mistake the demotion of the deity.

A shift in vision occurs as the narrator reflects on motherhood and her own child at book center: “These are the shapes of her world” (1), “Everything now is either straight or round. / Even her heart, its triangle base and the top / round like buttocks” (4-6), “her legs – the shape of a wishbone” (12), in “How My Daughter Draws.”

In her closing poem, “Here’s How It Must Have Been,” dedicated to Anne Sexton, Mallino weaves a skilled tapestry of all the works that precede it, tying together images that parallel the lives of both poets: ” … I imagine, at birth, Anne wailed / to be still-born, maddened by the length / of her mother’s umbilical cord – the possibilities” (3-5), “… No wonder / she kept going back, back to the institution where / dinner bells rang at the nurses hand …” (9-11), “back to distant conversations beneath / the long silence of lithium, back to the steel headboard – / her mother’s hipbone” (14-16).

Mallino’s poetry is a literary dissection into the frailty of humanity as it cuts to the marrow of human relationships with raw revelations, and lays our skeletal core exposed for all to see as we struggle for Grace. No poetry could be as antithetic to the work I publish and try to write myself, yet I find myself drawn to it with a sense of compassion, and a sense of respect and admiration for the strength of its author.  I am left completely drained and in awe of how, in the hands of a master, poetry can be the window into one’s soul.

O.P.W. Fredericks, Editor
Touch: The Journal of Healing
The Lives You Touch Publications


How to photograph the heart by Christine Klocek-Lim

Posted in Poetry, The Lives You Touch Publications at 8:00 pm by admin

In September, I announced the launch of our print publication business,
The Lives You Touch Publications.

Today I’m pleased to announce our first poetry chapbook
How to photograph the heart penned by Christine Klocek-Lim.


When we discover a poet who touches us, we learn to appreciate the skill with which their poetry is crafted, and we marvel at their ability to transport us into the worlds they create.

Appreciation comes both in our comprehension and in our perception of the world around us. We process words cognitively and are also affected by them aesthetically. When I read poetry, it is the aesthetic hemisphere of my brain that takes the lead. It recognizes the beauty of a poem long before the cognitive comprehends why. This is the case whenever I read the poetry of Christine Klocek-Lim. Over the course of the past few years, I have come to appreciate not only her skill as a poet, but also the care with which she treats the subjects of her poetry. She often writes of personal and sensitive issues, of moments filled with struggle and heartache, and of loss; yet in each instance, regardless of the weight, each subject is treated with respect and reverence, and the strength of each encounter is revealed.

Christine Klocek-Lim was born in the coal-mining region of northeastern Pennsylvania. She now resides in southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. She has worked as an editor, online poetry forum administrator, technical writer, copy editor, proofreader, and documentation specialist.

Christine Klocek-Lim received the 2009 Ellen La Forge Memorial Prize in poetry and was a finalist in Nimrod’s 2006 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. Her chapbook, The book of small treasures, will be published in December 2009 by Seven Kitchens Press. Her poems have appeared in Nimrod, OCHO, The Pedestal Magazine, Terrain.org, the anthology Riffing on Strings: Creative Writing Inspired by String Theory and elsewhere. She is editor of Autumn Sky Poetry, serves on the Board of Directors for The Externalist—A Journal of Perspectives, and her website is November Sky Poetry.

The chapbook is now available for pre-publication ordering on our website chapbook page.



The Lives You Touch Publications

Posted in Poetry, The Lives You Touch Publications, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:00 pm by admin

Today we officially began our print publication business, The Lives You Touch Publications, with our first printed copy of Issue 1 of Touch: The Journal of Healing. We are printing copies for the contributors to Issue 1 as a way to thank them for helping us to get started, and more copies for the orders we’ve received for this issue from other folks. Next we’ll begin to print Issue 2 of Touch. Both issues are for sale on the website of the print journal.



Sunday afternoon poetry

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:33 pm by admin

Daniel and I planned to spend this afternoon reviewing the submissions we had received up ’til noon today. The afternoon progressed into evening and then nighttime with a 45 minute break for dinner, during which we continued our discussion. When the clock said 11:00 PM, we called it quits for the day. From the 40+ poem and prose submissions we received, we reviewed 24. It was an arduous task, but it was also a labor of love. I found it humbling to have these writers and poets offer their work to us for review. As we moved from piece to piece, it became apparent how much effort the writers and poets put into their writing, and how different each writing style was. It was a no-brainer when we both rated the same piece with high marks, but when we came to work that we disagreed on, we spent a lot of time discussing why we thought each piece fit or didn’t fit the journal and the merits of the piece.

We will continue to read each piece individually at our own pace, and for the next several weeks, our Sundays are scheduled for the preliminary selection process. The most difficult task is still in front of us, and that will be to select from these pieces which ones will make it into the debut issue. I have gained a new respect for the editors I have submitted my own work to in the past. The selection process is a difficult row to hoe.



First Graphics Submissions

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 10:25 pm by admin

Along with submissions from three new poets today – one from out of the country – we received our first graphics submissions as well. I forgot to mention that I added Hanging Moss Journal run by Steve Meador to the Literature Publications page yesterday.

I’ve spent the last few days researching different poetry and literary publications to learn how the editors put their journals together. One thing I’ve noticed is that quite a few use a dark background with white or light colored text to display the poems. I have personally found this to be very difficult to read in the past and I tend to avoid these kinds of pages. Daniel on the other hand likes them.

My next task will be to learn how to create pdf versions of the journal once we approach our publication date to send to the authors. A pdf document of each issue will become available to visitors at the time the next issue goes to publication.



We’re on Duotrope!

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:11 pm by admin

I spent several hours registering Touch: The Journal of Healing at Duotrope this afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from the Duotrope staff this evening advising me the journal could now be found on their site. The information on the Duotrope Editor’s page stated it would take up to two months before a new site – “market” in their terms – would be added.

We received five more poem submissions today, and Daniel and I are going to begin to review the submissions on Sunday. Sunday afternoons will be our review and preliminary selection day.

After serious thought, I’ve removed the Amazon widgets and links from the home page. They detracted from the overall image a visitor would view when they first arrived at the site, and after all, this is a poetry and prose journal. The links can now be found on the Literary Resources page further down the Directory. In addition, I’ve added a few more books written by healthcare professionals and patients to the scroll bar.  I personally selected the books (and music) that are displayed after researching them.

The only external link you’ll find on the home page how is for Duotrope



Slowly rolling in

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:55 pm by admin

Submissions for Touch: The Journal of Healing are slowly rolling in, and I’ve added a few links to poetry journals and blogs I frequent. Of note are Feel Good Lost Blog and Tilt Press Blog, and Tilt Press which publishes chapbooks, all operated by Rachel Mallino. Rachel’s Tilt Press co-editor is Nicole Cartwright.

Good night.



Amazon Links added to Home Page & Italian rolls

Posted in Poetry, Recipes & Cooking, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:06 pm by admin

This morning I began to add Amazon.com links to the home page of Touch: The Journal of Healing, but I didn’t like the way the page was laid out. It was very crowded, and Daniel told me it wasn’t balanced. I added the links for two reasons. The first reason is that most of my literature and poetry books purchased over the past two years have come from Amazon. I found it a lot easier to order them online than it to drive the ten miles to the nearest Barnes & Noble or Borders. I’ve gotten some great deals from Amazon, and I wanted my visitors to receive the same benefit. The second reason is, I learned late last summer when someone clicks on a link to Amazon and then purchases something, the owner of the site where the link was posted will earn a small percentage of the sale in the way of a “commission” so to speak. Since August of last year, the fee I’ve received for the link here has come to less than the cost of one month of my website hosting server charge. Now that I’m nearly retired, my income isn’t close to what it used to be, and every little bit helps. I thought if the fee covered the cost of hosting my websites, it would be one less expense I would have to find the money for.

Daniel told me there should be a option in the software to enlarge the dimensions of the website and sure enough it was there. I didn’t realize the software allowed for changes in the dimensions of a page, and I’d been trying to squeeze everything onto a page that was 700 px wide. The new home page is now 1,000 px wide. I may make it larger, but Daniel told me that 1,000 px is a width that most computer screens can display. After enlarging the page, I experimented with placement of the Amazon links and was able to replace the ones I had with vertical links that fit on the far right side.

Several years ago I asked several poets I know which reference books they had in their library. The scroll bar I added includes many of these titles as well as two poetry books written by poets I’ve corresponded with from Poets.org, The Red Light Was My Mind, by Gary Charles Wilkens and Throwing Percy from the Cherry Tree by Steve Meador. I also added in a little Ella Fitzgerald and ABBA music to the scroll, an Amazon search tool, and another poetry/poets book widget.

I haven’t decided whether I want to have these links on the page to begin with. I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with this idea after seeing what they look like because the links detract from the overall appearance of the page, and they could detract from the whole experience of reading poetry. Also, I don’t remember visiting any online poetry journal where these kinds of links are present. Now that the links are off to the side and at the bottom, they aren’t as distracting as my first attempts were, so I’ll have to think on this a bit.

Italina Sourdough Rolls copyright OPW Fredericks

After frying my brain with web design, I decided to do something therapeutic so this afternoon I began to mix a batch of bread dough with the sourdough sponge I set to proof last evening. Daniel had mentioned rolls earlier in the week and I haven’t baked rolls in years. Half way through the kneading, I decided to give the rolls a try, just to shake things up a little. In the photo above, the rolls on the right are Italian-Honey-Walnut Whole Wheat Sourdough and on the left are Italian-Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough.

Here’s the recipe:

Italian Honey Whole Wheat Rolls


1/2 c. sourdough starter
1/2 c. warm water
1 c. whole wheat flour

Mix above in glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap leaving a little space for gas to vent and place in warm spot over night.

Combine above with:

1 tsp. granular yeast – let sit 15 minutes.


1/2 cup EV olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 c. honey
1 tblsp. barley malt syrup


1 tsp. salt
1 c. warm water
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. unbleached all purpose or bread flour

Combine in electric mixer bowl using dough hook or mix with hands in a large ceramic mixing bowl. Divide dough in half and reserve 1/2 wrapped in plastic wrap.

Add 1/3 c. chopped walnuts to first 1/2 of dough.

Continue to mix or knead first 1/2 of dough adding unbleached or bread flour as needed 1/4 cup at a time until dough is the right consistency then knead until dough is formed. Place in ceramic or glass bowl lightly coated with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in warm spot until double in bulk – about 1 hour.

Repeat with reserved 1/2 of dough omitting walnuts.

When dough has risen, remove from bowls deflate and allow it to rest about 10 minutes. Cut palm size pieces from dough and form into rolls. Place on a floured bakers couche or linen towel, cover with floured towels and allow to rise until double in bulk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit with baking stones or tiles covering rack at mid level.

Remove roll dough from couche with a metal turning spatula – like what you would turn hamburgers with – and place in a row of 4, spaced apart along the edge of a long wide thin bread peel – a piece of wood 1/4 inch thick x 14 inches long by 5 inches wide. Transfer to baking tiles starting on the right side of the oven by tilting board and allowing them to slide off. Repeat until the oven is full. Spray interior of oven with water from a spray bottle beneath the rack and repeat this every 3 minutes for the first 9 minutes taking no more than 10 seconds each time.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven to cooling rack.

Repeat until all the rolls are baked.

Store in plastic or paper bags until they’re all gone. This bread remains fresh tasting for one week when stored in plastic or zip lock bags.



I’ll let you know tomorrow how they tasted.



Blog & RSS feed is up

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:00 pm by admin

The blog attached to Touch: The Journal of Healing is now up and running. As if I didn’t need another thing to keep me busy … At least it will allow me to keep a running dialogue of what I did and when to the journal site. The only problem is that I now feel obligated to post a new photo with each blog entry.



Another blog?

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:33 pm by admin

The software I use to create and edit Touch: The Journal of Healing allows for RSS feed in a limited capacity. One of the page types that does provide RSS is a blog which can be incorporated with the journal or as a separate site. I’m experimenting with the software to see if I can taylor it to duplicate the journal appearance, but so far, my success is limited. One advantage a blog would offer is the ability to post announcements about the journal without affecting the integrity of the journal pages. Another page type that provides the RSS feed is a photo album theme. I don’t think this is the way I want to go because the journal is literature not photography and the graphics used in the journal will be imbedded within the poem and prose pages. At this point I don’t think a separate album page would benefit the journal in any way.

I’ve made a few changes in the appearance of the journal that will be uploaded once I’ve tested each page for functionality and appearance. I’ve found that some browsers are able to enlarge the page if a user needs to see text larger while others aren’t able to do this. As a result, I’ve increased the font size a few points. I’ve also made minor text changes on several of the pages where I found the language didn’t flow as well as I intended it to flow. I’ve received feedback from a few folks so far and it has been positive. I want to get all the bugs worked out well before the first issue is published, and I remain hopeful that folks will advise me of any difficulties they experience.



We’re up and running! Call for submissions.

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:45 pm by admin

It’s now official.

Touch: The Journal of Healing seeks poetry, prose, and graphics submissions for its debut issue intended for publication May/June 2009.  Within our pages you will read works from people who have committed their lives to the vocation of caring by touching the lives of their fellow human beings, be they health care professionals, family members, spouses, lovers, partners, or friends, and from patients themselves. Please visit our journal site and send us your poetry, prose and artwork for consideration.



New Project: Online Poetry Journal

Posted in Poetry, Recipes & Cooking at 11:15 pm by admin

I have no excuse for allowing over two months to pass without a single blog entry. Actually, there are many excuses I could use, but none would excuse me from taking a mere ten minutes each day to reflect on something.

I’ve been busy with life. The Poets org Poetry Forum, my private poetry forum and my part-time job in the ER have taken up a good amount of time. I’ve also been cooking large Sunday dinners that consist of pot roasts, roasted chickens, pork roasts, all with with roasted vegetables and pints and pints of gravy; large pots of pasta served with home made sauce; and marinated london broils have kept us pretty well fed through each week. I’ve also been baking different sourdough based breads on Saturdays and/or Thursdays. I use my starter Herman to seed the sponge the morning before I bake which allows it to develop its flavor, and then I begin the process of choosing and assembling the ingredients and mixing the dough around noon the following day. I usually have it in the oven by 4:00 PM which gives it time to bake and cool for our dinner time of 7:00 PM.

I’ve baked batards, braided loaves, loaves in pans, and I’ve risen loaves in round baskets and bowls lined with floured linen towels. When Daniel arrives home from work, the whole house smells like fresh baked bread. I’ve been using a larger percentage of whole wheat flour than I have in the past, and I add any combination of ground nuts, dried fruits, honey, molasses, barley malt syrup, butter or olive oil, herbs and spices, rolled or steel cut oats, corn meal, and different salts and sugars. They’ve all turned out good, but some have been spectacular. The best loaves I’ve made are the Italian herbed, nutted whole wheat, and one loaf of rolled out cinnamon raisin bread which gave it a swirl pattern when sliced with brown sugar baked in. Only one batch didn’t rise well, and I think that was because I forgot I had added the salt and added salt again, but it tasted great. Those loaves I either sliced and toasted with a brushing of olive oil, chopped garlic, Italian herbs and parmesan cheese, sort of like pesto, or I toasted the slices and then we dipped them in small bowls of the oil, herb, garlic, cheese mixture.

All this cooking and baking has allowed me a creative outlet while being cooped up in the house over the winter, and my private poetry forum just finished a 10:10 day poem challenge where collectively we wrote 87 poems between the ten of us who participated which also provided me with a creative outlet. But what’s really got me excited is Daniel and I are in the process of starting an online Poetry Journal.

After experimenting with the software and making many mistakes (my own mistakes that is), but learning along the way, we’ve got it to the point where we’re just about ready to put it online and send out our calls for submissions. The journal reflects a unique combination of our philosophies and we’ve put our Touch on every aspect of its construction. No templates were used so every component you will see we’ve created down to the photographs we’ve taken that are used as background and enhancements.

I’ll post more on the journal once it’s up and running.

That’s it for today.



Tilt Press

Posted in Poetry, Thoughts and Reflections at 10:12 am by admin

I’d like to give a shout out to Tilt Press.
Here’s their catalog page.

Rachel Mallino is a casual member of my poetry forum who has been busier than a one armed paper hanger lately. Rachel and her co-editor Nicole Cartwright Denison have just made their selection for their most recent chapbook Handle This Bludgeon and Run Me Through by Andrew Terhune.

Give the site a visit and order a copy of this latest poetry chapbook.



In Time

Posted in Poetry, Thoughts and Reflections at 11:11 pm by admin

A Pantoum – of sorts

In Time
for Madelyn
by O.P.W. Fredericks

For the times they are a-changin’.
–Bob Dylan

When the last has stood to gentle time
and when gentle winds soothe tired bone,
In that comfort hour I’ll know it’s mine,
In that comfort hour my life I’ll own.

For the times they are a-changin’.

And when gentle winds soothe tired bone
I’ll have given all to one in love.
In that comfort hour my life I’ll own.
In that comfort hour I’ll shine above.

For the times they are a-changin’.

I’ll have given all to one in love.
By example I have lived my life.
In that comfort hour I’ll shine above
In that comfort hour there’s no more strife.

For the times they are a-changin’.

By example I have lived my life,
in that comfort hour I’ll know it’s mine.
In that comfort hour there’s no more strife
when the last has stood to gentle time.

For the times they are a-changin’.